Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Canon Long Lens Recommendations  (Read 5847 times)
glenerrolrd
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 65


« on: April 07, 2006, 03:25:38 PM »
ReplyReply

I am getting ready to add one Canon Long lens to my equipment and could you some recommendations.  My longest lens is the Leitz 280 F2.8 which I use on a Canon 5D.  If I need autofocus I drop back to the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS and a their 1.4 extender.  This doesn t cut it for either sports (outside) or wildlife (Florida birds etc).  I expect to be using the long lens on a monopod.  After reading all that I can find ...it seems that the 500mm F4 maybe the right balance between reach,speed,quality and weight.  Could be expensive to get this decision wrong.  Any insights or opinions ?
Logged
alanterra
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2


« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2006, 03:49:19 PM »
ReplyReply

Just two thoughts. I have the Canon 400mm f/5.6 and I love it. Light, not horribly expensive, very sharp. A friend who really knows about these things prefers the 400mm f/4 + 1.4 multiplier to the 500mm.

YMMV.
Logged
pathfinder
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 54


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2006, 04:29:47 PM »
ReplyReply

The answer depends a bit on your budget.  Full frame or APS sensor body.  Smaller sensor bodies can get by with less length, of course.  But the 1DMkll makes a very nice bird camera on the Canon side of the fence.

The 500 f4 is very useful - but large, heavy, and sometimes not long enough.  I use a 1.4 TC with it fairly often.  I don't think you will use it with a monopod, but a tripod and a Sidekick or a Wimberly style head.  I find this much weight to be very unstable on a monopod.  8.7 pound + camera weight == about 12 pounds or so - doesn't sound heavy sitting here at a desk, but in the wild, it gets heavy quick.  Not much handholding with this lens unless you are superman.

400mm is easier to handhold, and can be long enough in Florida where the birds are more tolerant of tourists with cameras in hand.  But generally just a little short of the mark for birding.  The 400mm f4 DO is very light, less than 5 pounds.

A 300mmf2.8 is too short by itself, but pairs nicely with a 1.4 or a 2x TC.  And is easily handholdable.

I find all are useful, and helpful.  I would find it very hard to limit myself to just one lens for birds. Song birds are even more demanding, than larger birds.

Longer always sem to be better, but a LOT more difficult to manage with regard to weight, tripod, blurring due to camera shake, and just finding the subject through very long glass.  Less length is always easier, if long enough.

20D  300mm  - only in FLa can I get this close with 300mm


1DMkll  500mm +1.4 TC


1DMkll  400mm DO
Logged
ricwis
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 159



WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2006, 06:00:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Some real nice shots there Pathfinder.  I also have the 500 f/4 and it is a great lens for bird and wildlife photography.  The other lens I use, but much less often now that I have the 500 is the 100-400 zoom.  You can see some examples at my website.

The 500 with the 1DMKII is a great, but heavy combination.  I suspect you will get tired very quickly using a monopod with this lens.  A Wimberley or other gimball head is a must on a sturdy tripod.  When I am shooting birds in flight, such as Eagles, I generally use the 1.4 TC as I have more than the center auto-focus point and have a better chance of keeping the subject in focus.  For small birds in trees and ducks on the water I generally use the 2x TC.  This gives me f/8 and center point auto-focus.  On the 5D, I believe it will only auto-focus to f/5.6, so you still have center point auto-focus with the 500 f/4 and 1.4 TC combination.

The 500 is a huge, hopefully only once in a lifetime expense so if you get it, I would strongly recommend getting "idiot" insurance.  (That is what my insurance agent calls it).  This protects the gear if I do something really dumb like drop it in the water or on the driveway or take it in a canoe and then capsize.  Someone I know actually did that with the 400 f/2.8.
Logged

Rich Wisler
Wildlife and Scenic Photography
http://www.ricwis.com
glenerrolrd
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 65


« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2006, 06:18:36 PM »
ReplyReply

This is great advice.  I might have over stated the amount of bird photography I plan to do.  I used to shoot birds with the Leitz 560mm telyt so I know you frequently just want more length.  I shoot a lot of sports ..baseball, golf , etc and since I can no longer get a press pass I am shooting from the stands.  Most of the pro s seem to using 400-600mm lenses.  All on monopods as mobility is important.  I understand to use the 400mm F2.8 I will have to start lifting weights again..so that one is out.  For those using the 500mm F4 ...is the lens up to its reviews?  Thanks again to all that replied .
Logged
masl
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 23


« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2006, 06:47:26 PM »
ReplyReply

You might consider the Sigma 300-800.  Very sharp and enough length for a FF sensor.  I am saving to buy one ;-)
If links to DP Review are not sinful here, this guy is a big time birder, and loves the lens....
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=17177273

-Mark
Logged

[font="Verdana"][/font]Too much gear and not enough talent
ricwis
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 159



WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2006, 09:24:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Yes, the 500 is everything the reviewers rave about.  The 300-400-500-600 series were all upgraded by Canon and are excellent, but expensive, glass.  The addition of IS to them is very useful.  Speaking of IS, that is one advantage to sticking with the Canon lens.

Another consideration.  If you are shooting pro sports from the stands, some stadiums will not let you take "professional" looking gear into the stadium.  That means Canon white lenses are generally out.  That has not happened to me yet in Seattle, but I've heard many stories from people at other stadiums, and the zoo too.

My brother has the 70-300 DO lens with IS and likes it.  He uses it as his on the camera and walk around lens.  If a 300 reach is enough, that might be a good lens and does not scream pro or steal me so getting into stadiums would not be a problem.
Logged

Rich Wisler
Wildlife and Scenic Photography
http://www.ricwis.com
pathfinder
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 54


WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2006, 10:36:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Michael has posted a number of shots taken with the 70-300 DO IS.  

I have wondered if some of the lens's appeal to him isn't  its innocuous black appearance, that belies its reach.    White lenses do tend to gather stares or unwelcome crowds.

I have thought about using a 2xTC with a 200 f2.8 L for the same reason.  

The 300-800 Sigma must be a monster to schlep around at 13 pounds.
Logged
glenerrolrd
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 65


« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2006, 11:19:53 AM »
ReplyReply

Recently I have had photo shoots at the Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter FL ...Spring Training... and at the Masters Wed for the Par 3.  In both cases I had the shortest lens among probably 25-50 photographers.   While I think you can over do the tight cropping, I want to add some length to the arsenal.  Is the 400 F2.8 just too heavy for most?  Does the 500 F4 compare in quality?  When is F2.8 an advantage in digital. I have the new 1.4 extender and I can see the drop in contrast....not sure if I can pull it back in photoshop ? I use a Canon 5D.  I understand this is highly subjective but I appreciate different perspectives.
Logged
macgyver
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 510


« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2006, 12:33:39 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
When is F2.8 an advantage in digital.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=62154\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


If you want to do sports?  Always.  Not all games happen durring the day.
Logged
Geoff Wittig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1017


« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2006, 01:12:20 PM »
ReplyReply

For some years I used a Pentax 600 mm f:4 on film cameras; it was a beast that weighed just about 20 lbs., but very sharp. When I switched to Canon digital after a lot of thought I went for Canon's 500 f:4 IS lens. This is scary sharp, and the IS function is magical. The relatively light weight of the magnesium body is also great. However...in retrospect I wish I had gone for the 600. The difference in magnification between 500 and 600 mm is more than you'd expect intuitively. With your Canon 5D (or my 1Ds II) there is no "crop factor" getting you closer. I end up using the 1.4x teleconverter more often than not. If birds are going to be a big part of your subject matter, I would strongly suggest you go for the 600 f:4, because there is no such thing as too much focal length when you're shooting small skittish critters.  On the other hand, if you're mostly shooting mammals, the 500 is certainly a bit handier and easier to carry into the woods.
Near as I can tell, the 400 f:2.8 is the ideal lens for football, where every extra photon is critical, but the extra bulk and shorter reach are big liabilities for most wildlife work.
As an aside, I have used both 500 mm and 600 mm lenses on a monopod...and immediately went back to a tripod. A monopod makes sense for sports photographers on the sidelines because the subject is dead ahead at eye level and it's easy to move with the play; but let that thing slip out of your hands and you may be the proud owner of a $7,000 paperweight. It's difficult to use a monopod for subjects higher or lower than your position, and swapping CF cards really requires another set of hands unless you lay the whole works down on the ground.
Logged
williamrohr
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 105


WWW
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2006, 02:23:52 PM »
ReplyReply

Being crazy enough to own all the Canon long lenses your question made me contemplate that if I had to choose one, which would it be (based on my actual use of them)..... if only one, it would be the 500 f4.  If I could pick two, it would be the combination of the 600 f4 and the 400 DO f4 and here is why:  The 500 with a 1.4TC in your pocket is the most portable and adaptable combination.  You can shoot birds (500 + 1.4) or large animals with close-up detail (500 alone) and a mortal human can carry it for a day in the field.  In a pinch you can use it on the "sidekick" made by several manufacturers.  If you want to do serious bird photography, the 600 f4 with various TCs becomes a virtual "must" for most of us amateurs (especially without the use of a blind), but carrying it in the field is a real effort because not only is it heavier but it really requires a sturdy tripod and a full gimbal mount to be effective (and carrying that combination all day severely detracts from the enjoyment).  Recently, I bought the 400 DO f4, which I took on Michael's Antarctica trip and since then I find the 500 spends more time in the closet .... if I'm going some place where I can get the car close, I use the 600 f4 for its extra reach.  If I'm going  hiking I take the 400 DO ... it is so incredibly light and at least my sample takes pictures ever bit as sharp as its "big brothers".   In fact it is so light I take it with me even when I am shooting scenics or going places where I am not planning to shoot wildlife "just in case".  Several times I have used the 400 DO to shoot some "long reach" scenics and the results are really making me consider perspective more seriously.  Since acquiring the 400 DO, the 300 F2.8 is gathering dust.  My 400 F2.8 has always be a specialty product that I use more for its speed (fast autos, horses, sports, etc.). Lastly, if bird photography is only a minor interest and I could choose only one lens ... it would be the 400 DO ... it has made carrying a long lens fun (for all the reasons people have loved the 400 F5.6 .. but it autofocuses more quickly and can still auto focus with the 1.4TC) So for what its worth, one man's experience.
Logged
kbolin
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 220



WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2006, 02:56:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The 300-800 Sigma must be a monster to schlep around at 13 pounds.

Good grief... 800mm no IS and 13 lbs!  I can't imagine a single widlife shot being tack sharp with that lens.  Unless absolutely still and lens rock solidly tripod mounted.  Please moose could you stay there for me!    

Kelly
Logged

pathfinder
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 54


WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2006, 05:08:56 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Good grief... 800mm no IS and 13 lbs! I can't imagine a single widlife shot being tack sharp with that lens. Unless absolutely still and lens rock solidly tripod mounted. Please moose could you stay there for me!   

Kelly
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=62168\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
My point exactly.

  Even the 400F2.8 at 11.7 pounds is very heavy.  

Like williamrohr, I find the 400 f4 DO is lovely to due to its light weight, and excellent optical performance.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2006, 10:15:37 PM by pathfinder » Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad