I had a quick question for the experts(or anybody) out there. I recently purchased a Rebel T4I. Im currently using an 18-135 IS and a 55-250 IS lenses. Im looking to do a lot of wildlife shots. I was wondering what kind of lense i could buy that would get me out there a couple hundred yard without breaking the bank. Also one that would turn out clear qaulity pics. Ive looked at some but they are up in the 1000s range. Planning on getting a tripod in the next month or so to. What would yall recommend?
That's not even close for a really good lens capable of that much reach. There are however a few older lenses that might be good enough to get you there but you'll need a really good tripod & a shutter release cable because hand holding a long lens without IS (or OS etc) is learned through a lot of practice. Lenses I can recommend from use are the Sigma 80-400 OS or better yet (due to the extra reach) is the NON OS Sigma 50-500. Both of those are pretty good lenses for the money they currently bring as nicely cared for used lenses. Anything else that I'd recommend will be at or over $1000 for a good used one. The Canon 100-400 L IS is the next thing I'd recommend rather than the newer versions of the Sigma's I've mentioned.
As you have discovered HQ lens with large aperture openings (to achieve high shutter speeds) are expensive. I am not familiar with 3rd party options but as far as Canon's lineup:
The 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS II is decent bang for your buck lens. You can get out to 250mm at very low price. The image quality is not going to be great so do don't expect that. It has a variable aperture f/4 - f/5.6 which means you will get best results only with plenty of light. Because of the variable aperture, you will be at f/5.6 when zoomed out to 250mm. If your wildlife photography takes you into into the trees or shaded areas, you will have to crank your ISO to obtain adequate exposure. As you probably know, when increasing ISO, image quality goes down.
A second option is the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS. I do not know much about this lens but expect it to be considerable better than the 55-250. It does have IS and the same variable aperture as the 55-250 so plenty of light will be essential.
A better option if you willing to spend more is the 70-200 f/4L. This lens is sharp and has a constant aperture of f/4 which means it will be f/4 throughout the whole zoom range. f/4 is a whole stop faster than f/5.6 which means it lets in twice as much light. This lens does not have IS but you can compensate for that with mono pod (which is probably something you will want anyway for wildlife photography). Amazon has this lens in your price range. I would recommend this over the previous two options. You might be able to rent one just to try it out.
You have a very nice camera and in order to make it shine you need good lens. Many people invest in camera bodies and skimp on lens. Good lens are almost always more important than the body.
For very good and affordable tripods, look into the Vanguard brand such as these:
Manfrotto makes excellent Tri-pods as well
I really don't think a 300 mm lens will be long enough to meet what's being asked about.Here's a link to lots of samples from various bodies with the Sigma 50-500 (aka the Bigma).
It's a very versatile lens but it's also a bit on the heavy side.
Here's the link to user reviews but keep in mind that it looks like some of the reviews are of the newer version which has OS (same thing as IS) plus often very long lenses get bad reviews from users who haven't developed the needed technique to get proper results so they blame the lens rather than themselves. Using a long (& heavy) lens is not simply a point, acquire focus, shoot kind of thing. Even when using a tripod you can get shake so a heavy lens deserves a strong & sturdy tripod for long (distance) shooting.
Is this wildlife small and fast like birds, or big like elk or moose?
If you want to keep your price down to $750, you will need to go non-canon (3rd party), which is no sin of course. The Canon options would be PRIMES and not zooms.
But the good news is that long PRIME (fixed-length, not adjustable length) lenses have better image quality than almost any zoom has. AND they are CHEAPER and lighter too.
a.) You could get a really pretty decent Canon 400mm f/5.6 for 1,200 new, and that lens makes the Canon 100-400 zoom look pretty bad by comparison, though it won't accept a Canon teleconverter (extender).
b.) you could get an EF 300 f/4.0 for the same price new ($1200) and it would accept a Canon teleconverter 1.4x or 2.0x. Those cost $250 to $350. 300 x 1.4 = 420mm lens @ f/5.6 equivalent on the 1.4x. The 2.0 cuts even more light out, and damages image quality more too.
I know people who claim to pay nothing for lenses, they just "rent" them for free. As long as you buy used lenses (and don't destroy them) you are fairly well assured you can sell them someday for what you paid for them.
Of course, if you go with a 3rd party lens (or even if you go with a Canon lens) you could go with a 3rd party teleconverter like Kenko or Sigma, and save money that way too.
It's easy enough to say certain lenses are considerable better than others (talking about lenses in the same price range) but in general when used the way we use them it's much harder to see that minor difference. A few years ago when I started shooting radio control events I needed to decide what met my needs & what should be sold so I ran my own tests on what I had at the time & frankly no lens failed from a sharpness point of view. AF wise the Canon's won, but only because of the limiter switch which prevented them from searching from one end to the other to acquire focus. I did not own the 400 f5.6 so it's not included & I relied on the barrel markings to compare at different settings, and some weren't real accurate. The samples (which can be downloaded for careful examination) are here.
Lenses used are the Canon 300 f4 L IS & 100-400 L IS
Sigma 80-400 OS & 50-500
Camera was secured to a fairly rigid mount.
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