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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Wildlife- which lens??
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02/22/2009 01:27:07 PM · #1
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM or Canon 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

I have the Canon 100-300mm (but no L or IS) and also the Sigma 170-500mmD f/5-6.3 APO DG Aspherical for Canon (which was ok when I first started etc)..but really need the IS etc.

So guys, what do you think..or is there another you would propose??

Cheers in advance - Keith ;-)

02/22/2009 01:33:34 PM · #2
hmmm, I don't have either one (and I'd love either one...), but if you were just thinking wildlife, I'd be tempted to do the 100-400. It just seems like you can't get close enough with a 70-200. It's hard to give up the 2.8 though...
02/22/2009 01:34:53 PM · #3
Yeap Wendy, that is my dilemma-- 400mm or F/2 ;-)
02/22/2009 01:51:41 PM · #4
If it's primarily for wildlife, I'd still go with the 100-400.

But if I were deciding, I'd take the 70-200L 2.8, because I do sports photography of my son & his teams, and the fast is nice. and I'd stick with my 75-300 for wildlife (but it's IS)
02/22/2009 01:52:19 PM · #5
I am in the same position as you.

I am thinking of going for thr 70-200 F2.8 L is USM mainly for weddings in dimly lit churches and fitting a Canon Extender EF 2x II or 1.4x II to give me the reach for wildlife. I believe the 2x extender will still give me F5.6 or the 1.4 extender will give me F4.5 but I'm not absolutely sure

Cheers

Ron
02/22/2009 02:00:17 PM · #6
No debate - go for the 100-400.

I love mine to pieces, in fact I originally went to buy the 70-200 2.8, and after taking a few shot's with both of them at a local camera store came away with the 100-400. No regrets.

100-400 L

If you are willing to be patient they come up firly frequently on the Canon Outlet site
02/22/2009 02:06:33 PM · #7
Who cares if you have f/2.8 if you can't get the shot you want?
02/22/2009 02:41:13 PM · #8
Originally posted by Jedusi:

No debate - go for the 100-400.

I love mine to pieces, in fact I originally went to buy the 70-200 2.8, and after taking a few shot's with both of them at a local camera store came away with the 100-400. No regrets.



I nearly bought the 100-400 but was put off by the 'dust pump' claims; ended up with a 70-300 IS which I'm not that keen on - what's your experience with dust and this lens?

Thanks

Paul
02/22/2009 03:22:49 PM · #9
I love my 100-400 as well. No problems with dust at all, and I am prone to commando crawling across ploughed fields with it....
It isn't an especially heavy lens, and most of the time (virtually all in fact) I use it hand held.
02/22/2009 03:26:32 PM · #10
I vote 100-400. I had the same debate and got the 300/4.0 with the 1.4 converter because I was convinced prime was the only way to go for sharpness. It's an amazing lens, by far my best one, but I think now I would rather have the composition abilities of the zoom. Seems like I'm always to close or to far with the prime. For wildlife you'll want the 400 length more than the speed, IMO.
02/22/2009 04:02:42 PM · #11
Originally posted by SaraR:

I love my 100-400 as well. No problems with dust at all, and I am prone to commando crawling across ploughed fields with it....


You go commando across ploughed fields ?? well I guess it takes all sorts . .

Oh no - you 'Commando crawl' - quite a different image . . my mistake :- P

I debated and worried loads about the much rumoured 'dust pump' claim and in my experience it's nonsense. I have had mine about 3 years now and taken it to sandy beaches, got down low like Sara, had it in all sorts of conditions and it's always delivered the goods.

here is a mixed bag of examples - all hand held

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In fact most of the shots in my 'Wild Things' collection are taken with it.

Come to that the bulk of my shot's are taken with it :- )
02/22/2009 04:32:40 PM · #12
100-400. Which is also a landscape lens. ;o)
02/22/2009 04:34:43 PM · #13
I'm with the 100-400 crowd. I own both and they are both sweet lenses but if you plan to use this lens for wildlife photography then the 100-400 is the lens to go with imo. I've never used the 70-200 with a teleconverter but all the reading I've done on comparing the two puts the image quality of the 70-200 with converter behind the 100-400 on it's own, and it seemed a significant difference. AS doc said, what good is the extra stop if you can the subject large enough in your frame. Now if you plan to use the lens for portrait and low light work such as weddings as well then go the 70-200 and buy a converter.
02/22/2009 05:32:07 PM · #14
Guys and Gals..I love you all...you have made my mind up, the 100-400 it is.. sold about £400 quid of odds and sods on ebay, will sell the Sigma and the 100-300mm to get a bit more dosh.

Sorry I didn't reply earlier--went for a long walk with my wife and the dog..wish I had the 100-400 with me, haha, a goldeneye on the local pond was in full view ..in commando shall we say ;-)

Thanks again all
02/22/2009 06:32:52 PM · #15
Tough question to answer, which lens? This, since wildlife runs the gamut from smaller than a flea to the size of an elephant. Lenses are chosen not only for the size of the critter but for the distance the critter is from the camera. Movement of the critter is also a major factor. Is the critter you are trying to photograph diurnal or nocturnal?

I work in the woods and have traveled through out east Africa, the US and Canada. The best wildlife pictures I have are via pure opportunity and luck, being ready and patient are the major keys. Find a guide, a hunter, a specialist in what you are trying to photograph on your first trips to show you the ropes. FYI some people can spot wildlife much better than others. They just have "the eye". Good Luck.
02/22/2009 08:46:03 PM · #16
Originally posted by wingyisleeds:

Guys and Gals..I love you all...you have made my mind up, the 100-400 it is.. sold about £400 quid of odds and sods on ebay, will sell the Sigma and the 100-300mm to get a bit more dosh.

Sorry I didn't reply earlier--went for a long walk with my wife and the dog..wish I had the 100-400 with me, haha, a goldeneye on the local pond was in full view ..in commando shall we say ;-)

Thanks again all


So you saw the rumor that Canon was going to announce a new 100-400 that doesn't push/pull right? Don't know if it's true, but it may be worth investigating before you go out and buy.
02/22/2009 09:56:42 PM · #17
I was going to recommend the

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70-300mm VR,

then realised you have a Canon.

NM:-)
02/23/2009 02:12:22 AM · #18
Originally posted by DrAchoo:


So you saw the rumor that Canon was going to announce a new 100-400 that doesn't push/pull right? Don't know if it's true, but it may be worth investigating before you go out and buy.


Doc - that's virtually a permanent rumour (unfortunately).

Internal focussing, fixed aperture, half a stop faster etc etc.

Sounds great and I would certainly trade mine for one . . but who knows when and if it's going to happen ? The current one is still selling strongly so I don't think Canon feel pressured.
02/23/2009 04:18:29 AM · #19
100-400mm use to be my walk about lens..... fantastic value for money.
02/23/2009 05:12:42 AM · #20
The best way to judge when Canon is going to release an updated version is to wait until I purchase mine, then wait 3 weeks for the new one to be announced.

Whilst on a whinge, if you are planning a day out but not sure of the weather then drop me a line to find out if I have plans to wash my car - if I have then chances are its going to rain.
02/23/2009 12:01:42 PM · #21
Jeez Mark..are you on a downer today, ;-)

Just had some nice news for once--'She who must be obeyed' says I can have my lens ;-)

but, I will wait a bit and see if a cheap one appears in Canon Oulet-for a couple of weeks at least.........

Message edited by author 2009-02-23 12:01:56.
02/23/2009 01:28:34 PM · #22
Looks like you already made your decision but I thought I would chip in that the 100-400 is the right choice for wildlife. I used to own the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR and loved it, such a wonderful sharp lens. Only problem was that it just did not have the reach I needed and lost something with a 2x TC. I ended up selling it at a good price after I bought the Nikon 80-400 VR and used it for awhile. Iíve never been sorry. Yeah, the 70-200 was definitely sharper in the right situations but not when I had to crop so much all the time. One added benefit was the 80-400 is actually lighter! As for worrying about an upcoming upgrade I still keep hearing the same rumors about the Nikon 80-400 being upgraded to AF-S. Still has not happened. It would be nice because it would make the 80-400 almost as fast as the 70-200, it is a bit slow with the old focusing system.

Anyway, have fun with it.
02/24/2009 07:12:50 AM · #23
Thanks JB. Well, as Doc and Jed said, these rumours are always about. I could wait and see, btu I am an impatient sod..even waiting for a couple of weeks is killing me ;-)
02/24/2009 07:23:54 AM · #24
I'd consider what other types of photography you shoot; I have the 100-400mm and it is an amazing lens. I shoot a lot of sports so use my 70-200mm much more; I also use a 1.4 extender with excellent results; I haven't used but have read reports where there is a quality fall off when using the 2.0 ext so I wouldn't bank on that making up for any lens difference. If your primary goal is wildlife I'd go for the 100-400mm but if you need a multi purpose lens then I'd reconsider. The 300mm prime is as good as it gets but I tried one, and for my work, it was way too limiting. Just consider all of your shooting needs before you make the decision. Good luck!
03/08/2009 09:35:17 AM · #25
I have used the 100-400 extensively for wildlife and have not had any problems with dust. It is an amazing lens though the IS is first generation and not as good as the later lenses from Canon like the 70-200 or 70-300 which are exceptional. Very robust and heavy.

The 70-200 is extremely suited to portraiture and street life. Sharp as a tack, light, fantastic in low light conditions. But can't zoom in enough in the wild.

I also have the 70-300 IS which is a fantastic lens if you are doing a lot of walking. The quality is very good, and it is light and easy to manage. The 100-400 is a bit of a beast to carry. This is my partner's preferred lens...light, quick and easy to work with.

Having said all that, my favourite lens for wildlife when I am not walking around but rather stationary or photographing from a vehicle is the Sigma 50-500. Amazing range, stunning quality (as good as the 100-400 IMHO), and it gets me closer. Only downside is that it is difficult to work with in low light such as early dawn or late dusk.

To summarize, there is no magic lens that covers all situations, but for wildlife I would definately take the 100-400 over the 70-200.
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