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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 30 Aug 2013 (Friday) 08:52
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Is Canon X2 Extender the right choice for dark jungle?

 
zannaclay
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Aug 30, 2013 08:52 |  #1

Hi

I would like to ask advice about the benefits of the Canon x2 Extender for use in dark forest conditions.

I have just bought a Canon F2.8 70-200 lens to take with me to the Congo rainforest to study wild apes (bonobos). Light levels are very low. I know the F goes up to F5.6 and autofocus may no longer work with the Extender...hence I am now unsure if it will really help or hinder me as I try to capture these apes up in the trees?

thanks!




  
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nellyle
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Aug 30, 2013 09:05 |  #2

Your AF should work as all Canon bodies will AF at f5.6. You will find that the focus is slower and may miss more. Use the focus distance limiter on the lens to minimise this.

What body are you using? Personally, I would go for the 1.4x and crop a bit more as you'll then at least have f4 and the lens should focus quicker.


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zannaclay
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Aug 30, 2013 09:13 |  #3

Hi Nellyle

Thanks for your advice. That's good to know it still works at F5,6...

Good point about the 1.4x, this could well be a better choice in these conditions. I was only able to upgrade the lens this time, so I just have a 550D body




  
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amfoto1
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Aug 30, 2013 10:50 |  #4

Image quality will take a hit with a 2X on a 70-200/2.8....

A lot if it's on the 70-200/2.8 non-IS. Quite a bit if it's used on the 70-200/2.8 IS "Mark I".

The 70-200/2.8 IS Mark II with Canon 2X "Mark III" is the best of the bunch (but is a rather pricey pairing), though there will still be noticeable loss of IQ. Only you can say if images will be usable or not.

The weaker 1.4X teleconverters do a lot less damage to image quality, and you can get by with far less expensive combos.... Canon 1.4X II or III work pretty darned well on either 70-200/2.8 IS Mark I or II. Kenko Pro 300 1.4X DG or DGX or Kenko MC4 1.4X DGX also work well. Some say the Tamron and Sigma 1.4X work pretty darned well, too (however I don't know if there are different versions or models of these that might be better or worse).

It will be a challenge to use f5.6 in the jungle.... Even f4 might be tough. Hope it's an IS lens.

EDIT: Ahhh, I just noticed it's a 550D camera.... Good. Study Teamspeed's posts here on POTN about getting the best out of high ISO with his 7D. It's practically the same 18MP sensor in your 550D, so the same tricks will work well for you. Early examples of 70D shots suggest it might be even better, but basically the 550D and all the 18MP cameras will be among the highest ISO possible, short of going to a full frame camera model (at a much higher cost).

One suggestion... The 550D/T2i has a rather dated AF sensor array (9 points, but only the center one is the dual axis/cross type... harkening back to 20D and 30D models). I'd suggest you'll likely find your best results restricting the camera to using only the center AF point, especially in lower light situations and when using the lens + TC. If you get the 2X and end up with a combo that's effective f5.6, I think you'll be restricted to center AF point only, anyway. If you get the 1.4X, that gives you an effective f4 with that lens, which should allow the outer AF points to work, but I think you'll still get better results using only the center one.


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gjl711
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Aug 30, 2013 11:01 |  #5

WHat is the purpose of the photography. If it's for study/research, I would think that the quality hit that the image would take is of secondary concern and getting a usable image so that you can do your research is more important. If so then don't be afraid to up the ISO and learn the processing techniques to get the most from a high ISO image. The 550 sensor should easily be able to deliver a very usable image at ISO6400 and a really good image at ISO3200.


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smasraum
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Aug 30, 2013 11:38 |  #6

I just recently used a 100-400L 4.5-5.6 in the Amazon rainforest. It is dark in the forest, and a lot of my shots were at 400mm f5.6. You can use higher ISO, or you can use a flash with a better beamer. I'm not certain if it would be an issues to flash your apes. The better beamer on a flash works really well, probably much better than going to higher ISO, but that does work as well.


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zannaclay
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Aug 30, 2013 13:11 as a reply to  @ smasraum's post |  #7

Thanks so much for this information. It is extremely useful and im glad i didn't get trigger happy with buying th x2 extender without checking on the forum...I do have the IS version of the lens, so that should help things

Thanks 'amfoto1', i am very glad to get this info about the 550d, and great tip about the AF center point focus- will try that.

Responding to the other post, I definitely definitely can't use flash when shooting these animals, so I will have to rely on the ISO and fast lens speed. I will be there 6 months so hopefully I will get enough opportunities to catch them in marginally better light conditions

thanks!




  
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gnome ­ chompski
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Aug 30, 2013 14:29 |  #8

I too have been in the Amazon, unfortunately without flash. I was in the 800-3200 ISO range almost exclusively. If you have a FF camera, this should not be a problem. Unfortunately I was using a T2i at the time and some of the images were a bit noisy, but this could have more to do with an incorrect exposure than anything. (under exposed)


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anothernewb
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Aug 30, 2013 14:56 |  #9

depending on the trip and the absolute necessity, perhaps simply rent a long prime like a 300 400 or 500 f4?


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gjl711
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Aug 30, 2013 15:35 |  #10

In 6 months, you'd be able to buy all three lenses if you rented. :)


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gjl711
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Aug 30, 2013 15:37 |  #11

Ok, that's an exaggeration, but you might be able to get one of them.


Not sure why, but call me JJ.
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wombatHorror
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Sep 01, 2013 18:32 |  #12

zannaclay wrote in post #16253793 (external link)
Thanks so much for this information. It is extremely useful and im glad i didn't get trigger happy with buying th x2 extender without checking on the forum...I do have the IS version of the lens, so that should help things

Thanks 'amfoto1', i am very glad to get this info about the 550d, and great tip about the AF center point focus- will try that.

Responding to the other post, I definitely definitely can't use flash when shooting these animals, so I will have to rely on the ISO and fast lens speed. I will be there 6 months so hopefully I will get enough opportunities to catch them in marginally better light conditions

thanks!

IS Mark II or the original IS version? Forget the 2x with anything but the 2.8 IS II.




  
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Is Canon X2 Extender the right choice for dark jungle?
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