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Whats a better birding lens... 300mm, 400mm, 100-400?

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Thread started 12 Jan 2007 (Friday) 19:52   
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StealthLude
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For someone who wants to get into birding on a budget...

What would you recommend...

I already have a 300mm f/4 L IS lens on its way... but birding wasnt the reason I bought the lens, but I was curious to know if the AF was fast enought to use for birds in flight?

I was also looking at the 100-400 and the 400mm f/5.6 L lens.

I dont want to focus too much on focal length, because I know 300 can be a little short for birding use, but I wanted to know if the lenses would be able to perform.

Thanks!

Post #1, Jan 12, 2007 19:52:27


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canonshooter4life
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I got the 400L because i cant afford the 1-4... I know it doesnt seem a lot more expensive but it is nearly 600 less when tax is all totaled and that is a lot when your saving for university...

It is a big improvement over my 300 in terms of how large the image is... the image from a 300 to 400 lense 77% larger at 400mm...It depends on what types of birds you are shooting... when i used my 75-300 i almost always used it as a prime and kept it at 300 all the time and most of the time it still wasnt enough reach...and i can count on one hand the number of times i have used it for birds at less than 300mm...

However even if i could afford the 1-4 I would go for the prime because i usually photograph shorebirds and waterfowl which most of the time are hard to get close too... the only downside i can see IMHO is that it needs good light because of the f5.6 aperature...

The 300 f4 also looks great from the shots i have seen petkal post on the bird forum... but really you have to make the decision on which one you think would best suit your needs...we can only give you our personal opinions...:) have fun choosing ... I hope i didnt just blab on i dont do well in writing in school :p

Brandon

Post #2, Jan 12, 2007 21:57:52


Brandon

Gear: Canon 60D, Canon 400mm f5.6L, Nifty Fifty, Canon 580EX, Kenko tube set, Kenko Pro 1.4X TC (coming next), Bushhawk, Manfrotto 055 ProB, and Manfrotto 322 grip head.

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StealthLude
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Thanks for your responce

I know the Focal length difference beteween 300 and 400... and I plan on buying a 1.4x TC for my 300mm f/4 so I can have a 420mm f5.6 IS lens...

I am also considering buying a Sigma 50-500 or a Canon 400mm 5.6 lens (+ 1.4x TC)

I dont think reach is the problem...

I am more or less concerned with AF speed. I know when using TCs with all the above lenses we cut the AF speed by a lot. But I was to know if any of the above lenses with or w/o TC will be fast enought, AF wise, for birding.

I figure if I can get away with my 300, or 300 +1.4x TC, it will help me get into a Mark II 1Dn camera. I figure upgrading the body will also help since it has more AF points and ive been told the AI Servo is faster and more accurate with a 1 series camera.

Post #3, Jan 12, 2007 22:04:41


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Tony-S
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How about the Bigma?

Post #4, Jan 12, 2007 22:07:03


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RikWriter
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Definitely the 400.

Post #5, Jan 12, 2007 22:07:18


My gear: 7D, 70D, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, Canon 100-400L IS, 500mm f4L IS, 1.4X II TC.
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StealthLude
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RikWriter wrote in post #2532372external link
Definitely the 400.

Why? AF speed or reach, or both?

I plan on just using my 300mm f/4 IS + 1.4x TC

unless I can find a damn good excuse to own the 400mm f5.6 lens too :lol:

MarkII 1Dn might have to wait then.

Post #6, Jan 12, 2007 22:21:06


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RikWriter
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StealthLude wrote in post #2532445external link
Why? AF speed or reach, or both?
.

Both. Plus IQ is amazing and also you can use a Tamron 1.4X TC or use the tape trick on a Canon TC and still get acceptable IQ.

Post #7, Jan 12, 2007 22:29:14


My gear: 7D, 70D, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, Canon 100-400L IS, 500mm f4L IS, 1.4X II TC.
My pics:
www.pbase.com/rikwrite​r

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sirsloop
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if you go with the 400/5.6... you'll lose AF with a 1.4x on your 20D. At that price range, I'd peep the Bigma!! Even 400 is on the short end of a birding lens... 500+ is where its at :)

Post #8, Jan 13, 2007 00:21:32


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RikWriter
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sirsloop wrote in post #2532866external link
if you go with the 400/5.6... you'll lose AF with a 1.4x on your 20D.

Not with the cheap Tamron TC. Also, you can use the tape trick with a Canon TC and retain autofocus as well.

Post #9, Jan 13, 2007 06:50:01


My gear: 7D, 70D, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, Canon 100-400L IS, 500mm f4L IS, 1.4X II TC.
My pics:
www.pbase.com/rikwrite​r

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canonshooter4life
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I also heard the bigma has fairly slow focusing and the 400L is the flight delight... It is one of arthur morris's favourite lenses for inflight birds!


Brandon

Post #10, Jan 13, 2007 08:36:45


Brandon

Gear: Canon 60D, Canon 400mm f5.6L, Nifty Fifty, Canon 580EX, Kenko tube set, Kenko Pro 1.4X TC (coming next), Bushhawk, Manfrotto 055 ProB, and Manfrotto 322 grip head.

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morehtml
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The 400 5.6L is the best entry level bird lens around is is the #1 bird in flight lens. You almost always need reach for most birds. 400mm is minimum reach!

Post #11, Jan 13, 2007 08:56:53


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lon10c
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My friends in Florida say the 400/5.6 is the best bird in flight lens there is. I've seen their work and I believe them. Really good stuff with a 20D and a 400/5.6.

If you do a lot of birds then most of your work will be at 400mm anyway.

I prefer the 500/4.0 but that's just me.

Post #12, Jan 13, 2007 12:42:37


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JNunn
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I chose the 100-400L, mostly for the utility. For birding I use it at 400 almost all of the time, but there are times when I'll find something a bit closer to focus on and I'm glad it focuses closer than the 400 does. The IS also helps out a lot.

Although a bit heavy, it is also a great walkaround for the zoo, candids, etc. The 400 wouldn't work for walking around.

Post #13, Jan 13, 2007 14:25:23




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RikWriter
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JNunn wrote in post #2534999external link
I chose the 100-400L, mostly for the utility. For birding I use it at 400 almost all of the time, but there are times when I'll find something a bit closer to focus on and I'm glad it focuses closer than the 400 does. The IS also helps out a lot.

Although a bit heavy, it is also a great walkaround for the zoo, candids, etc. The 400 wouldn't work for walking around.


It worked for me for walking around. It's not really appreciably heavier than the 100-400 and is very hand-holdable in good light.

Post #14, Jan 13, 2007 14:28:53


My gear: 7D, 70D, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, Canon 100-400L IS, 500mm f4L IS, 1.4X II TC.
My pics:
www.pbase.com/rikwrite​r

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StealthLude
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How does the AF speed compare from a 300mm f/4 IS to the 400mm f/5.6? (just wondering)

Both lenses are bare bone, (no TC)

Post #15, Jan 13, 2007 14:32:04


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