Nature lens choices

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Trout-hunter, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Trout-hunter

    Trout-hunter Guest

    Howdy!

    My 20D was recently stolen with my 60mm Macro on it and I have $2020.00
    to replace it all. Although the 30D is coming out, I can't justify
    the cost due to the same mp.
    $1100 will go for the 20D body. So, I have about 900-1300 to play with
    for len(s). I still have the crappy EFS 18-55mm lens that came with
    it. Great to shoot the kids around the house.

    I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough? And
    at that price, can I be happy that I made the correct decision? I
    considered a mix of lenses. 100 mm macro and a zoom up to 300mm, but
    not the best quality to get both. mmmmmm spend the $$ on a good quality
    zoom?

    So, your opinions are very much needed.

    How to spend the money for the replacement?

    Brad
    Trout-hunter, Mar 30, 2006
    #1
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  2. Trout-hunter

    Annika1980 Guest

    >I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    >Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough?


    Sadly, no. If you like birds, you must get a longer focal length. The
    400 f/5.6L fits into your price range, but it isn't as flexible as the
    70-200. I've shot hundreds of bird pics with my 400 f/5.6L, usually
    handheld and sometimes even with a 1.4x as seen here:

    http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/54880301

    So if you'll be shooting more birds than everything else go with the
    400 f/5.6L. Otherwise, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a terrific lens. I'd
    probably start with the 70-200 myself.
    Annika1980, Mar 30, 2006
    #2
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  3. Trout-hunter

    Eric Miller Guest

    "Trout-hunter" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Howdy!
    >
    > My 20D was recently stolen with my 60mm Macro on it and I have $2020.00
    > to replace it all. Although the 30D is coming out, I can't justify
    > the cost due to the same mp.
    > $1100 will go for the 20D body. So, I have about 900-1300 to play with
    > for len(s). I still have the crappy EFS 18-55mm lens that came with
    > it. Great to shoot the kids around the house.
    >
    > I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    > Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough? And
    > at that price, can I be happy that I made the correct decision? I
    > considered a mix of lenses. 100 mm macro and a zoom up to 300mm, but
    > not the best quality to get both. mmmmmm spend the $$ on a good quality
    > zoom?
    >
    > So, your opinions are very much needed.
    >
    > How to spend the money for the replacement?
    >
    > Brad
    >


    For birds, in your price range, IMHO, you should consider the following
    lenses:

    Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM
    Canon EF 300mm f/4 IS USM (and get a 1.4x teleconverter)
    Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX APO DG HSM
    Sigma 135-400mm 4.5-5.6 Aspherical APO
    Sigma 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 EX OS APO
    Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 Aspherical RF APO
    Tamron SP AF200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)

    These options are based on my opinion that anyone who shoots birds will want
    at least a 400mm lens. I own a Canon 400 f/5.6L USM and can attest to its
    optics being of the best quality. I have also owned the Sigma 135-400 and,
    when stopped down, it resolves better than my 10D sensor needs. Based on my
    experience with a 70-200 2.8L IS USM, I suspect that though the optics of
    the IS/OS zooms may not be quite the equal of the primes, in practice, the
    IS/OS elimination of blur caused by camera shake will probably result in
    better/sharper images under most conditions, especially when comparing shots
    where no camera support was used.

    Eric Miller
    Eric Miller, Mar 30, 2006
    #3
  4. Trout-hunter

    Fred Guest

    I would have said the Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM. Of course, not a
    fast lens, but you can crank up the ISO if need be.

    I thought you used this lens Bret?


    "Annika1980" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    > >Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough?

    >
    > Sadly, no. If you like birds, you must get a longer focal length. The
    > 400 f/5.6L fits into your price range, but it isn't as flexible as the
    > 70-200. I've shot hundreds of bird pics with my 400 f/5.6L, usually
    > handheld and sometimes even with a 1.4x as seen here:
    >
    > http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/54880301
    >
    > So if you'll be shooting more birds than everything else go with the
    > 400 f/5.6L. Otherwise, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a terrific lens. I'd
    > probably start with the 70-200 myself.
    >
    Fred, Mar 30, 2006
    #4
  5. Trout-hunter

    Eatmorepies Guest

    ..
    >
    > I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    > Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough? And
    > at that price, can I be happy that I made the correct decision? I
    > considered a mix of lenses. 100 mm macro and a zoom up to 300mm, but
    > not the best quality to get both. mmmmmm spend the $$ on a good quality
    > zoom?
    >
    > So, your opinions are very much needed.
    >


    I suggest the 300mm f4L IS and a 1.4x converter. Not as flexible as a zoom
    but the 300mm takes excellent pictures and the camera will still autofocus
    when the 1.4x is on it. The IS works and I have hand held the lens at 1/125
    and still had L lens sharpness. Then save up for the 24-105mm f4L IS for
    other stuff.

    John
    Eatmorepies, Mar 30, 2006
    #5
  6. Trout-hunter

    Eatmorepies Guest

    ..
    >
    > I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    > Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough? And
    > at that price, can I be happy that I made the correct decision? I
    > considered a mix of lenses. 100 mm macro and a zoom up to 300mm, but
    > not the best quality to get both. mmmmmm spend the $$ on a good quality
    > zoom?
    >
    > So, your opinions are very much needed.
    >


    I suggest the 300mm f4L IS and a 1.4x converter. Not as flexible as a zoom
    but the 300mm takes excellent pictures and the camera will still autofocus
    when the 1.4x is on it. The IS works and I have hand held the lens at 1/125
    and still had L lens sharpness. Then save up for the 24-105mm f4L IS for
    other stuff.

    John
    Eatmorepies, Mar 30, 2006
    #6
  7. Trout-hunter

    Mike Guest

    "Eric Miller" <> a écrit dans le message de
    news: KsTWf.28675$...
    >
    >
    > For birds, in your price range, IMHO, you should consider the following
    > lenses:
    >
    > Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    > Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM
    > Canon EF 300mm f/4 IS USM (and get a 1.4x teleconverter)
    > Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX APO DG HSM
    > Sigma 135-400mm 4.5-5.6 Aspherical APO
    > Sigma 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 EX OS APO
    > Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 Aspherical RF APO
    > Tamron SP AF200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)
    >
    > These options are based on my opinion that anyone who shoots birds will
    > want at least a 400mm lens. I own a Canon 400 f/5.6L USM and can attest to
    > its optics being of the best quality. I have also owned the Sigma 135-400
    > and, when stopped down, it resolves better than my 10D sensor needs. Based
    > on my experience with a 70-200 2.8L IS USM, I suspect that though the
    > optics of the IS/OS zooms may not be quite the equal of the primes, in
    > practice, the IS/OS elimination of blur caused by camera shake will
    > probably result in better/sharper images under most conditions, especially
    > when comparing shots where no camera support was used.
    >
    > Eric Miller
    >


    Sorry for the following question inside an answer to the previous
    question....
    Would the Sigma 600mm f:8 (mirror) be an acceptable option (seems to be
    about 700$ worth) or would it be considered a wrong choice because not
    "fast" enough (f:8)?
    Or any comparable mirror, like the Tamron 500mm f:8 ?

    Mike
    Mike, Mar 30, 2006
    #7
  8. Trout-hunter

    Annika1980 Guest

    >I would have said the Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM. Of course, not a
    >fast lens, but you can crank up the ISO if need be.


    >I thought you used this lens Bret?


    Nope, I use the Forgotten 400 f/5.6L.
    Annika1980, Mar 30, 2006
    #8
  9. Trout-hunter

    Eric Miller Guest

    >
    > Sorry for the following question inside an answer to the previous
    > question....
    > Would the Sigma 600mm f:8 (mirror) be an acceptable option (seems to be
    > about 700$ worth) or would it be considered a wrong choice because not
    > "fast" enough (f:8)?
    > Or any comparable mirror, like the Tamron 500mm f:8 ?
    >
    > Mike
    >


    I recently sold my Sigma 600mm Mirror Lens. It is an option. Whether or not
    it is acceptable is up to you. Image quality is good for that focal length
    in that price range. I would compare the image quality, generally, to that
    of the Canon 400mm 5.6L USM with a 2x teleconverter. It's short length and
    light weight also make it very difficult to get shake-free images without a
    rock-solid tripod in my experience. At f/8, its not a very good low light
    performer and the lack of autofocus at that focal length makes it virtually
    unusable for quick and not-so-quick moving subjects, but you can't beat the
    price. On the whole, for bird photography, I preferred the superior optics
    and autofocus of the Canon 400mm to the longer focal length of the Sigma 600
    and the Sigma fell into disuse. But, when a bird was in direct sunlight, you
    can get decent images from the Sigma:

    <http://www.dyesscreek.com/birds_of_my_backyard/pages/house_finch.htm>

    BTW, you shouldn't have to pay more than $300 or so for this lens on Ebay.

    Eric Miller
    Eric Miller, Mar 30, 2006
    #9
  10. Trout-hunter

    Fred Guest

    You won't have auto focus.


    "Mike" <> wrote in message
    news:p4WWf.16703$...
    >
    > Sorry for the following question inside an answer to the previous
    > question....
    > Would the Sigma 600mm f:8 (mirror) be an acceptable option (seems to be
    > about 700$ worth) or would it be considered a wrong choice because not
    > "fast" enough (f:8)?
    > Or any comparable mirror, like the Tamron 500mm f:8 ?
    >
    > Mike
    >
    >
    Fred, Mar 30, 2006
    #10
  11. Trout-hunter

    Fred Guest

    So you are manually focusing when using it with the X1.4 converter...


    "Annika1980" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >I would have said the Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM. Of course, not a
    > >fast lens, but you can crank up the ISO if need be.

    >
    > >I thought you used this lens Bret?

    >
    > Nope, I use the Forgotten 400 f/5.6L.
    >
    Fred, Mar 30, 2006
    #11
  12. Trout-hunter

    Mike Guest

    "Eric Miller" <> a écrit dans le message de
    news: gxWWf.1047$...
    > >
    >> Sorry for the following question inside an answer to the previous
    >> question....
    >> Would the Sigma 600mm f:8 (mirror) be an acceptable option (seems to be
    >> about 700$ worth) or would it be considered a wrong choice because not
    >> "fast" enough (f:8)?
    >> Or any comparable mirror, like the Tamron 500mm f:8 ?
    >>
    >> Mike
    >>

    >
    > I recently sold my Sigma 600mm Mirror Lens. It is an option. Whether or
    > not it is acceptable is up to you. Image quality is good for that focal
    > length in that price range. I would compare the image quality, generally,
    > to that of the Canon 400mm 5.6L USM with a 2x teleconverter. It's short
    > length and light weight also make it very difficult to get shake-free
    > images without a rock-solid tripod in my experience. At f/8, its not a
    > very good low light performer and the lack of autofocus at that focal
    > length makes it virtually unusable for quick and not-so-quick moving
    > subjects, but you can't beat the price. On the whole, for bird
    > photography, I preferred the superior optics and autofocus of the Canon
    > 400mm to the longer focal length of the Sigma 600 and the Sigma fell into
    > disuse. But, when a bird was in direct sunlight, you can get decent images
    > from the Sigma:
    >
    > <http://www.dyesscreek.com/birds_of_my_backyard/pages/house_finch.htm>
    >
    > BTW, you shouldn't have to pay more than $300 or so for this lens on Ebay.
    >
    > Eric Miller
    >


    Thanks a lot for caring to answer!
    Very informative.
    (And logical! Once again you get what you pay for!)

    Mike
    Mike, Mar 30, 2006
    #12
  13. Eatmorepies wrote:
    > .
    >
    >>I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    >>Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough? And
    >>at that price, can I be happy that I made the correct decision? I
    >>considered a mix of lenses. 100 mm macro and a zoom up to 300mm, but
    >>not the best quality to get both. mmmmmm spend the $$ on a good quality
    >>zoom?
    >>
    >>So, your opinions are very much needed.
    >>

    >
    >
    > I suggest the 300mm f4L IS and a 1.4x converter. Not as flexible as a zoom
    > but the 300mm takes excellent pictures and the camera will still autofocus
    > when the 1.4x is on it. The IS works and I have hand held the lens at 1/125
    > and still had L lens sharpness. Then save up for the 24-105mm f4L IS for
    > other stuff.
    >
    > John


    I second this lens. I have the canon 100-400 L IS and mine is not
    real sharp, especially at 400. (If some one really wants it contact
    me off list.) I got the 300 f/4 L IS and it is very sharp.
    I carry it when I want to do wildlife but not carry the much larger
    500 mm f/4 L IS (which is what you really want).

    Here is an example image with a Kenko pro 30-0 1.4x TC:
    http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries/gallery.bird/web/lorikeet.c04.07.2005.JZ3F8962.b-700.html
    Click the next button to see more bird images, but most are with a
    500 f/4).

    A good starter system for wildlife is:

    your 20D
    300 mm f/4 L IS
    1.4x TC (I use kenko pro 300 and find them very sharp)
    gitzo 1228 carbon fiber tripod,
    good ball head (arca B1 class as a minimum)
    wimberly sidekick

    (Personally I don't like ball heads, but with the sidekick you
    get great flexibility from landscapes to telephoto. I'm also
    adapting my ball head plus sidekick to also work as a pano
    head.)

    The 400 f/5.6 is reported to be the fastest autofocus lens
    in the Canon telephoto lineup, which is great for birds in
    flight. But it is a further away minimum focus distance.
    The 300 f/4, however, has a close minimum focus and some use
    it as a macro lens.

    In my opinion, forget ALL zoom telephotos. they simply are not
    sharp enough. This is especially critical if you don't
    have the focal length to start (and 300 mm is a minimum).

    Roger
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 31, 2006
    #13
  14. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 31, 2006
    #14
  15. Trout-hunter

    ½ Confused Guest

    ½ Confused, Mar 31, 2006
    #15
  16. Trout-hunter

    Robert Guest

    "Annika1980" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    > >Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough?

    >
    > Sadly, no. If you like birds, you must get a longer focal length. The
    > 400 f/5.6L fits into your price range, but it isn't as flexible as the
    > 70-200. I've shot hundreds of bird pics with my 400 f/5.6L, usually
    > handheld and sometimes even with a 1.4x as seen here:
    >
    > http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/54880301
    >
    > So if you'll be shooting more birds than everything else go with the
    > 400 f/5.6L. Otherwise, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a terrific lens. I'd
    > probably start with the 70-200 myself.


    I'm new to this NG, rec.photo.digital. Why is everyone talking in the terms
    of film cameras?

    My solution to nature was a Panasonic FZ-3 with a 12X Leica optical zoom
    lens with image stabilization. This is equivalent to a 35 - 430 f/2.8 lens
    at all zoom levels. Cost was about $270. There are newer Panasonic models
    now. Why spend $1,000s?

    Robert
    Robert, Jul 23, 2006
    #16
  17. Trout-hunter

    dwight Guest

    "Robert" <> wrote in message
    news:D...
    >
    > "Annika1980" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> >I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    >> >Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough?

    >>
    >> Sadly, no. If you like birds, you must get a longer focal length. The
    >> 400 f/5.6L fits into your price range, but it isn't as flexible as the
    >> 70-200. I've shot hundreds of bird pics with my 400 f/5.6L, usually
    >> handheld and sometimes even with a 1.4x as seen here:
    >>
    >> http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/54880301
    >>
    >> So if you'll be shooting more birds than everything else go with the
    >> 400 f/5.6L. Otherwise, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a terrific lens. I'd
    >> probably start with the 70-200 myself.

    >
    > I'm new to this NG, rec.photo.digital. Why is everyone talking in the
    > terms
    > of film cameras?
    >
    > My solution to nature was a Panasonic FZ-3 with a 12X Leica optical zoom
    > lens with image stabilization. This is equivalent to a 35 - 430 f/2.8 lens
    > at all zoom levels. Cost was about $270. There are newer Panasonic models
    > now. Why spend $1,000s?
    >
    > Robert


    Excellent question, Robert.

    I have the Canon S1 IS (10X optical with image stabilization), and I
    wondered what all the fuss was about, too. Until I bought a DSLR.

    Don't get me wrong - still love the S1 and still take it along for photo
    ops. It's just that I get FAR better results from the Rebel XT. Where the
    lens on the S1 is a solid all-around performer, I can fit a very good lens
    for a specific purpose on the Rebel and go to it. I carry the smaller
    70-300mm telephoto zoom (102-480mm, by comparison), a 50mm/1.8 prime with
    excellent clarity, and, of course, the kit lens 18-55mm (which, like the S1,
    is good throughout its range, but not spectacular).

    Why spend thousands? Because the more you spend, the more capable and
    flexible the camera becomes. And it performs better than almost any
    all-purpose camera. It's all about the glass.

    Otherwise, I'd probably have just stuck with the S1 and been content.

    dwight
    dwight, Jul 23, 2006
    #17
  18. Trout-hunter

    cjcampbell Guest

    Robert wrote:
    >
    > I'm new to this NG, rec.photo.digital. Why is everyone talking in the terms
    > of film cameras?
    >
    > My solution to nature was a Panasonic FZ-3 with a 12X Leica optical zoom
    > lens with image stabilization. This is equivalent to a 35 - 430 f/2.8 lens
    > at all zoom levels. Cost was about $270. There are newer Panasonic models
    > now. Why spend $1,000s?


    A DSLR is faster, has less digital noise, has interchangeable lenses,
    faster and better exposure and focusing, can be left always on without
    running down the battery, turns on instantaneously, has a real
    viewfinder where you can see what you are actually focusing on, has
    sharper lenses, can go wider angle than your 35mm, can get faster
    lenses than f/2.8, and is usually owned by someone who knows that a 12X
    lens is going to exhibit severe barrel and pincushion distortion.

    10X, 12X, whatever. The bigger the X, the more distortion you get from
    it. And for what? You might have the same angle of view as a 35-430
    camera lens, but you have a much smaller image. And what if you want
    the equivalent of an 18mm lens for landscape?

    The larger sensors on DSLRs allow them to have a wider ISO range. They
    don't have motorized zoom lenses, so you can zoom in and out much
    faster and more precisely. Since you can see what is happening in the
    viewfinder real time you do not have the slight delay before something
    appears in the LCD. Wave your hand in front of your FZ3 and you will
    see the delay. You also have more control over depth of field with a
    DSLR.
    cjcampbell, Jul 23, 2006
    #18
  19. Trout-hunter

    JohnR66 Guest

    "Robert" <> wrote in message
    news:D...
    >
    > "Annika1980" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> >I want to shoot nature - birds mostly. Big hawk fan! Yes, I'd love a
    >> >Canon 70-200 L IS USM + 1.4 TC. But will that reach out enough?

    >>
    >> Sadly, no. If you like birds, you must get a longer focal length. The
    >> 400 f/5.6L fits into your price range, but it isn't as flexible as the
    >> 70-200. I've shot hundreds of bird pics with my 400 f/5.6L, usually
    >> handheld and sometimes even with a 1.4x as seen here:
    >>
    >> http://www.pbase.com/bret/image/54880301
    >>
    >> So if you'll be shooting more birds than everything else go with the
    >> 400 f/5.6L. Otherwise, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a terrific lens. I'd
    >> probably start with the 70-200 myself.

    >
    > I'm new to this NG, rec.photo.digital. Why is everyone talking in the
    > terms
    > of film cameras?
    >
    > My solution to nature was a Panasonic FZ-3 with a 12X Leica optical zoom
    > lens with image stabilization. This is equivalent to a 35 - 430 f/2.8 lens
    > at all zoom levels. Cost was about $270. There are newer Panasonic models
    > now. Why spend $1,000s?
    >
    > Robert
    >
    >

    Because the larger sensors in a DSLR can capture silky smooth images that
    lack the over processed look of the tiny sensors. At higher ISO's DSLRs can
    capture a cleaner image the smaller cameras can't without noise or mushy
    looking noise removal.

    With my 300mm lens, I get the equiv. focal length of just about 500mm in
    35mm and with the 2x attached, it extends to almost 1000mm. With longer
    glass, the reach is even further. Of course, let's not even get into wide
    angle, fast aperture, specialty lenses such as tilt/shift and 1:1 macros and
    beyond.

    The interchangable lens capability allows the camera to fit accessories for
    specialized capabilities such as astronomy and micro photography (telescope
    and microscope mounts).

    The larger sensor is able to capture more dynamic range and most DSLRs have
    a RAW mode to get that extra range out. Many non-interchangable lens cameras
    lack the RAW mode.

    John
    JohnR66, Jul 23, 2006
    #19
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