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Rebel T6 Telephoto Options Advice

EddM
Contributor

New to the Community.

 

Have the Rebel T6 and 3 lens:

  • EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II
  • EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III, and
  • EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6

 

I would like to do wildlife/bird and othe longer distance photography with a 500mm plus lens.

 

I am a hobbyist/amateur and really cannot afford the pricey Canon lens in that 500mm range.

 

Am I better of to buy something like a:

  • Canon Extender EF 2x Auto Focus
  • Viltrox C-AF 2X Teleplus/Yongnuo YN-2.0X II Teleconverter or similar
  • or even the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III Lens and Teleconverter

to use with the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

 

or

 

Buy an inexpensive manual focus only 500mm like the:

  • Oshiro 500mm f/6.3 (T-Mount with Adaptor)
  • Opteka/Bower/Vivitar 500mm f/8 (T-Mount with Adaptor)

I know you get what you pay for and all but would appreciate feedback, thoughts, recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

23 REPLIES 23

TCampbell
Elite
Elite

Birding is tough on a budget.

 

The "cheap" lenses that birders love are

 

1) the Sigma 150-600mm in the "contemporary" version (Sigma makes the same lens in the "sport" version and it's a better lens ... but it's literally about twice the price.  The "contemporary" is just under $900.  The "sport" is just under $1800.

 

 

2) the Tamron 150-600mm ... note that there's the original which is a little less than $900 (and just a few dollars less than the Sigma) but Tamron also somewhat recently released the "G2" version which I think runs around $1400.

 

And these are the "cheap" lenses (because the lenses they really prefer are $2000 and up.  So the definition of "cheap" is all relative.)

 

Do you have to use these lenses?  Certainly not.  Birding isn't easy... but these lenses make it a little easier.   If you're trying to capture birds in flight, you need a lens that is responsive - snappy auto-focus and capable of auto-aperture changes.   If you can find a non-moving bird, things are easier.  But many birds are shy and it's difficult to get close enough for a well-framed shot before they fly off.

 

Lenses like those 500mm f/8 lenses are mirror lenses (catadioptric lenses).  There are no aperture blades so exposure can only be adjusted via shutter speed (or ISO).  Out-of focus blur is donut-shaped because the lens has a secondary mirror which creates a central obstruction.  They are not auto-focusing lenses.

 

Trying to capture a shy create or a bird in flight with such a lens will be... quite a challenge (to put it mildly).

 

Extenders (focal length multipliers) cannot be used with just any lens.  Canon has a specific list of lenses that are compatible with their 1.4x and 2.x extenders.  They not only alter the focal length of the lens, they also affect the focal ratio of the lens.  

 

If you use the 75-300mm lens (at the 300mm end - which is basically where you'll be) the lowest focal ratio is f/5.6.  When you use a 1.4x extender you multiply BOTH the focal length AND the focal ratio by 1.4.  This gives you an effective 420mm f/8 lens.  Your camera will NOT have working auto-focus at f/8 (only a few cameras can auto-focus at f/8 and they're all high-end models.)  Even so... auto-focus speed is reduced with the extender.  And a 2x adapter doubles things... so the lens effectively becomes a 600mm f/11 lens (and there are zero cameras on the market that have working auto-focus at f/11).  

 

You also take a hit in image quality when you use a focal length multiplier.  Canon's latest version "III" extenders are extremely good.  Third party extenders like the Kenko brand will result in quite a bit of a noticeable hit in image quality.  But that assumes the lens is even compatible with a focal length multiplier AND that the camera can still have working auto-focus at the new max aperture value available with the multiplier on the lens.

 

 

 

 

You may be able to stretch the budget by looking for used lenses (hopefully in good shape).  

 

The tele-extender isn't going to work for the 75-300mm lens.  The mirror-lenses you mentioned will "work" but probably frustrate you.  With that said... there's a nearby nature park that is a natural aviary for blue herons and sandhill cranes.  Sandhill cranes are normally so shy that if if you spot them on the far end of a large field, by the time you step onto the field, they're gone... they're not sticking around to see if you're planning to get within 100 yards of them.  But at this particular aviary, they were shockingly used to humans.  I watched a mated pair wandering around foraging for food with their chicks ... and the chicks were walking up to people ... (literally within 2-3' and in one case I saw a chick go right up to an adults shoes (I think he may have been eyeing the laces in hopes that they were worms.))    That's "not" typical behavior.  I had to ditch my 300mm lens for a 70-200mm.

 

Sandhill Crane & Chick.jpg

 

I think this was shot at 140mm (and I cropped in very gently to improve composition).

 

So it's certainly possible to do bird photography with any lens (the above shot was not exactly challenging -- it was the proverbial "fish in a barrel" situation).  But for most bird photography, birders prefer the native 150-600mm zoom range and the cost of the entry-priced lenses in that category are around $900 (but that's retail price on a "new" lens.   You may be able to find a well-mainted used lens for much less.  Especially as owners sell off their old/original versions to buy new/improved versions.

 

 

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

What is the opinion on the SIGMA 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO


@EddM wrote:

What is the opinion on the SIGMA 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO


I suppose that mean the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 lens.  It is a pretty good lens.  If you can verify that it is in good condition before you pay for it, then I see no reason not to go for it.  New lenses came with a hood, a tripod foot, and a storage case.

Just be advised that lens has noticeable vignetting, so you photos will need lens correction.  This could be a potential problem because the Canon DPP software does not perform automatic lens correction on the third party lenses.  You would have to dial in lens correction manually.

You can get the best performance out of that lens by setting the aperture to f/8, which helps to reduce vignetting, and also produces sharper images than at f/5 or f/6.3.  Sunny shooting conditions produces the best results, because of the narrow aperture.  It is also a heavy beast of lens, for your T6.  You would need to support the lens, and not allow it hang from the front of the camerra body. 

I used to leave the tripod foot on the lens all the time, so I could use it as a handle to support the lens when shooting, or carrying the lens when walking.  A tripod would be advisable until you can figure out how to shoot with a super telephoto lens.  Aiming will be similar to looking through a drinking straw.

I think you will love it.  I do not know what the used selliing price is now, but they cleared them out two years ago for less than $700 each when it was discontinued.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Actually it is listed and shown as  SIGMA 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG

 

See pic.

 

I have no knowledge of that lens so I am not able to comment.  Never touched one or even seen one. Sorry.

I can vouch for the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM Lens for Canon so if you find a nice one go for it.

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

I assumed incorrectly.  I have heard of that lens before.  I have never used it before, and I understand that it is an older design from over a decade ago.

As Ernie remarked about the more recent 150-500, there are a few issues with it.  It would be a fair to assume that the 170-500mm is likely to have similar issues, if not worse. 

I got my best results by turning off the Optical Stabilization with the 150-500mm, which solved many of the issues, except for the vignetting, which can be cleaned up in post processing, provided that you shot RAW.  I'm not sure if the 170-500 even has Optical Stabililzation.  

A few minutes of research suggests that the 170-500mm is basically a lens originally designed for film cameras.  Lenses designed for digital sensors have special anti-reflective coatings to minimize reflection off of the image sensor, and its' filters.  This lens was made "digital ready" by giving it the coatings needed for digitial sensors.

I would follow Ernie's advice, and try it out on your camera first.  If you are buying it from eBay or Amazon, then you are taking a risk with your money.  It is a risk that I find unacceptable, but some people do not mind the hassle of trying to return something for a refund.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

"What is the opinion on the SIGMA 170 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO

 

Like said before I have had three of these.  It is a good lens but not a great lens.  The one of three I kept and have now is better than the two I sold.  They were both acceptable but this one is just a tad bit better.  I can totally recommend it as a low cost option for a super zoom.  Keep in mind that the replacements for it from both Sigma and Tamron are better.  But they cost more!

To be clear the part of this lens that let's it down is the leisurely AF.  The IQ is fine. It wouldn't be a first choice for fast sports unless you take certain precautions.  Manual focus any time you want even in AF mode.  It isn't too heavy at about 4 lbs.  Totally hand holdable but on the T6 you are looking at focal length of 240 - 800 mm.  That is serious focal length.  Holding it still will be a challenge.  The OS is also a little tardy.  Build is really good. Better that some other similar lenses.

 

It is a lens that can make you happy.  Be careful buying used.  Check it out ON YOUR CAMERA. 

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


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"What is the opinion on the SIGMA 170 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO

 

Like said before I have had three of these.  It is a good lens but not a great lens.  The one of three I kept and have now is better than the two I sold.  They were both acceptable but this one is just a tad bit better.  I can totally recommend it as a low cost option for a super zoom.  Keep in mind that the replacements for it from both Sigma and Tamron are better.  But they cost more!

To be clear the part of this lens that let's it down is the leisurely AF.  The IQ is fine. It wouldn't be a first choice for fast sports unless you take certain precautions.  Manual focus any time you want even in AF mode.  It isn't too heavy at about 4 lbs.  Totally hand holdable but on the T6 you are looking at focal length of 240 - 800 mm.  That is serious focal length.  Holding it still will be a challenge.  The OS is also a little tardy.  Build is really good. Better that some other similar lenses.

 

It is a lens that can make you happy.  Be careful buying used.  Check it out ON YOUR CAMERA. 


Ernie, I think you and Waddizzle are answering the wrong question. There actually was a Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 lens.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Ok here's another lens I am looking at:

 

Tamron 200-500mm SP IF LD DI

 

Yes it is discontinued but the pricing may be right and in my limited budget.

 

Anyone know anything?

 

Thanks again.

 

Edd

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