Help me choose which telephoto to buy

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by brendanryder, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. brendanryder macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
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    Calgary
    #1
    ok so ive been looking to upgrade my 75-300 f/4.5 for a while now and i have an idea of what i want. but when i thnk about theres so many ways to achieve the same distance. can you please tell which option i hould go with and why its the best.

    Option 1:
    Canon 70-200 f/4L
    Canon 400 f/5.6L

    Option 2:
    Canon 70-200 f/2.8L
    Canon 2.0x extender

    Option 3:
    Canon 70-200 f/4L
    Canon 300mm f/4L IS
    Canon 1.4 extender

    Option 4:
    can you suggest a better combination?

    Thanks
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #2
    1. What are you going to shoot?
    2. How large is it?
    3. From how far away?
    4. Under what lighting conditions?
    5. What sort of support do you have?
    6. What are your quality requirements?
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    Which is "best" depends on the intended subject. What are you going to shoot? What light and what kind of camera support will you be using?
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #4
    70-200mm f/2.8L IS
    1.4x TC

    add the 300mm f/4 later on if you feel you need it.
     
  5. tonie macrumors 6502

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    Mar 29, 2008
    #5
    It would be helpful if you post what you already have and what are you currently shooting with?
     
  6. eddx macrumors regular

    eddx

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    #6
    I would agree, with the 70-200mm IS f/2.8 you get an amazing lens. Then get a 2x and a 1.4x to achieve the range you wish depending on how many f stops you can afford to lose
     
  7. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #7
    mainly nature and sports, not sure how far away to be exact, but id like to be able to get pretty close, mostly will be shooting on sunny days in good light, i have an XTi but will be getting a 40D, and id like to get the best possible quality i can get



    i have an XTI but will be getting something along the line of: 40D, 17-40L, 28-75 2.8, 50 1.4 then i havent chosen the telephots yet.

    ya thats kinda what im thinking, i just found out a couple of hours ago i will be able to work an extra week thus for more cash so i would be leaning towards the 70-200 2.8 NON IS, 300mm F/4 and the 1.4.
    ive heard alot of mixed thougts about the IS, money wise is it really worth it? and what is the huge benefit from it?
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    300/2.8 is the predominate sports lens, but sounds like Canon's could be outside your budget. A 70-200/2.8 is good for some indoor sports- for nature, 400/2.8, 500/4 or 600/4 is generally where you want to be- with a TC when the light's good and you absolutely have to. Teleconverters hurt autofocus for sports and nature- and most sports shooters turn off IS because it slows focus down as well.

    If you have the budget, I'd seriously recommend the Sigma 300/2.8 with at least the matched 1.4x TC, a sturdy tripod and a good large tripod head and a good monopod. You may want to consider the matched 2x as well, though I'm not a big 2xTC fan, there are times when you'll need the reach for wildlife. In terms of outdoor and motor sports, a 300/2.8 will give you the best depth of field and reach, though you'll probably want to shoot it off a monopod for mobility.

    Sigma also makes a 120-300/2.8 zoom, it's supposed to be a bit sharper than the prime, but probably doesn't AF as quickly and doesn't take drop-in filters.

    If you're serious about nature, 2.8 is the way to go- as you'll add time at the end of each day when wildlife's most active where you can still shoot over a slower f/4 lens. 200's way to short for good consistent wildlife work, especially birds.
     
  9. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    Vancouver
    #9
    I think that the nicest option out of that selection is the 2.8 (70-200).. It's just an astounding lens. Also on a DX format body it has an equivalent focal length of 300mm..

    If you really need the extra distance, then jump for a 400mm. I also really love the 70-200mm because you can pop on an extension tube and have yourself an amazing macro lens!
     
  10. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #10
    ya the 300 2.8 would be great but theres no way in hell i can afford that. i didnt mention this before but my max budget is no more than 6500 cus i will only be making 8000 ish this summer and need to save for university. i just decided to buy everything that i will need for university this summer so that i can get used to it. at this point im not serious about nature, it will be mostly sports cus my friend can get me press passes to CFL practices and i know the assistant coach of the college baseball team so shooting sports will come first at this point but i would like to get into nature photography.

    ya i thik i will be getting the 70-200 2.8 hands down. what do you mean by "DX format"? i will deffinatly be buying some extension tubes for it.

    Thanks
     
  11. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    TX
    #11
    "DX" is a Nikon term. On Nikon's dSLRs, all but the D3 have a "crop factor" of 1.5 because the sensor is smaller than the standard film (or the D3's "FX") size. You can take the lens and multiply the lengths by 1.5 unless it's a "DX" lens. (ex. my sig features a D300, which has a DX sensor, and the 70-200. In actuality, the focal length of that lens is 105-300 because of the crop factor)
     
  12. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #12
    ah know wonder i dint know what it means. thanks
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #13
    All the sports shooters I know shoot a 300 no matter what the crop factor is, simply because magnification != crop factor. I shoot lots of nature- a 200 is almost never the right answer, again crop or not.

    Both the Sigma 300/2.8 and the Sigma 120-300/2.8 fit in your budget, with the matched Sigma 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. For baseball, there's no way I'd go with less than 300mm, and I'd probably want a 2x TC on it then. For football, 300 seems more right to me than anything- assuming you can move up and down the sidelines.

    The prime is about $2600, the TCs are $170 and $200 each (I'd get the 1.4x for sure.) The zoom is about the same price as the prime. I'd research the zoom, if it really performs as well as the prime, I'd probably go with that so you'd have an indoor option too. I would seriously, seriously consider either of the Sigmas over a 70-200, 200mm just isn't far enough for most outdoor sports and almost any wildlife. I carry a 400mm prime on a 1.5x crop factor body, and I'm often not taking shots because my 1.7x TC isn't already on the camera. You probably want the option of stopping any subject motion blur- so a 2.8 is going to work better for that, and it'll work with afternoon games under heavy cloud cover too.

    I don't think you can beat the Lowepro LensTrekker 600AW for a bag if you get the prime, it'll let you keep the camera mounted on the lens and you can get it out and on the tripod in seconds.
     
  14. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    Calgary
    #14
    ok so i will need a 300mm for sports and nature hands down, i have a budget of 6500ish but thats for a WHOLE NEW SETUP(i have a wishlist at 6800 now :O), so i think both of those sigma's are out of the cropped picture. i think my best bet is for the 300 F/4 with a 1.4x for sports and nature. thats the best i can do for now. then get the 70-200 f/2.8 but i cant decide on getting the IS or non IS, is it really worth the extra 500$?
    and i already have a lowerpro backback so im good there.
     
  15. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

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    Feb 18, 2006
    #15
    If you are going to be shooing in any low light situations the IS is way worth the price.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #16
    IS is good for adjusting for photographer movement- for sports it's generally turned off- as you really worry more about subject movement and it slows down AF. For nature, it's useful for birds in flight, so if you want to do BIF pictures, it'll take you from about a 20% success rate to about an 80% success rate. Over a ten year lifespan, it's $5/yr- but it increases weight and complexity. Only you can make the choice of if it's right for you.

    Most small LowePros won't take a lens the size of a 300/2.8. For nature work, I highly recommend anything that will allow you to keep the lens attached to the camera, in the field, setup time is the difference between missing a shot and not, and while most of the time you'll want the tripod over your shoulder already extended, that's not practical if you're going 5-6 miles with 35-45lbs of gear.

    A 300/4 needs twice as much light as a 300/2.8- that's a deal-killer at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active and the light is at its lowest. Depending on the time of year and your latitude that's 20m to 40m extra of shooting at each end of the day.

    I'd really suggest you skimp elsewhere if you can. A 300/4 with a 1.4x is going to be a 400/5.6- no subject isolation, slower AF, and needing more light- that's fine for mid-day shooting, but not ideal for anything else.

    KEH currently has one used Sigma 300/2.8 in EX condition- $1539, which isn't much more than a Canon 300/4. That'd just leave you needing a good tripod, monopod,tripod head and QR system. Add in a TC or two for baseball, and you're pretty-much set.

    Personally, I'd hold off on the 40D before I skimped on the lens- a 40D will give you about a stop's worth of noise difference, but not the subject isolation AND when you eventually upgrade to the 40D or better, you'll get the faster AF from a 2.8 lens than from an f/4 lens and that extra stop of noise means shooting two stops faster- where if you go with the 40D up-front with the slower lens, you're going to be limited by the lens and it's going to be as good as it gets. By the time you get good with a 300mm and sports, it'll be time for the 50D anyway ;)
     
  17. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    Dec 28, 2006
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    Calgary
    #17
    ok so IS is great for nature so i think i will go with the 2.8 IS. that way if i really like nature photography i have a smal zoom.

    i have This Backpack and i wil need to get a new tripod cus the one i have is just a crappy old one. i think i will be getting some thing with a ball head. what would your recomend for a good tripod, head system and a QR? spending probably no more than 300ish


    i think someone jumped and already bought the used sigma 300, cus its not on there sight anymore :( i will shop around and see what kind of deals i can find on a long zoom. the long zoom will be the last thing i plan on purchasing this summer so i have about 2 months to think about it, but if the right deal comes up i will have the cash to get it.

    i will think about holding off on the 40D for know, like i said before my purchaes all depend on how much money i can make - at least a 1000 to save.

    Thanks Compuwar, you have been increadibly helpful
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    I'm in the Thom Hogan "You're going to spend a lot for a tripod and head, either all at once, or over time" camp. Mostly because, well I've spent a lot on tripods and heads over time. I don't think $300 is the right answer if you're going to shoot long glass- any good monopod for sports should be ok, but for nature, I find that a good sturdy tripod makes a _lot_ of difference, especially when there's a TC involved. Get the biggest tripod you can comfortably carry- or a *slightly* smaller one with a hook, and make sure you can hang your bag from the hook with it low enough that you still get a useful benefit. In terms of heads, I prefer a ballhead for nature unless I'm shooting long glass, then a Wimberly II rules. Bogen/Manfrotto make a much cheaper gimball head that's worth looking at on a tight budget for long lenses. The cheapest ball head I'd purchase these days is the Acratech UBH. I've got a Gitzo ball head that wasn't cheap and doesn't lock, anything cheaper than the Acratech is going to need replacing inside a year of heavy use. Plus the Acratech is easy to clean. Benro, or the other good knock-off company that I can't recall wouldn't be out of contention.

    For QR plates, I've been through a *lot* of those too, and finally settled on Arca-Swiss style plates with screws to stop a full slide. Generally, I use a body "L" bracket with a 90 degree plate for my Wimberly for everything other than my 400mm, which has the appropriate Wimberly replacement foot. I could have paid for the Wimberly II head with every Bogen QR system I've ever owned. I found their tombstone shaped ones to be the best of the bunch- but never had one last more than 2 years. I've been shooting the Arca-Swiss style plates for a good 4 or so years now and they're as functional as they were new, I don't even think I've had to torque a screw (but I should probably check them now.)
     
  19. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    Calgary
    #19
    ok well right know i am looking at this for a tripod and this for a head. i am a bit noob when it comes to tripods, but that head i am looking at comes with a QR right?.

    and back to the lenses for a minute. ive made some changes on the information you have given me. i dropped the extra battery, and grip for the 40D aswell as some other smal things. i took out the canon 70-200 2.8 IS and the canon 300 F/4 and the 1.4x TC. i think i am going to replace it with the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and the sigma 300 2.8 and a sigma 1.4 TC. the sigma's will cost a little bit more but i will gain the 2.8 at 300mm with i think will be worth it.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    IMO, as a rule of thumb, a tripod that only has an 11lb capacity isn't a stable platform for a 300/2.8. In fact, I generally want a minimum 10Kg/22lb rating on anything in my support system if I can get it. A 300 is big, wind will affect it, if you're in the field, you'll eventually appreciate a stable platform.

    In the under $200 category, I'd be looking at:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...51_427_A_427n6_3_Section_Aluminum_Tripod.html

    It's 7.9 lbs, but it'll be _stable_ if it's anything like true to its specs.
    An extra $40 gets you to:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/483925-REG/Giottos_MT9371_MT_9371_Aluminum_Tripod_Legs.html

    that sheds a pound and a half

    I don't think that head will hold up over time- this one looks interesting for a knock-off:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/498020-REG/Benro_450_622_KS_1_Ballhead_with_Quick.html

    But you'll be replacing it inside a couple of years, at least the plates are Arca-Swiss compatible, so you won't lose anything there when you go to the next level. I've sunk at least $300-400 in cheap ballheads over the years, at first they're good, then they creep, then you're at the store handing out more money.

    Here's the A-list of ballheads:

    http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/ballhead/

    I know it's expensive, but it's holding all your expensive gear, so getting a head that's not going to fail is good, getting a head that you're not going to have to re-buy is good- if you get serious use out of it, a $100-200 head is probably going to have to be replaced in a year or two- especially with heavy lenses. If you spend up-front, you'll have the same head for years- it's really cheaper in the long run. I've never had luck with the smaller Bogen QR plates, or the Hex ones, the tombstone ones are the only ones that I've had any luck with and those tend to break inside 2 years- the ones I used are discontinued and replaced with the 410PL/RC4 combination.

    The Arca-Swiss style plates are nice in that you can get long ones for the tripod foot on the 300, and short ones for the body and still be assured that your lens/camera is fully supported. Like I said, you're going to end up with the good stuff anyway- it's just if you drop $150-500 on the in-between stuff before you end up there.

    Definitely- you'll see when you start shooting that being able to go to 2.8 @ 300mm is going to give you what you want results-wise for sports, and you'll find that you're going to be wanting more reach for nature- but sports and nature photography are both expensive propositions done right and you can do well with a 300 if you're quiet/patient.
     
  21. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #21
    i think i will get that second tripod you suggested, it looks pretty good and i like how it has the padding.
    i guess i dont want a 2600 lens on a cheap head so i am going to get this one or this one . which one is better? i know the ony difference is the quick release. but im not sure which one would be better. i thikn i need to get 2 plates. 1 long one just for the 300 and a small one for my camera. i dont know much about plates so i was hoping you could suggest something.

    another question: which lense is better? the 120-300 2.8 or the 300 2.8? to me i think the 120-300 would be better because its 2.8 all the way through. that way if i want to zoom out a little bit on the subject i could. or will the 300 prime be much better?
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    Either head will be exceptional. I'm not sure which release is easier to use, I'd go with the one that sticks out- it'll catch on more, but it'll probably be easier to use with gloves on in the cold, and it looks like it turns, which beats a lever for "if it gets dirty" in my book.

    I've seen lots of nature images from the prime and it produces great images. I've never seen anything from the 120-300, I've seen a couple of online accounts that say it's sharper than the prime- but I have no way to evaluate that myself. Sigma's online MTFs seem to bear that out, but have the prime winning in terms of contrast- so a split decision, it may be worth looking around for sample images from both lenses and choosing which look better to your eye- contrast vs resolution is a tough choice- there's a site that groups people's pictures by lens, worth looking for to see sample pictures- just take the lighting into account (Mid-day light will be low contrast, so try to compare shots in the same type of light.)
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I would have a look at the 2.8/50-135/150 lenses by Tokina and Sigma. These actually correspond to 70/80-200 on crop sensors. Neither Canon nor Nikon offer this focal length range themselves. These focal length ranges might be a lot better for what you do, e. g. if you're interested in portraits, especially indoor portraits, I'd recommend either one of the two lenses over 70-200 mm lenses. Also, these lenses weigh half of what a 2.8/70-200 zoom weighs. Don't underestimate the weight (I don't mind it, but you might).

    If you are interested in wildlife photography, these two lenses will not be the best choice. Also, keep in mind that you will need a tripod (or at the very least, a monopod) if you get something like the 5.6/400 mm or go beyond 300 mm. This will set you back several hundred dollar in addition to the lens. And it adds weight, of course.
     
  24. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #24
    Seriously, you should consider NOT buying the 300mm right now. Get the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS version (it is worth it) and the 1.4x TC. That gives you 70-200mm or 98-280mm (with TC).

    It's a combo that you will never get tired of, and it has more applications that you can imagine. The 300mm is nice, but it is for very specific purposes.

    I find that I don't use mine very much at all, and will probably sell it. The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS + 1.4x TC is a killer combo that you won't regret buying.
     
  25. brendanryder thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #25
    i did some research and alot of ppl say that the 120-300 produces slighltly better images. but, alot of ppl have has there zoom freeze on them or had alot of other problems with the zooming.

    i totally agree with you. im not buying the 300 right away. i am just trying to predict which one i would most likey want to get in the future so that i can change some things around so that if i want to get it later on, i will have enough cash. i am only allowed to work in the summer so i need to make enough to last me a while haha. i think what im going to do is get the 70-200 2.8 IS, 17-40 L, 28-75 2.8, 50 1.4, 8mm fish, and 1.4x TC. plus a good tripod and monopod, and other acessories. this will leave me with enough to buy a longer telephoto down the road. i think what i will end up doing is getting the 300 F/4 and see how much i use it. if i use it alot and i want a faster lense i can deal with that later on.
     

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