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Thread started 04 Feb 2014 (Tuesday) 13:52
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WIldlife/Birding lens dilemma

 
orion4211
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Feb 04, 2014 13:52 |  #1

I have spent countless hours researching some lenses and I STILL can't make a decision. I currently own a 40d, upgrading to a 70d in June for my bday. I have a 70-200mm f4 and I also own the 1.4 extender type III already.

I want to buy either the 300mm f4 IS or the 400mm f5.6. Since I already own the extender I was thinking about the 300mm with the option of tossing on my 1.4 since I already have it. BUT the 400mm 5.6 looks to be great for birding and especially BIF. If I didn't already own the extender I would probably go with the 400mm and call it a day.

I just can't make a decision. Anyone care to help??


Flickr (external link) Canon 70d | Canon 40d |17-40mm L | 70-200mm L f/4 | 400mm L f/5.6 | Sigmalux 50 1.4 |

  
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amyandmark3
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Feb 04, 2014 14:00 |  #2

Many of us have debated this exact question in our minds many many times. There's really no clear cut answer other than the usual, "it depends." Since you've researched the issue a lot, I'm sure you already know the strengths of each lens. It's just a matter of choosing which will be best for you most of the time. They are both GREAT lenses for the price and will produce excellent results if used properly. I personally chose the 400 5.6 because I shoot mostly birds in flight, so the extra reach and somewhat better AF tracking were the deciding factors. Also, since I use a 1D body, I can add a 1.4x TC and get 560mm f/8 with AF, which works pretty darn well on a bright day. But, when shooting perched/wading birds (or other animals), that IS sure would be nice to have sometimes!


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oscardog
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Feb 04, 2014 14:06 |  #3

I agree with the post above. I had the 300 and mostly used it with a tc. So i ended up getting the 400 5.6 because i needed more reach and wanted faster AF. If you like the closer focus distance of the 300 for closer subjects you might find the 300 useful.

For BIF the 400 5.6 is the way to go between the two. Im hardly ever too close. I even taped the pins on my tc and used it on the 400 at times for more reach.

With the shutter speeds im usually using, especially for birds in flight I havent missed IS at all. The 300 has a very old IS system anyways.

Edit: I was in the same predicament about a year ago. I bought the 300, used it for a couple months and sold it for the 400. Dont regret that decision at all. Especially now that i have a 1D3 i can af with the 400 and tc quite well.


Gear: 6D, 7d Mark II, Rokinon 14mm 2.8, Canon 16-35 f4 IS, Sigma 24mm 1.8, Canon 70-200 f4 (non IS), Sigma 500 4.5 DG, Kenko 1.4x & 2x converters

  
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MalVeauX
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Feb 04, 2014 14:22 |  #4

orion4211 wrote in post #16663232 (external link)
I have spent countless hours researching some lenses and I STILL can't make a decision. I currently own a 40d, upgrading to a 70d in June for my bday. I have a 70-200mm f4 and I also own the 1.4 extender type III already.

I want to buy either the 300mm f4 IS or the 400mm f5.6. Since I already own the extender I was thinking about the 300mm with the option of tossing on my 1.4 since I already have it. BUT the 400mm 5.6 looks to be great for birding and especially BIF. If I didn't already own the extender I would probably go with the 400mm and call it a day.

I just can't make a decision. Anyone care to help??

Heya,

If you're just going to use the teleconverter, then don't get the 300mm. Get the 400mm right away, don't add anything to it, and be done. Sell the teleconverter maybe. When given the option to simply get more reach without teleconverters, or less reach with a teleconverter, I'd take the option without a teleconverter almost every time. The only time I'd start looking at a teleconverter for things like birds in flight, would be with serious F2.8 telephoto lenses that cost more than I'm willing to spend. Teleconverters are not completely benign.

400mm F5.6 and call it a day.

Very best,


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stoshdwalshphotography
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Feb 04, 2014 14:40 |  #5

sell the extender and buy the 400. for wildlife, reach is king. 420 is no advantage over 400 with the loss of focus speed and IQ with extender. The 400 is easily one of the best lenses Canon makes (and that is coming from someone who has owned 300, 400, 500, 600, and 800mm lenses from Canon).


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Copidosoma
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Feb 04, 2014 14:52 as a reply to  @ stoshdwalshphotography's post |  #6

I had a 300 4.0 that I bought with an extender because I figured the IS would be nice to have. Frankly, it wasn't really that sharp wide open (particularly with the extender) and didn't get really sharp until about f8. Given the choice btw the 300 4.0 and the 400 5.6 I'd probably do the 400 5.6 now.

Having said that, I'd really likely just get the Tamron 150-600 6.3 instead of both of those. I'm not really interested in BIF though. Your needs may vary.


Gear: 7DII | 6D | Fuji X100s |Sigma 24A, 50A, 150-600C |24-105L |Samyang 14 2.8|Tamron 90mm f2.8 |and some other stuff
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gasrocks
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Feb 04, 2014 16:01 |  #7

I gotta wonder how many existing threads are on this very subject. General rule: do not buy any lens that you plan on only using it with a TC.


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Rubberhead
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Feb 04, 2014 18:30 as a reply to  @ gasrocks's post |  #8

If the 400 f/5.6L had IS it'd be a non-brainer. It doesn't...get the 300mm...

But, if you buy the 400mm f/5.6L, within a month, Canon would announce they're adding IS to the 400mm...Then, I could buy the new 400mm f/5.6L IS.

So, I think you should get the 400mm... :lol:


EQUIPMENT: 40D | Rebel XT | EF 70-200mm f/4L IS | EF-S 10-22mm | EF 28-135mm IS | EF-S 18-55mm IS | EF 50mm 1.8 - flickr (external link)

  
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watt100
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Feb 04, 2014 18:36 |  #9

orion4211 wrote in post #16663232 (external link)
I have spent countless hours researching some lenses and I STILL can't make a decision. I currently own a 40d, upgrading to a 70d in June for my bday. I have a 70-200mm f4 and I also own the 1.4 extender type III already.

I want to buy either the 300mm f4 IS or the 400mm f5.6. Since I already own the extender I was thinking about the 300mm with the option of tossing on my 1.4 since I already have it. BUT the 400mm 5.6 looks to be great for birding and especially BIF. If I didn't already own the extender I would probably go with the 400mm and call it a day.

I just can't make a decision. Anyone care to help??

I agree with the rest, 400mm prime is a good choice for birds




  
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Scrumhalf
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Feb 04, 2014 18:43 |  #10

Do you want a wildlife lens or a birding lens? You mention birds in the post but wildlife only in the title. A 400mm prime is great for birds but not much use for an elephant wandering next to your safari van unless you want to examine its eye in great detail. :)


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dasher108
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Feb 04, 2014 18:59 |  #11

456 for birding


T3i |70D |70-200L| 400L | 100-400L | 24-105L | 50 1.8 | sig 10-20 | sig 150-500

  
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Rubberhead
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Feb 04, 2014 19:59 |  #12

100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS


EQUIPMENT: 40D | Rebel XT | EF 70-200mm f/4L IS | EF-S 10-22mm | EF 28-135mm IS | EF-S 18-55mm IS | EF 50mm 1.8 - flickr (external link)

  
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amfoto1
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Feb 04, 2014 20:09 |  #13

Key reasons I have the 300/4 IS and EF 1.4X II to use with it are....

1. Shooting handheld... I want IS.
2. Two focal lengths to work with: 300/4 w/o the TC an 420/5.6 with it.
3. Close focusing ability of the lens.

I cannot tell any difference in speed of focus or tracking performance (I'm mostly using on 7D, but sometimes on 5DII, too).

Mostly shooting sports, but also some wildlife.

My 300/4 + 1.4X is plenty sharp, even wide open (rivals the 300/2.8 IS I use when I can set up a tripod).

On 5DII, with 1.4X...

IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/9268150759_0289d8a721_o.jpg

On 7D with 1.4X...
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8189467894_488a03323c_c.jpg

On 7D, without the TC...
IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6191/6107899580_4d6d567e29_o.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6186/6107897912_7a41f76dfc_o.jpg

I also like the 300/4's close focusing abilities, it's the closest of any Canon over 200mm....
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8180/8004813561_3049812755_b.jpg

Not that the 400/5.6 is a bad lens in any way... it's a great lens, too! It's just that the 300/4 and 1.4X work a lot better for me.

I wouldn't fret over it too much.... Just get one or the other and go shoot with it. If you like it... if it does what you need... great! If not.... sell it and try the other option. You won't see much depreciation on either lens, unless Canon announces a replacement model at a very attractive price (unlikely). If bought use, you might not see any depreciation at all (I could sell my 300/4 today for what I paid for it 3 years ago).

On a crop sensor camera.... 300mm or 400mm is a whole lot of lens!

Granted, most birders will say there's no such thing as a "long enough" lens...

500/4 IS plus 1.4X II (on 30D)....
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7116/6865952788_9c73545992_b.jpg

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Snydremark
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Feb 04, 2014 20:10 |  #14

For a general critters lens, Tamron 150-600 VC and a gym membership or monopod :)


- 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)
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InfiniteDivide
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Feb 04, 2014 20:15 |  #15

Perhaps look into a used Sigma 150-500mm lens?
While it is inexpensive, this will allow you to test each 100-200-300-400-500mm length on a static subject and see what you like.
You may also be able to try an aftermarket 1.4x or 2.0x converter as well.


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WIldlife/Birding lens dilemma
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