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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-30-2018

Lens for Polar Bear

[ Edited ]

I am going to a cruise tour to Arctic Circle for polar bear but I dont know how far will they gonna be, the guidance suggests to bring 10x to 25x binoculars. And I just realized I dont have any long focal length lens for my 6D mark I. My original thought was to buy a canon 100-400mm II paired with the extender 2x, but after I did research found out that this combination is not practical.

I would like some sugguestions for new lens and probably extender, also is the tripod necessary as I never use these large lens before?

 

Thanks in advanced.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,394
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

I suggest the Sigma (or Tamron) 150-600 mm. They usually get good reviews around here.

 

 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,259
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

Where exactly will you be going. If it's Churchill Manitoba you may bew able to fill your viewfinder with a 24-105. The bears there are just about everywhere from what I've seen in my grandson's photos. If however you want a great long lens the Canon 100-400 plus a 1.4 TC gets very good reviews or as suggested the Sigma 150-600 C is another option & both of these can be hand held but a monopod is a very good idea since they are light & compact.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,394
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

VIP
Posts: 9,173
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

Either one, a Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm super zoom is the way to go.  Here is a rule of thumb, 100mm is roughly 2x power.

So, you would have a 3x to 12x telephoto with either of these. I have all three versions of these super zooms and I prefer the Sigma S but keep in mind it is very heavy.  The "C model and the Tamron G2 are totally usable by anybody.  Again personally I don't like tele-cons as I prefer native FL.

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Super Contributor
Posts: 136
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

[ Edited ]

@jacky8087 wrote:

I am going to a cruise tour to Arctic Circle for polar bear but I dont know how far will they gonna be, the guidance suggests to bring 10x to 25x binoculars. And I just realized I dont have any long focal length lens for my 6D mark I. My original thought was to buy a canon 100-400mm II paired with the extender 2x, but after I did research found out that this combination is not practical.

I would like some sugguestions for new lens and probably extender, also is the tripod necessary as I never use these large lens before?

 

Thanks in advanced.


The fact that you are going on a cruise would suggest to tme that it is likely you will be kept at a decent distance from the bears for health and safety reasons.  You COULD get quite close if you are on a boat and they are on an ice flow - I have seen RIBs get within 20m of a polar bear on an ice floe.  For that reason I would suggest that you might want to consider a zoom with a fairly wide range, and I would suggest the Canon 100-400 MkII with the 1.4 Mk III extender.

 

HOWEVER, such a configuration will not give you autofocus and autoexposure on a 6DMkI: you would need an 80D, 7DII, 5DIV or maybe a 6DII to get those features - suggest you refer to Canon's compatibility list for lenses, extenders and bodies.  Using a crop sensor will give you a FoV equivalent to 1.6 x focal length which may come in handy if the bears are some distance away. For example the 100-400 would have a FoV of a 160-640 and with a 1.4x extender, it would give you an equivalent FoV at 224-896mm.  The results with this lens combination I have found to be really good. There is a post on this site with images from exactly this combination.

 

So here I have a question... do you think you will need this combination of ranges on a permanent basis.  If not, I would suggest renting a kit for the event.  Something like a 5DiV (FF) or 7DII (APS-C) will be weather resistant and will give you all of the features of the lenses and extenders.  You could take your 6DI with a wider angle lens to get panoramic shots - that way you have all the ranges covered and you don't have to open the camera to switch lenses in the field.  The rental cost should be fractional compared to the outlay to purchase.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,499
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

10x for your full-frame 6D camera is about 450mm.  (the sensor measures just over 43mm diagonally.  the magnification is based on dividing the focal length of the lens by the diagonal measure of the imaging chip.  Technically a 430mm lens would be 10x but nobody makes a "430mm" lens.

 

25x would be 1075mm.  

 

If you use a 2x exntender you have to multiply both the focal length AND the focal ratio by the extender factor.  This means if you had an f/2.8 lens you would multply by a 2x and get f/5.6.  If you have an f/4 lens you can multiply by 2x and get an f/8 lens.  But if you have an f/5.6 lens... you end up at f/11 and the phase-detect auto-focus wont work at f/11.

 

Also, when you use an extender you'll notice there's a reduction in focus speed.

 

I would probably look into one of the 150-600mm zooms.  

 

You might also consider renting a lens.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-30-2018

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

Thank you for your advice I think I would use 150-600mm, is the autofocus going to work on my 6DmkI with this lens?
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-30-2018

Re: Lens for Polar Bear

thank you I have considered rent those gear but I am going for almost a month. It cost so much to rent them, I would rather buy them in second hand or sell them after the trip, if I not going to use them in the future.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,499
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Lens for Polar Bear


@jacky8087 wrote:
Thank you for your advice I think I would use 150-600mm, is the autofocus going to work on my 6DmkI with this lens?

It should.  I don't think you'll have any problems.

 

Stay safe ... you want to be lunch for a hungry bear.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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