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Lens for Falconry Experience

30 Oct 2012 12:22PM
My wife has kindly booked a Falconry Experience for me us both weekend as a surpise anniversary gift. The issue I've got is that I think my Sigma 70-300 DG APO Macro may not be quite up to the job, so I am thinking of hiring a lens for the weekend, the 2 I am looking at are either the Canon 70-200 f4 L IS or Canon 100-400 F4-5.6 L IS. I am leaning towards the first because I am saving for a 70-200 lens anyway so it would be an opportunity to test it (budget won't stretch to F2.8 mkII), but will this be long enough. Any advise gratefully received


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GarethRobinson 11 1.0k 2 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 12:29PM
Phone the Falconry first and ask them what they suggest, you may find a 70-200mm might even be too much.
karl 14 640 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 12:45PM
If it's a falconry experience then you're going to be up close and personal - so in some situations the 70mm could be too much on a crop sensor. Something like 24-105 might be more suitable on a crop.
30 Oct 2012 12:46PM
Falconry experiences normally allow you to get up close and personal with the birds, so generally you won't need much focal length, but its really down to what you are looking to shoot. A reasonably fast mid zoom will be fine for most close flights, where a 50mm or an 85mm portrait will be ideal for some poses
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 12:50PM
Yes, it will be big enough. The falconry centres I have been to, they fly birds quite close to the crowd in the the arena and the key thing is speed of AF because no matter what you do, a lot of your pictures will have to be cropped anyway if you want a decent sized bird in the frame.
I have the 70-200 f4L, and when I was looking at something longer I hired both the 70-300L and the 100-400L. The advantages of the 70-300L are that it is faster focusing, has 4-stops IS (barely 3 stops on the 100-400) and is significantly smaller/lighter. The difference in image size between 300mm and 400mm is not so signifcant that you are saving a whole lot of cropping.

I would go further: as you do not already own the 70-200 I would say aim for the 70-300 instead - it is equal to the 70-200 in image quality (even up to 300mm) and even if you think f4 is important, at 200mm the 70-300 is (if I recall correctly) f4.5 which I doubt is a dealbreaker. And I speak as someone who thinks the 70-200f4L is a beautiful lens.
SteveHunter 9 386 1 England
30 Oct 2012 1:03PM
Just to confirm what Mike is saying about the 70 - 300L apertures.

In my unscientific way of putting it on the camera and zooming the lens to see what it does to the aperture

f4.0 70 - 105
f4.5 105 - 160
f5.0 160 - 250
f5.6 250 - 300
30 Oct 2012 1:26PM
Thanks for all the advice. I have spoken to the centre and apparently most of the opportunites will be close up so I should be OK with my Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4. However this has opened up my 70-200 dilemma again (and there was me decided on Sigma F2.8). I am now wondering about the Canon F4 L IS or the F2.8 Non IS, ideally wanting F2.8 for low light and use with 1.4 & 2x TC, but with the weight the IS would be usefull

Damn Canon for putting their prices up!! Grin
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 1:33PM
Just to divert for a bit: if you only want the f2.8 for low light then I would say it is bettter to use the ISO on your camera. The f2.8 gives small DOF, which is fine if that is what you need/want but you may not need to make that particular trade-off. Also, when using the 70-200 what proportion of times do you anticipate will be low light?
GarethRobinson 11 1.0k 2 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 1:34PM
Glad you got one part of the dilemma sorted and saved some money towards a new lens.
karl 14 640 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 2:03PM
Personally when on camera I don't find the 2.8 that heavy, it's certainly not tough to balance to the point where you must have IS - although on the MkII the IS is amazing.
30 Oct 2012 2:13PM
I will use it mainly for indoor portraits. Will use it outdoor at night for isolating objects and also for wildlife, which is why I was thinking about teleconverters. I suppose I could always use a higher ISO and crop for isolation. Will also keep my 70-300 as a backup
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2012 2:23PM
Unless you have a long room I would have thought that 70-200 was a bit long for indoor portraits on APS-C camera. However if experience with the Sigma 70-300 points you in that direction then go for it.
CDSINUK 5 223 England
30 Oct 2012 7:45PM
Chris ....have a word with phil ? he should be able to tell you everything you need

cheddar-caveman 14 1.1k England
30 Oct 2012 7:59PM
I was luky enough to be given one of these and I just took my Canon 24-105 f4!

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