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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 25 Dec 2016 (Sunday) 03:49
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Which lens would you choose

 
johnf3f
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Dec 29, 2016 17:22 as a reply to post 18226969 |  #16

Well I often work at close to or just below MFD (6 meters) with my Canon 800mm (at my preferred hide for smaller birds I invariably attach a 21mm extension tube) - that's fairly close in my book. True I do loose the occasional shot because the bird is too close but not that often. 400mm for smaller species - no thanks, used to have one sold it for a 600mm = FAR better! 800mm is just better again.:lol:


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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Dec 29, 2016 18:01 |  #17

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18226969 (external link)
I respectably disagree with the above comments about the need for reach. Sure, there are many times when 400mm will not be sufficient. But there are many other times when 400mm is plenty, and that one will actually miss the shot if they can't back out enough to fit the bird in the frame. Many of the bird photographers I know have lots of shots with the bird's head clipped, or the legs cut off, or just framed so tightly that it is awkward. These are all images that could have been awesome if they had only had a bit shorter focal length.

If so many people can never fill the frame with the birds the way they want to at 400mm, it makes me wonder just how much work they are putting into their bird photography. The best results come when you can work well-prepared setups and use a hide, and in such situations 400mm is often plenty of reach, even for smaller birds........especiall​y when using a 1.6 crop body like the OP's 7D Mark 2.

.

So your idea of respectfully disagreeing is to insinuate that people with a different viewpoint are lazy bird photographers? Cute. But yeah, I'm clearly not putting any effort into my bird photography... http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​467486 :rolleyes: I admire your work too much to say anything rude in reply, but that was a lame comment Tom.

Hides are great, but they aren't the solution to every scenario. And again, if we are talking about the first generation IS lenses the 400mm is a 12lb behemoth. The 500mm provides more reach and can be hand held, making it far more versatile for birds. The 400mm is a fantastic lens and it is certainly capable of excellent bird photographs, but if you're only going to have one big supertele and birds are a primary focus I find it pretty hard to make a convincing argument that it's the best one to own.




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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been last edited 10 months ago by Tom Reichner. 2 edits done in total.
Dec 29, 2016 21:04 as a reply to ShadowHillsPhoto's post |  #18

.
Shadow Hills,

You are right - the way my comment was written does insinuate that some bird photographers are a bit lax in their efforts at times. .I apologize for my offensive remark. .I should have figured out a nicer way to say what I was trying to say.

Please allow me to explain my thought process:

When I get really, really close to birds, it is usually in situations where I have put extensive time into creating setups and/or utilized a blind ("hide" for our U.K. friends). .Using a blind usually means many days spent afield in advance, doing research in order to determine the most effective blind location, figuring out the most precise blind placement, getting the birds used to the blind, etc.

When I need a lot of reach for my bird photography, it is usually in situations where I haven't spent days on end doing research and/or creating setups. When I just go out spontaneously and hope to find something to shoot, by walking or driving about, that is when I am reach-challenged.

But the super-intense long-term preparation shoots most often result in getting as close as I could possibly want to get. So I thought that it might quite possibly be the same for other folks; that when they spend days or weeks just preparing for a shoot, and then they spend 3 to 8 hours at a time in a blind, not even getting out to pee - that they often get very, very close to their subjects, and that 400mm would be plenty of reach for those situations. But that when they don't put that much work into it, well, that's when they need more reach.

So is it not reasonable to think that the way it works for me is probably the way it works for others, at least some of the time?

.


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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Dec 29, 2016 22:08 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #19

Yes, when you put the effort into a good blind setup you can get very close sometimes. Nobody is going to argue that. But back to the point of the 400mm vs the 500mm (or 600mm) as a primary birding lens, there's no inherent advantage to the 400mm just because you can get close with a blind, you can use the longer lenses in a blind just the same. It's just as easy to argue that the reliance on a blind is because you are handicapped by the lack of reach of the 400mm. Inside a blind it's pretty much a wash between the lenses, but go outside the blind and the shortcomings of the 400mm become obvious. Birds in flight with the 400mm 2.8 (v1)? Sure it can be done, for species that you can shoot readily off a tripod, but there's lots of birds where hand holding is a far better option and in those cases no thanks! I shoot frequently from my kayak and a 400mm just wouldn't give me enough working distance in that situation, I would be inside the comfort zone of many of my subjects. There's also plenty of situations where a blind just isn't an option, and again the advantage is going to go to the longer lenses.

Again, the 400mm 2.8 is an excellent lens and it produces amazing results. If you shoot a lot of large animals there is a case to be made for it being the best choice, and it can certainly do double duty on birds and other small animals as well. Just because it can take bird pictures doesn't make it the best tool for the job though. Suggesting that it is the best choice as a primary birding lens is a huge stretch in my opinion. Just as an example, I was at Conowingo dam in Maryland a few weeks ago and there were dozens and dozens of 500mm and 600mm f/4's there. I didn't see a single 400mm 2.8. There's a reason for that.




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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been last edited 10 months ago by Tom Reichner. 10 edits done in total.
Dec 29, 2016 22:23 |  #20

.

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18227253 (external link)
It's just as easy to argue that the reliance on a blind is because you are handicapped by the lack of reach of the 400mm.

But that argument might not hold much water, being that I also have a Sigma 300-800mm f5.6, and use it often. But on many different occasions, in various conditions, both inside and outside the blind, for large birds and small birds alike, I find that the 400 f2.8 is actually the better choice.

Here is one spec of the 400 f2.8 that is very important, and which I put to use quite a bit:

The minimum focus distance of the 400 f2.8 is just 10 feet. Just 10 feet!!! And what's better, when you add the 1.4 or the 2x, that 10 feet doesn't change. So when you are in a blind with a 500mm or a 600mm or an 800mm and the birds come within 10 or 11 feet, which they very often do, just how are you going to be able to use that longer lens? Remember, extension tubes hardly make any difference at all on long lenses.

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18227253 (external link)
I was at Conowingo dam in Maryland a few weeks ago and there were dozens and dozens of 500mm and 600mm f/4's there. I didn't see a single 400mm 2.8. There's a reason for that.

Was that for the eagles there? I've heard that the Eagle photography there is often a rather long-range proposition, which is not the case at some other Eagle spots. .I got this shot with my 400 f2.8, handheld, and actually felt that it was the proper choice for the task; I wouldn't have wanted a 500mm lens for this opportunity:

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.
I am not trying to say that the 400 f2.8 is the best choice for wildlife and bird photography. But I do think that it is the most versatile, and will allow one to get more quality images of birds and wildlife than the 500mm f4, especially when combined with a full frame body and a 1.6 crop body, such as the OP has. The extra stop that it has over Canon's other supertelephotos is invaluable, as is its 10 foot MFD!

One more thing that I would like to clarify:
The OP was not asking, "which long lens is best for wildlife and birds?"
Rather, the OP was only asking for our recommendation between the 400 f2.8 and the 500 f4. The 600mm or the 800mm or a 150-600mm zoom were never supposed to be part of the thread's discussion, as none of those lenses were under consideration by the OP, and this thread is supposed to be all about answering the OP's question.

So, when pitting the 400 f2.8 against the 500mm f4, I would consider the 400 f2.8 to be the better choice for most bird and wildlife opportunities. The reason I think this way is because of the 400 f2.8's versatility over the 500 f4, due to:

1: . It's larger minimum aperture allows one to isolate subjects better, when maximum background blur is desired
2: . Its greater field of view when used with a full frame body and no tele-extender - you just can't get a 500mm to zoom out to 400mm no matter how hard you try, and there are times when you just can't back up any further without spooking the subject away. And there really are lots and lots and lots of times when the animals and the birds get so close that you just can't fit them in the frame.
3: . It's closer minimum focus distance, which actually comes into play for a lot of bird and wildlife photography - extension tubes just don't make a difference at long focal lengths (at least not a useful difference).
4: . Its f2.8 aperture allows one to use the tele-extenders more effectively than they can be used with lenses that have f4 apertures

.

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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Dec 30, 2016 08:19 |  #21

Fair enough, here's my take strictly on the comparison of the first generation 400mm 2.8 IS and 500mm 4.0 IS:

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18227270 (external link)
.

1: . It's larger minimum aperture allows one to isolate subjects better, when maximum background blur is desired

This is rather misleading, I'd call it a half truth. Yes, at its minimum focal distance the 400 produces a narrower depth of field than the 500 is capable of. Compared head to head at distances that the 500 can actually shoot at, a 500 f4 produces narrower DOF than a 400 f2.8. You can add a 1.4x to the 400 and get 560 f4 to get back a slight edge in DOF, but it comes at the cost of reduced IQ and AF performance.

2: . Its greater field of view when used with a full frame body and no tele-extender - you just can't get a 500mm to zoom out to 400mm no matter how hard you try, and there are times when you just can't back up any further without spooking the subject away. And there really are lots and lots and lots of times when the animals and the birds get so close that you just can't fit them in the frame.

And a 400mm can't zoom out to 300mm. What's your point? No lens can cover every situation, there's always going to be subjects too close or too far for the lens attached to your camera at any point in time. The general consensus is that the times where more reach is desirable outnumber the times where less reach would be preferred. This is reflected in the fact that the number of 500mm f/4's in use by serious bird and wildlife photographers is many orders of magnitude higher than the number of 400mm f/2.8's.

3: . It's closer minimum focus distance, which actually comes into play for a lot of bird and wildlife photography - extension tubes just don't make a difference at long focal lengths (at least not a useful difference).

Same as above, no single lens can cover every situation. But, if I spend three days scouting out and setting up the perfect blind locaton I'm going to take the MFD of my lens into consideration and set up in such a way that my subject is less likely to get inside that distance.

Interesting fact, if you place a 400mm and 500mm in the same location, the coverage area (in terms of square footage where the subject can potentially stand and still provide adequate framing) is 33% higher, at a minimum, with the 500mm. That's a huge advantage, and can translate into many more shot opportunities.

4: . Its f2.8 aperture allows one to use the tele-extenders more effectively than they can be used with lenses that have f4 apertures
.

All the big whites perform very well with the extenders. I don't have direct experience using the 400 2.8 with extenders and it may enjoy a slight advantage in AF speed but I'd like to see a quantitative assessment of that before passing judgement.

5. Weight, portability, maneuverability, handheld shooting, and maximum reach? Game, set, match 500mm.

Anyway, it's a fun debate and I have no doubt the 400mm is the best choice for you. I just don't buy the argument that it's more versatile for birds and wildlife. Maybe someday we can shoot together and at the end of the day we can crack a couple beers and you can rib me about the tens of shots that were too close for my 600mm to capture. I'll be too busy processing the hundreds of shots that were too far for your 400mm to really care.  :p




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CyberDyneSystems
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Dec 30, 2016 10:32 |  #22

We can get 400mm L in a lens costing $800.00 used.

If we aren't looking for a longer lens, why are we spending many $k on these lenses?


One simple way to see which is more likely to be the lens chosen and used by wildlife shooters,. look up the POTN Lens Sample threads for the 500mm f/4L IS and the 500mm f/4L IS II... see how many posts are in those threads.

Then look up the 400mm f/2.8L IS and II,.. and compare the number of shots.

As I type this, the 500mm f4L IS is on page one with over 4000 posts,
The 400mm f/2.8L IS is back on page two with 647 posts.

Sure popularity is not a guarantee of anything, and those post counts don't even take into account subject matter, but I am sure that there are more sports shots in the 400mm thread then there is in the 500mm thread, biasing the 500mm even more towards wild life. IMHO in this case there is a reason why the 500mm are chosen for wildlife much more often, and are the actual lenses out there being used in the field.


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PCousins
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Dec 30, 2016 22:38 |  #23

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18226969 (external link)
If so many people can never fill the frame with the birds the way they want to at 400mm, it makes me wonder just how much work they are putting into their bird photography. The best results come when you can work well-prepared setups and use a hide, and in such situations 400mm is often plenty of reach, even for smaller birds........especiall​y when using a 1.6 crop body like the OP's 7D Mark 2.
.

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18227185 (external link)
.
When I get really, really close to birds, it is usually in situations where I have put extensive time into creating setups and/or utilized a blind ("hide" for our U.K. friends). .Using a blind usually means many days spent afield in advance, doing research in order to determine the most effective blind location, figuring out the most precise blind placement, getting the birds used to the blind, etc.
.

I would love to find the time to put into my bird photography but firstly I work 5 days a week and secondly I have a family. When I do find the time to go out with my camera the UK weather never appears to be on my side. I have to make the most of the small amount of time I have and that does not involve as you say putting work into well-prepared setups and use a hide.

PCousins wrote in post #18224419 (external link)
Personally I think you will find that a 400 f/2.8 will be too short for birds and small wildlife.

I stick to my previous post...400 is just too short. and agree totally with Jake and Johnf3f...

I can think of 25 hides in 7 locations on the Somerset Wetlands/marshes/moors within 20 miles of my home which I often visit and my 500/f4 with 1.4x TC on a 1.3x Crop body still does not have the reach I require.

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18226829 (external link)
500mm.

400 is not long enough.
Life is better without t-cons.

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18227270 (external link)
.

So, when pitting the 400 f2.8 against the 500mm f4, I would consider the 400 f2.8 to be the better choice for most bird and wildlife opportunities. The reason I think this way is because of the 400 f2.8's versatility over the 500 f4, due to:

1: . It's larger minimum aperture allows one to isolate subjects better, when maximum background blur is desired

.

I don't see why you'd need an f/2.8 aperture for bird photography. At any reasonable distance the DoF of a 2.8 is still going to be thicker than your average bird.
you run the risk of getting too much blur in your photo, thus blurring out parts of your subject, too.

Tom Reichner please show me or direct me to any photo's that you have taken at f/2.8, I am interested in seeing your results.

Your Eagle shot taken with your 400/2.8 looks too soft to me, it should be razor-sharp even more so when stepped down to f/4.

To achieve the desired magnification, Was it heavily Cropped?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Dec 31, 2016 04:44 |  #24

P. C. Cousins,

I like to stop down a wee bit, so as to gain a tad bit of sharpness compared to shooting wide open. This is not necessary with Canon's lattest telephoto lenses, but with my version 1 400 f2.8 I.S. it does help. Hence, the following images were shot at f3.2, one third of a stop over wide open. I like the way f3.2 helps to get rid of nasty distractions when the background contains some distracting elements in it. These distractions can often not be avoided, as nature tends to be a bit messy sometimes! Pine cones dropped on the forest floor, stones and rocks that are differently colored than the surrounding soil and/or vegetation, fallen twigs and pine needles, etc - all can make for cluttered images if not blurred out. If either of these images had been taken at f4 instead of f3.2, they would be lesser images. 2/3 of a stop really does make a very noticeable, significant difference when it comes to this type of work. I feel that the two images below are examples of situations in which it was important to blur these distractions out by using a wide aperture. Neither image is cropped at all, so as to best show the depth of field as it was captured.

Spruce Grouse, Franklin's variety, Okanogan National Forest:

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Snowshoe Hare, Yellowstone National Park:
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The eagle photo that you asked about was not cropped at all. And I should mention that I didn't sharpen it at all - I'm not really worried about putting sharp images on the web because I have concerns about the images being stolen. I do like to put relatively small images on the internet, and sometimes save them at lower quality settings, and not optimize the sharpness, so that if they are stolen, their usage will be somewhat limited. The eagle isn't the sharpest image I've taken, to be sure, but it does look quite good at 16" by 24". Unfortunately, it wouldn't make for a good 24" by 36" print unless viewed from a few feet away. Optimal sharpness is usually not going to be gained when one's subject is moving rapidly, and way off to one edge of the frame, where there are no AF sensors........AF algorithyms do not tend to work precisely when there is no AF point covering the subject.

PCousins wrote in post #18228380 (external link)
I can think of 25 hides in 7 locations on the Somerset Wetlands/marshes/moors within 20 miles of my home which I often visit and my 500/f4 with 1.4x TC on a 1.3x Crop body still does not have the reach I require.

Well, then, they are very, very poorly placed hides. Why would anyone use a blind that is placed so far away from the subjects? Typically, results are far, far better when one uses a blind that they have sited themselves, rather than just using something that someone else placed somewhere.


By the way, I am rather surprised at the fact that my advise is being so heavily challenged here in this thread. I know what I am doing when it comes to photographing wildlife. Yet, the very best recommendations that I have to give - the most helpful suggestions I can make - are being shot down and argued with by people that don't seem to have nearly as much field experience as I do. Birds and mammals really do come very, very close to the camera on many, many, many occasions every single year........hence, reach is really not all its cracked up to be.

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18227696 (external link)
Sure popularity is not a guarantee of anything......

That's for sure! In fact, I think that popularity is probably one of the worst things to base one's lens decisions on. Why? Because as artists and creatives, aren't we trying to ensure that what we create is significantly different than what others are creating? I don't give a darn about what focal length most people use to photograph wildlife with. I have no desire to produce images that are similar to those that most people are taking, so why would I want to shoot with the same gear they use? And why would I want to shoot from the same blinds that other people use? If almost everybody at a wildlife venue is shooting 500mm lenses, well then that right there is a great reason not to use one!

.


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Dec 31, 2016 05:49 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #25

Both Shots are very nice indeed Tom. I very rarely take my 1d4 past ISO 1250, your first capture at ISO 1600 gives a very smooth and noise/grain free feel to it that adds to the pleasing blur.

Considering both of your photo's are at f/3.2, I am very impressed....

In my first post on this thread I said What is important to me is the “detail of the bird”....The Photo below which I took yesterday of a Black Redstart I took at f/5.6. I only wish I had of taken it at f/8 because the tail of the bird is blurred and does not show enough detail... I would still of got a nice background blur. I should of raised the ISO to of got the result I was looking for. Light was poor and the bird was continuously on the move so I played it safe as I didn't want to go much lower than 1/160s

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/409/31881534601_06ff108dc1_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://www.flickr.com ...4601/in/datetaken-friend/] (external link)
Black Redstart (external link) by Paul Cousins (external link) on Flickr

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Post has been last edited 10 months ago by ShadowHillsPhoto. 3 edits done in total.
Dec 31, 2016 09:39 |  #26

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18228538 (external link)
By the way, I am rather surprised at the fact that my advise is being so heavily challenged here in this thread. I know what I am doing when it comes to photographing wildlife. Yet, the very best recommendations that I have to give - the most helpful suggestions I can make - are being shot down and argued with by people that don't seem to have nearly as much field experience as I do.
.

That's the second time in this thread that you've resorted to making insulting and condescending comments toward the people who disagree with you. It's becoming a pattern now, and it says a lot about the (lack of) strength of your argument. Aside from that, I don't think you really want to go there. To be blunt, you've taken some nice photographs but I've never heard of you outside of this forum. You're just inviting someone to post an extensive list of wildlife photographers who are far more successful, better known, and accomplished than you are who don't use the 400mm and who recommend the 500mm instead, it wouldn't be a hard list to come up with.

Edit- To answer your question: the reason you are getting strong pushback is directly a result of the comments you've made to try and undercut and discredit the opinions of others. It's fine for you to have and state your own opinion. But, when you suggest that other people would be just as well suited with the 400mm if only they put more work into it, or try to play the "look at my experience, listen to what I say" card (a.k.a. the "Don't you know who I am!?!" card), I don't see how you can be surprised by the result. If you just stated your preference for the 400mm and gave your reasons in support nobody would have thought anything of it or commented further.

The eagle photo that you asked about was not cropped at all. And I should mention that I didn't sharpen it at all

I wasn't going to comment on the eagle photo, but since you decided to be rude again... It's a soft photo. There's no amount of sharpening that is going to save it from being a soft photo and if it were mine it never would have made it past the cull stage. I would have thought someone with sooooo much field experience could have found a better example to make their point.

Optimal sharpness is usually not going to be gained when one's subject is moving rapidly, and way off to one edge of the frame, where there are no AF sensors........AF algorithyms do not tend to work precisely when there is no AF point covering the subject.

Fair enough (of course maybe if you weren't trying to handhold a 12lb lens you could have gotten the AF points on the subject), but that's still no reason to keep a sub-par image. Sometimes you just need to know when to leave a shot on the cutting room floor.

Your entire argument so far has been that the 400mm is an ideal wildlife/bird lens because you can use it in a blind and get close to your subjects. That's all well and good, but it's the only usage scenario you have offered and that is far from making it versatile. Yes, the 400mm enjoys approximately a three foot band on the close focus end where it can shoot and the 500mm can not, that doesn't offset the fact that the 500mm is superior at every distance beyond that. Most people who can afford one of the big whites will also have no trouble fielding a second body with a 100-400II which can take care of those close shots (including the ones too close for even the 400mm 2.8). You have also repeatedly dodged the fact that the lens which you are touting as being so versatile is a 12lb monster and completely unsuited to other applications like hand-held BIF.

Here's some examples of what a versatile lens can do (granted it's my 600mm, but either 500mm can do the same). I wouldn't have wanted a 400mm lens for any of these opportunities, especially not the 12lb version.

Up close in a blind? No problem.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v74/alloutdoors/IMG_2215_zpsgqb7yx0q.jpg

From a kayak? Absolutely!
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8548/29013205592_ebc0de0185_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/LcNg​dC] (external link)Green Heron-0466 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8682/28851140206_02595a441c_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KXtC​PQ] (external link)Common_loon-4244 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

Hand held for BIF? Of course!

IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/1/749/31567737266_46ebfd6f59_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Q6wU​ub] (external link)Conowingo-9224 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c8.staticflickr.com/1/709/31489107071_1dea19ec7e_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/PYzU​ta] (external link)Conowingo-0969 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/691/30763611824_d12da606b9_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/NSty​1q] (external link)Conowingo-0926 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c8.staticflickr.com/1/696/30795286903_fecf8b32d3_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/NVgT​Ut] (external link)Conowingo-0537 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/745/31567736736_9f4e072be8_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Q6wU​k3] (external link)Conowingo-9237 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr



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patrick ­ j
Goldmember
Joined Mar 2009
Denver
Dec 31, 2016 09:51 |  #27

I just rented a zoom telephoto lens and did some bird stuff, and found most of the time I was out there at 600 mm, and when not zoomed all the way out, at 450mm or greater. Seems like it would be rare to want less reach than more when it comes to birds. I think with a 7d II you can probably push that ISO up so that the difference between f4 and f2.8 won't really matter if it gets down to a low light situation. My experience with birds is limited, others with probably more experience are saying 400, but that does seem a little short.


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Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
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Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Dec 31, 2016 12:21 |  #28

PCousins wrote in post #18228558 (external link)
I very rarely take my 1d4 past ISO 1250, your first capture at ISO 1600 gives a very smooth and noise/grain free feel to it that adds to the pleasing blur.

Thanks, P.C. I use the 1D4 at 1600 ISO rather often. They to keeping the noise at a minimum is to expose as far to the right as you can. This usually means over-exposing by anywhere from 2/3 of a stop to 1 1/3 of a stop. Over-expose, then pull the exposure back down when you edit........that seems to be the way to minimize grain, and is more effective than just shooting at lower ISOs and exposing 'properly'. I've come to realize that the biggest enemy of noise grain is light, not low ISOs. Give an exposure more light (signal) and the grain goes away!

PCousins wrote in post #18228558 (external link)
The Photo below which I took yesterday of a Black Redstart I took at f/5.6. I only wish I had of taken it at f/8 because the tail of the bird is blurred and does not show enough detail... I would still of got a nice background blur.

Personally, I really like the way that the tail is blurred - I like it better than I would if the tail were in focus. And of course the background is rendered wonderfully - it is an uncommonly beautiful background!

Which leads me to realize another thing...........not only can shooting style play a part in what gear one selects, but image preference can also play a big part in this decision. For instance, if someone like yourself prefers that the entire subject be in focus and exhibit sharp detail, then shooting at smaller apertures is going to best accomplish that end, and large-aperture lenses are going to be 'wasted' because you will not choose to use those large apertures. But if someone like myself likes it better when part of the subject is in focus, and the other parts of the subject are soft, then shooting at large apertures or at extremely close distances becomes necessary in order to accomplish these goals. And, of course, this also requires that I use a lens that has a very large minimum aperture, relative to focal length.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

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Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
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Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Post has been last edited 10 months ago by Tom Reichner. 2 edits done in total.
Dec 31, 2016 15:36 |  #29

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18228741 (external link)
I wasn't going to comment on the eagle photo, but since you decided to be rude again... It's a soft photo. There's no amount of sharpening that is going to save it from being a soft photo and if it were mine it never would have made it past the cull stage.

Sometimes you just need to know when to leave a shot on the cutting room floor.

Did you miss the part where I explained that sometimes I intentionally lower the jpeg quality when I post an image to the internet? I thought that I made that clear. If I intentionally do things to an image to screw it up, so that it will not be 'lifted', and say so clearly, it seems odd that you would then criticize the sharpness of said image. However, I will edit my post and swap out the bad version with a good quality version. I am doing so against my beter judgment, but I don't know how else to stop you from saying critical things about my photography that are not accurate. I plan to swap these back after a day or two because I really don't want a good sharp eagle pic being lifted. I still have trouble believing that you would judge the sharpness of an image based only on a highly compressed jpeg file that you are seeing on an internet forum!

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18228741 (external link)
Your entire argument so far has been that the 400mm is an ideal wildlife/bird lens because you can use it in a blind and get close to your subjects.

There has actually been a lot more to my argument than use in a blind. I do not understand why you think that my entire argument has been based on blind work. When I read and re-read the posts I have written, I am seeing a whole lot more to my argument than blind work. I just gave mention to the blind work to give one example of a situation when the birds get so close that it is hard to fit them into the frame, and that you will be best served with a short minimum focus distance. But there are many, many other situations in which the wider field of view and the larger aperture of an f2.8 400mm helps, such as:

a) using playback calls to get birds to land on nearby perches.....sometimes the birds land very, very close to you and you can't move back without causing the bird to fly off before you get a shot.....and you want the shallow DOF that only a huge supertelephoto can give you - the other cheaper, slower 400mm options are often poor choices in many of these situations because they don't give you as much control over DOF.

b) shooting in dense vegetation, when getting further away from your subject presents a problem because then more vegetation gets between you and the subject

c) you want the background to be blurred as much as possible

d) you want to get close to the subject because of the 'look' that the image will have, compared to if you framed the subject the same way but from a further distance....this results in a difference between the size of the various objects in the frame, relative to one another


By the way, I think that the new Canon 600mm f4 is the single best supertelephoto prime lens in the world for wildlife and bird photography. If I could only have one supertelephoto lens, and had to choose between the new 600mm f4 and the new 400mm f2.8, I would probably pick the 600. However, even though I think that the new Canon 600 f4 is better, I realize that it is not nearly as versatile as the 400. The 400mm f2.8 is the king of versatility amongst Canons prime supertelephotos.

But this thread was never about the 600mm, so I fail to see why you bring it up and post images that you took with it. If I had to pick between the new 500mm f4 and the new 400mm f2.8, I would certainly pick the 400......and that was the whole point of this thread.

Let us clearly remember that the OP never asked about the 600mm - he only asked about the 400mm f2.8 vs the 500mm f4. So I don't understand why 600mm was ever brought into this discussion.

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18228741 (external link)
To answer your question: the reason you are getting strong pushback is directly a result of the comments you've made to try and undercut and discredit the opinions of others.

"To answer my question". Hmmmmm. I don't remember asking a question about this. I have read and re-read the paragraph I wrote about this in post #24, but I do not see a question there.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

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don1163
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Joined May 2015
Washford, Somerset/ UK
Dec 31, 2016 16:21 |  #30

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18228741 (external link)
That's the second time in this thread that you've resorted to making insulting and condescending comments toward the people who disagree with you. It's becoming a pattern now, and it says a lot about the (lack of) strength of your argument. Aside from that, I don't think you really want to go there. To be blunt, you've taken some nice photographs but I've never heard of you outside of this forum. You're just inviting someone to post an extensive list of wildlife photographers who are far more successful, better known, and accomplished than you are who don't use the 400mm and who recommend the 500mm instead, it wouldn't be a hard list to come up with.

Edit- To answer your question: the reason you are getting strong pushback is directly a result of the comments you've made to try and undercut and discredit the opinions of others. It's fine for you to have and state your own opinion. But, when you suggest that other people would be just as well suited with the 400mm if only they put more work into it, or try to play the "look at my experience, listen to what I say" card (a.k.a. the "Don't you know who I am!?!" card), I don't see how you can be surprised by the result. If you just stated your preference for the 400mm and gave your reasons in support nobody would have thought anything of it or commented further.

I wasn't going to comment on the eagle photo, but since you decided to be rude again... It's a soft photo. There's no amount of sharpening that is going to save it from being a soft photo and if it were mine it never would have made it past the cull stage. I would have thought someone with sooooo much field experience could have found a better example to make their point.

Fair enough (of course maybe if you weren't trying to handhold a 12lb lens you could have gotten the AF points on the subject), but that's still no reason to keep a sub-par image. Sometimes you just need to know when to leave a shot on the cutting room floor.

Your entire argument so far has been that the 400mm is an ideal wildlife/bird lens because you can use it in a blind and get close to your subjects. That's all well and good, but it's the only usage scenario you have offered and that is far from making it versatile. Yes, the 400mm enjoys approximately a three foot band on the close focus end where it can shoot and the 500mm can not, that doesn't offset the fact that the 500mm is superior at every distance beyond that. Most people who can afford one of the big whites will also have no trouble fielding a second body with a 100-400II which can take care of those close shots (including the ones too close for even the 400mm 2.8). You have also repeatedly dodged the fact that the lens which you are touting as being so versatile is a 12lb monster and completely unsuited to other applications like hand-held BIF.

Here's some examples of what a versatile lens can do (granted it's my 600mm, but either 500mm can do the same). I wouldn't have wanted a 400mm lens for any of these opportunities, especially not the 12lb version.

Up close in a blind? No problem.
QUOTED IMAGE

From a kayak? Absolutely!
QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/LcNg​dC] (external link)Green Heron-0466 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KXtC​PQ] (external link)Common_loon-4244 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

Hand held for BIF? Of course!
QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Q6wU​ub] (external link)Conowingo-9224 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/PYzU​ta (external link)Conowingo-0969 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/NSty​1q (external link)Conowingo-0926 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/NVgT​Ut (external link)Conowingo-0537 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/Q6wU​k3 (external link)Conowingo-9237 (external link) by Shadow Hills Photography (external link), on Flickr

I couldnt have put it better myself....especially nice to see some sharp eagle shots as well :lol:


1DX, 500L f4, 70-200L f2.8II, 100L f2.8 macro ,16-35 f4, 1.4xIII, Metz 64-AF1

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