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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-18-2014

Lens Choice

I have a Canon 6D.  I want to shoot wildlife and need a lens in the 300mm range.  Should I purchase a Canon Extender EF 2X for my 70-200 f2.8 zoom or a 300mm f/4.0 prime lens?

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 846
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: Lens Choice

I prefer 300mmF4 over the extender especially on the 6D.
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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide
VIP
Posts: 11,666
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens Choice

"... you will have it fixed at the maximum FL 99.9% of the time ..."

 

This is a fact.

 

A lens without an tele extender is always preferable to one with it. Remember there is no free lunch in photography. You give to get.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 780
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Lens Choice

[ Edited ]

My vote goes for the 300/4 IS....

 

Redtail flyby

 

But I'd suggest you go ahead and get a 1.4X to use with it, too. To shoot wildlife, particularly with a full frame camera, you will need more than 300mm reach.

 

300/4 IS with EF1.4X II.....

 

Blacktail deer

 

The 300/4 IS is little larger than your 70-200/2.8. But not much.... it's still very hand holdable and portable. It also uses the same 77mm filters, so it can share any you might already have and use. However, I'd note that this lens "doesn't like" filters. A protection filter on it will cause quite a bit of image quality loss (though not as much as one on the EF 100-400L).

 

The 300/4 was was one of the very first lenses to get Image Stabilization, so is an older design. It might not be the latest and greatest IS, but it's still helpful and works. It's IS is probably worth 2 or 3 stops, where you likely see 3 or 4 stops assistance with your 70-200. Like your lens, it's got Mode 1 and Mode 2 IS, and a focus limiter.

 

One thing, if using the lens on a tripod, locked down so that there's no movement, this is one of the lenses where IS needs to be turned off or it can go into sort of a feedback loop where it actually causes movement! Your 70-200 has a more sophisticated form of IS (as do all the Canon 70-200 with IS), that self-detects lack of movement and shuts itself down when not needed. I use the lens primarily handheld, occasionally on a monopod (for the black tail deer shot above) and on the rare occasion when I put it on a tripod, it's on a loose gimbal mount to allow following moving subjects... so I really can't recall ever turning IS off on my copy of the lens.

 

A minor characteristic of this lens is that it tends to add a purple tint to specular highlights. I've seen this with other lenses and think it's due to a certain type of glass used in the lens. It really isn't a problem, it's easily fixed in post-processing, if at all. It's present in eye catchlights of  the above hawk shot, but doesn't bother me so I left it alone. Here's a tight crop from the image showing the effect....

 

Redtail detail

 

Another popular Canon lens you may want to consider for wildlife is the EF 400/5.6L. It's very sharp too, and yet it's still quite portable. Unfortunately it doesn't have IS and as an f5.6 lens, adding any teleconverter to it (even a 1.4X) will cause it to not auto focus on your camera (there are sneaky ways to get it to try to focus, such as taping up a couple pins on the TC, but it still will be slow and hunt more). Personally I prefer the 300/4 and 1.4X TC over the 400mm lens, since the 300mm works so well with a TC that I get two very useful focal lengths, instead of just 400mm.

 

I shoot a lot of sports and less wildlife. About 90% of the time I'm using a pair of crop cameras (7D) and my most used lenses are 70-200 on one and the 300/4 on the other. Above images, however, were both shot with the 300mm on 5DII.   

 

***********
Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
FLICKR & PRINTROOM 

 





 

 

 

VIP
Posts: 11,666
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens Choice

[ Edited ]

Or you can use a 24-70mm.  Smiley Surprised

 

IMG_1270.jpg

 

 

 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,666
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens Choice

And you can crop it.  Smiley Happy

 

IMG_1270crop.jpg

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-18-2014

Re: Lens Choice

Thanks for all the information.  Looks like I'm saving up for the 300mm!

 

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎11-16-2012

Re: Lens Choice

[ Edited ]
You may wish to rent a 300mm, first, to be sure it is long enough for your particular needs. Well, actually, you may also want to try a 400mm. I thought 300mm was enough, based upon trying an adapted Nikon 100-300mm manual-focus zoom, until I had an opportunity to buy a very nicely-kept pre-owned EF 400mm 5.6L. The 400mm allowed me to better fill the frame with the birds that I liked to capture.

Then, I bought an EF 1.4x III Extender, and found that there were times 560mm was nice to have! (I have 1D Mark II N bodies, which will AF at f/8; not all EOS cameras will do so. Keep in mind that an 1.4 Extender costs one stop of light, and a 2x Extender costs two stops of light.) One thing about Extenders, however, even the III versions, is that AF speed is notably slower than the lens, alone. Of course, the newest generation of tele lenses will probably AF comparatively faster with the III Extenders. My 400mm 5.6L is still a current model, but does not have the latest technology in it. The same is true of my 135 2.0L lens.

Edited to add: The Extender certainly does make the whole equation longer and heavier. The camera body plus 400mm 5.6L is actually quite portable, for walking about, and hand-held shots feasible. Adding the Extender transforms the rig into something that really requires a tripod, at least for me. Of course, we all have different physical capabilities.
VIP
Posts: 11,666
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Lens Choice

 Just a point, if you have a 400mm lens with a 1.4x extender on a 1D Mk IIn, your efective focal length is 728mm.

Not 560mm.  With the 2x installed it would be 1040mm.  This is some serious focal length! Smiley Surprised

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎11-16-2012

Re: Lens Choice

True; I did not account for the camera's crop factor.
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