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Cheap birding setup?

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Thread started 06 Feb 2013 (Wednesday) 23:45   
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kin2son
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I currently use the 70-200f2.8mkII with the 2xIII TC for birding. I quite like the result I am getting, but just looking for something dedicated for it.

I don't have a huge budget, so I am looking into 100-400, 300f4 and 400f5.6.

Now I read 300f4 + 1.4x isn't nearly as good as the other 2, is that true?

100-400 and 400f5.6 will get me to 400mm native, but is it gonna be a big upgrade from my current setup?

I use a 5D3 and from what I read, I will be able to AF @ f8 with the upcoming firmware update, do you think it will be good or meh?

Ultimately I want more reach than 400mm, probably via TC (can't afford anything 400mm+ native such as the 500mm...).

Any comment is greatly appreciated. Maybe I should just get an used 7D :p

Post #1, Feb 06, 2013 23:45:09


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
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Tapeman
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The autofocus speed is the weakest part of that combo. If you plan on shooting moving targets a lot, one of the 400s may be a better choice. If mostly static shots are taken you won't get much bang for your buck, especially in good light. 70-200 + 2x Not the best way to get to 400mm, but I have a lot of keepers from that combo.

Post #2, Feb 07, 2013 00:08:06


Canon G1X II, 1D MKIV, 5D MKII, 16-35/2.8L II, 24-70/2.8L II, 70-200/2.8L IS II, IS, 500/4 L IS II, 24-105/4 IS, 50/2.5 macro, 1.4x MKII, 1.4X MKIII,
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kin2son
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Tapeman wrote in post #15581757external link
The autofocus speed is the weakest part of that combo. If you plan on shooting moving targets a lot, one of the 400s may be a better choice. If mostly static shots are taken you won't get much bang for your buck, especially in good light. 70-200 + 2x Not the best way to get to 400mm, but I have a lot of keepers from that combo.

Hi Tapeman thanks for the reply. Yes bifs is extremely hard, in fact I haven't got a single shot that I am happy with. Static aren't bad at all imo. Guess I ultimately want more reach....

I think getting a cheap used crop body is the way to go....even a 550D might suffice ;)

Here's some of my recent shots -

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8509/8448999471_d2ecccdf50_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/kin2son/8448999​471/]external link
Lunch is servedexternal link by Kinson C | Photographyexternal link, on Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8086/8449334167_bf512b711d_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/kin2son/8449334​167/]external link
Honeyeaterexternal link by Kinson C | Photographyexternal link, on Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8237/8452405788_bb11b41d1f_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/kin2son/8452405​788/]external link
Baby Kookaburraexternal link by Kinson C | Photographyexternal link, on Flickr

Post #3, Feb 07, 2013 00:17:22


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Nice imagery. With that kind of light on your birds, I think a 1.6 crop body and a 400 f5.6 is the way to go. In my experience, the crops only suffer when shooting in subdued overcast conditions, or in total shade under a forest canopy.

Post #4, Feb 07, 2013 00:40:23


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kin2son
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Tom Reichner wrote in post #15581801external link
Nice imagery. With that kind of light on your birds, I think a 1.6 crop body and a 400 f5.6 is the way to go. In my experience, the crops only suffer when shooting in subdued overcast conditions, or in total shade under a forest canopy.

Thanks for your kind word Tom. I am still a total noob with birding.

I tend to shoot in good light...but even then, I need ISO1000 to get 1/1000ms @ f6.3 - f8.

Do you use single point and focus on the eye? Because I don't trust any kinds of tracking and I use single point (sometimes expanded) with my 5D3. So I think getting a 550D with my existing lens will be the cheapest way to gain some dirty reach.

Post #5, Feb 07, 2013 00:53:01


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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Tom ­ Reichner
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kin2son wrote in post #15581822external link
I tend to shoot in good light...but even then, I need ISO1000 to get 1/1000ms @ f6.3 - f8.

Kinson,
Don't be afraid of slow shutter speeds! I routinely shoot at under 1/200th of a second. I am attaching an image taken at f5.6, ISO 400, and 1/125th of a second. As long as the bird is perched, and you have a good sturdy tripod and good long lens technique, there is no reason not to trust yourself at speeds as slow as 1/60th of a second, even at "extreme" focal lengths. The attached image was taken with my 400mm lens and a 1.4 extender - on my 1.6 crop 50D. That is 896mm of effective focal length! And yet no problems shooting at slower speeds.

kin2son wrote in post #15581822external link
Do you use single point and focus on the eye? Because I don't trust any kinds of tracking and I use single point (sometimes expanded) with my 5D3.

I use AI mode and back button focusing, exclusively. I have found it works far better than any other way of focusing, for things that move around a lot like birds.

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Post #6, Feb 07, 2013 01:19:07


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kin2son
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Thanks Tom for your advice. Nice shot btw.

I am just a hobbyist and although I have a nice, sturdy tripod, I am handholding it (which I have no problem with the weight).

And that raises the other question, the 400f5.6 has no IS, whereas my current setup or 100-400 has IS which means I can afford to use lower ss.

I used 1/1000 because I was trying to catch the moment of the bird taking off from stationary. So far I have been unsuccessfully as even with the expanded points on 5D3, most bird are just too quick for my fingers and the camera lost track of them :(

Post #7, Feb 07, 2013 01:38:43


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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Neilyb
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Problem with the 100-400 having IS is that you have to shoot at f8 to get the best from it, so you lose a stop straight away, plus it only really helps with static birds. If you use a tripod the 400 is the way to go, if you don't then the 100-400 stopped down is a good option, looks like you have some light.

The best birding lens depends on where you live, here in Germany a 500 mostly with TC on a crop body. In Florida or similar, 70-200 can be used quite alot.

Post #8, Feb 07, 2013 01:50:04


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kin2son
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Neilyb wrote in post #15581910external link
Problem with the 100-400 having IS is that you have to shoot at f8 to get the best from it, so you lose a stop straight away, plus it only really helps with static birds. If you use a tripod the 400 is the way to go, if you don't then the 100-400 stopped down is a good option, looks like you have some light.

So what do you mean when you say you have to shoot @ f8 Neilyb? Do you mean the lens is soft wide open compared to the 400 prime?

Ultimately I want more reach (as it's never enough!), both 100-400 and the 400 prime aren't really giving me that. Granted it probably has faster AF, but sharpness is the least concern. If only the 400f5.6 has IS....

I think getting a cheap crop body is the way to go. Which one would you guys go for? 550D or 50D?

Post #9, Feb 07, 2013 02:10:23


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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richi914
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Hi I use to have 600d then I sold it for the 5diii I love the change specially in low light, I also use 70-200 ii with 2x ext and have some good photos of this combination, I just bough the 400 f/5.6 and is fast focus and very sharp still playing with it. Here are some examples
first one with 70-200 f2.8ii + 2xiii and the second one with the 400 f/5.6 both at f/5.6

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Post #10, Feb 07, 2013 02:55:34


5D mark iii, 7d, rokinon 14mm 2.8, sigma 28 f1.8, 50 f1.4, canon 100 2.8, 24-105 f/4, 17-40 f4, 300mm f4, 400 f5.6, 1.4 and 2xiii teleconverter, kenko 12/24/36 extension tubes, 430exii

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kin2son
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Thanks for the samples richi914. I can see the 400 prime has faster AF and slightly better IQ, but I also want more reach as well. Just not sure if I can justify getting the prime with exact same reach and losing IS...

Post #11, Feb 07, 2013 03:01:18


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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Neilyb
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kin2son wrote in post #15581932external link
So what do you mean when you say you have to shoot @ f8 Neilyb? Do you mean the lens is soft wide open compared to the 400 prime?

Ultimately I want more reach (as it's never enough!), both 100-400 and the 400 prime aren't really giving me that. Granted it probably has faster AF, but sharpness is the least concern. If only the 400f5.6 has IS....

I think getting a cheap crop body is the way to go. Which one would you guys go for? 550D or 50D?

Exactly, at 400mm the 100-400 is OK, but at f8 it is way better. The 400 prime, as with all canon tele primes, is sharp wide open. So the IS will only get you 1 stop advantage and your shots wont be quite as sharp anyway. I am a fan of the 100-400s flexibility but having used a few primes in my time i hardly ever use it anymore.

Post #12, Feb 07, 2013 03:07:51


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richi914
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I also used it with 1.4ii extender and still a good combination and if with the new upgrade we can use AF at f/8 will be great.

Post #13, Feb 07, 2013 03:08:06


5D mark iii, 7d, rokinon 14mm 2.8, sigma 28 f1.8, 50 f1.4, canon 100 2.8, 24-105 f/4, 17-40 f4, 300mm f4, 400 f5.6, 1.4 and 2xiii teleconverter, kenko 12/24/36 extension tubes, 430exii

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DreDaze
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i wouldn't go to a 550D if you're getting a crop body...i'd try and get a 7D...7D and a 400mm should be a good combo...

Post #14, Feb 07, 2013 03:12:44


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kin2son
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DreDaze wrote in post #15582002external link
i wouldn't go to a 550D if you're getting a crop body...i'd try and get a 7D...7D and a 400mm should be a good combo...

I know 7D is better, but it costs more.

I tend to use single point even with birding, so I don't really need 7D's AF, although much faster FPS is nice...

Post #15, Feb 07, 2013 03:15:56


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
EOS M / EF-M 18-55 / EF-M 22f2 / Ricoh GR aka Ultimate street camera :p
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