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Which lens is best paired with Canon 5Ds for bird photography

limvo05
Rising Star

Hello,

 

Can anyone here give me some advice on which lens is best paired with my Canon 5Ds for bird photography?

 

I have with me a 70-200 F2.8 II and a 2X Extender Mark III. While it is manageable in terms of sizes, that combination is somewhat heavy to carry for any extended period of time. I was thinking of a CANON EF 400mm F5.6 L USM prime, however, I don't know if 400mm is ideal for birds photography? If I was to pair it with my 2x extender, the aperture would be doubled, rendering the combination useless. Lastly, I would like to keep the budget below $2000.

 

Thank you,

LV

22 REPLIES 22

Waddizzle
Legend

First and foremost, the 5Ds would not be my first choice for a wildlife camera.  Can it do a good job of it?  Yes.  Will it do the best job?  There are better Canon choices.

 

As for lenses for your 5Ds to shoot wildlife goes, you seem to know that one needs focal length.  For reasons that you have been discovering, using a 2x teleconverter isn't the best way to create more focal length.  The best way to get more focal length is to simply buy longer lenses.

 

I use the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, or a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary lens.  The 100-400 is arguably identical in size to your 70-200, which is what I love most about it.  

 

The 150-600mm lenses out there are all beasts of a lens.  They're heavy, and too long to fit into most camera bags, much less still attached to a camera body,  I recommend using some sort of support with one, especially for long shoots.  I always use a monopod with the 150-600mm for stability.

 

I do have the 1.4x III, which I might occasionally use with the 70-200 or the 100-400.  When I do, I use it with my 6D2, which has 27 AF points that can focus at f/8.

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

The 150-600's end up being one of your carry-ons. Along with your other camera bag. So unless you fly Southwest, expect check-in baggage fees.

 

Not that anyone is doing much flying lately. 8^)

Thank you for answering my questions about which lens to use for bird photography. I agreed with you that the 5Ds is not the came of choice for bird photography, I got it 5 years back and been using it mostly for landscape and the family holidays. During my tests with the lens combo mentioned in the original post, it does adequate job under ideal or perfect conditions, i.e. birds are not moving erratically, and I would use it on a tripod with release cable to remove any camera shakes. That said, I do have plans to check out the new mirrorless camera from Canon, or Sony (A7R mark iv). I have heard some great things about the EOS R, that said, there seems to be a lot of rumors that it will soon be replaced by another in the coming months. Not that I care much for the latest and greatest, however, it is my understanding that the EOS R is Canon first attempt in this arena, in that sense, I would expect it to be more or less a trial and error camera until Canon figured things out in the mirrorless space.

 

Anyway, what is your thought of 400mm f5.6 USM L lens? The reviews I have seen seem very positive. It's a prime lens therefore it is sharper than zoom lens. Also, it is not as heavy as the 70-200 f2.8 II or the 100-400 mark II.

 

Thank you,

LV


@limvo05 wrote:

Thank you for answering my questions about which lens to use for bird photography. I agreed with you that the 5Ds is not the came of choice for bird photography, I got it 5 years back and been using it mostly for landscape and the family holidays. During my tests with the lens combo mentioned in the original post, it does adequate job under ideal or perfect conditions, i.e. birds are not moving erratically, and I would use it on a tripod with release cable to remove any camera shakes. That said, I do have plans to check out the new mirrorless camera from Canon, or Sony (A7R mark iv). I have heard some great things about the EOS R, that said, there seems to be a lot of rumors that it will soon be replaced by another in the coming months. Not that I care much for the latest and greatest, however, it is my understanding that the EOS R is Canon first attempt in this arena, in that sense, I would expect it to be more or less a trial and error camera until Canon figured things out in the mirrorless space.

 

Anyway, what is your thought of 400mm f5.6 USM L lens? The reviews I have seen seem very positive. It's a prime lens therefore it is sharper than zoom lens. Also, it is not as heavy as the 70-200 f2.8 II or the 100-400 mark II.

 

Thank you,

LV


Think of the R as the prototype for Canon's serious mirrorless line. It's not something you'd buy now. The impending R5 should incorporate a lot of improvements.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

"...the R as the prototype for Canon's serious mirrorless line. It's not something you'd buy now."

 

There is no way on God's green Earth I would trade a 5Ds for a R or much less a Sony!  Smiley Sad

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

No, I will not be parting with my 5Ds. I was just curious about the mirrorless especially a lot of people saying it's much lighter and smaller than DSLRs.

 

Are there specific reasons you don't recommend the Sony a7R mark iv? I thought that the camera has very good reviews? Also, I heard with an adaptor you can make use of the existing Canon lens.

 

Thanks!

For birding, the weight savings of mirrorless don't mean much since you will have a heavy chunk of glass attached to the camera 🙂

 

And don't sell the 5DS R short, it isn't my first choice for low light, fast action sports (I have 1DX through 1DX III bodies which excel under those conditions) but the 5DS R does quite well under a wide range of conditions.  I took it to one HS basketball game as a third body for bench/crowd shots with a 24-70 F2.8 lens but took a few action shots with it just to test and below is one.  It doesn't compare well to what my 1DX series bodies did with 300 F2.8 and 70-200 F2.8 lens mounted for that game but it was definitely handicapped by its less speedy focusing 24-70 lens and was better for sports than I expected.

 

The shot below was at ISO 2000 but I bumped it up nearly a full stop in post and it is highly cropped from a larger capture. 

 

I shot a lot of soccer with a Canon 400 F5.6, often with a 1.4X in place and it is a very nice lens and one of the standout value for price lens in the Canon line and if it is long enough for your needs it does a great job.  I switched to a Canon 400 F2.8 which is even sharper and takes extenders with less loss of sharpness and contrast but that comes at a huge dollar and weight increase.

 

I had a chance to pick up a 5DS R at a compelling price and I found that I use it far more than I expected.  The only change I made was adding the Canon battery grip because I really missed the portrait orientation duplicate controls of the 1 series bodies.

 

Rodger

 

2A8A0390.JPG

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

"And don't sell the 5DS R short, it isn't my first choice for low light, fast action sports ..."

 

Absolutely.  I hate it when people claim this camera can and that camera can't.  Is there better cameras for a specific situation, of course but it doesn't mean that any other camera can't.  There are hundreds of cameras out there that are worse than owning a 5Ds for birding.

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


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"And don't sell the 5DS R short, it isn't my first choice for low light, fast action sports ..."

 

Absolutely.  I hate it when people claim this camera can and that camera can't.  Is there better cameras for a specific situation, of course but it doesn't mean that any other camera can't.  There are hundreds of cameras out there that are worse than owning a 5Ds for birding.


No one said that, Ernie.  

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"The right mouse button is your friend."
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