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Author Topic: Wildlife Lens Question...  (Read 7032 times)  bookmark this topic!
tarnis
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Wildlife Lens Question...
« on: May 26, 2008, 06:57:47 PM »

Well Fred Miranda's down and I just found this so thought I'd help spark some life into it.  Loved the site since I got my 20D, nice to see there's a forum now too.

My Sigma 80-400mm lens bit the dust not too long ago, and I'm looking to do something about it.  As I see it I have three options, a 100-400, 300 f4(and 1.4x tc), or 400 f5.6

I have a Dell $200 gift card and 20% off coupon, which settled the place to buy from, and I plunked down my money for a 400mm f5.6 the other day.  Looks like it's out of stock and won't ship till the 9th next month so I'm reconsidering that choice...or should I?  Not sure I should have made it 100% to begin with.  I did it because of the AF speed primarily but my gut's telling me the 300 would be a little more versitile since it's a 300 prime and a 400 with the tc.  How bad does the AF suffer?  Kinda still thinking the 100-400 might not be too bad an idea but realistically I used the 80-400 in the 300-400mm range 75% of the time anyways.  Or of course I can just wait, but really dying to get back to the aligator farm in st augustine before the rookery dies down.

Would appreciate any advice.
MAtt

« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 06:59:24 PM by tarnis » Logged
Bob Atkins
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2008, 10:48:07 PM »

Well I recently tested and reviewed the 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS USM [see REVIEW and I was quite impressed with it. I'd tested one way back in the days after it just came out and wasn't too impressed. However the more recent model I tested was quite a bit sharper. If you wanted a zoom I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

The 400/5.6L is THE lens for birds in flight. Sharp, fast AF, light enough to handhold easily. However it doesn't have IS. This makes the 300/4L IS USM a better all around lens. It's also faster when you don't need the full 400mm and it works well with the 1.4x TC. AF speed is slower though and if you're trying to track birds in flight you need all the AF speed you can get.

In that range I'm still using a 300/4L + 1.4x TC myself. If I want a zoom I use the EF70-300/4-5.6IS. It's not quite as sharp at 300mm as the 100-400 (especially at the edges of the frame), but it's small, light and not too expensive.

If I had to have just one lens to cover the 100-400 range and it had to do everything from birds in flight to mammals to scenics, I'd certainly go for the 100-400/4.5-5.6IS

EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS USM  ~$1360 (mouseover for current price)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 03:54:54 PM by Bob Atkins » Logged
pjmanning
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 03:04:42 PM »

Just my two cents, but i love my 100-400. It is THE lens for wildlife.  I always appreciate the zooming ability with fast-moving critters.
Pat
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Desertshooter
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2008, 12:18:59 AM »

I realize that the reach isn't as long but have any of you tried the 28-300/3.5-5.6L? Bob, I see you said you like the 70-300 if you want zoom...is there a reason behind this other than the variance in cost between the two?

I have a pair of 5D 's and my wife was wanting a decent all-in-one to go along with some other lenses. This probably deserves a thread all in it's own but I have a Bigma that I'm looking to replace
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Bob Atkins
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2008, 11:29:50 AM »

I've never shot with the 28-300/3.5-5.6L but even if it was sharp, it has a number of downsides. It's pretty big and heavy and it's pretty expensive. There's also the question of whether you actually need such a wide zoom range. It wouldn't be bad if the lens was small and light, since then you could carry it around as your only lens, but do you really want to carry around a $2300, 3.7lb lens as your general purpose optic? It's no faster or longer than the 70-300IS and at 28mm it's not very wide, even on a full frame camera.

If forced to own just one lens, I guess it might make sense, but I think you can do better (for lower cost) buying two lenses to cover that range.
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marcfs
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2008, 05:46:47 PM »

The lens choice depends on what type of wildlife you are capturing.

Bob accurately reports that the 400 f/5.6 is great for Birding, where you never seem to have enough lens.

I use my 100-400 when walking around a wildlife area where the birds are more acclimated to people (you can get reasonably close and they are not extremely active).  I have been able to get an assortment of “good” images and overall I have been very satisfied with the lens. 

In other locations I will shoot with a 500 f/4 and generally a 1.6 extender and I still wish that I had greater reach.

The bottom line is to identify what and where are you shooting. 

One more plug for the 100-400:  I have also used the 100-400 when whale watching and taking pictures of flowers.

Good luck!!

Marc Schoenholz
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sonoranowl
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Re: Wildlife Lens Question...
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2008, 11:32:44 AM »

I know a lot of people have second thoughts on the EF28-300 f3.5-5.6L because of the weight.  I have used one for 1 1/2 years on my 5D and love the lens.  Its on my camera 75% of the time.  I recently hiked Bryce Canyon for 6 hours with this lens, hiked in Capitol Reef and Zion for 4 hour jaunts, and had no problem.  I'm an avid hiker but not a big person, weigh 185, and I turn 63 this month.  I occasionally use a Lens Cradle, which attaches to the tripod mount and gives more leverage, spreads the weight more evenly on your neck, and it helps a lot. I get great pictures with this lens and I like the versatility. I have a 17-40 and 100-400, but find I use the 28-300 most of the time.
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