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Author Topic: Canon 400mm DO  (Read 17000 times)
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2005, 02:44:13 PM »
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I will give the 70-200 f 2.8 plus 1.4 TC a serious thought. This may actually be a pretty good idea. Althought, I will be using it on 5D therefore it may not give me the focal length you calculated.
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If you did not care for the 100-400 zoom, I doubt you will find the 70-200 plus converter much better optically.  It does handle better though -- at least IMO -- since the 70-200 is not a push-pull design.  

Another consideration is that on the full-frame 5D you'll need the 2x converter to get to your desired 400mm... And this of course raises the maximum aperture of that assembly to f5.6...  

Regarding the 1D2 concept:  If you go this route, you may then get by quite well with the 300/4 IS mounted on it for a lightweight, close-focusing package with an effective 390mm focal.  If it is birds and small mammals you are shooting, the 8 frames per second drive may not be bad to have either  
« Last Edit: December 27, 2005, 02:45:27 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

maggieddd
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« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2005, 05:45:00 PM »
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If you did not care for the 100-400 zoom, I doubt you will find the 70-200 plus converter much better optically.  It does handle better though -- at least IMO -- since the 70-200 is not a push-pull design.   

Another consideration is that on the full-frame 5D you'll need the 2x converter to get to your desired 400mm... And this of course raises the maximum aperture of that assembly to f5.6... 

Regarding the 1D2 concept:  If you go this route, you may then get by quite well with the 300/4 IS mounted on it for a lightweight, close-focusing package with an effective 390mm focal.  If it is birds and small mammals you are shooting, the 8 frames per second drive may not be bad to have either 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54441\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OK, you got me thinking again.  Alternatively, I could use my 20D instead of 5D and that way I gain extra focal length with the cropping factor which is 1.6.  That puts me at 640mm with the 400 DO lens without the converter.  If I were to get 70-200mm without the converter I am only at 320mm.  As the idea of having different focal lengths available is appealing, I have to admit that 320mm is not really that great.  When I had my 100-400mm I always ended up using it at 400mm (which with the converter and the cropping factor was really 896mm) and I always wished I could get closer.  So, Seigmunds point of 70-200mm lens being more versitile since I would be able to zoom in and out is a bit out of question since in my experience I rarely had a reason to zoom out.
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jani
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« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2005, 06:32:15 PM »
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If you did not care for the 100-400 zoom, I doubt you will find the 70-200 plus converter much better optically.  It does handle better though -- at least IMO -- since the 70-200 is not a push-pull design.
Not only is it the push-pull design, but the 100-400 is also poorer at autofocus (naturally, it has a smaller max aperture) and the IS isn't very good.

Optically, the sample that I've tried, is not up to par with the 70-200 with a 1.4x extender II, not on the 20D nor the 5D.

The 100-400 with a 1.4x extender not only means a lack of autofocus, but also that the lens (again, the sample I tried) will seem noticeably soft at apertures down to f/11, and I thought it was best around f/13 to f/16.


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Regarding the 1D2 concept:  If you go this route, you may then get by quite well with the 300/4 IS mounted on it for a lightweight, close-focusing package with an effective 390mm focal.  If it is birds and small mammals you are shooting, the 8 frames per second drive may not be bad to have either 
Yes, the 1D2(N) seems a much more usable choice for this kind of work.
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Jan
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2005, 06:57:53 PM »
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Regarding small mammals and birds...

Believe it or not, I used to shoot these subjects fairly often, though it was back in film days.  Anyway, my point is when I was doing that I NEVER had too long a lens...  In fact I was shooting Nikon then and my lens of choice was the 800/5.6 -- talk about a tank!  
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jd1566
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« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2005, 02:03:00 AM »
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Hello Maggie,

Looks like you're getting a lot of opinions on this post.  Well, as I am currently going through the same decision, I would like to share my thoughts as well.
I am also weighing up the 300 2.8 and 400 f4DO.  My experience is that I want hand-holdability and IS capability over other features.. However image quality must be at least "good".  Many say that a 300 2.8 + 1.4 is sharper than a 400 DO.. However my experience in using TC's is that they slow the focus and degrade optical performance and lengthen the lens, unbalancing it's proportion and affecting hand-holdability.  This is the case with my 70-200, with the 1.4TC and especially with the 2xTC.  If you are going from zoom telephotos then the I think the image quality of the 400DO will be better.  It is not comparable to it's own breed (Canon IS telephotos) but it should be better than L zooms.. so in actual fact your image quality should improve, compared to the lenses you have been using.  This is however a "hunch" so if anyone can comment on this comparison (70-200 and 100-400 vs the 400DO) then this would be helpful.

Also, another suggestion.. generally try to double the focal length of your lenses, especially at the telephoto end.  That means if you have a 70-200 then rather go for a 400 in whatever guise (DO, 5.6, 2.8IS) instead of the 300, as the incremental reach of a 300 over a 200 is not really that great.

So, in conclusion, if you can live with the marginal loss of image quality (sharpness and contrast which are both easily corrected in photoshop) then I would suggest the 400DO.  The best lens is the one you use the most, have pleasure in using and that gives you the results you need.  Simply having the sharpest lens at the expense of portability and convenience is not, I believe, the right approach for all of us.  Perhaps the ardent pro who is in competition with other pro's and makes money from his images.. but in that case the pro in question will have a lens for very specific situations, not just one.  If you are looking to please yourself and your audience with your images then go for whatever feels most confortable, as that is the lens you will take more often and get more pictures with.  
As for me... well, cost is an issue so I have delayed in purchasing either the 300 or 400.. and picked up a Pentax 500 f4.5 screw mount manual focus lens.. A 30 year old lens that is a real pain to work with, but it gives me the reach I need for African wildlife.. and it only cost me $500!

In time I will come around to going for a Canon telephoto.. and by then my experiences might have changed my outlook... but for the moment I suggest the 400 DO.

Hope this helps.
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2005, 02:39:14 AM »
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Let me elaborate a little.

Even if would not have any financial limitations, I would not buy the 400/4 DO. Reasons: I don't like it's bokeh and flare resistance. Also, as Jack stated, not all copies are sharp. As someone who don't live in USA with its liberal return policy, this is also an issue for me. I therefore would consider Canon's 300/2.8 IS, Canon's 500/4 IS or 7D + 400/4.5. The Minolta set would be considered because of its weight. The Canon options would be considered because of the USM, focal length and aperture.

When you put money into consideration (yes, I know it is not important to you but unfortunately it is for me), the Minolta set would score more valuable points. Again, for me.

All the above are my personal thoughts on the subject and what I would do if I were in your shoes. I only tried to help you. If I didn't, please ignore my posts.
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maggieddd
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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2005, 07:38:38 AM »
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Let me elaborate a little.

Even if would not have any financial limitations, I would not buy the 400/4 DO. Reasons: I don't like it's bokeh and flare resistance. Also, as Jack stated, not all copies are sharp. As someone who don't live in USA with its liberal return policy, this is also an issue for me. I therefore would consider Canon's 300/2.8 IS, Canon's 500/4 IS or 7D + 400/4.5. The Minolta set would be considered because of its weight. The Canon options would be considered because of the USM, focal length and aperture.

When you put money into consideration (yes, I know it is not important to you but unfortunately it is for me), the Minolta set would score more valuable points. Again, for me.

All the above are my personal thoughts on the subject and what I would do if I were in your shoes. I only tried to help you. If I didn't, please ignore my posts.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54481\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yakim,
I would like to thank you very much for the time you took to respond to my questions.
The thing is that you are stating that that's what you would do if you were in my shoes but you also tell me that you would or wouldn't buy certain things because of the cost constrains, which is an issue for you.  Then you are not telling me anything as you are putting your situation in perspective and not mine.  
But I thank you very much for responding and I appreciate your effort.
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maggieddd
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2005, 07:41:11 AM »
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Hello Maggie,

Looks like you're getting a lot of opinions on this post.  Well, as I am currently going through the same decision, I would like to share my thoughts as well.
I am also weighing up the 300 2.8 and 400 f4DO.  My experience is that I want hand-holdability and IS capability over other features.. However image quality must be at least "good".  Many say that a 300 2.8 + 1.4 is sharper than a 400 DO.. However my experience in using TC's is that they slow the focus and degrade optical performance and lengthen the lens, unbalancing it's proportion and affecting hand-holdability.  This is the case with my 70-200, with the 1.4TC and especially with the 2xTC.  If you are going from zoom telephotos then the I think the image quality of the 400DO will be better.  It is not comparable to it's own breed (Canon IS telephotos) but it should be better than L zooms.. so in actual fact your image quality should improve, compared to the lenses you have been using.  This is however a "hunch" so if anyone can comment on this comparison (70-200 and 100-400 vs the 400DO) then this would be helpful.

Also, another suggestion.. generally try to double the focal length of your lenses, especially at the telephoto end.  That means if you have a 70-200 then rather go for a 400 in whatever guise (DO, 5.6, 2.8IS) instead of the 300, as the incremental reach of a 300 over a 200 is not really that great.

So, in conclusion, if you can live with the marginal loss of image quality (sharpness and contrast which are both easily corrected in photoshop) then I would suggest the 400DO.  The best lens is the one you use the most, have pleasure in using and that gives you the results you need.  Simply having the sharpest lens at the expense of portability and convenience is not, I believe, the right approach for all of us.  Perhaps the ardent pro who is in competition with other pro's and makes money from his images.. but in that case the pro in question will have a lens for very specific situations, not just one.  If you are looking to please yourself and your audience with your images then go for whatever feels most confortable, as that is the lens you will take more often and get more pictures with. 
As for me... well, cost is an issue so I have delayed in purchasing either the 300 or 400.. and picked up a Pentax 500 f4.5 screw mount manual focus lens.. A 30 year old lens that is a real pain to work with, but it gives me the reach I need for African wildlife.. and it only cost me $500!

In time I will come around to going for a Canon telephoto.. and by then my experiences might have changed my outlook... but for the moment I suggest the 400 DO.

Hope this helps.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54477\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you, this was very helpful.
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maggieddd
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« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2005, 07:42:59 AM »
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Regarding small mammals and birds...

Believe it or not, I used to shoot these subjects fairly often, though it was back in film days.  Anyway, my point is when I was doing that I NEVER had too long a lens...  In fact I was shooting Nikon then and my lens of choice was the 800/5.6 -- talk about a tank! 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54461\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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kgv
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« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2005, 11:50:10 AM »
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I love my 400 DO. I sold my 300 f2.8L IS. Of course zooms are more flexable and the 70-200 f2.8L IS would be good with the 1.4 extender. But primes are better than zooms and whenever I'm shooting as you describe I always end up with the longest lens I've got. The WAY I use mine is what makes it usable all day without fatigue. I use a video monopod adjusted to about 30 inches long, anchored in the cup of a flagbearers harness. I say a video monopod because it has a tilt handle. Turn the monopod around so that the handle is pointing away from you and is under the lens. Leave the tilt locking knob loose. Now control and aim by your left hand on the tilt handle (under the lens) and your right hand on the camera. This works extremely well. I would go so far as to say that , when combined with a fast shutter speed and IS, it is essentially as good as a tripod ! You can shoot all day without getting tired because all the weight is supported by the harness and the camera is very easy to aim as it is balanced (by using an Arca-Swiss type clamp on the monopod head and sliding the camera/lens back and forth to find the best balance) on the monopod. Handholding ANY tele for long periods will wear you out and make you less stable. Which ever lens you chose, try the harness/monopod for mobility and weight-free shooting!---Ken
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maggieddd
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« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2005, 05:54:33 PM »
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I love my 400 DO. I sold my 300 f2.8L IS. Of course zooms are more flexable and the 70-200 f2.8L IS would be good with the 1.4 extender. But primes are better than zooms and whenever I'm shooting as you describe I always end up with the longest lens I've got. The WAY I use mine is what makes it usable all day without fatigue. I use a video monopod adjusted to about 30 inches long, anchored in the cup of a flagbearers harness. I say a video monopod because it has a tilt handle. Turn the monopod around so that the handle is pointing away from you and is under the lens. Leave the tilt locking knob loose. Now control and aim by your left hand on the tilt handle (under the lens) and your right hand on the camera. This works extremely well. I would go so far as to say that , when combined with a fast shutter speed and IS, it is essentially as good as a tripod ! You can shoot all day without getting tired because all the weight is supported by the harness and the camera is very easy to aim as it is balanced (by using an Arca-Swiss type clamp on the monopod head and sliding the camera/lens back and forth to find the best balance) on the monopod. Handholding ANY tele for long periods will wear you out and make you less stable. Which ever lens you chose, try the harness/monopod for mobility and weight-free shooting!---Ken
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54621\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ken,

Thank you so much for your suggestions.  Would you be so kind and tell me what brand of monopod and harness you use or maybe get me a link to those items?  Brand names?  I really appreciate it.

Maggie
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kgv
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« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2005, 07:36:18 PM »
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[attachment=90:attachment][attachment=91:attachment]
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Ken,

Thank you so much for your suggestions. Would you be so kind and tell me what brand of monopod and harness you use or maybe get me a link to those items? Brand names? I really appreciate it.

Maggie
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54662\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Maggie,
The Giotto mv-825 monopod, avail. at B&H, is very similar to mine. The setup is similar to the enclosed pic. But if you get a flag bearers harness from a flag store, it will be very cheap. I don't have a pic of my exact set-up. The most expensive item will be the Arca-Swiss, or similar, clamp. I have been using this set-up for about 10 yrs and it's the best thing I've found for wildlife because you are so mobile and weight-free. Also, as I said I love the Canon 400 f4 IS DO. You cannot find ANY other f4 lens as long & as sharp for the weight.
Ken
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 07:42:18 PM by kgv » Logged
kgv
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« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2005, 08:12:41 PM »
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[attachment=92:attachment][attachment=97:attachment][attachment=99:attachment]
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[attachment=90:attachment][attachment=91:attachment]
Maggie,
The Giotto mv-825 monopod, avail. at B&H, is very similar to mine. The setup is similar to the enclosed pic. But if you get a flag bearers harness from a flag store, it will be very cheap. I don't have a pic of my exact set-up. The most expensive item will be the Arca-Swiss, or similar, clamp. I have been using this set-up for about 10 yrs and it's the best thing I've found for wildlife because you are so mobile and weight-free. Also, as I said I love the Canon 400 f4 IS DO. You cannot find ANY other f4 lens as long & as sharp for the weight.
Ken
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Maggie,
Hear are some proof-is-in-the-pudding shots taken with my 400 DO & monopod
Ken
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JKSeidel
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« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2005, 08:43:25 PM »
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You can also try a  GoPod.
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Jeffrey

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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2005, 07:54:27 AM »
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>> The thing is that you are stating that that's what you would do if you were in my shoes but you also tell me that you would or wouldn't buy certain things because of the cost constrains, which is an issue for you. Then you are not telling me anything as you are putting your situation in perspective and not mine.

Well, I tried to put myself in your shoes. Look at the first sentence I wrote: "Even if would not have any financial limitations, I would not buy the 400/4 DO. Reasons: I don't like it's bokeh and flare resistance".

But then again, each lens has it's pros and cons and it's what suites the individual photographer that counts in the end.
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maggieddd
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« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2005, 10:38:15 AM »
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[attachment=90:attachment][attachment=91:attachment]
Maggie,
The Giotto mv-825 monopod, avail. at B&H, is very similar to mine. The setup is similar to the enclosed pic. But if you get a flag bearers harness from a flag store, it will be very cheap. I don't have a pic of my exact set-up. The most expensive item will be the Arca-Swiss, or similar, clamp. I have been using this set-up for about 10 yrs and it's the best thing I've found for wildlife because you are so mobile and weight-free. Also, as I said I love the Canon 400 f4 IS DO. You cannot find ANY other f4 lens as long & as sharp for the weight.
Ken
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54674\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you Ken.  I will look into this set up.  I even already have this monopod
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birdstrike
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« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2006, 01:08:12 PM »
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I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread.  I just ordered a 400mm DO.  I was in Africa last week and a fellow photographer had this lens.

Awesome.
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Victor Meldrew
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« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2006, 04:29:09 PM »
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I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread.  I just ordered a 400mm DO.  I was in Africa last week and a fellow photographer had this lens.

Awesome.
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I'm entering this thread rather late but as a 400DO owner I'm really pleased you took the plunge. I'm only an amateur photographer and this lens is by far the most expensive item I have ever bought. I still lie awake at nights wondering whether I should have got the 500IS instead. But when I remind myself that the DO weighs in at half of the 500IS and is a joy to use out in the field, I figure I may have made the right decision.

Anyway, as I said, I'm only an amateur who has to do a boring office job during the week, but you may be interested to see some of the photos I've taken during my first year of ownership. All the bird and mammal shots were taken using the 400 DO, some with the addition of the 1.4 converter. My one and only body is the 20D.

[a href=\"http://www.photosofwildlife.co.uk]http://www.photosofwildlife.co.uk[/url]

Cheers,
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pathfinder
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« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2006, 10:26:40 PM »
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The 400 DO IS seems to have inspired controversy ever since its introduction; folks seem to love it or hate it, but are rarely neutral about it.  

I get the feeling tha those who do not care for it, based that opinion on the early production cycle lenses.  I read on the web, that there were modest changes made to the lens sometime after the early lenses were introduced.  I wish I had a nice link to document this fact, but I do not.  

Nonetheless, the lens seems to be highly regarded by the newer users coming to it.  Uwe Steinmueller wrote nice comments about it here - http://www.outbackphoto.com/the_bag/uwes_c...2004/essay.html

I own and use the 300 f2.8 IS L, the 400DO IS, and the 500 f4 IS L and see little difference in image quality between them.  I base my useage on focal length needed, and how far I need to hike.  The 500 is a superb lens, but not a very portable one.  The 400 DO  with a 1.4 TC is a very portable device, and is responsibe for this image from a few years ago with a 10D.
  )   I have wondered if he sees the doughnut halo highlights with his  70-300 DO too.

There has been further discussion of the 400 DO here - http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=10554
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 09:54:01 AM by pathfinder » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2006, 02:33:13 PM »
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Regarding the 1D2 concept:  If you go this route, you may then get by quite well with the 300/4 IS mounted on it for a lightweight, close-focusing package with an effective 390mm focal.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=54441\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The 1DII has the same pixel pitch as the 5D (and bigger than the 1DsII) so the "390mm equivalence" of a 300mm lens is no advantage over the 5D at all. As far as resolution and FOV, it gives you exactly what you would get with an 8MP crop from the 5D with the same lens.

Since the 1DII and 5D have the biggest pixels and lowest sensor resolution (lp/mm) of any current DSLR, they are arguably somewhat poor options for super-telephoto work. For example, a 30D with 300/2.8 IS lens has the same telephoto reach as the 1DII with about 384mm, and the same 384mm with the 5D and a crop to match the 8MP of the 30D. (A Nikon D200 with 300/2.8 matches 410mm after cropping to equal pixel counts, but the OP has ruled out that option.)
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