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Lens uestion: Sigma 150-600 or Canon 1.4x

ibskiing
Contributor

Hello,

I have a Canon 80D with a canon 70-300 zoom lens (Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L).  It is a very good lens that I use mostly for wildlife and birds.  However, I would like to have more zoom capacity.

 

I am considering the Sigma 150-600mm lens for around $890 or the Canon EF 1.4X III for half the price.  The 1.4x would get increase my zoom to 420.  

 

The 1.4x is cheaper, but I believe my current Canon lens is probably of higher quality than the Sigma.  So would the quality of these pics help make up for the lack of zoom that the Sigma would provide?  Or would the 1.4x degrade the qualify of the pics?

 

I appreciate anyones input.   Thanks,

19 REPLIES 19

" I had read some people say the autofocus, if it worked, was slower.  I had not read that you lose AF points.  So it sounds like I should get a new lens."

 

The AF will be slower is not your major issue.  Canon does not list the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L as lens the 1.4x tel-con work with at all.

 

"This lens (1.4x tel-con III) is only compatible with fixed focal length L-series lenses 135mm and over, as well as the EF 70-200/2.8L, EF 70-200/2.8L IS, EF 70-200/4L, and EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L."

 

Loosing AF points on a super zoom tele-lens is not a big deal. I typically use just the center point anyway. I wouldn't worry about that.  But using a tel-con isn't a good idea in first place, IMHO, of course.  A natural FL lens is preferable.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

limvo05
Rising Star

Is 420 FC length sufficient for bird photography? I am using Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS ii with Canon 2x iii converter and I feel 400mm is not long enough.


@limvo05 wrote:

Is 420 FC length sufficient for bird photography? I am using Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS ii with Canon 2x iii converter and I feel 400mm is not long enough.


It isn't.  You want at least 600mm.  The shot below was with a 1D Mark IV which has a 1.3 crop factor, a Sigma 150-600mm @600mm, with a 1.4x teleconverter.  the distance to the bird might be about 20 feet.  It was shot out of the window overlooking my 2FL outdoor deck.  The photo is not cropped at all.

 

EOS 6D Mark II2020_04_251005680.jpg

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

"It isn't.  You want at least 600mm."

 

The correct answer is, maybe. The old saying is you never can have a lens that is too fast or enough FL. But there is another part of the equation. How close can you get to your subject and how small is it. Is the bird an ostrich or a hummingbird?  Can you get within a few yards or a few feet form it?

Getting closer is always preferable.  Sometimes it isn't possible or perhaps even safe to do so.  IMPO, I would say 400mm is the least I would feel comfortable using under most bird shooting situations around my area. However, I prefer my 150-600mm S super zoom.

 

One of the 150-600mm super zooms is probably THE choice today for the best lens for birding. Keeping in mind not all shots will be at 600mm FL.

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"It isn't.  You want at least 600mm."

 

The correct answer is, maybe. The old saying is you never can have a lens that is too fast or enough FL. But there is another part of the equation. How close can you get to your subject and how small is it. Is the bird an ostrich or a hummingbird?  Can you get within a few yards or a few feet form it?

Getting closer is always preferable.  Sometimes it isn't possible or perhaps even safe to do so.  IMPO, I would say 400mm is the least I would feel comfortable using under most bird shooting situations around my area. However, I prefer my 150-600mm S super zoom.

 

One of the 150-600mm super zooms is probably THE choice today for the best lens for birding. Keeping in mind not all shots will be at 600mm FL.

 


And before you dismiss Ernie's point about getting closer, keep in mind that it's often possible to get the birds to take the initiative. A well stocked bird feeder can accomplish a lot. I used to frequent a photography Usenet newsgroup that included a photographer in Tennessee who specialized in hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are notoriously shy, (I've been within a few feet of a hummingbird twice that I can remember in my 82 years.) But the guy in Tennessee had figured out a version of flavored sugar water that they really liked, and there was usually a waiting line at his feeder. Once the birds got to know him, he was able to get all the pictures he could ever want.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

I agreed with what being said here. It's really called for the situation. Since I am still searching for the right lens for my bird photography fix, I've gone and bought a canvas that would allow me to get as close to the birds without alarming them of my presence. As you can in the photo below, it was taken at ISO 400 400FC F5.6 1/200sec and I was approximately 3 to 4 feet from the birdbath. The photo is a full-size screenshot of the actual.

 

bird taking a bath.jpg

"... it was taken at ISO 400 400FC F5.6 1/200sec ..."

 

That's a pretty nice shot.  I may suggest you consider upping the SS a bit.  You did OK in that shot but that may not always be true, or the case, and a faster SS will help. IMPO, I would keep it over 1/500 for a 400mil lens.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Totally OT:

We were out on a golf course and a humingbird came up to drink from the flowers on my wife's top! She got cell phone snaps, but since it wasn't a Canon, I can't post them here. 8^)

One of the first things I learned for shooting sports was position is everything and although I am VERY new to taking bird photos the same applies.  Ernie, which did you "shoot" first, bird or sports?

 

I quickly learned that bird photos take a lot of patience, sort of like fishing on a quiet pond or stream because you will often spend long periods of time waiting but you had also better be ready to act as soon as the opportunity presents itself. 

 

I put up some bird feeders and a bird bath two weeks ago and not only do these provide an opportunity for you to set up in a good position they also encourage the birds to hang around nearby so you can get photos of them in more natural locations.  They also get used to you from feeding and some are quite inquisitive.  I spent an hour last weekend without success trying to get a good photo of a barn swallow in flight but while I was making that attempt the young male cardinal in these photos landed on the ground so close to me that he was far too close for the lens to focus.  And sometimes birds get a little too close, Sunday a large buzzard was hovering far too close during the last mile of my 8 mile run and that was definitely creepy.  Apparently there is not enough roadkill with the reduced activity due to pandemic so he was trying to drum up a little business.

 

You can get away with a lot of cropping with a good DSLR if the base image is sharp and taken at a reasonable ISO.  I have four of the medium to long Canon primes (200, 300, 400, and 800) and although the 2X fills more of the sensor I think the end result of more heavily cropping with a 1.4X is probably going to provide about the same final quality as shooting with the 2X and often better.

 

Here are some examples from an EF 800 so the subject will cover about twice the sensor area of the 400.  They are not cropped but are down sampled in pixel count to fit forum posting size limits.  These were shot from around 30-40 feet away and I probably could have gotten a little closer but the gazebo is a perfect spot for photography without disturbing the subjects.  I think that any of these could have been shot with a 400mm lens that provides good IQ and resulted in good images.  The final image is a severe crop using only 6% of the sensor area of the 1DX III, it was shot at ISO 800.  With a decent lens and reasonable lighting/exposure triangle severe cropping is possible.

 

Rodger

 

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AS0I6005.JPGAS0I6076.JPGcropped.JPG

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"Ernie, which did you "shoot" first, bird or sports?"

 

I did sports, perhaps naturally, but I landed a job in the Graphic Arts division at Hallmark and since gravitated to the "arts" side of shooting. That is what I did for, and do for, the school district. I have only done sports shooting now on a requested basis like when someone, the real photographer, can't for some reason. Pretty rare.

 

I have done the "Corporate Challenge" series for a while now.  But I think that might be over now, too.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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