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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 22 Jul 2009 (Wednesday) 08:44
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300/2.8 or 500/4

 
Neilyb
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Jul 23, 2009 06:58 |  #31

Goshawk wrote in post #8329167 (external link)
Yeah I just do not know how come it is presumed that I somehow stated that the 500/600 will be practical for shooting birds in our gardens.
The MFD is 4.5m on the 500. Not a very practical distance for a garden shoot I would say.

In general for small sing birgs and such it is a terrible distance, cured by using a 1.4TC (or extension tube, but with similar loss of light).

Using the 300 2.8 with a 2xTC allows the 3m distance, quite practical when in a hide.


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Jul 23, 2009 07:15 |  #32

Karl Johnston wrote in post #8328933 (external link)
Go with the 300 2.8

Think Auto focus baby, auto focus. 2.8 is way faster than f4, and if you needed the option of a t-con you can have one... With a 2x kenko converter you have 600 5.6
500 f4 you have 500 f4 ..now thats a full stop slower, but with a 1.4x you lose your autofocus and then you have a harder time finding a lock on your fast moving subjects.

According to Canon, the above 1st sentence is incorrect. As I previously mentioned it is stated in Lens Work III the 500mm f/4 has the fastest AF in the world when used on a 1D series body.

As for the last sentence, look at the shots below, fast moving subjects are no issue for the lens with or without the an extender... with the 500mm it will still have AF on ANY body that Canon makes, with the 1D series you can use a 2x and still have AF.

Neilyb wrote in post #8329459 (external link)
In general for small sing birgs and such it is a terrible distance, cured by using a 1.4TC (or extension tube, but with similar loss of light).

Using the 300 2.8 with a 2xTC allows the 3m distance, quite practical when in a hide.

While never considered a song bird, you can't find smaller subjects than hummingbirds and the 500mm does the job just fine ;), 500mm with 1.4x and 20mm extension tube and a min focus distance of ~ 12', much tighter and you can't frame the bird in the shot.

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Jul 23, 2009 07:17 |  #33

Goshawk wrote in post #8329112 (external link)
I stated very clearly that except if you are shooting birds in your garden you are going to need the long lenses. Meaning that only in your garden will a shorter focal length be practical for birds.:confused:
I do not get it. Where did I imply that the 500/600 should be good for the garden, when I clearly stated the reverse:confused:

[pedant] Ah! I read that as - "Except that, if you shoot ... you need" What you meant to say is 'except for when you shoot .... you need". [/pedant]

Sorry for the confusion.


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Jul 23, 2009 07:31 |  #34

Nowt wrong with those Hummers.... :)


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Jul 23, 2009 08:50 |  #35

hollis_f wrote in post #8329529 (external link)
[pedant] Ah! I read that as - "Except that, if you shoot ... you need" What you meant to say is 'except for when you shoot .... you need". [/pedant]

Sorry for the confusion.

No point to it now anyway, now certain people just went and proved that you can use a 500 for backyard birding:lol:


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Jul 23, 2009 08:55 |  #36

BradM wrote in post #8329521 (external link)
While never considered a song bird, you can't find smaller subjects than hummingbirds and the 500mm does the job just fine ;), 500mm with 1.4x and 20mm extension tube and a min focus distance of ~ 12', much tighter and you can't frame the bird in the shot.

Thanks for proving us all wrong:rolleyes:
Great photos:lol:


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bobbyz
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Jul 23, 2009 09:08 |  #37

Simple.

You want to shoot birds, small birds, get 600mm f4 or even 800mm f5.6

If that is too much money, get 500mm f4 IS

If that is still expensive and heavy, get 400mm f5.6

300mm f2.8 IS for birds is OK if you need it for other things like sports or bigger mammals. I would pick 400mm f5.6 over 300mm f2.8 IS if I was only buying it for shooting birds.

300mm f2.8 IS with 2xTC you need to stop down atleast 1 stop. At 600mm f5.6 the picture quality is not good. So you decide 600mm f8 or 700mm f8 (1.4xTC on 500mm). Guess I will take 700mm if birds are my main subjects. In a pinch I can put 2xTC on my 500mm and get 1000mm at f11 (native f8 but I stop down 1 stop). No problems with focussing on 1 series. If using xxD series, stick canon 1.4xTC and tamron/kenko 1.4xTC and you have AF and it might even be faster than using 2xTC.

Regarding hand holding, you can do it. You don't need to point the thing up into the air as you walking. JUst when you need to shoot. I would still recommend tripod/gimbal to make it easier. HH is better if you trying to shoot birds in flight.

Good luck in whatever you decide. You will bevery happy with either of them. best is buy both. Most end up doing that.


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rakesh
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Jul 23, 2009 09:37 |  #38

Dear Bobbyz

All of you are using 1D series on which 500/2x will give auto focus but in my case I've 40D and pricing wise 500/F4 is almost 2 times the price of 300/F2.8 in India.

The approx. difference in pricing is $3K which is too much for me. Somehow I've managed to save around $4k for a prime and I already have 2X Converter with me which I can use on either 300/2.8 or 400/4.

Secondly, weight wise, 500/4 is too heavy when I used my friends lens.

Earlier I used to have 50-500 and most of times I shot handholding.

So, I need advise accordingly.


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Jul 23, 2009 10:54 |  #39

rakesh wrote in post #8330098 (external link)
Dear Bobbyz

All of you are using 1D series on which 500/2x will give auto focus but in my case I've 40D and pricing wise 500/F4 is almost 2 times the price of 300/F2.8 in India.

The approx. difference in pricing is $3K which is too much for me. Somehow I've managed to save around $4k for a prime and I already have 2X Converter with me which I can use on either 300/2.8 or 400/4.

Secondly, weight wise, 500/4 is too heavy when I used my friends lens.

Earlier I used to have 50-500 and most of times I shot handholding.

So, I need advise accordingly.

Rakesh, in that case, 300mm f2.8 IS. Pair it with 2xTC and you still got AF.

If you want super light, and lot cheaper, don't discount 400mm f5.6. It is gem a of a lens. Quality wise 300mm f2.8 IS with 1.4xTC is very close to 400mm f5.6.


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Jul 23, 2009 11:14 |  #40

bobbyz wrote in post #8329985 (external link)
Simple.

You want to shoot birds, small birds, get 600mm f4 or even 800mm f5.6

If that is too much money, get 500mm f4 IS

If that is still expensive and heavy, get 400mm f5.6

But if the 500 is just a little too expensive, and far too heavy, then the 300 2.8 with a TC will give you more (1 stop, IS, and AF with a 2x) than the 400 5.6.


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Jul 23, 2009 12:28 |  #41

rakesh wrote in post #8330098 (external link)
Dear Bobbyz

All of you are using 1D series on which 500/2x will give auto focus but in my case I've 40D and pricing wise 500/F4 is almost 2 times the price of 300/F2.8 in India.

The approx. difference in pricing is $3K which is too much for me. Somehow I've managed to save around $4k for a prime and I already have 2X Converter with me which I can use on either 300/2.8 or 400/4.

Secondly, weight wise, 500/4 is too heavy when I used my friends lens.

Earlier I used to have 50-500 and most of times I shot handholding.

So, I need advise accordingly.

You sound like you've already ruled out the 500mm due to weight and cost,. so what more can we help with?
Now we are just debating with ourselves when you've obviously already made up your mind to rule out the 500mm.

The 300mm f/2.8 or 400mm f/5.6 are your options from Canon in that case,
The other one to consider is the much lighter and more affordable Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX.. but you won't get AF with T-Cons on that lens either.


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Jul 23, 2009 12:32 as a reply to  @ hollis_f's post |  #42

We use extension tubes to reduce the MFD.

hollis_f wrote in post #8328899 (external link)
Maybe in your garden. The birds in front of me, as I type, are closer than the MFD for the 500!

Neilyb wrote in post #8329079 (external link)
Not sure he did. I often found shooting with the Sigma 500 that the MFD was too long, and the canon has a longer MFD. I missed a fair few shots simply becasue birds were too close.

Neilyb wrote in post #8329143 (external link)
I was not in my garden, MFD was still way too long ;) I was only agreeing with the MFD being often too long.


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Jul 23, 2009 12:41 |  #43

BradM wrote:
...Focus speed of the 500 is incredible, Canon rates it as their fastest (and the fastest in world when using a 1D series body) according to Lens Work III....

BradM wrote in post #8329521 (external link)
According to Canon, the above 1st sentence is incorrect. As I previously mentioned it is stated in Lens Work III the 500mm f/4 has the fastest AF in the world when used on a 1D series body.....


Just FYI Brad, that sentence from the Lenswork book was originally written as marketing material for the 300mm f/2.8L IS when it was launched, as the first in the IS Super telephoto line...

As canon released more in the line (now including the 400mm f/2.8L IS, 500mm f/4L IS and 600mm f/4L IS, and yes, even the 400mm f/4 DO ) it used that same sentence, copy and paste, to describe them all.

...the truth is, although it strongly implies when read that Canon is talking about the individual lens, in fact Canon is referring to what was then "new" AF system implemented in the entire line and the then current 1V and EOS3.

IE: to paraphrase the intent, "this family of Super telephotos has the fastest AF in the world when used with a 1 series. "

This does not take into account any small difference inherent in the design of each lens that would put one in front of the other.

The 500m with it's longer MFD, may go from MFD to Infinity faster than the 300mm,. but the 300mm can take advantage of newer "f/2.8 or faster" AF sensor technology that the f/4 can't.. which gives the 300mm the advantage in many (most ) cases.
Really.

*ALSO DIRECTLY FROM EOS LENS WORK III:
re 300mm f/2.8L IS:

The world’s fastest*1
autofocusing has been achieved by employing a ring-type USM
and improving the drive algorithm. Furthermore, equipping the
lens with an image stabilizing mechanism that compensates for
roughly two shutter speeds*2 has made it possible to get the best
performance out of it under all conditions.

**1 Bodies: EOS-1V/HS, EOS-3, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1D Mark II,
EOS-1D


...this same statement is repeated fro the rest of the entire family of lenses. The only time it was actually referring to a single optic was when the 300mm was the only one in the family as the others had not been developed yet.


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Jul 23, 2009 12:59 |  #44

rakesh wrote in post #8324545 (external link)
Hi All

My prime use for going to prime is that it should be easy holdable and sharp and can shoot both birds and mammals but not in Zoo environment but in open forest areas.

So, please advise on this basis. The 2X TC I've was never used because I did not have compatible lens till now.

In terms of hand holding, I'd recommend the 300/2.8 with 1.4X and/or 2X. I think you are heading in that direction anyway, but here's one more person's opinions.

I have to disagree with a lot of the responses you've gotten, while agreeing with some others.

Yes, with small animals and birds you will never think you have a long enough lens. There will always be a little critter just out of range that you wish you could capture in an image. If you have a 300mm, you'll sometimes wish you had a 500mm. If you have a 500mm, you'll sometimes wish you had an 800mm. If you ever getan 800mm, you'll occasionally wish they made an affordable, Image Stabilized 1200mm! If they ever do, rest assured there will be times you'll still want something longer! Especially if photographing birds (read Art Morris' articles at www.birdsasart.com (external link)).

But, a longer lens actually isn't necessarily the only choice or always the correct answer. There are times to just sit back and enjoy the show, to be patient and wait for nature to come to you and within range of your lens.

I have used both the lenses you're considering for about eight years. The 300mm is far more hand holdable. I still use it on a tripod with a Wimberley Sidekick most of the time. It's more portable, fits into a much smaller backpack and leaves more room for other lenses and accessories.

Most people considering one of these lenses really should budget for a high quality tripod as well. That can be upwards of $1000 additional cost. I'd rank it as "practically essential" for the 500mm, and "very highly desirable" for the 300mm. I use a Gitzo (an older model 1325 CF which has no center column, three section legs, and is rated to probably 25+ lbs) with a leveller (Gitzo, it's fast to set up), a heavy duty ballhead (Kirk BH-1) and the gimbal mount (Sidekick, it has several advantages over a full gimbal head as far as I'm concerned). Occasionally I'll use a monopod with either lens. And only very rarely I'll hand hold or use a beanbag, tree stump, fence post, car hood, or similar. I'd guess 90%+ of the time, my 300mm is used on a tripod. With the 500mm, make that 99% of the time. If you truly want a hand holdable lens, you might be better off looking at the 300/4 IS or 100-400 IS zoom.

Eventually you may want both lenses as they tend to serve different purposes and compliment each other well. The 500mm is in some ways more difficult to use, another reason I'd recommend most people start with the 300mm and then add or graduate to the 500mm later, after mastering the shorter lens. I probably use the 300mm about 4X as much as the 500mm, but I might use the 500mm more often if shooting more wildlife photos, and less sports/events.

Speaking from lots of personal experience, I can assure you that on 5D, 5D Mk II, 10D, 30D, 50D and EOS-3 the 300mm is noticeably faster auto focusing than the 500mm. (I've used both lenses on some other film and digitalbodies, too, but it's been a while and/or only briefly, so I won't try to compare.)

Both lenses really are plenty fast focusing. The AF on the 300mm is just about instantaneous, while there's a tiny lag with the 500mm. With the 500mm it's harder to find your subject initially, easier to lose them when tracking and it's AF is more likely to hunt. None of this is at all surprising for a longer tele with a smaller max aperture. And, please don't get me wrong, the 500mm has exceptional AF capabilities. Just not quite as great as the 300mm. They both slow down a little bit with teleconverter or extension tubes attached. Again, no surprises there.

The 500mm, as an f4 lens generally *will not* auto focus with 2X TC (making for an effective f8 ) attached to it, on any camera *other than* a 1-Series camera or EOS-3 (all of which have the 45 point AF system). Even on those cameras the 500/2X combo will only focus with center AF point. With a 1.4X on it (effective f5.6), you'll be pretty much limited to using just the center point on any of the cameras that don't have the 45 point AF system. There are some kluges you can use to try to get it to auto focus, and some third party teleconverters may not be recognized by the camera and might still give some AF, but it will be slower and might be less accurate.

The 300/2.8 will AF with either TC attached, but you'll be limited to center AF point only on most bodies when using it with a 2X. It slows a bit, but not a lot (varies depending upon camera model).

Oh, and "Lens Work III" is full of typos, errors and omissions. No kidding. I think I must have noticed 25 or more the first time I read it. And I've looked for specific info that it doesn't - but should - contain (what tripod mounting ring fits the 200/2.8 II lens, for example). I've seriously considered offering my editing services to Canon, if and when they get around to "Lens Work IV". ;-)a

The 300mm is slightly sharper, rendering incredible detail. The 500mm is phenomenal, too... for a 500mm. But the 300mm is even sharper. Both have great color rendition. The 500mm softens a little and tends to get warmer with the Canon 2X II attached. This is not as noticeable with the 1.4X II, or with either TC on the 300mm. I haven't really experimented much with the third party TCs, some of which I've heard are great, and will leave it up to others to advise about those.

I'd strongly suggest starting out with the 300mm and a couple TCs, then adding the 500mm later, if you still wish to do so. Learn stalking skills, use hides and blinds, use attractants to get your subjects in closer, within range of whatever lenses you have. If you were using a full frame camera, I'd suggest you consider getting a cropper for the extra "reach". But you already have a cropper, so be aware that a full framer really utilizes the 300mm's (or 500mm's) optical capabilities to their fullest.

Niall Benvie, a well known wildlife photographer based in Europe, used a 300/2.8 with 1.4X as his longest lens setup for the first ten years of his professional career. And that was all on film cameras (i.e., full frame).

That's just my two cents worth.

Oh, and you might consider renting and trying out either or both lenses. They are pretty widely available for rent and a "test drive" might help answer all your questions.


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Jul 23, 2009 13:00 |  #45

hollis_f wrote in post #8330627 (external link)
But if the 500 is just a little too expensive, and far too heavy, then the 300 2.8 with a TC will give you more (1 stop, IS, and AF with a 2x) than the 400 5.6.

I prefer getting the right focal length for the job. I would take longer lens with slower aperture for birds than shorter focal length where I need to use TCs all the time. IS is not that big of a deal unless you using 500/600/800mm. Just get a cheap CF tripod or better even $100 monopod with 3 little legs and you can get awesome shots with 400mm f5.6 at low shutter speeds.


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