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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 Mar 2012 (Friday) 04:53
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Great lens for wildlife photography?

 
Kiwikat
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Mar 03, 2012 19:06 |  #16

I don't know that I would really endorse the 300 f/4 + 1.4x combo. It really hurts the AF performance and increases CA. It is also noticeably less sharp.

If you want 400, get the 400 5.6. Personally I'll be waiting for the 100-400 II or whatever they end up calling it. Not sure if I'll sell my 300mm then or not. It is the PERFECT dragonfly and butterfly lens, especially with an extension tube.


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Mike55
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Mar 04, 2012 01:26 |  #17

mndoci wrote in post #14014156 (external link)
I've heard that the EF 300 f/4L + 1.4x converter on a crop also makes for a good sharp lens. But that's mostly hearsay. Any thoughts on that?

I find the 300 F4 IS and TC to be the superior general purpose wildlife lens to the 100-400 and the 400 5.6.

Most wildlife comes out in lowlight hours. For this, you want a faster lens with fast focus. You will often be aiming at black bears with dark bushes in the background, or other animals with a dark forest which drops your shutterspeed. For this, the 400 5.6 sucks. No IS and 5.6. The 100-400 will be at 5.6. The 300 F4 IS by itself is much better in this regard. In the afternoons, wildlife moves further away from possible human interference, and here the lens works well with a TC at 5.6. The 400 5.6 and 100-400 work better here. I have found the 300 + Canon 1.4x II to be sharper than the 100-400, but a notch less sharp than 400 5.6 o na tripod, but NOT when hand held. When hand held, the 300 + 1.4x I is sharper for wildlife with dark backgrounds due to lens shake.

A wildlife lens is all about shooting wide open. That is where you will be most of the time, period. I prefer the look of primes for wildlife. To me, the overall image is just more pleasing than a zoom-especially the colors on the 300 F4 IS L.

The 400 5.6 is, IMHO a specials lens for birds in flight where you don't have to worry about having IS and where the light in the sky increases SS dramatically. The 100-400, IMHO, is clumsy and I haven't been blown away by the IQ or the focus speed.

A couple handheld examples wide open with 1.4x II:

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6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

  
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phreeky
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Mar 04, 2012 02:57 |  #18

For general wildlife I suggest the 100-400, or even better the Sigma 120-300 OS if your budget allows. I love the 400 but I shoot birds and aircraft with it and I live in an area of significant sunshine.




  
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hollis_f
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Mar 04, 2012 06:35 |  #19

johnandbentley wrote in post #14005972 (external link)
Ive seen great results with the 100-400 but i worried about dust issues

This is a common worry. But only amongst people who don't actually own the lens. Owners don't worry because there are no dust issues.

johnandbentley wrote in post #14005972 (external link)
i dont use IS.

Is that because you don't find it valuable. Or because your none of your lenses have it?

At 400mm there will be many, many situations where IS can improve an image.


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Larry ­ Weinman
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Mar 04, 2012 08:42 |  #20

I owned both lenses at one time but wound up selling the 400mm f 5.6. My 100-400 is a very good copy and I could not see much of a difference in image quality between the two, The 400 5.6 has a very long minimum focusing distance, ( I know, you could use extension tubes but that is just something else to carry around and fumble with when you come across a shot ) The lack of image stabilization created some problems when shooting in darker wooded areas ) Tripods are not always practical in wildlife shooting situations. I couldn't see much of a difference in focusing speed. In bright light I would shut off the IS on my 100-400 and the focusing speed would be about the same. Since you want to do more then just bird photography I think the answer for versatility is definitely the 100-400.


7D Mark II 6D 100mm f 2.8 macro 180mm f 3.5 macro, MP-E-65 300mm f 2.8 500mm f4 Tokina 10-17mm fisheye 10-22mm 17-55mm 24-105mm 70-300mm 70-200 f 2.8 Mk II 100-400mm Mk II 1.4 TCIII 2X TCIII 580EX II 430 EX II MT 24 EX Sigma 150-600

  
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TheFloridaShooter
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Mar 04, 2012 09:26 |  #21

I leaning towards the 500mm f4 or 600mm f4, excluding the cost factor is there any reason I should consider something different?


1Dx MKII | 1Dx | 5D MKIV | 5D MKIII | 5Ds r | 5Ds | 7D MKII | 7D | G16 | G3x | EOS M & M3 | 800 f5.6 | 600 f4 | 400 f2.8 | 300 f2.8 | 200-400 f4 | 100-400 f4.5 - 5.6 II x 2 | 70-200 f2.8 | 14 f2.8 II | 50 f1.2 | 50 1.4 | 85 f1.2 | 135 f2 | 24-70 f2.8 II | 11-24 f4 | 35 f1.4 II | Pentax 645Z | SMC Pentax-DA 645 25mm F4 AL | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 55mm F2.8 AL | Pentax 90mm f/2.8 D FA 645 Macro ED AW SR | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 200mm f/4 IF | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 300mm f/4 ED IF | SMC FA 645 400mm f/5.6 ED IF Lens

  
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TheFloridaShooter
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Mar 04, 2012 09:28 |  #22

Also - off subject ( sorry ) but for wildlife photography, I'm also adding another Canon body. I'm considering the 1Dx or the 5DMKIII, which would you consider?


1Dx MKII | 1Dx | 5D MKIV | 5D MKIII | 5Ds r | 5Ds | 7D MKII | 7D | G16 | G3x | EOS M & M3 | 800 f5.6 | 600 f4 | 400 f2.8 | 300 f2.8 | 200-400 f4 | 100-400 f4.5 - 5.6 II x 2 | 70-200 f2.8 | 14 f2.8 II | 50 f1.2 | 50 1.4 | 85 f1.2 | 135 f2 | 24-70 f2.8 II | 11-24 f4 | 35 f1.4 II | Pentax 645Z | SMC Pentax-DA 645 25mm F4 AL | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 55mm F2.8 AL | Pentax 90mm f/2.8 D FA 645 Macro ED AW SR | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 200mm f/4 IF | SMC Pentax-D FA 645 300mm f/4 ED IF | SMC FA 645 400mm f/5.6 ED IF Lens

  
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Old ­ Baldy
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Mar 04, 2012 09:50 |  #23

TheMissouriShooter wrote in post #14019807 (external link)
Also - off subject ( sorry ) but for wildlife photography, I'm also adding another Canon body. I'm considering the 1Dx or the 5DMKIII, which would you consider?

WHY would you use a FF for wildlife, when reach is often a concern? Makes no sense to me, unless most of your shooting is close enough to easily frame what you want. I'm guessing zoo work, mostly?


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hollis_f
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Mar 04, 2012 10:59 |  #24

TheMissouriShooter wrote in post #14019794 (external link)
I leaning towards the 500mm f4 or 600mm f4, excluding the cost factor is there any reason I should consider something different?

As long as you're happy with the weight of the lens, solid tripod and gimbal head. Most people find the 500 too much for prolonged hiking.


Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
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Snydremark
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Mar 04, 2012 11:05 as a reply to  @ Old Baldy's post |  #25

Mike55 wrote in post #14018487 (external link)
...

A couple handheld examples wide open with 1.4x II:

Those are both decent images, but you can tell that a TC or something else were used; there's a fuzziness across the images that is exactly why I haven't been happy when I've attempted using a TC on any of my lenses.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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amfoto1
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Mar 04, 2012 11:40 |  #26

Kiwikat wrote in post #14016883 (external link)
I don't know that I would really endorse the 300 f/4 + 1.4x combo. It really hurts the AF performance and increases CA. It is also noticeably less sharp.

If you want 400, get the 400 5.6. Personally I'll be waiting for the 100-400 II or whatever they end up calling it. Not sure if I'll sell my 300mm then or not. It is the PERFECT dragonfly and butterfly lens, especially with an extension tube.

It's not perfect, but it's more verstile than a 400mm alone, and I think superior to the 100-400 at 400mm (but I'm also not a fan of push/pull "one-touch" zooms, just a personal preference).

I can't speak for all the different available teleconverters, but 300/4 with Canon 1.4X Mark II focuses fast enough to keep up with cars going by at 100+ mph...

IMAGE: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2662/3833801495_afafa412a2_o.jpg
1969 Ford GT-40 Turn 2, 2009 Rolex Monterey Historic Races, Mazda/Laguna Seca Raceway
EF 300mm f4 IS lens with EF 1.4X II teleconverter, effective aperture f5.6 (wide open). EOS 50D camera at ISO 200, 1/1250 shutter speed, handheld or monopod, avail. light.

And - IMO - the combo I use is sharp enough to gather up gobs of fine detail...

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6181/6107369225_d420805d14_o.jpg
Young black-tail mule deer buck
EF 300mm f4 IS lens with EF 1.4X II teleconverter. EOS 5D Mark II at ISO 1600, 1/400 shutter speed. Handheld or monopod, avail. light.

No lens is perfect and any teleconverter always costs some IQ. I feel that my 300/4 works well with Canon 1.4X II in particular, but it may or may not be as good with other 1.4X TCs... I can't say from personal experience. And I find a couple minor issues with 300/4 alone...

Some key things I see with the 300/4 are...

It's IS is an older & simpler version, probably good for 2-3 stops effectiveness, but it must be turned off manually if the lens is locked down on a tripod (the same is true of the 100-400).

Also, the 300/4's background bokeh can be a bit harsh. Particularly with busier backgrounds where you don't have a whole lot of separation and when not using the lens wide open. The below image needed some work on the background in post-production...

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6020/6011191895_66abff4a52_b.jpg
Determination
EF 300mm f4 IS lens at f5.6. EOS 7D camera at ISO 400, 1/2500 shutter speed. Handheld, avail. light.

I'm hoping that when Canon revises the 300/4 some day they'll use more and/or curved aperture blades to enhance the bokeh a bit. As with most any lens, wide open the 300mm has a perfectly round aperture and will render really nice background blur. It's when you stop down that the background blur isn't as nice.... but it depends upon the background, and upon how much distance there is between photographer and subject and between subject and background... and it can be dealt with to some degree in post-production.

I also use the 300/2.8 IS when I can and it's sharper, its backgrounds certainly are lovelier, and it's AF is nearly instantaneous. But when I have to trek any distance, a tripod isn't an option, and/or I have to handhold all day long.... I'm far more likely to use the 300/4!

I haven't seen significant chromatic aberration with my lens, with or without teleconverter. However there is an odd purple or magenta fringing effect in highlights that's somewhat of a hallmark of the 300/4 IS... It's easily fixed in post production... Here's an example that I left uncorrected (because I didn't feel it detracted from the image)...

IMAGE: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2801/4020587780_e945696bea_o.jpg
Note the two catchlights in the bird's eye...

IMAGE: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2762/4020576990_bccb834338_o.jpg
Redtail hawk flyby
EF 300/4 IS lens at f5.6. EOS 5D Mark II camera at ISO 800, 1/8000 shutter speed. Handheld, avail. light.

I can tell you that the 300/4 (and 100-400 for that matter) doesn't like filters. I've seen more than a few people surprised how much better their lens performed, once they removed a "protection filter" they had on it! Some filters seem to cost more image quality than a good 1.4X teleconverter will.

But there are many choices. 400/5.6 without a TC will be about the sharpest and best IQ, short of going to a far more expensive super tele....However it lacks IS, so plan accordingly. The Canon 100-400 and three Sigma long zooms are very versatile, no doubt about it... though at the long end they all are a little less sharp/lower contrast & saturation than an equivalent prime or some primes + 1.4X. For me, the 300mm + 1.4X is a good option and works out well (when I don't want to deal with the bulk of the 300/2.8, which works extremely well with 1.4X and pretty darned well with 2X too). I'd like to try the Sigma 120-300 OS and a 1.4X some day, as well. And when I win the lottery, I'm going to get the 200-400/4 Extender (if Canon ever stops talknig about it and actually puts it out on the market)!

The 500/4 IS is a spectacular lens, too! But it is a big, pretty much "tripod-only" and for wildlife and similar subjects a gimbal mount of some sort is pretty much a necessity (I use a Wimberley Sidekick with a Kirk BH-1 ballhead) . Budget $1000-1500 US in addition to the cost of the lens, for a good, solid, tripod setup. The 500mm ("Mark I", the new Mark II is slightly smaller) will fit into a larger backpack, but won't leave much room for other lenses and gear. It's also harder to get and keep on target, with it's relatively narrow angle of view.

The 600mm.... Well I don't use it but considered it at one time, but ruled it and the 400/2.8 out completely just based upon sheer size and weight. Both are bigger and heavier than the 500/4 (or for that matter the 800/5.6). The newer Mark IIs of these lenses are a bit smaller and lighter, but not still not lightweights by any means, still pretty much tripod-only. The Sidekick type of gimbal mount is not recommended with these larger/heavier lenses. Yeah, I know some folks use the Sidekick with them, but a full gimbal head that replaces the standard tripod head and "cradles" the lens mount underneath is recommended instead. That means a tripod that's pretty much dedicated to use with that particular lens (unless you are willing to haul around and swap out a second tripod head, when you want to use it with the rest of your gear).

And, with 500mm or longer you are often shooting through a whole lot more atmosphere than with shortre lenses... so there is some loss of IQ that's no fault of the lens, camera or photographer... Getting closer with a shorter lens is the only solution. I use 500mm a lot less often than 300mm... For me the 500mm is most useful with small subjects... and/or on FF cameras (where it's much like a 300mm on an APS-C cropper)... And I'm more likely to use it when I have an ATV or 4x4 transport, so don't have to hike very far with the lens!

There's no substitute for getting closer to your subjects, when it's safe to do so... That will always assure better results. Practice stalking skills, use hides and attractants, whatever.... I know wildlife and scenic photographer Nial Benvie longest lens owned and used for the first tend years of his career was a Nikkor 300mm + 1.4X, and that was all on film/FF. He managed somehow!

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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Mike55
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Mar 04, 2012 12:25 |  #27

Snydremark wrote in post #14020313 (external link)
Those are both decent images, but you can tell that a TC or something else were used; there's a fuzziness across the images that is exactly why I haven't been happy when I've attempted using a TC on any of my lenses.

Any fuzziness you see is probably from poor light or out off focus elements. You should see the 100% crops--sharper than any image I've seen from a 100-400. My results with the 300 and 1.4x mirror those of photozone and wcastleman (IE the prime and tc being superior):

http://www.wlcastleman​.com/equip/reviews/300​mm/index.htm (external link)


6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

  
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watt100
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Mar 04, 2012 12:51 |  #28

Mike55 wrote in post #14020774 (external link)
Any fuzziness you see is probably from poor light or out off focus elements. You should see the 100% crops--sharper than any image I've seen from a 100-400.

that squirrel looks a little fuzzy!
I've only had my 100-400 for three weeks but the squirrels look sharper, even cropping over 50% with an XSi !

XSi (450D)
Canon 100-400
400mm
cropped over 50%


IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7205/6891491611_d7f4abc267_b.jpg

cardinal
XSi (450D)
400mm

cropped over 70% !


IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7050/6896618949_9997af554c_b.jpg


cropped over 70% !!



  
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Mike55
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Mar 04, 2012 12:58 |  #29

Your squirrel looks oversharpened, watt.

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For wildlife, go prime. ;)

6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

  
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watt100
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Mar 04, 2012 12:59 |  #30

Mike55 wrote in post #14020949 (external link)
Your squirrel looks oversharpened, watt.

at least it's not fuzzy !




  
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Great lens for wildlife photography?
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