02-20-2021 10:02 AM
Bear with me here. I was going to spend about $400 on two items for my workshiop. Have gone for years without them so I decided to go in another direction. Had a conversation with the CEO of the organization. OK to spend the money if it will be used and not collect dust. As I indicated in another post, I can take macro photos with the wife's camera which would be mainly fishing flies. Not looking to get real close for photos of insects, etc. My thought is to take wildlife photos for sale to publications, separate or with articles. East Tennessee has many places for wildlife photography. We have taken a number of photos out the kitchen window as we have a number of birds who stop by for a snack; rabbits and squirrels in the back yard, too. My Canon EOS Rebel T7 has a 75-300mm lens. Good but could be better. I was considering the "multiplier" to increase it to 600mm. New or reconditioned is OK. Is any aftermarket brand/product acceptable? Your advice is most appreciated as always. Thanks two bunches!
02-20-2021 10:16 AM - edited 02-20-2021 10:20 AM
I don't think you are going to be happy with a 2X with that lens. Frankly, although I have a 2X and some really expensive telephoto primes the image degradation with a 2X is pretty bad and I have yet to capture an image with a 2X that I really liked. And you will lose autofocus with that combination on your Rebel so you will limited to manual focus only.
I do use a 1.4X fairly regularly and with sharp primes it works quite well but check to see what the AF limitation is for your camera if AF is important to you. You lose 1 stop with the 1.4X (2 stops with a 2X); the 1 series will autofocus at f8 but most Canon bodies won't work with AF at apertures narrower than f5.6. Live view may allow narrower aperture AF but Liveview wouldn't be my first choice for wildlife work.
Telephoto extenders have their place but they have some very real limitations which is far greater with some lens and body combinations. And on edit: an extender will always somewhat slow AF even when the resultant combination aperture is within the capabilities of your camera body. With a 1.4X and the great white primes mounted on a 1DX series it is a VERY slight drop but that same body and lens with a 2X results in a noticeable slowing and additional focus hunting even on a 1DX III. That is not a good thing for wildlife.
And I envy you living in East TN, it is one of the most beautiful spots on earth and I travel there as often as I can.
02-20-2021 10:42 AM - edited 02-20-2021 10:42 AM
Thanks. Aware of the limitations on the extender but looked at some of the bigger telephoto lenses which run into some big bucks. Local TV station had a news blurb about a guy who is a bird photographer- camera and huge lens cost $14K! I could pay off my car with that!
Recommendation at this point? Use what I have for now?
02-20-2021 10:57 AM - edited 02-20-2021 10:58 AM
I was looking at different lenses and found this. Like the 1000mm aspect. Had 4 stars but didn't look at them for the negative reviews. Too good to be true? Your opinions?
02-20-2021 11:32 AM
If you are looking for quality (and you should be), I would stay with what you have for now and rely upon getting as close as possible to the subject.
Something to consider is one of Canon's best telephoto values, the EF 400 f5.6. I bought one when I bought my 1D 2 back in 2005 and even though I have the better EF 400 f2.8 now I have held onto the much lower cost f5.6 version because it is nice for hiking and it produces very nice results. Although not cheap compared to the low cost Canon glass, it is a really good value for a Canon L series telephoto prime. I shot a lot of sports and wildlife with it and it does work well with the Canon 1.4X extender and continues to provide good quality as a 560mm f8 combination. If necessary to get this into a decent price range, consider a good used unit from KEH or a well known used dealer. Image quality is extremely good with this easy to live with 400mm prime.
Drawbacks: I don't think your camera can auto-focus at f8 so with your current setup it would be manual focus only when you add the 1.4x. This lens also doesn't have image stabilization which wasn't a big deal to me since I typically shoot at high shutter speed but it is a limitation if you plan to use it in lower light particularly with the 1.4X. You may need to think tripod or at least monopod.
And as for that Amazon lens, it will create images but probably not images you would want to do anything with beyond posting on social media without your name on them There is no free lunch and that old saying is true ten times over with photography gear. With kludges like that you will find yourself struggling to get an even half decent image some of the time with nothing but garbage the rest of the time. Definitely read the negative reviews and decide what quality of output that you need. There are worse things to attach to your camera but you would need to spend some time searching...
Ultimately, no lens is perfect but some are far less imperfect than others. I spent some time this morning trying out a Canon 1.4X III with my EF 800 f5.6 and dialing in the AF calibration because depth of field is extremely shallow with this setup. I will use this combo when needed because sometimes you just can't get close enough but I also accept that the result would be better with just the bare lens if I could get closer.
So no matter what lens you end up using, don't ever let a 1.4X become too much of a convenience crutch. When you are going for best quality, use the extender because you have to in order to get the shot, not because of convenience. My little buddy Woody the almost tame woodpecker was nice enough to model for me this morning because I keep the feeder stocked with his favorite suet cakes. He looks OK with the EF 800 plus 1.4X combo but if he wanted a fashion shot I would close in and use the bare lens
02-20-2021 01:05 PM - edited 02-20-2021 01:10 PM
I was a bit skeptical of the 1000mm lens for that price. You get what you pay for. I use autofocus but find myself trying/experimenting with the four manual settings rather than Auto. Wife uses Auto on her ecamera and gets great photos but limited in distance. Ran across a YT video on wildlife photpgraphy. Good excuse to use my ground blind or portable blind. Turkeys are starting to roam and crank up for springtime.
Looked at the 400mm but the price is out of my budget at this time. Was looking at getting the distance from where I shoot from the kitchen to a bird feeder. 300mm is shy for what I need for a good detailed photo compared to the photos I get from the feeder on the deck.
Edit- like Woody's posing for you. Bet he works cheep.
02-20-2021 01:32 PM
It seems since Canon discontinued this lens, the used price has been going up. I steered a friend in this direction a couple of years ago and he found a mint one for $400, I think it was a thousand or a bit under when I bought mine new. I am surprised the price is staying so high on the used copies of the lens but it was a great value when available new so it doesn't seem to have depreciated as much.
02-20-2021 05:15 PM
Two things, again when money is tight don't waste it, but first I don't think the 2x tel-con will even work on your 75-300mm zoom. Period! Second, that Amazon lens is junk. It is a waste of your short resources.
02-20-2021 05:30 PM
"We have taken a number of photos out the kitchen window as we have a number of birds who stop by for a snack; rabbits and squirrels in the back yard, too."
I am really not trying to throw water on your parade but having been in this business for several decades now I have to know.
Where in the world did you find, or work for a pub, that pays for photos shot out of your kitchen window? I know our Kansas Wildlife magazine will not. They want all natural habitat photos of wildlife and birds in natural settings. Plus extremely sharp ones too. Don't get me wrong here as you don't need the fantastic gear Rodger has but you do need adequate gear for the job.
OK, you have $400 bucks to put toward a tele lens. One that will work and do the job. You have to shop the used market and a very good candidate might be the Sigma DG 150-500mm F/5-6.3 APO HSM SLD DG RF OS Lens. This is an older lens no longer in production. It is a lens that if you get a good one it is very good. Best part I have seen good ones in the $400 dollar range or slightly above it, perhaps $450. This lens will give you an equivalent of 800mm on the long end more than enough to shoot wildlife and birds.
02-20-2021 05:58 PM
Here is a sample of my Sigma DG 150-500mm F/5-6.3 APO HSM SLD DG RF OS Lens. This is at 300mm but the lens is this good all the way up to 500mm (or 800mm in your case). I admit, I got a very good copy but even a so-so copy can do very nice pictures. Althoug not a bird check out the hair and eyes.