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600/800MM lenses vs RF 2x Extender for Kenya Safari

ke_12
Contributor

Hi community, 

I'm new here, I'm glad to join this community. I just bought a Canon R8 with new Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM and used Canon RF 24-105 mm f/4-7,1 IS STM. I would say that I'm somewhere between beginner and intermediate level in photography. Being doing it for years and years, but basic stuff. I travel 2x times a year. It's not always wildlife photography, but when I got the occasion, I really like doing wildlife and bird photography. 

I will be going in Kenya for a 14 days safari in one month. I'm afraid that 400mm won't be enough for reach for far away animals. I don't have a huge budget so I can't afford 100-500mm lense or the new 200-800mm lense. So I'm hesitating between the 600MM F11 (400$ used) and/or 800MM F11 (625$ used) VS. Using a Canon RF 2x Extender on my RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS (550$ used). 

Your advices would be really appreciated and thanks in advance for your generosity

16 REPLIES 16

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

"...  the two happiest days in a photographers life are, first, the day when he gets his 2X teleconverter and the second when he sells it?"

 

😁Or they sit on a shelf next to the wall of my formerly stop bath stained darkroom converted to storage room!

Man, I walk in there and see all the gear that once was and now is no more. Several tel-cons, numerous filters and several flashes, bags, etc. Junk.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Nitro54
Contributor

I have the F11 800 lens and it will take decent pictures as long as you have good lighting. The 1.4 extender works good also if you have good lighting. Cloudy days produce alright pictures, but most are still usable for personal use.

Thanks! I think I’ll give it a try! 

johnrmoyer
Mentor
Mentor

DISCLAIMER: I do not have EOS R8, nor RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS nor Canon RF 2x Extender and I have never been to the continent of Africa.

I have a much better opinion of 2x extenders than some of the others who are giving you advice. You might be able to rent the extender.

For a bird at the same distance, there will be 4 times as many pixels on the bird with the 2x extender than without it. I often use EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM +2x III for wildlife. Sometimes one cannot get closer to wildlife so it does not matter if the bare lens has better image quality than the lens with extender.

There will be more small aperture diffraction blur with a larger F number, but Canon DPP digital lens optimization can fix most of that if the ISO is not too high. Canon DPP knows how to correct Canon extenders.

A faster shutter speed may be needed with a longer focal length to avoid blur.

If photographing wildlife at a greater distance, there will be more blur from the light passing through more air with varying densities.

There will be less contrast for small details with the extender than without. Much of that can be fixed by carefully choosing the radius for unsharp mask.

A recent example:

  • LensModel : EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM +2x III
  • ISO : 1250
  • FocusDistanceUpper : 24.09 m
  • FocusDistanceLower : 18.82 m
  • FNumber : 11.0

American Coot (Fulica americana) at Lake Thunderbird in Norman, Oklahoma, United States on December 6, 2023American Coot (Fulica americana) at Lake Thunderbird in Norman, Oklahoma, United States on December 6, 2023

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https://www.rsok.com/~jrm/

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

That photo is about what I would expect from a tel-con and why I still don't like them or use them.

"Sometimes one cannot get closer to wildlife so it does not matter if the bare lens has better image quality than the lens with extender."

You have a good point there, I admit. Sometimes any shot is better than no shot for sure.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

DKPhotography
Apprentice

Agree the 2x TC is only good if you won’t get any photo otherwise even with the 100-500mm image quality and tracking ability go way way down even with enough light. I use the 800mm F11 when there is enough light and I need more reach and it’s decent. And will add the 1.4x to my 100-500mm if needed but honestly the sensor crop is about the same and easier to change back and forth. 

ke_12
Contributor

Many thanks everyone. I have decided to try the 600mm or 800mm solution. 

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