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which lens and when, canon 500mm f4 or canon 400mm f2.8

ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2012 8:41AM
Hi guys and girls, i am in the market for an upgrade to more focal length and with the Owl shots i have firstly realised my 120-300mm f2.8 with a 1.4 extender is not as good as i first thought, it is very hit and miss on flying subjects and not as sharp as the canon l lenses, i am having less success with this lens than i was with my canon 70-200mm f2.8 l is usm with 2x converter mark iii.
So my thoughts now are either the canon 400mm f2.8 or the canon 500mm f4 and i am swinging toward the 500mm f4.
The problems i have in wanting this lens is firstly the 500mm is not out yet and secondly the price when it does, does anyone think there will be many of the older or current 500mm f4's coming up for sale as second hand or am i going to have to spend a fortune.

What are your thoughts guys and girls, your comments are of value to me on this as i can't decide on what to do, I need to get it right as you can understand it's an investment i will need to get right for the price second hand or new.

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skewey 12 31 England
3 Mar 2012 9:15AM
Ian the longer focal length you have the more distance you can cover.With this in mind there is no need to invade a target species territory.This means less disturbance to habitat and also its food source.In the two lenses you have mentioned price wise and weight I don't think their is much difference. Hope this helps regards secondhand its a lottery and I would advise if you go for secondhand ensure you try it out prior to purchase.
Hi Ian
what about a
Canon 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Carmarthen Camera Centre has got a second hand one for sale
justin c 14 5.0k 36 England
3 Mar 2012 4:56PM
If you can afford the investment and you anticipate doing a lot of bird photography, whether in-flight or otherwise, then the new Canon 600mm f4 lens would be the best choice IMO, along with the new 1.4X and 2X extenders and preferably a Canon 1D Mk IV. A lot of money to spend but you get what you pay for and they are the correct tools for the job.
I didn't want to rain on your parade as you seemed so happy with your Sigma lens, but I could have told you then, it just isn't the best choice for your chosen subject matter. For birds, you need focal length, quality and speed, and as much as you can get. A 300mm lens just isn't long enough by a long shot, for the vast majority of situations, other than the obvious situations where it may get by, i.e. Red kites at Gigrin, Gannets, Gulls in your local park, etc.

You only have to look at what the vast majority of professional or very serious bird photographers use, i.e. 500mm, 600mm and 800mm, usually with extenders. Unfortunately, if you want the very best, it comes at a very hefty price tag, but anything else will always be a compromise.

The newer 600mm comes with a reduced weight over the old one making it easily hand-holdable, should you prefer that option for fast moving subjects.

A cheaper option would be a secondhand Canon 500mm f4 or 600mm f4, but I wouldn't be surprised if these get snapped up extremely quickly seeing as the new models are so ridiculously expensive.
ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2012 7:06PM
Dip i looked and no second hand 600mm f4 s can you give me a link please.

3 Mar 2012 10:06PM
If you are going to be using it on a tripod/mono/bean bag, ie not hand holding, then there is a sigma 300-800 mm on the market as well, its a hefty beast, has no IS f5.6 but has the ability to zoom, this helps with capture of anything moving because looking through an 800mm lens is like looking through a straw

New they are about 5500, second hand nearer 3500

In an ideal world I would get the new EF 600mm, because its smaller lighter then the existing version, and in my view could be hand held as its about the same weight as the EF500mm mark 1, its the cost of the thing thats the problem

Tripods and heads aren't cheap for these beasts either

You can never have enough focal length with birds, then again you don't normally need to carry binoculars either with a super telephoto
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2012 10:19PM
The fact that one has the best/most expensive camera + the most expensive lens available, does not automatically mean that top shots will be producedSad

Too much of it to be seen in the gallerySmile
tonyguitar 6 65 37 Canada
4 Mar 2012 4:30AM
Hi Ian,

Am in the market for a lens upgrade also and some of the older photogs here in Canada have suggested the Canon 400 4-5.6 usm as very razor sharp lens.

My humble reasoning is that extra crisp glass allows closer cropping so the newer Canon 70 - 300 f4 will be my next lens. Surprisingly many have testified it is as sharp as the prime 400 Canon. Price here is about $1500 while the Canon 400 still holds out for about $1700 and that's without IS.

My current birding lens is the Tamron 70 - 300 and the AF is often not quick enough to keep up. Examples at; PhotoTonyG.blogspot.com. You can see that I get close enough to birds and ducks, it's the hit and miss auto-focus that costs me many good shots. If the 100 - 300 were not available, then the Canon 400 f4-5.6 would be my next lens.

Many will scold me for this, but I flick day-old [wholewheat] bread to the gulls and this attracts red breasted mergansers, ducks, gannets and grebes in. So far there is no need for more reach than 480mm...what 300 delivers on my T2i camera.
Hope this is helpful. Ps: Gulls eat too much protine so a little bread provides diet variety.

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