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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Oct 2014 (Tuesday) 08:25
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Telephoto question for all the Wildlife Photographers

 
pknight
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Oct 14, 2014 16:14 |  #16

Tom Reichner wrote in post #17212339 (external link)
If I were you, considering that:
you already have a 6D,
that wildlife will just be a part of your photography,
that long lens work is something that is new for you,
and that $2,000 is your maximum budget . . .

I would:

Buy a 50D, used, for around $400.

Buy a 400 f5.6 (I just bought one that was absolutely perfect for $950, all inclusive).

Spend the remainder of the $2,000 - about $600 - on a very sturdy tripod, a heavy-duty ballhead, and a quick release plate.

This setup will give you a field of view equivalent to 640mm...

Different horses for different courses. :)

I would consider a used crop camera, say a 50D for around $400, or whatever good deal you can find.

Then the Tamron 150-600, which is only 1/3-stop slower than the 400 at the 600mm end (i.e., when it is 200mm longer), and has image stabilization and a 6-year warranty, for $1069 new.

I would also consider the tripod advice, but I almost never use a tripod when birding. But you might, and you might also find some other uses for a long lens where a good tripod would help. (Without the tripod you could get a good used 7D and have a much better wildlife camera.)

This would give you a field of view equivalent to 960mm.

Like many here, I am interested in how the Sigma 150-600 Sport turns out, but it would consume your entire budget, and with the 6D your FOV would be 600mm. Not bad, but not 960mm. The Sigma 150-600 Contemporary is likely to be much like the Tamron, but at this point it is a vapor product.

Jake is absolutely correct about both the 400 and the 100-400. You have to balance several parameters in making this decision: Length (which in these scenarios includes the effect of a crop sensor), price, focusing performance (which a lens does not do by itself, but with the AF system of the camera it is attached to) IQ, weight, etc. For me, the "reach" of the 150-600 lens outweighs its weakest point, which is its focus speed. You have to decide what is most important you you.


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watt100
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Oct 14, 2014 16:57 |  #17

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17212746 (external link)
What kind of wildlife?

for birding only I would strongly recommend the 400mm prime. Best IQ and fastest AF of the bunch.

For a more flexible do all swiss army knife approach, I like the 100-400mm. Fastest zoom out there, and light and point-able, very close MFD.

I agree, the 400mm prime will probably offer the best "IQ" and fastest AF

I use the 100-400 but more for sports than wildlife




  
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Scott ­ M
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Oct 15, 2014 13:18 |  #18

I agree with those who suggest adding a crop body to your purchase plans along with the telephoto for wildlife. Having a 2nd body can be very handy in some situations, and the crop body gives you more pixels on target, or reach, than your 6D. For example, my wife and I love to visit the national parks, and I will shoot both landscapes and wildlife as we travel and hike around the park. Having a wider zoom (16-35L f/4 or 24-105L) mounted on my 5D3 and 100-400L mounted to my 7D allows me to be ready for any shooting situation without constantly changing lenses.

As for lenses, it really depends on what needs you have. The 100-400L is probably the most compact zoom lens for wildlife (i.e. 400mm or more) if space in your camera bag and weight are important to you, and this lens also will provide the best auto focus performance of the zoom lenses in your budget. The Tamron 150-600 will give you more reach, at the sacrifice of AF performance and size/weight. The new Sigma 150-600 models are an unknown right now in AF performance and image quality, as they have not yet been released. If you can live with the inflexibility of a prime, the Canon 400mm f/5.6 will give you the smallest/lightest lens and the best image quality and AF performance, but you will also lose image stabilization.


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johnf3f
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Oct 16, 2014 19:21 |  #19

Just my 2p!
I would just go for the Canon 400 F5.6. Whilst your 6D does not have the best AF system if you use this lens and your center AF point then it will be no slouch. The lack of IS is not really an issue with your camera. I currently use the Canon 1DX (slightly better high ISO) with the Canon 800 F5.6 L IS and I have, very briefly, used the IS once this year and yes I often hand hold this setup so I don't think the lack of IS is a biggie at twice the focal length! I would not recommend a second (crop) body as I have found the extra reach they offer to be very little and their ISO performance quite limiting. Perhaps the 7D2 will solve this?
The lack of zoom on the 400 F5.6 is not an issue to me as it is a VERY rare occurrence for your lens to be too long. I have tried all the lenses you mention and my personal favorite is the Canon 300 F4 L IS, however I had a Canon 600mm in reserve, which is why I would suggest the Canon 400 F5.6 L as the best single lens solution.
Get a set of cheap extension tubes and you will have a reasonable setup for Butterflies and larger insects/reptiles etc.


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jack_dorsey
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Oct 17, 2014 13:55 |  #20

Hi,

Personally the common recommendation of the Canon 400 5.6 for birds and wildlife was not good for me. I found the 400 5.6 that I purchased ok when I had my feet on land but I did not like using it from my kayak.

Since I do about 60% of my bird photography from the kayak, I purchased a used Canon 100-400 that I like much better and I sold the 400 5.6. I like having IS even if its only two stop to help stabilize things in the moving boat. Also from the kayak there are many times that I get close to what I'm photographing and want less than 400mm.

Also I do outdoor sports photography and find the 100-400 much more useful for that. I find the image quality between my copies to be so close that its a non issue to me. Only occasionally do I wish for more reach than I get from the 100-400L on my 70D.


Jack
Canon 7D Mark II, Canon SL1, 430EX II, EFS 18-55 IS STM, EFS 55-250 IS STM, EF 50mm 1.8 STM, EF 85mm 1.8, EF 100-400mm L II, Canon 1.4 III teleconverter

  
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Maxdave
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Oct 19, 2014 07:01 |  #21

Tom Reichner wrote in post #17212339 (external link)
If I were you, considering that:
you already have a 6D,
that wildlife will just be a part of your photography,
that long lens work is something that is new for you,
and that $2,000 is your maximum budget . . .

I would:

Buy a 50D, used, for around $400.

Buy a 400 f5.6 (I just bought one that was absolutely perfect for $950, all inclusive).

Spend the remainder of the $2,000 - about $600 - on a very sturdy tripod, a heavy-duty ballhead, and a quick release plate.

This setup will give you a field of view equivalent to 640mm. If you do your part, this combo will provide you with excellent image quality, and you should be able to produce wonderfully sharp, crisp, wildlife images. I have photographed wildlife avidly for years, and I have used the 50D extensively. Last year I moved up to a 1D4, but prior to that, the 50D was my primary camera body. Most of the wildlife images on my website were taken with the 50D. I believe that, dollar-for-dollar, it is the best camera for wildlife photography that can be had.

The 50D/400mm combo will be plenty long enough for you as you become familiar with telephoto work and develop good long lens skills. After a year or so, when you've mastered this equipment, you can make a good, educated decision about the possibility of moving up(?) to a superzoom such as the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm (sport version, not the cheaper, smaller one). But you'll probably love the 400 f5.6 so much you won't want to part with it. And you can always add a 1.4 tele-extender to it to get to a field of view equivalent of 896mm (with a 1.6 crop camera like the 50D).

Buy the best, most rigid tripod you can afford, and don't skimp on the head, either. When shooting in moderate to low light (most wildlife situations), these items are just as important as the camera and lens. Sure, there are often times that you can get good, sharp images handholding the camera. But there will also be many, many low-light situations in which the only way you will get a truly sharp image is to use a good, sturdy tripod and exercise excellent long-lens technique. It is important to develop those skills if you want to consistently produce quality wildlife images.

I used to own a 50D (and a 40D before that). I am amazed at how much the 50D was "dissed" when it came out, and how well it is spoken of now (same thing is true of the 1D3); I sold my 50D for a very low price when I got a 7D. Having since sold that 7D (when I got the 1D3), I often wish I had kept that 50D ... it was (and would be) worth way more to me than I got for it!

I totally agree that a good used 50D (and a 1D3, too) are presently the most cost-effective used Canons on the market.

Maxdave


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Photo123abc
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Oct 19, 2014 08:19 as a reply to  @ post 17212858 |  #22

Buy a second-hand Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 or get Tamron / Sigma 150-600 depending on your subject. If you always shoot in bright daylight 150-600 no doubt, however f/2.8 comes in handy if you shoot during dusk or dawn.

I have 6D aswell, first I thought I am gonna get Tamron 150-600 but then I realised that f/6.3 is just too dark when there is not alot of light available.
Cloudy day and already shooting with ISO 1600-3200...not to mention sunrise or sunset. Bought 120-300 f/2.8 for 950 euros and I cant complain.
Also, with a t-con I can reach 600mm focal lenght. Though I cant say that it would have as good IQ as 600mm native lens. Thats not gonna happen. But its good enough.


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Neilyb
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Oct 19, 2014 14:26 |  #23

I would wait for the Sigma 150-600 to hit the shelves, see some real reviews. 6D is Canons best sensor, no really it is (I own a 1dx before anyone asks) so shooting higher ISO should not be a problem. 400mm will leave you wanting on a full frame body...unless you shoot moose or elephants. Of course the 400 L is a legend.


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shamlyn
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Oct 20, 2014 07:20 |  #24

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17212746 (external link)
What kind of wildlife?

for birding only I would strongly recommend the 400mm prime. Best IQ and fastest AF of the bunch.

For a more flexible do all swiss army knife approach, I like the 100-400mm. Fastest zoom out there, and light and point-able, very close MFD.

For the wildlife, both moving and not moving. As far as birding goes, I wouldn't mind shooting birds when they take off/standing there, but I most likely wont be shooting them in flight.




  
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shamlyn
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Oct 20, 2014 07:23 |  #25

BB70Chevelle wrote in post #17212205 (external link)
With your budget I'd wait and see how the new sigma 150-600 sport reviews vs the 100-400L and tamron 150-600 before making any final decision or purchases.

Yeah, I was planning on doing that. I am definitely plan on getting my Telephoto next year. I would like to see a comparison between the Sigma and Tamron 150-600 to see if the Sigma is worth spending the extra $1,000. I plan on renting several lenses first before I decide to buy one. Thanks for the info, thats very helpful.




  
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shamlyn
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Oct 20, 2014 07:27 |  #26

Tom Reichner wrote in post #17212339 (external link)
If I were you, considering that:
you already have a 6D,
that wildlife will just be a part of your photography,
that long lens work is something that is new for you,
and that $2,000 is your maximum budget . . .

I would:

Buy a 50D, used, for around $400.

Buy a 400 f5.6 (I just bought one that was absolutely perfect for $950, all inclusive).

Spend the remainder of the $2,000 - about $600 - on a very sturdy tripod, a heavy-duty ballhead, and a quick release plate.

This setup will give you a field of view equivalent to 640mm. If you do your part, this combo will provide you with excellent image quality, and you should be able to produce wonderfully sharp, crisp, wildlife images. I have photographed wildlife avidly for years, and I have used the 50D extensively. Last year I moved up to a 1D4, but prior to that, the 50D was my primary camera body. Most of the wildlife images on my website were taken with the 50D. I believe that, dollar-for-dollar, it is the best camera for wildlife photography that can be had.

The 50D/400mm combo will be plenty long enough for you as you become familiar with telephoto work and develop good long lens skills. After a year or so, when you've mastered this equipment, you can make a good, educated decision about the possibility of moving up(?) to a superzoom such as the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm (sport version, not the cheaper, smaller one). But you'll probably love the 400 f5.6 so much you won't want to part with it. And you can always add a 1.4 tele-extender to it to get to a field of view equivalent of 896mm (with a 1.6 crop camera like the 50D).

Buy the best, most rigid tripod you can afford, and don't skimp on the head, either. When shooting in moderate to low light (most wildlife situations), these items are just as important as the camera and lens. Sure, there are often times that you can get good, sharp images handholding the camera. But there will also be many, many low-light situations in which the only way you will get a truly sharp image is to use a good, sturdy tripod and exercise excellent long-lens technique. It is important to develop those skills if you want to consistently produce quality wildlife images.

Thanks for that info, thats very helpful. So how did you like the Canon 400mm 5.6 and before you decided on that particular lens, did you consider/compare any other lenses with it such as other primes or other zoom lenses.




  
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Oct 20, 2014 08:57 |  #27

shamlyn wrote in post #17211975 (external link)
Canon 100-400
Canon 300 with EF1.4X II
Canon 400 5.6

I was thinking about the same Lenses, altough I am not a Wildlife photographer.

So one of my friends purchased a Canon 100-400, and I borrowed that lens, for testing.

After a few shots the decision was clear.
100-400 all the way.

Its much-much more versatile then the 2 primes, I do not know how you wildlife photograpers shoot, but I for sure would go for the 100-400.

For my style of shooting the 400mm is sometimes just too much, and the option to get to 300, 200 or even 100mm is just priceless.

The IS is fantastic, and helps a lot also.


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Oct 20, 2014 10:24 |  #28

NemethR wrote in post #17222934 (external link)
I was thinking about the same Lenses, altough I am not a Wildlife photographer.

So one of my friends purchased a Canon 100-400, and I borrowed that lens, for testing.

After a few shots the decision was clear.
100-400 all the way.

Its much-much more versatile then the 2 primes, I do not know how you wildlife photograpers shoot, but I for sure would go for the 100-400.

For my style of shooting the 400mm is sometimes just too much, and the option to get to 300, 200 or even 100mm is just priceless.

The IS is fantastic, and helps a lot also.

If you think the IS on the 100-400 is good, you really should try the Tamzooka...


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 20, 2014 11:05 |  #29

shamlyn wrote in post #17222812 (external link)
Thanks for that info, thats very helpful. So how did you like the Canon 400mm 5.6 and before you decided on that particular lens, did you consider/compare any other lenses with it such as other primes or other zoom lenses.

When I bought the 400 f5.6, I had already had some other lenses, so I was familiar with telephoto work. It is just one of the long lenses in my arsenal (I also have the 100-400, the Sigma 300-800, and the 400 f2.8 that I use with both the 1.4x and 2x tele-extenders). For me, it is a specialty lens, used specifically for birds in flight. It is great for that because its extremely light weight makes it easier to track moving subjects. Of course, the 100-400mm is also very light and easy to track with, but the image quality isn't up to par with the 400 f5.6 The 400 f5.6 has great IQ, and is great at resolving fine detail - nice sharp hair on mammals and very fine feather detail on birds.

Other lenses mentioned here would meet your needs, but I recommended that you start out with the 400 f5.6 for a couple reasons. I think it would be a great lens to learn on. One reason for this is the great IQ. You will quickly learn what a good, sharp photo really is. and you won't have to stop down to f7.1 or f8 to get the best results - the 400 f5.6 prime really is sharp wide open at f5.6, unlike the 100-400 and the Sigma 150-500.

One downside to the 400 f5.6 is the lack of stabilization. But that may not be as bad as one thinks. Not having IS means that you will have to develop the skill of good long lens technique. I think this skill is essential to good wildlife photography, yet it is increasingly ignored and/or underestimated by many of today's casual wildlife photographers.

Another thing that is increasingly ignored and underestimated is the practice of regularly using a good, solid tripod. If you learn on the 400 f5.6, get a good, solid tripod & head combination, use them regularly, and practice good long lens technique, you will start to produce excellent, detailed images even in low light situations. With good technique and solid support you can keep the ISO down low and still get great results . . . 1/40th of a second will not be feared!

In my opinion, once you really learn how to use the 400 f5.6 to advantage, particularly in low-light situations, then you will be able to get the most out of any lens.


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pknight
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Oct 20, 2014 11:09 |  #30

archer1960 wrote in post #17223056 (external link)
If you think the IS on the 100-400 is good, you really should try the Tamzooka...

+1

I don't want to come across as a Tamron fanboy, but I have two of them with "VC" (Vibration Control, their term for IS), and it just plain works as advertised.


Digital EOS 7D Mark II Canon: EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, Life-Size Converter EF Tamron: SP 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII, 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII VC HLD, SP 150-600 f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2, SP 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD, 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DiII VC HLD Sigma: 30mm f/1.4 DC Art Rokinon: 8mm f/3.5 AS IF UMC

  
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Telephoto question for all the Wildlife Photographers
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