zoom lens help

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AxelMonkey, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. AxelMonkey macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2010
    Somewhere between Heaven and Hell, Oregon
    Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

    thinking about purchasing this for my canon rebel xs. is this a good lens for zooming on wild animals, like deer, and birds and such.
  2. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    It's hard to tell how far (or close) you will be to the subject. A very small bird could make it a little difficult for you. For example, for this shot I used a 400mm f/5.6L prime. The bird was perhaps 15-20 feet away from me:
    This bird is approximately 12" from head to tail. I used the same lens from approximately 40' away:
    This time the same bird was flying perhaps 150 feet away, and I used the same lens. But I had to crop the photo to around 100% to show the bird this close. Otherwise it would have looked very small in size. For that reason, I prefer sharp lenses like the 400mm f/5.6L prime. It's more expensive than the one you are thinking of buying (and not a zoom lens), but it's very sharp.
    Now, I used the EF 200mm f/2.8L USM II for this shot. The duck was very close (around 12-16 paces):

    If you can get close enough to the subject with the lens you are planning to buy, it should be fine, but 300mm on the far end may not be enough for small birds at a distance. It will be OK for large animals such as deer across the street, however, maybe farther.
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Check out some online reviews before spending your money. The 75-300 is not highly regarded. Check out the 70-300's, they produce better shots. The 70-200 is another level better again (but each level obvious comes at an obvious cost penalty). Personally I would save for a version of the 70-200, they really are great lenses.

    Don't expect to get shots like AlaskaMoose's unless the lighting is perfect (and even then rarely as sharp as his shots). He is shooting with quite expensive glass (and it shows in the pictures (nice work AlaskaMoose)).

    The 200 2.8 is $700+ and the 400 5.6 is ~$1200. By picking prime lenses instead of zooms you can save money. I think I was fully zoomed in for every wildlife shot I have ever taken. Zoom lenses help you use the lenses for other types of photography where the primes are just too long (I like using my 70-200 for portrait and candid work where a 200 prime would just need too much working distance).
  4. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008

    In my view it's best to save a little money and buy one of the L lenses (one at a time). For example, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM (without IS) may not be a low-light lens, but it's a little jewel and costs around $600.00 at B&H. I believe that it's cheaper at Amazon since S&H is free.

    I have a few low-quality lenses around my home. What I should have done instead was to save the money instead of going cheap, and buy a good L lens. That's what I do these days, however, but the cheap lenses I have is wasted money.
  5. AxelMonkey thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2010
    Somewhere between Heaven and Hell, Oregon
    I completely understand, but being still new to photography i dont know if im willing to make the plunge for that yet. :p
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    L glass holds it's value very well. Much, much better than distinctly average stuff like the 75-300. If you buy something like the 70-200 f/4 L which is incredibly sharp it and decide you don't like photography you should be able to sell it on eBay for reasonably close to your purchase price...
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    It will have good reach, it's just a matter of whether it will meet your expectations on image quality. Personally, I wouldn't consider a telephoto lens without Image Stabilization.

    I have the 70-300 which is a step or two up optically from what you are considering, but this should give you an idea of the reach.

    Sitting here...


    Shooting the far net at 300mm with a bit of additional cropping...


    I doubt very much that this shot would have been any good without IS.
  8. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'm also considering a zoom at the moment and was already thinking of the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. I was also considering the Sigma version which offers f/2.8 for roughly the same money.

    Anyone got any thoughts? (At the moment the faster Sigma lens appeals!) I haven't got the budget to go up to the Canon f/2.8.

    (Lovely bird shots by the way AlaskaMoose!)
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the 75-300 (any of them) isn't all that great, really. your best bet is to use a 55-250 or 70-300 until you can afford something that gets into the 400mm+ range.

    all Canon glass hold value well, with a couple exceptions. L lenses are not special in this regard.

    moreover, a 70-200 doesn't do 300mm.
  10. Hanazakari macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2013
    In August , I'am going to switzerland
    and I think I will Visit Zoo Zurich
    what is the best zoom lens to shoot wild animals and specially Tigers?
    it will be the first time so I don't know if the animals will be further or near.:confused:
  11. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    For about $30 or so you can rent one of these lenses for a few days to try it out.

    borrowlenses.com and others.

    You can also see test results at slrgear.com

    After trying various lenses I've settled on these:

    Sigma 70mm f/2.8 - sharp all the time. Good for macro work

    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

    I really like the image stabilization. It helps a lot.

    When testing out ideas try posing a small toy bird or similar at the distances you expect to work at and try different f stops and shutter speeds to get a feel for how the lens will really perform.

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