Lenses for wildlife shooting

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  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 27, 2007
    BigAl wrote:
    ...rhino @ 363mm...[snip]
    Al, (if you check in on this thread) where was that where you saw the ever elusive rhino in the wild? My trip to Tanzania was un-safisfying in that regard... :(
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • BigAlBigAl Major grins Posts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    m8o wrote:
    Al, (if you check in on this thread) where was that where you saw the ever elusive rhino in the wild? My trip to Tanzania was un-safisfying in that regard... :(
    The rhino population in South Africa is doing quite well. You can see them in most game reserves with suitable habitat. The one I showed in this thread was taken in a reserve less than 10km from where I live.

    http://bigal-sa.smugmug.com/gallery/988497#45676353
    Pilanesberg Game Reserve
    Kruger National Park
    (all taken with a Bigma).

    Interesting, you asking me a question, since I wanted to know where you took those bird shots, as they are definately African birds mwink.gif
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Gald you check this thread and thanx for the reply.

    At risk of being OT [readers, please pardon] ... I was in Northern Tanzania for 10 days; got back 1 week ago; about 2 - 3 more weeks I figure until I complete going through all the RAWs and am done processing the 'keepers'. I started a thread on Pentaxforums I'm going to mirror here soon.

    They were shot at the KIA Airport Lodge's grounds actually. We were given a day room there on our way out. I was laying down. My wife told me about all the birdies out there as she went out to her mother's cabin. It was drizzly and grey, but I figured I'd give it a try. 300mm Sigma f/2.8, no TC. I felt llike Dr. Doolittle after a little while with the multitude of birds practically landing on my arms. It was fabulous being in a place with birds acclimated to having people close, with lots of flowers they like to feed on; serendipity!

    One of the people on our Safari had been in a South African private game reserve many years back and told us about that type of place; less restrictions on where the vehicle can drive and night time game viewing as well. Pretty fantastic that's 10 minutes away. Great capture and fantastic gallery! Thanx for the link.

    -steve
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • SciurusNigerSciurusNiger Runs with squirrels.... Posts: 256Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 2, 2007
    Harryb wrote:
    Hi y'all,

    We got lots of pictures going up all the time but very little discussion about the lenses we use to get those pics. I thought it might be interesting to share our experiences about the glass we shoot with.

    <snipped>

    That's my story. Lets hear some others.

    I just picked up the Nikkor 80-200mm and LOVE it. Need more power for the wild wildlife, though (meaning when I'm not shooting the critters in my backyard). Am planning to get the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E II before our trip to the U.P. in a couple of weeks. Pushing it with the D70, I know, but I'll take the power over the speed for now since there is such a huge variety of subjects to go after in places like Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

    Anything I should be aware of with that combo?

    PJ.
    Garnered Images Photography

    "Where beauty moves and wit delights and signs of kindness bind me; there, oh there, whe'er I go I leave my heart behind me." (Thomas Ford, 1607)
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 3, 2007
    M80...
    ...Was this tack sharp wide open? How about auto focus accuracy and speed.
    I have an example to show you -- while not wide open, 2/3 stop down from wide open @ f/3.5 -- that I think is exemplative of the best this lens is capable of. This is -with- the Sigma 1.4x TC, and the Polarizing filter ... both of which you know reduce EV through the lens.

    Full Image @ reduced rez:
    IMGP4894-vi.jpg


    Full rez 100% crop:
    IMGP4894100crop-vi.jpg

    We were about 50 feet from the Dik-Dik. The reflection in the eye from left to right is an Acacia tree, the Land Rover we were in, Sun (w/a bush under it), a Tree of Life w/o leaves (it's Winter there). When I did some pixel peeping of the image and saw our Land Rover in its eye, given that that reflection in the convex surface has total size of 18 pixels wide but still very recognizable, I knew my questioning of whether I had the tools necessary to acheive the sharpness equal to the world-class photos I see on this board and many others, is a resounding yes... ;) (...I'm not too proud to say "just not the skills!") If we were closer, I probably would have been able to make out myself in the reflection. (You can see these and many more following the Tanzania link in my sig.)

    Regarding the 2nd question, I had a lot of frustration trying to achieve that level of sharpness with every picture. This image is probably in the top 5% or 1% in sharpness out of near 4000 shot. I will say It was cloud covered until about 1pm every day, and I was using the 1.4x TC and polarizing filter (didn't realize the latter) the first 2 days, and move to using the 2x converter the remaining 7 days of wildlife viewing. And I personally question whether the K10D is as good at AF as other top sub-fullframe cameras from the top two mfgs.
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • comptonphotographercomptonphotographer ComptonPhotographer Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 7, 2007
    Canon 100-400 IS 4.5-5.6 L Series Zoom
    This would be my only lens if I had to make a choice. The IS is very good and I have hand held many very low light shots of elk at ISO 1600 with good results. I realize that primes are probably better, but at least in my case, I find that being nimble and able to respond quickly to wildlife situations is more important than anything else. The wildlife I shoot seldom pose for more than a few moments. I have a Bushhawk stock that I often use with this lens.

    At first I thought this lens was kind of clumsy and eccentric, but I am now very fond of its responsiveness and the results I get. This is my walk around lens for long hikes along the blufflines here in NW Arkansas and it has served me well. I also carry a the canon 1.4 teleconverter for longer shots.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,544Administrators moderator
    edited September 7, 2007
    This would be my only lens if I had to make a choice.

    Me too, and I have the 400 F5.6 as well. The 100-400 is much more versatile, more compact to carry, and gives almost exactly the same quality as the 400 prime as long as you're not wide open. Although, even wide open it's still very good. It also takes killer panoramas at 100mm if you haven't discovered that yet.

    And BTW, welcome to dgrin! Nice gallery you have. You like to shoot the same kind of critters I do, but you seem to have better access to them. thumb.gif I hope you stick around.

    Cheers,
    -joel
  • IcebearIcebear Major grins Posts: 4,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 9, 2007
    Well, I'm bummed . . .
    No one seems to like my new lens enough to post their results. I haven't had opportunity to use it for wildlife yet. Bought a Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED with the VRII (supposedly good for a four-stop improvement in hand-holdability).

    So far I've used it for shooting motorcycles on twisties, so it's hard for me to judge its sharpness. I'm still getting used to handling it. If anybody's on here who has the lens, what can I expect?
    John :
    Natural selection is responsible for every living thing that exists.
    D3s, D500, D5300, and way more glass than the wife knows about.
  • GiphsubGiphsub Major grins Posts: 2,662Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2007
    Great thread and lots of good info in here guys clap.gif

    Not too many using Nikon here by the sounds of things. I am ineterested to know about that or other similar Nikon lenses too.
  • GiphsubGiphsub Major grins Posts: 2,662Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2007
    I have been using a Tamron 28 - 300 on my d70 and have been able to get shots like these:

    184483910-M-7.jpg
    181751738-M-6.jpg
    181754983-M-6.jpg

    Bu I am looking at getting a better lens soon and have been thinking about the Nikkor 18-200 with a 1.7 teleconverter. Any thoughts? Or any suggestions for a way to get up around 400mm with a tc and lense without completely blowing the budget? (trying to keep some flexibility like the 18-200 could provide)
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2007
    Giphsub wrote:
    Not too many using Nikon here by the sounds of things. I am ineterested to know about that or other similar Nikon lenses too.
    Actually, I thought a lot used Nikon on this board. ...how do you think Pentax users feel then...? :cry <wink> <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/rolleyes1.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >

    Nice captures. I've yet to get a bird in flight I'm proud of.
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • GiphsubGiphsub Major grins Posts: 2,662Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2007
    m8o wrote:
    Actually, I thought a lot used Nikon on this board. ...how do you think Pentax users feel then...? :cry <wink> <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/rolleyes1.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >

    Nice captures. I've yet to get a bird in flight I'm proud of.

    Yeah I meant on this thread. Not much talk of lenses from the Nikon crowd.
    That kite shot was just one of those "right time, right place" shots. I felt very lucky to get it.
  • NatNat Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 12, 2007
    Nikon crowd
    Giphsub wrote:
    Yeah I meant on this thread. Not much talk of lenses from the Nikon crowd.

    I love my Nikon VR 80-400 4.5-5.6D ED! It's great for hand held shots and light enough to carry around.

    Nat
    www.maxbc.smugmug.com
  • NatNat Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 12, 2007
    Nat wrote:
    Giphsub wrote:
    Yeah I meant on this thread. Not much talk of lenses from the Nikon crowd.

    I love my Nikon VR 80-400 4.5-5.6D ED! It's great for hand held shots and light enough to carry around.

    Another photo - sorry to have to do two posts to attach two pics.

    Nat
    www.maxbc.smugmug.com
  • GiphsubGiphsub Major grins Posts: 2,662Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2007
  • borrowlenses.comborrowlenses.com Major grins Posts: 441Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    I will give you guys some feedback from the point of view of a rental company. Of the many groups of people who rent from us, nature/wildlife photograhpers are a sizable portion.

    For wildlife photogs on a budget, the 2 most popular lenses are, without a doubt, the Canon 100-400 and the Nikon 80-400 with extenders possibly thrown in.

    For wildlife photographers who will pay top dollar to get their shot, the Canon 500 is king. For a while, one of ours even had a camo lens coat on it, but some guy doing sports photography took offense to it :D

    We are considering adding the 600 to our arsenal and I am pretty sure wildlife photogs will drool on that one.

    Max
    http://www.BorrowLenses.com
    Your professional online camera gear rental store

    Follow us on Facebook
    http://www.facebook.com/borrowlenses
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,708Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 9, 2007
    I will give you guys some feedback from the point of view of a rental company. Of the many groups of people who rent from us, nature/wildlife photograhpers are a sizable portion.

    For wildlife photogs on a budget, the 2 most popular lenses are, without a doubt, the Canon 100-400 and the Nikon 80-400 with extenders possibly thrown in.

    For wildlife photographers who will pay top dollar to get their shot, the Canon 500 is king. For a while, one of ours even had a camo lens coat on it, but some guy doing sports photography took offense to it :D

    We are considering adding the 600 to our arsenal and I am pretty sure wildlife photogs will drool on that one.

    Max

    For Nikon wildlife shooters the two lenses that I think would be very popular would be the 200-400 VR and the 300mm f/4. Both are handholdable and don't need specialized tripods and heads to shoot from.

    The 400.28, 500 f/4 and the 600 f/4 would also require rental of a tripod and head to go along with the lens.
    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!"
  • borrowlenses.comborrowlenses.com Major grins Posts: 441Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 10, 2007
    Harryb wrote:
    For Nikon wildlife shooters the two lenses that I think would be very popular would be the 200-400 VR and the 300mm f/4. Both are handholdable and don't need specialized tripods and heads to shoot from.

    The 400.28, 500 f/4 and the 600 f/4 would also require rental of a tripod and head to go along with the lens.

    Thanks for the advice. Our next buying round will definitely be used to beef up our Nikon telephoto selection.
    http://www.BorrowLenses.com
    Your professional online camera gear rental store

    Follow us on Facebook
    http://www.facebook.com/borrowlenses
  • rpcrowerpcrowe RPCROWE Posts: 733Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 9, 2007
    An Embarrassing Story With A Nice Ending
    I craved a Canon 100-400MM L lens. I don't really know why because I have the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens and a 1.4x adapter so I have the focal length from 70-280mm covered with IS. However cravings don't always make great sense.

    Anyway, I was perusing eBay one day and saw this lens at really great price. The seller had been on eBay for years and had a 100% positive rating.

    There was only an extremely short time before the auction ended - less than 2 minutes. I raced to place a bid and was rewarded by winning the auction. However I was dismayed to find that I had, in my haste, misread the posting and that I had won a prime 400mm f/5.6L lens. I felt stupid but, figured what the heck - I'll try the lens. The price that I got the lens for was very good even for the 400mm f/5.6L.

    The verdict is in! I am in love with this lens. Its image quality and speed of focus is fantastic. I shoot it all the time wide open and the quality is as good as being stopped down. It is relatively small and light for a 400mm.

    Sure, I'd like IS and sure I'd like an f/4 or even an f/2.8 aperture. However, I am not prepared to pay the price for these additions - either in weight, money or image quality.

    I use the lens either on a tripod or a monopod and it performs brilliantly using the Manfrotto 3421 Gimbal camera Support. I have followed all types of moving objects to get used to the lens and the lens has performed flawlessly. It is a great focal length for birds in flight. I don't think that I would want the weight of a 500mm lens and I also think that I might have a bit of a hard time catching the birds in a lens this long on a 1.6x camera. After all, the 400mm is a 640mm equivalent.

    I am sorry that I don't have any images to post, they are on another computer at this time.

    When I use this lens on a tripod, I also carry my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in a holster case at my side to cover the shots that need a wider focal length.

    In Web research, I have found that I am not alone among photographers who have a great regard for the 400mm f/5.6L lens. This is a pretty darn highly regarded piece of glass,
  • largelylivinlargelylivin Blue-Dog Posts: 561Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 13, 2007
    SO, I got a Pentax K10D, now what?
    Okay, I don't regret my decision to buy the K10D: my primary factor was the need for something weather-resistant for my new on-the-water photog business. Along the way, those darn egrets and herons sucked me into shooting birds in my spare time. What a photography lesson it has been. The most frustrating photography experience in my entire life.

    Got the Sigma Bigma 50-500 and a really fine monopod for those still shots. For the bucks its a pretty darn good lens. But it is slow: optically, physically, and auto-focus wise. I'd really love a 800/f4 or faster but if it were out there I probably could not afford it.

    If you have a Pentax, what are your best long lens choices, especially for birding? Does anyone have experience using one of the older Pentax lenses with their DLSR?
    Brad Newby

    http://blue-dog.smugmug.com
    http://smile-123.smugmug.com
    http://vintage-photos.blogspot.com/

    Canon 7D, 100-400L, Mongoose 3.5, hoping for a 500L real soon.
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,708Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited November 13, 2007
    Okay, I don't regret my decision to buy the K10D: my primary factor was the need for something weather-resistant for my new on-the-water photog business. Along the way, those darn egrets and herons sucked me into shooting birds in my spare time. What a photography lesson it has been. The most frustrating photography experience in my entire life.

    Got the Sigma Bigma 50-500 and a really fine monopod for those still shots. For the bucks its a pretty darn good lens. But it is slow: optically, physically, and auto-focus wise. I'd really love a 800/f4 or faster but if it were out there I probably could not afford it.

    If you have a Pentax, what are your best long lens choices, especially for birding? Does anyone have experience using one of the older Pentax lenses with their DLSR?

    I don't have any experience with Pentax but your best choices would appear to be from Sigma. The Sigma 300mm 2.8 should work well with TCs and should give you some good results with action and or flight 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!"
  • stuffjunkiestuffjunkie should be out shooting Posts: 156Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 13, 2007
    Okay, I don't regret my decision to buy the K10D:
    ...
    Got the Sigma Bigma 50-500 and a really fine monopod for those still shots. For the bucks its a pretty darn good lens. But it is slow: optically, physically, and auto-focus wise. I'd really love a 800/f4 or faster but if it were out there I probably could not afford it.

    If you have a Pentax, what are your best long lens choices, especially for birding? Does anyone have experience using one of the older Pentax lenses with their DLSR?

    I'm sure you're way ahead of me in frustrating wildlife photography experiences, at the very least!:D

    I've had my K10D almost 11 months. I have some pretty old and kinda old glass from my 35mm kit. The old glass was a factor in getting the K10D. I really like the camera.

    I have a manual focus Tokina 300mm f/2.8 that works fine. I've shot recent zoo pics with a AF1.7x TC that turned out OK. In fast changing light, using the green button to get exposure settings is a bit frustrating. Probably no slower than using my manual 35mm. I'm probably just more impatient now. AF works fine, within a range, with the AF 1.7x TC. I also have a slightly newer Pentax FA 400mm f/5.6. My first use in a long while was when I discovered a Heron pond about 1/2 mile from home. They're very easily spooked and a 800mm wouldn't seem to be enough reach. I'd raise my camera and off they'd fly. Yes I tried the AF1.7x. It's a bit slow to focus with the slower lens, manual was faster but I'm out of practice. Wide open shots with contrasing backgrounds using my poor technique gave me a lot of purple fringing around the birds. Another zoo trip showed stopping down w/ the 400mm made a big difference. I need more practice and better approach technique (and calmer birds).

    I see razor sharp shots with the Bigma in forums all the time. That's a nice lens you have there. A 300 w/ 1.7x gives a 510mm f4.5 that's about the best you can do without spending sick amounts of cash. The old K 500mm f/4.5 is really really big. I understand the FA 600mm f/4 can be found if the need is there. I now see Sigma has a 800mm f5.6 in KA mount that you must be thinking about.

    I also see really nice shots using focal lengths under 400mm. Sure they can be cropped but there is obviously more to filling the frame than really long glass.
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 15, 2007
    largelylivn, wondering if you looked @ my Tanzania thread I link to in my sig; all shot with the Pentax K10D and Sigma 300mm f/2.8. Only last day ( which is the first post in this thread http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=70267 ) at the KIA Airport Lodge when we were leaving, was shot w/o a TC. Otherwise, all the Tarangirie park pics were with the 1.4x TC, and Ngorongoro Crater shots and Serengeti shots were with the 2x TC. That lattter combo is basically a 600mm f/5.6 and extremely sharp, colorful, and contrasy, as you see from my pix. The pix in the link above are just a taste of all the pix; all are in my gallery also in my sig. Additionally, I have about 1500 more I have to convert from RAW to JPG. I hope to get to it Thanksgiving week as I'll be taking off. Some of my best shots to come.

    But admittedly, it's still frustrating if you try to shoot a flying bird above you against a blue or cloudy sky and use autofocus, as if you lose center on the burd, the camera/lens hunts from one end of the focus range to the other; The lens -really- needs a focus limiter! But you'll have pretty good success with birds taking off and landing with practice / experience when you're on the side of them. However, trying to focus on birds flying at you? ...well, that's tougher and I imaginve the f/2.8 won't be focusing much faster then the Bigma if at all (I need to meet up with someone with a Bigma one day to comapre the two)
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • nightowlphotographynightowlphotography Night Owl Photography Posts: 35Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 27, 2007
    Okay, I don't regret my decision to buy the K10D: my primary factor was the need for something weather-resistant for my new on-the-water photog business. Along the way, those darn egrets and herons sucked me into shooting birds in my spare time. What a photography lesson it has been. The most frustrating photography experience in my entire life.

    Got the Sigma Bigma 50-500 and a really fine monopod for those still shots. For the bucks its a pretty darn good lens. But it is slow: optically, physically, and auto-focus wise. I'd really love a 800/f4 or faster but if it were out there I probably could not afford it.

    If you have a Pentax, what are your best long lens choices, especially for birding? Does anyone have experience using one of the older Pentax lenses with their DLSR?

    I also have the K10D with the Sigma Bigma. I'm also frustrated with my K10D. Soft images seem to be a norm with the whole Pentax line of DSLR's. It means I have to sharpen everything. I hate that. The Bigma certainly gives me the reach I want, but it's super slow. Maybe I want to much from my camera and lens, but I'm unhappy with the combination, and can't wait to upgrade to a Nikon system. My cousin shoots Nikon, and his images freakin' rock.
    Rich Nagle | Night Owl Photography

    http://www.nightowlphotography.com/
  • BikePilotBikePilot Big grins Posts: 99Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 27, 2007
    In the DC resource review of the K10D they mention changing some of the settings to increase the sharpness of the jpg's in the camera. It seems that pentax makes them come out soft on purpose but its easily changed best I can tell.
    Josh


    Sony DSC-S85 (point and shoot)
    Panasonic LX1
    Olympus 770SW

    In the market for a dslr
  • nightowlphotographynightowlphotography Night Owl Photography Posts: 35Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 28, 2007
    BikePilot wrote:
    In the DC resource review of the K10D they mention changing some of the settings to increase the sharpness of the jpg's in the camera. It seems that pentax makes them come out soft on purpose but its easily changed best I can tell.

    Thanks for the info. I've tried increasing the sharpness in the camera, but I thought that was bad for the image quality. I've never tried increasing the contrast and image tone, so I'll give that all a try and see how much better my images look. Thanks again for the info.
    Rich Nagle | Night Owl Photography

    http://www.nightowlphotography.com/
  • m8om8o Posts: 103Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 31, 2007
    I also have the K10D with the Sigma Bigma. I'm also frustrated with my K10D. Soft images seem to be a norm with the whole Pentax line of DSLR's. It means I have to sharpen everything. I hate that. The Bigma certainly gives me the reach I want, but it's super slow. Maybe I want to much from my camera and lens, but I'm unhappy with the combination, and can't wait to upgrade to a Nikon system. My cousin shoots Nikon, and his images freakin' rock.
    Lol ... Not that I wouldn't be happy with a D300 myself (though someone's gotta buy me those super long VR lenses), but silly me, I thought it was about the skillz. rolleyes1.gif (I kid -- I know you ave plenty from your site) But fine, give it to me, I'll give it a good home. :D I don't think my shots suk or are soft when I get focus right, and I could use another body. ;)

    Why aren't you shooting RAW and use LR in post if you are shooting seriously? Also, I've heard a number of people saying their Bigma is sharp up to about 420mm, soft @ 500mm. That's the lens, not the platform. It's why I spent 1.5x more on my weapon of choice. My choice would have been that regardless of platform.

    Question, do you have the focus ring in AF or MF? I'm pretty sure the Bigma works as mine. If I push or pull (I forget which) the focus ring into MF, AF will still work, but the lens moves several times slower to AF.
    Camera: Pentax K-5 & K10D / Profile: Introducing...Me on DGRIN / Some Pix: The 'm8o Gallery' Best of m8o In Tanzania '07
  • jeff lapointjeff lapoint The dose makes the poison Posts: 1,228Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 6, 2008
    I've been watching this thread for some time and after going through all the great info I thought I'd share some of my experiences.

    I am familiar with several lenses in the Canon line up due mostly to the fact that I'm constantly switching up my gear and experimenting.

    I think the 400 5.6L and 200 2.8L have been covered well by other posters already. I did own a 500 4 L IS for a short time and had to sell it for marital reasonsrolleyes1.gifcry...but it goes without saying that it is a wonderful lens!

    Canon 500mm f4 IS L

    Vitals

    Cost new: $5,500 before tax/shipping depending on where you live.

    Cost used: I've seen em for as low as $4800 on FM

    Weight: 8.53 lbs

    Minimum focusing distance: 14.8'


    What I didn't know when I bought the lens: These super teles cost much more than they appear to...After you add on a tripod, gimbal head, lens plate, lens coat you can count on adding at least another $1000 on to everything--maybe more or less depending on exactly what gear you choose. Something to keep in mind.

    Its heavy and can attract alot of attention from passersby. It is built for combat, but is still handhold-able for shorts bursts (I'm a 31y/o guy who is about 5'8" and 170lbs--not a big or strong dude by any stretch)

    500 IS handheld

    69121779-L.jpg


    Tripod and gimbal mounted

    75160647-L.jpg

    71974661-L.jpg

    The focus is lightning fast and the lens takes TC's extremely well. If I could still have just one lens for wildlife photography this would be it. But for now it was not meant to be so the search went on...


    Canon 300 2.8IS

    Vital statistics:


    New price: $3,899
    Used: ~$3400 mark
    Weight: 6 lbs
    Minimum focusing distance: 8.2'


    This lens seems to be a controversial choice for some wildlife shooters as it goes against the maxim "choose a slower longer lens over a faster shorter one". I think its a slam dunk though. Coupled with a 1.4 and a 2x TC you now have a 420mm f4 IS and a 600mm 5.6 IS. Thats three lenses that are extremely valuable for what we shoot! I hear a lot of talk on the net that you sacrifice tons of IQ, but that was never really my experience.

    The 300 2.8 focuses like lightning and it is considered by some to be Canon's sharpest lens.

    I consider it light enough to hand hold for pretty long periods of time and I frequently used it to shoot swallows in flight with both the 30D and later the 1dIIN

    without TC wide open at f2.8

    160351694-L.jpg

    and with the 1.4 TC at f4

    148583448-L.jpg

    Here's a few of a hawk to show IQ loss with TCsrolleyes1.gif

    with the 1.4x handheld

    227664194-XL.jpg

    With 2x TC handheld

    227663784-XL.jpg

    and one more with the 1.4x

    168583609-L.jpg



    I recently sold the 300 2.8 IS for an opportunity to buy a 600f4 non IS from 1993, but I can tell you I was beginning to regret the sale of this lens (or rather all 3 lenses it becomes with TC's) before I had sold it. It is a wonderful choice for wildlife and sports and even family shots...

    web.jpg

    With the teleconverters I consider this lens to be the wildlife swiss army knife with the only sacrifices being price and minimum focusing distance over the lighter slower lenses.

    Fast forward to current day...

    Canon 600mm F4 non IS

    Vitals

    Cost (used only): Varies...expect to pay in the $3900 range...if you can find one

    Weight: 6000g or 13.2 lbs

    Minimum focusing distance: 18'

    I went for this lens so that I could have the advantage of longer reach and the experience of honing my long lens technique...and carrying it doubles as a gym membership:D

    Pros: Fast, sharp, and tons of reach. Built like a tank. A steal if you can find one in good condition at the right price.

    Cons: This is a specialty lens. No more jack of all trades here folks. It is freaking heavy and some have reported Canon will no longer service this lens. Other vendors/shops will, but still...that sucks. No IS but it is also $4000 + cheaper than the IS version. The IS version is slightly lighter and has a better minimum focusing distance. Holds its value well, but the used market for an expensive older lens can be fickle...

    Buying and using this bad boy takes a real commitment. I knew I really wanted to be out shooting the other day when I was lugging this lens through snow in -2 degree temps for over 2 miles. I'd like to think the experience has been rewarding...

    237340492-XL.jpg
    264414990_Fb4Jt-O.jpg
    265486984_Ux75n-L-2.jpg


    I've only had the lens a few weeks now and the learning curve is indeed steep. I'll throw some more shots up on this thread as they are made...

    Thanks for hanging in for such a long post and I really hope this helps someone out!:D

    -Jeff
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaPosts: 22,708Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited January 7, 2008
    Great addition to the thread Jeff clap.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!"
  • jehsomjehsom Beginner grinner Posts: 7Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited January 9, 2008
    500mm: ever TOO close?
    I was thinking about how cool it would be to have a 500mm prime, but I was caught wondering if it would ever put you too close to your subject. Has anyone ever slipped on their 500mm and then started tracking your subject only to find that it gets too close to you and you can no longer fit it in the frame??

    I have a Bigma on my 30D and I just had my first real outing with it last week in the Florida Everglades. I have to say I am vey disappointed with it. I think, however, that I may have a bad copy. It seems to back-focus. I focus with a fixed focus point, and many of my pictures end up being out of focus on the subject, but in-focus on something slightly behind.

    Here are some of the better photos I shot with it:
    IMG_4272.jpg

    IMG_4591.jpg

    IMG_4706.jpg

    IMG_4656.jpg
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