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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 30 Jan 2015 (Friday) 17:46
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Help with long lens question

 
Chewuch
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Jan 30, 2015 17:46 |  #1

Hi, I need help from bird'ers in the know here. We have a couple of Canons, a 50D and a 70D, with EF-S 18-200, and an EF 70-300 and neither of them are compatible with the tele-extenders. So we are getting around 480mm max out of the EF zoom. We're finding that is just not enough for bird photos where we live - open forest and range land, NoCent WA St. - and are looking the best option of the following. Budget is a consideration here, most of our shots are sitting birds, not many in flight.

a used 600mm prime lens or something like the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM with an extender.
or something like the Tamron 150-600mm zoom

Thanks much, Ted




  
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rent
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Jan 30, 2015 18:46 |  #2

A first-gen 500 or 600mm f/4L (optionally with 1.4x II or III) would be best if budget allows.

I would pick the 2nd gen 100-400 next, then the 1st gen 100-400.

-alex


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snowblower
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Jan 30, 2015 22:52 |  #3

Any Lens with an extender is not going to be as good of quality as a lens without one. If you can afford it I would go with the 500mm or 600mm over the other choice. I have seen some posts here where some will put an extender on the 600mm because that isn't even long enough which is why I eventually purchased an 800mm. That lens is an absolute beast but I know that is way out of your price range.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited over 5 years ago by Tom Reichner.
     
Jan 31, 2015 23:45 |  #4

Chewuch wrote in post #17407759 (external link)
.......... We're finding that is just not enough for bird photos where we live - open forest and range land, NoCent WA St...............

Thanks much, Ted

hey Ted

North Central Washington State.........you're practically my neighbor!!!
That's cool! I don't think I've ever come across anyone here on this forum that lives in my part of Washington. I'm in Omak.......are you down in the greater Wenatchee area?

Anyway, feel free to give me an email; I'd be glad to give you any help you need concerning bird photography. Who knows, maybe we could even get together for a shoot sometime!

Tom
tomreichner@yahoo.com


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
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Beekeeper
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Feb 01, 2015 18:27 |  #5

I have the 400/5.6 for birding with my 7D body. That's what I can afford so I have to work with that. I've still hunted all my life, and have carried that over into my wildlife photography. I find sitting still by a tree, on a large rock, or just standing in the woods to work. One thing I've noticed is that you won't have enough lens-even with an 800mm in many situations. I find it works better if I can get myself closer to where the birds will show up and wait for them (you have to learn the habit of your targets for this to work). Local parks are good spots to check out because the birds will be more used to people than out in the wilderness.


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Chewuch
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Hatchling
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Feb 02, 2015 17:23 |  #6

Thanks so much for the advise! From what I've heard I think we're going to "sneak up" on this and go with the low-budget option of a zoom and teleconverter - for now. See how serious my wife gets with this and then maybe trade up to the prime lenses after she absolutely knows what length she wants/needs. Again, thanks to all, Ted




  
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Archibald
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Feb 02, 2015 17:49 |  #7

Just to keep potential confusion at a minimum, a 300mm lens on a crop is 300mm, not 480mm.

Keep in mind that a 1.4X teleconverter on a f5.6 lens becomes an f8 lens, and won't autofocus with your bodies. Manual focus works but is really not very suitable for today's bodies, especially if your subject moves around like birds tend to do.

For years I used the original Canon 100-400mm. This is a great lens for bird photography. OK, it is often not long enough, but it kept me in the game and allowed me to get some great bird shots. These lenses are also relatively light and compact, which is a big advantage if you take them along on a plane. The orig 100-400 is an excellent lens and lots are available on the used market. I would not use it with a TC. Crop instead.

You should also be able to find some Canon 400mm f/5.6 lenses on the used market, and they are great for birding, but that lens lacks IS.


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snowblower
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Feb 02, 2015 22:17 |  #8

Archibald wrote in post #17412409 (external link)
Just to keep potential confusion at a minimum, a 300mm lens on a crop is 300mm, not 480mm.


Am I missing something here? An EF 70-300mm lens at full zoom (300mm) on a "crop" body (1.6x sensor) would be 480mm not 300mm. Not sure where you are coming from saying this?


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Archibald
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Feb 02, 2015 22:28 |  #9

snowblower wrote in post #17412767 (external link)
Am I missing something here? An EF 70-300mm lens at full zoom (300mm) on a "crop" body (1.6x sensor) would be 480mm not 300mm. Not sure where you are coming from saying this.

A 300mm lens is always 300mm. It says so right on the lens.

It's true it gives the same angle of view as a 480mm lens on a 35mm camera compared to your crop. For that matter, it has the same angle of view as a 750mm lens on a medium format camera. Interesting calculations if you want to do them.

It's still a 300mm lens, no matter where you mount it.

If you only have crop bodies, I suggest to forget about crop factors. Just pay attention to the focal lengths and learn how they behave on your camera.


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Archibald
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Feb 03, 2015 01:20 |  #10

I might add that the focal length of a lens is a physical characteristic and can be measured, just like the diameter of a lens or its weight. The FL is the distance from the lens to the sensor when in focus. OK, that is vague, because I haven't said exactly what part of the lens it is measured from. In fact is from the rear nodal plane. And where is that nodal plane? Not always where one might think. But that is not the point. The point for now is that the FL is a measurable characteristic.

When calculating things like lens extension or DOF or effective aperture (for instance when doing macro photography), the formulas require the FL. And that would be the real focal length of the lens.


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bumpintheroad
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Feb 03, 2015 01:34 |  #11

Folks are getting pretty good results birding with the Tamron 150-600.

I find that 300 is way too short for birds, even in my backyard. 400 would still leave me struggling. I'm hoping to pick-up the Tamron this spring, finances allowing.


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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 5 years ago by MalVeauX.
     
Feb 03, 2015 14:36 |  #12

Heya,

On a budget, just get the longest physical focal length you can get. Your 70D gives you a lot of play room with higher ISO to ensure fast shutters so you can withstand apertures around F8 and and ISO 1600~3200 without too much of an issue. If you're shooting from a mount, like a gimbal/tripod, you can get away with even lower shutter speeds.

I would look at the Tamron & Sigma 600mm options to start. They are inexpensive for the raw focal length and optically quite good. For stationary wildlife in general, they really do deliver. See their respective threads for samples. This would be the $1k to $2k option.

Alternatively, if budget really allows, there are things like the Sigma 120-300 which is something I'd consider, if you're interested in getting fast glass and have TC options that still get you to 600mm with great quality without slowing it down too much. This would be the $4k option.

After that, it just goes through the roof, but the 300 F2.8L (even an old one) is a solid choice (600 F5.6 with 2.0x TC and still good), or even a 400 F4L (with a 1.4x TC is quite good still). Or you can hunt for a 500 F4L (old one) if budget is high.

Other options are the old Tokina 300 F2.8 ATX options (if you can find one), or even Sigma's older 500 F4.5.

Know this: you'll never have enough reach. Ever. So learning your subjects is key. I have a mobile pop-up blind that I use. Go out early where you want to be, facing the direction you want to be with respect to the sun so that you're not always back-lit (sun to your back is best for birding), with the gear you need to sit still in a blind for a while. Your targets will come to you. And they will hang out long enough for a few shots. I do this from 10 feet away in a blind with song birds in my backyard. I can get so close that I have to actually back up to 350mm like I did today from 600mm because I was too close for a song bird. Out in the local swamps, I take a blind, and I just camp out for a while. You'd be surprised how much action there is if you just sit and wait (I do so with a stiff pipe and a cold drink in my blind).

Very best,


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ETS
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Feb 03, 2015 19:05 |  #13

Beekeeper wrote in post #17410815 (external link)
I have the 400/5.6 for birding with my 7D body. That's what I can afford so I have to work with that. I've still hunted all my life, and have carried that over into my wildlife photography. I find sitting still by a tree, on a large rock, or just standing in the woods to work. One thing I've noticed is that you won't have enough lens-even with an 800mm in many situations. I find it works better if I can get myself closer to where the birds will show up and wait for them (you have to learn the habit of your targets for this to work). Local parks are good spots to check out because the birds will be more used to people than out in the wilderness.

This is pretty much my experience as well. If you have a good enough hide, you can make do with just about any lens. I use to stillhunt with a longbow.


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kawi_200
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Feb 05, 2015 23:17 |  #14

Another fellow Washingtonian here, although I'm over in Everett. As already stated, you can never have enough reach. But a quality lens with a quality teleconverter can also have great image quality. I've used my 400mm f/4 DO with the 2x mk3 teleconverter and had great results. I have been really wanting to sell it and move to a Tamron 150-600mm, or maybe the Sigma depending on how it measures up. But I only want to switch because I want money for other projects. My vote goes towards the Tamron if you want to step up to a longer lens for a decent price.

Of course if you can afford a used 600mm, then that or a 500mm might be a better choice than the Tamron. but you will need to use a tripod and it will need to be a steady one. Don't expect to hand hold a 500mm or 600mm.


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Chewuch
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Hatchling
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Feb 06, 2015 22:13 |  #15

Thanks for all the help, very much appreciated!

We're ordering a Tamron 150-600mm and will see how it goes.

Again, thank you. Ted




  
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Help with long lens question
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