Lenses for wildlife shooting

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  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited May 23, 2007
    Hello All this is My Very first post ! i'm a young man interested in photography, and have been taking photos for around 4 years, mainly wildlife as i live in south africa ! I'm just seeking some advice on a new lens, and am looking at the canon ef 100-400 is usm ! comments on this lense please ! or sample images ! or any other recommendations ! using a 20d ! thanks alot...
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Posts: 9,522Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2007
    Milky wrote:
    Hello All this is My Very first post ! i'm a young man interested in photography, and have been taking photos for around 4 years, mainly wildlife as i live in south africa ! I'm just seeking some advice on a new lens, and am looking at the canon ef 100-400 is usm ! comments on this lense please ! or sample images ! or any other recommendations ! using a 20d ! thanks alot...
    Look at these:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-100-400mm-f-4.5-5.6-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=19&sort=7&cat=27&page=1

    Remember that this lens is not compatible with the Canon extenders for auto focus with the 20D.
  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited May 23, 2007
    Thanks alot for that Ricthumb.gif
  • tsk1979tsk1979 Major grins Posts: 939Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2007
    Late to the party
    But I will give a new meaning to cheapness.
    I have a Canon 75-300 USM III. It costs 150$, and is not sharp anywhere except in F8-F11 range. Wide open you cannot go 100% crop, but if you are upto 50% crop its fine.
    It focuses slow, but is pretty light. I use it for potraits at 100mm in bright light.
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  • lilbumbeelilbumbee Beginner grinner Posts: 6Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 1, 2007
    How do you manage this ?
    Before I start...lemme comment.. EXCELLENT pictures !!! something I really dream I should get.

    But I was wondering that you guys are talking about 80mm, 200mm and stuff..How do you manage to get so close to the subject.
    I have a 300mm and even with that I am never able to get so close to the birdy and get a full frame picture of it.

    Kindly enlighten...:D

    Thanks
    lilbumbee
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited June 1, 2007
    lilbumbee wrote:
    Before I start...lemme comment.. EXCELLENT pictures !!! something I really dream I should get.

    But I was wondering that you guys are talking about 80mm, 200mm and stuff..How do you manage to get so close to the subject.
    I have a 300mm and even with that I am never able to get so close to the birdy and get a full frame picture of it.

    Kindly enlighten...:D

    Thanks
    lilbumbee

    A lot of it depends on your geography. I live in Florida where the birds have become used to the presence of people allowing you to get closer to them than in other locations.

    If you have the patience to spend a few hours with a subject you can gradually and carefully approach them and shoot at a shorter distance. The use of a blind will also requre a lot of patience and get you closer to your subjects than you could otherwise.

    In the end though you will need at least a 300mm and a TC to get decent wildlife shots.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 4, 2007
    Hi All i just orderered a canon ef 100-400 is usm... and was just wondering which uv filters to get !! or just a protector !! please share youtr views and experience !!

    thanks alot
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited June 4, 2007
    Milky wrote:
    Hi All i just orderered a canon ef 100-400 is usm... and was just wondering which uv filters to get !! or just a protector !! please share youtr views and experience !!

    thanks alot

    I'm assuming you are talking about the UV filter as protection for your lens. In that case you don't need one. Why pay over $1K for a lens and then put $20 of glass in front of it?

    Put on your lens hood and be careful. That's all the protection you will need.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 5, 2007
    Harryb wrote:
    I'm assuming you are talking about the UV filter as protection for your lens. In that case you don't need one. Why pay over $1K for a lens and then put $20 of glass in front of it?

    Put on your lens hood and be careful. That's all the protection you will need.

    Thanks alot for the advice ! so I am assuming that you don't use filters ??
  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 7, 2007
    Hi again all ! was just looking at lenses for landscapes, and was wondering wat u shoot with, so far i've narrowed it down to the sigma 18-50 f/2.8, the canon ef 10-22 USM f/3-4.5 and the canon ef 17-40 f/4L USM

    Any other suggestions ? please share your views ! thanks alot, much appreciated :D
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited June 7, 2007
    Milky wrote:
    Thanks alot for the advice ! so I am assuming that you don't use filters ??

    I use a polarizer and graduated ND filters. I use them when I want to get their effect on a shot not as lens protection.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited June 7, 2007
    Milky wrote:
    Hi again all ! was just looking at lenses for landscapes, and was wondering wat u shoot with, so far i've narrowed it down to the sigma 18-50 f/2.8, the canon ef 10-22 USM f/3-4.5 and the canon ef 17-40 f/4L USM

    Any other suggestions ? please share your views ! thanks alot, much appreciated :D

    This is a question better suited for the Field and Street forum where landscape shooters hang out.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • MilkyMilky Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 7, 2007
    Harryb wrote:
    This is a question better suited for the Field and Street forum where landscape shooters hang out.

    Thanks alot ! sorry never knew that, im new here...
  • brodavidrogersbrodavidrogers Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 21, 2007
    I am just begining so I would like some input
    lazy day
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited June 25, 2007
    lazy day

    headscratch.gif
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 22, 2007
    I want to say "thank you" to the many posters over the course of a year. I was going to post a thread titled "Going on Safari Africa ... how much reach and speed will I need?", but I don't think I need to now. bowdown.gif Feel free to chime in and offer your thoughts however! But I think a 80-200 f/2.8 + 1.4TC and/or 1.7TC, or 300/f.4 + 1.4TC or 1.7TC is the answer.

    I am a Pentax shooter, for mainly features and built-in-body IS; oh and dust removal (I was sure Nikon would announce a new D200 model upgrade with dust reduction the week after I bought one; as that was the main contender). I'm in the process of trying to decide which lens to buy -- options are either Sigma Bigma or 300 f/4 new if I get word from my contact there they'll have a deliver this week, or used FA* Pentax.

    So with all that said, I surmise from all this that when out on the savanna...
    - 200mm f/2.8 zoom + 1.7TC is minimum
    - 300mm f/4 | f/4.5 prime + 1.4TC is better
    - 200mm f/2.8 zoom + 1.4 & 1.7 stacked TC even better if I can live with the f/6.7 speed?

    ...or I get a Bigma if they become available in time for my trip ( less then 2 weeks)... :confused

    EDIT: It's the next morning from this post. I got word this morning from the -extremely- helpful folks @ Sigma America that they had a 300mm f/2.8 in Pentax mount. I decided to buy it!!! That, plus the 1.4x TC, plus the 2x TC... I'm pretty sure I'm set! thumb.gif
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,701Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited August 1, 2007
    m8o wrote:
    I want to say "thank you" to the many posters over the course of a year. I was going to post a thread titled "Going on Safari Africa ... how much reach and speed will I need?", but I don't think I need to now. bowdown.gif Feel free to chime in and offer your thoughts however! But I think a 80-200 f/2.8 + 1.4TC and/or 1.7TC, or 300/f.4 + 1.4TC or 1.7TC is the answer.

    I am a Pentax shooter, for mainly features and built-in-body IS; oh and dust removal (I was sure Nikon would announce a new D200 model upgrade with dust reduction the week after I bought one; as that was the main contender). I'm in the process of trying to decide which lens to buy -- options are either Sigma Bigma or 300 f/4 new if I get word from my contact there they'll have a deliver this week, or used FA* Pentax.

    So with all that said, I surmise from all this that when out on the savanna...
    - 200mm f/2.8 zoom + 1.7TC is minimum
    - 300mm f/4 | f/4.5 prime + 1.4TC is better
    - 200mm f/2.8 zoom + 1.4 & 1.7 stacked TC even better if I can live with the f/6.7 speed?
    ...or I get a Bigma if they become available in time for my trip ( less then 2 weeks)... :confused

    EDIT: It's the next morning from this post. I got word this morning from the -extremely- helpful folks @ Sigma America that they had a 300mm f/2.8 in Pentax mount. I decided to buy it!!! That, plus the 1.4x TC, plus the 2x TC... I'm pretty sure I'm set! thumb.gif


    The 300 2.8 should just about be the perfect lens for you.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 5, 2007
    Thnx! Still lots to learn (latest lesson in futility was trying to use the 2x converter shooting dragonflys close using AF... just one real keeper. :cry ...lol ) but yep, It takes pretty pix... have a look.
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • thortatethortate Big grins Posts: 27Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 14, 2007
    Hi there, these are great images and you know your gear well too, thanks for the detailed reviews, I'm interested in which of these lenses can deliver the best results
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 18, 2007
    thortate wrote:
    Hi there, these are great images and you know your gear well too, thanks for the detailed reviews, I'm interested in which of these lenses can deliver the best results

    For best "results".

    The pretty big white lenses. They get all the chicks. eek7.gif rolleyes1.gif :D

    59750720.jpg
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    Harryb wrote:
    The 300 2.8 should just about be the perfect lens for you.
    Just got back. With the 1.4x or 2x TC, it was. And fast enough. You need to be out of the parks before sundown anyway.

    But a recommendation for anyone not taking 2 bodies on Safari... get a Zoom if you can; or buy another body for the wide-angle. There were too many instances for me to count where I was too close to the animals and could only get a part of the head, or no horns, or part of the animal but no legs, in the frame. I'd gladly sell/swap the 300mm f/2.8 Sigma prime for a 100-300mm f/2.8 zoom but alas it's not availble for the Pentax mount... :cry -- slight loss in sharpness be damned ... I'm "unsharp @ any speed" as I've read here in someone's sig, anyway <lol>.
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    m8o wrote:
    I'd gladly sell/swap the 300mm f/2.8 Sigma prime <lol>.

    M80...

    I was wondering how you liked the 300mm other than the issues with being a fixed focal length and comping on the fly. Was this tack sharp wide open? How about auto focus accuracy and speed. Did it seem fast enough for fast action wildlife shooting? Have you ever used Canon's 300mm f/2.8 "L" ?? I was wondering how this Sigma compared to the Canon. It's about $1600 less than the Canon variety. The Canon does have IS, but for the extra money..I can live with the lack of stabilization and the ability to buy another nice lens. :D

    Anyone else used this Sigma 300mm and the Canon. Would love to hear your opinions on these two lenses. I can't stand a slow focusing lens. The tokina 300mm I had just didn't cut it for flight shots. Focused way too slow. Sold it and am looking for a cheap alternative to the Canon 300mm f/2.8.

    Cheers
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    I'm sorry to say I'm a complete 'newb' to -real- cameras (non-point'n'shoot) so can't draw any relations to Canon's.

    The lens is very capable of excellent sharpness at f/2.8 as is evidenced by me when I stood outside my day-room the last day of the, trip and took pictures of the multitudes of humming bird-like birds (they just didn't hover when feeding on the flowers) at a distance of a few feet while it was heavily overcast and misting even. I wish I had my HyperDrive here @ work as I'd convert some RAWs to JPG and post'm. If anything, it showed the limitations of the AF system of the K10D in its difficulty in achieving excellent sharpness on -every- shot; some are outstanding, some not.

    If I have any serious criticism to say, it is that it doesn't have a focus limiter. Focus is fast -- and I have the non-HSM, Canon/Nikon versions are HSM which is supposed to be much better and quieter. However if focus isn't achieved within a few iterations, it will hunt to the far extent of the range and back. Even then, time to do a full cycle out and back for the non-HSM version is just a fraction of a second; though an appreciable fraction of a second (i.e. 100's of milliseconds).

    My technique in holding the camera+ 5+ lb. lens on a flying bird using spot focus leaves -much- to be desired, so I have to say -I- was the governor on any ability to AF birds in flight (I realize now I should have switched to matrix focus). I'd say again though, not having the focus limiter could produce periods of frustration, where if you are on continuous focus (needed for birds in flight?) and you loose the bird for a moment, the lens is likely to run from where it is to infinity or min focus and back. That is only supposition however; keep in mind I've only been at this 2 months! :D

    ~

    edit: Ah, i forgot! A past -- non-wildlife -- sequence of shots I made as a 'test' of Bokeh over f/2.8, f/8 and f/13:
    http://public.fotki.com/m8o/memorable_images/the_natural_world/flowers/sigma-300mm-f28-dof/
    10megapix originals linked @ the bottom of each image
    I will say I found my more recent shots wide open of the birds on the trees to be much sharper then that example. I believe camera shake is evident on that f/2.8 shot. I was more concerned with the bokeh produced then sharpness on those pix. I should redo it w/ exposure time of 1/300 or more...

    ~
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    Thanks for the info. The HSM version is tempting. Seems to get decent reviews. I've just not been thrilled with any 3rd party lenses I've purchased. That darn 300mm f/2.8 from Canon is almost $4K. Damn. mwink.gif

    m8o wrote:
    I'm sorry to say I'm a complete 'newb' to -real- cameras (non-point'n'shoot) so can't draw any relations to Canon's.

    The lens is very capable of excellent sharpness at f/2.8 as is evidenced by me when I stood outside my day-room the last day of the, trip and took pictures of the multitudes of humming bird-like birds (they just didn't hover when feeding on the flowers) at a distance of a few feet while it was heavily overcast and misting even. I wish I had my HyperDrive here @ work as I'd convert some RAWs to JPG and post'm. If anything, it showed the limitations of the AF system of the K10D in its difficulty in achieving excellent sharpness on -every- shot; some are outstanding, some not.

    If I have any serious criticism to say, it is that it doesn't have a focus limiter. Focus is fast -- and I have the non-HSM, Canon/Nikon versions are HSM which is supposed to be much better and quieter. However if focus isn't achieved within a few iterations, it will hunt to the far extent of the range and back. Even then, time to do a full cycle out and back for the non-HSM version is just a fraction of a second; though an appreciable fraction of a second (i.e. 100's of milliseconds).

    My technique in holding the camera+ 5+ lb. lens on a flying bird using spot focus leaves -much- to be desired, so I have to say -I- was the governor on any ability to AF birds in flight (I realize now I should have switched to matrix focus). I'd say again though, not having the focus limiter could produce periods of frustration, where if you are on continuous focus (needed for birds in flight?) and you loose the bird for a moment, the lens is likely to run from where it is to infinity or min focus and back. That is only supposition however; keep in mind I've only been at this 2 months! :D

    edit: Ah, i forgot! Some past -- non-wildlife -- shot I have taken, some of which are wide open.
    a) a 'example' of Bokeh and sharpnedd over f/2.8, f/8 and f/13:
    http://public.fotki.com/m8o/memorable_images/the_natural_world/flowers/sigma-300mm-f28-dof/
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,404Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 24, 2007
    M80...

    I was wondering how you liked the 300mm other than the issues with being a fixed focal length and comping on the fly. Was this tack sharp wide open? How about auto focus accuracy and speed. Did it seem fast enough for fast action wildlife shooting? Have you ever used Canon's 300mm f/2.8 "L" ?? I was wondering how this Sigma compared to the Canon. It's about $1600 less than the Canon variety. The Canon does have IS, but for the extra money..I can live with the lack of stabilization and the ability to buy another nice lens. :D

    Anyone else used this Sigma 300mm and the Canon. Would love to hear your opinions on these two lenses. I can't stand a slow focusing lens. The tokina 300mm I had just didn't cut it for flight shots. Focused way too slow. Sold it and am looking for a cheap alternative to the Canon 300mm f/2.8.


    The cheap alternative to the Canon 300 f2.8 IS L is the Canon 300f4 isn't it?
    Cheers

    Mike ( as you know) I own and use several Canon super teles including the 300f2.8 IS L.

    I also have used my wife's Sigma 120-300f2.8 as well. It is a nice lens, and optically pretty good. I think the image is a "little" warmer with the SIgma lens, but it is definitely not as fast at AF and suffers in comparison with its lack of IS. I hav enot used the Sigma 300 f2.8 so I cannot comment on it versus the 300 f2.8 IS L. I have heard folks who say the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 is as good as the Sigma 300 f2.8 fixed, but I have no basis for that comparison.

    I feel the same about my Tamron 200-500. Nice, adequte, useable, lightweight, ( I frequently prefer the weight of the little Tammy ) but it is not the optical equal of the 300 f2.8 IS, or the 400 f4 DO, or the 500 f4 IS.

    I give the Sigma 300-800 very high marks - if it had IS it would compare very favorablely with Canon's glass. JMOne_nau.gif
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    Thanks Jim. Appreciate the input. You and I both kow I want the CANON 300mm f/2.8. rolleyes1.gif :D They need to have a 50% off sale this Christmas season. wings.gif eek7.gif
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,404Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 24, 2007
    For me, the 300f2.8 IS is a lot better sports lens, than wildlife lens. I think 400mm is just beginning to allow me to reach wildlife like I prefer. Even though the Sigma 120-300 is not long or fast focusing enough, the zoom is very nice. I like the Tammy 200-500 for its versatility.

    But if I had to choose ONLY one lens for birds, it would not be a 300 or 400, but the 500f4 IS L. That and a Nikon 200-400VR would cover an awful lot of ground.thumb.gif Canon really needs to bring out a new 200-450 IS lens badly.

    I know that you can get a lot closer than I, because you have always been able to walk right up to the birds - I think you have a cloaking device of some sort:D
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 24, 2007
    I guess if I lived in Indianer ....where the birds are unfriendly...I'd think about a 500000mm also. :D

    Personally...that 300mm f/2.8 would be ideal for my shooting situation, here in FL. As you are aware...I use a 200mm regularly NOW.wings.gif rolleyes1.gif :D
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 27, 2007
    M8o...
    I was wondering how you liked the [Sigma] 300mm ...
    Finally processed that day. Only about 3500 images of all the wildlife viewing to go... <argh!> Photos taken on a cloudy, misty, lightly drizzly day, handheld, wide open, with that lens. First three subjects were near minimum focus limit (ya, close) so focus was razor thin; keep that in mind as only part of the bird is in the DOF zone. Tiny taste; Loads all here:
    http://public.fotki.com/m8o/outdoor_adventures/tanzania-2007/070820--srngti-kili/
    (hi-rez orignals can be had there; a lot of noise treatment via Lightroom, hardly touched color/brightness/contrast. )

    IMGP7425-vi.jpg

    IMGP7469-vi.jpg

    IMGP7442-vi.jpg

    DOF was a lot deeper here, but shot was taken at about EV10 or EV11 with the bird at the edge of the tree canopy on the drizzly day.
    IMGP7529-vi.jpg
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • Osprey WhispererOsprey Whisperer Bird Man Photographer Posts: 3,803Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 27, 2007
    Thanks for postin' the pics.thumb.gif
    Mike McCarthy

    "Osprey Whisperer"

    OspreyWhisperer.com
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