I have a Canon Eos 80D and a Canon 100 - 400 mm F4.5 - 5.6 L IS USM lens and use them mostly for bird photography. I think the 400 mm is not enough to capture small birds that tend to be skittish of humans. Admittedly, I have lens envy when I see birds photographed with a 600 or 800 mm lens. In generally, I really like the lens that I have but want to consider getting a teleconverter, at least a 1.4X. I know about giving up an F stop but it's less clear to me about the effects of the teleconverter on focus points (I have 1, 9 and 45 on the camera) and on autofocus. I would also like to know your thoughts on the pros and particularly the cons of using one. Appreciate your feedback but if I'm asking a question that's already been asked, please let me know and I'll try to find the discussion. Thanks.
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I wanted to report back on the use of the 1.4X teleconverter added to my 100 - 400 mm telephoto zoom lens. I'm attaching three images, a perched belted kingfisher, two burrowing owls and a wood stork coming in to land. Note that all three images were taken at the maximum zoom, namely, 560 nm (with the extender). One of the three images represents a bird in flight. Admittedly, autofocus was slowed with the extender but I've kind of learned how to deal with it. Harder to lock on a bird quickly with the extender particularly when the bird is closeby when I first recognize the photo opportunity. Easier if I spot the bird somewhat far away and can prepare for it. As for image quality, I think it's still pretty good as long as lighting is good. As for specifications, I used a Canon EOS 80D, an EF 100 - 400 mm f/4,5 - 5,6 IS II USM zoom lens plus the 1.4X III extender. Overall, I'm very happy with it and generally use it unless it's a cloudy day. I also purchased a Canon Powershot SX60 for more reach but, frankly, I don't like it as much as my 400 mm zoom lens with the extender. It's terrible for birds in flight or for warblers moving quickly through a tree because autofocus is much slower than the 80D setup.
I've shot the Sigma 150-600 C all of last season & it has benched my 100-400 L IS Ver 1 which is quite sharp. I finally got a shot I've been after for the last 2 seasons because for once I decided to use the right shutter speed because I really wasn't after prop blur. I have come very close at getting this result at 1/500 a few times but I think this confirms that the Sigma is sharp enough for most hand holders. Wing span is 88 inches & it's flying right to left doing rolls, I've turned it for the crop. (note slight prop blur even at this setting so likely at full power). First the full frame then a crop to the autographs of the Snowbird pilots 3 years ago & ISS Commander Chris Hadfield. Shot hand held with a 1D mark 4, Sigma 150-600 C @468 mm, f 6.3, 1/2000. At the end of the season I started shooting that lens on my 7D2 with excellent results & I plan on using it together next year along with the Canon 28-300 L IS on the 1D4.
"I've shot the Sigma 150-600 C all of last season & it has benched my 100-400 L IS Ver 1 ..."
It does show that real world shooting and data from testing sites can be very different and misleading. I own, or rented, and use all of the lenses mentioned in this thread. For most people I still maintain there isn't a nickels worth of difference between them.
However, in the hands of certain people there can be quite a difference. Also it depends on how much cropping is done or required. For most people, they will see a degrading of the IQ with a teleconverter with any of them. It is my belief and experience that a lens without a converter is better than one with it.