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View Poll Results: Best Bird Lens For Around $2000
EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS USM 32 34.78%
EF 300mm f/4 IS USM + 1.4x EF Extender III 8 8.70%
EF 400mm f/5.6L USM 47 51.09%
Other 5 5.43%
Voters: 92. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2nd of May 2012 (Wed)   #1
Hogger69
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Default Budget Minded Bird Lens

I am in the market for a new lens, up to now I have been using my EF 70-300mm IS for bird and nature photography. I am on a budget and would like to stay some where around the $2000 range. I have been reading and researching and have tentatively narrowed it down to 3 possible choices.

EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + 1.4x EF Extender III
Ef 400mm f/5.6L USM

The criteria I most concerned about are

1 Image Quality
2 Image Quality
3 Speed of the lens
4 Autofocus Speed

Anyone who has any experience or opinions with these lenses or another lens I should be considering please post.
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #2
Duane N
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Sticking with your criteria ONLY the lens would have to be the 400mm f/5.6L. I've never used the 300mm f/4L so don't know how fast that lens focuses...adding an extender to any lens will slow it down somewhat. The 400mm prime focuses faster than my 500mm f/4L so much so when I first bought my 500mm I thought something was wrong with it.
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane N View Post
The 400mm prime focuses faster than my 500mm f/4L so much so when I first bought my 500mm I thought something was wrong with it.
Very interesting Duane, this is the first time I have read a comparison between the 400 & 500mm focusing speed.

I have had the 300mm + 1.4, & now have the 400mm 5.6, the only thing I miss about the 300mm is the closer focusing distance, the 400mm is top notch in IQ & focus speed, perfect for BIF.
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #4
Duane N
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

This topic will go astray because there are so many variables to consider when purchasing a lens....

To help the OP out and seeing how you've owned the 300mm f/4L and used an extender with it how does it compare as far as focus speed to the 400mm prime?
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #5
Joe52
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

The 400mm beats the 300mm hands down for focusing speed, lock on is pretty much instant, the 300mm would miss on some smaller birds in flight & would hunt a lot more with the 1.4 attached.
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

300mm f4L is not a fast focusing lens for sure. Lovely IQ though.
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #7
Hogger69
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Just the kind of input I am looking for so far keep it coming. Please anybody that is voting or has voted for the other category could you please post to the thread the lens you had in mind.
Thanks
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

I voted for the 400 because I've been racking my brain same as you and after reading virtually every thread ever created comparing these lenses, I went with the 400. I've rented it before and its a great lens. Easily hand holdable, locks on focus instantly, and as long as you keep your shutter speed up the lack of IS isn't that big of deal. I almost went with the 300 and extender but slowing it down plus the nearly 500 difference in price made my decision for me. Good luck with whatever you go with!
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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Thanks miles, good info, appreciated.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

400/5.6L gets my vote as well. It's sharp and focuses faster than the 300/2.8L IS MK1. The only downside is no IS on the 400. If you get blurry photo at slower shutterspeed, it's operator issue, not the lens.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #11
jhayesvw
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

with you criteria there is only 1 choice.
400 5.6.

I own a 100-400 and love it but the 400 is faster focusing and provides a very slight advantage in IQ. very slight.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #12
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

After shooting 200 and 300mm and desiring more I finally sprung for the 400mm prime and have no regrets.
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #13
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Thanks for the info, appreciated.
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

100-400 for IS
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Old 8th of May 2012 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: Budget Minded Bird Lens

Let's analyze.
The 300 + the 1.4x gives you 420mm f/5.6 with IS (sharper stopped down a bit)
The 1-4 is 400(questionable)mm f/5.6 With IS (sharper stopped down a bit)
The 400 is obviously 400mm f/5.6 without IS (very sharp wide open)
The 1-4 is the most versatile followed by the 300 + TC. The 400 is the quickest focusing of the bunch and probably the best IQ but not by a lot and better at f/5.6 than the others. None of these are low light specialists by any means.
Most people complain about an IQ fall off with teleconverters but that may no longer be the case with the TC IIIs. Your mileage may vary.
I think it comes down to the money vs. the versatility.
If it was me, I'd eat only ramen for a few months and save my nickles and look for a used 500....but that's just me.
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Last edited by chubri777 : 8th of May 2012 (Tue) at 11:47.
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