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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎11-16-2015

What zoom to buy?

I put up a bird feed at the edge of a woods about 80 feet from my lunch table behind a french door. My Canon EOS Rebel T3i with EF 75-300 mm 1:4-5.6 will not bring into focus the birds, large and small.

 

What lens do I need to buy that will do the job? Cost is no object.

 

Thanks, Norm

 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: What zoom to buy?

You can use the dimensional field of view calculator at this site:  http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm

 

YOur camera has a 1.6 crop factor.  So you'd enter a focal length guess (such as 400mm), the 1.6 crop factor, and the 80' shooting distance.  Then click "compute"

 

At 400mm you'd get a dimensional field of view 4.5' wide by 3' tall.  

 

At 600mm you'd get a dimensional field of view 3' wide by 2' tall.  

 

Based on this, I've a sneaking suspicion that you'd likely prefer that longer focal length.  Perhaps you should look at the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm zoom offerings.  I neither own nor have used either of those lenses.  Someone else may be able to offer you more insight or you might wish to rent them to evaluate how they perform before buying.

 

Canon's only offers primes at 600mm or above.  The longest zoom is the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x which has a built-in 1.4x extender that gets you to 560mm at f/5.6.  It's a VERY nice lens, but not cheap.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎11-16-2015

Re: What zoom to buy?

Thank you for your prompt and informatiive reply.

 

Considering that the 150-600mm is $1,070 and the USM Extender is $11,000 at B & H, and not being able to appreciate what "extras" I receive for the additional $9,000, I will probably buy the former model.

 

Norm

 

 

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Posts: 108
Topics: 1
Kudos: 22
Solutions: 3
Registered: ‎10-17-2012

Re: What zoom to buy?

[ Edited ]

@Norm53 wrote:

I put up a bird feed at the edge of a woods about 80 feet from my lunch table behind a french door. My Canon EOS Rebel T3i with EF 75-300 mm 1:4-5.6 will not bring into focus the birds, large and small.

 

What lens do I need to buy that will do the job? Cost is no object.

 

Thanks, Norm

 


Since you seem to be interested in a particular setup why not just get an inexpensive prime lens ike the 400mm f/5.6. This could be paired with a 1.4x or 2x extender. If you're shooting a feeder you could stick the camera on a tripod, manual focus ahead of time and just click away when birds are present.

-------------------------------------
http://trulandphoto.zenfolio.com/
http://trulandphoto.blogspot.com/
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: What zoom to buy?

If cost is no object, rebuild your house closer to that bird feeder so you can be getting better IQ by shooting an excellent 70-200 lens. Smiley Wink

 

If cost has some bearing, just move the feeder closer to the house at little expense.  The birds will still come in for a snack, believe me.  

 

You out can make a simple blind so the birds won't see you by taping newspaper to the window, leaving only a hole to shoot through, and shoot right through the clean glass of the window. 

 

You can work out some setup where you have a cut branch somewhere the feeder and birds will sit on it and you won't have the bird feeder in every shot. All you will see is a bird on a branch.  

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎11-16-2015

Re: What zoom to buy?

I need your help (or that of another poster) to understand what you are recommending. Does the 400 + 2x extender give me at least the same quality and magnification as the 600?

 

True, 90% of the time I could just press a button on the tripod that had already been prefocused, which would make shooting easy and fun. I like that setup, but I have two problems with it:

 

1. It's a tall metal rod with two feeders about 6 feet high, where  the small birds feed and scatter the seed that drops to the ground. That prime or zoom can't focus on both the feeders and the ground, where there are interesting ground feeders that come along throughout the day. Seems I would need a wide-angle prime/zoom to catch the whole scene, which I could buy if it does the job and exists. (Same problem exists with the 600mm on a tripod, actually.)  Alternatively, I could buy another camera with 2 tripods, one focused on the feeders and the other focused on the ground, which would, unfortunately, precipitate considerable mocking from my visiting family members.

 

2. There are occasional vultures that hang around seasonally at the top of the dead trees and an occasional hawk that wings about. (One pounced on a hapless sparrow the other day, which so surprised me I forgot to reach for the camera while it subdued its prey.) Can't do those scenes with a camera mounted on a tripod. Solution, of course, would be to buy another camera for the high birds.

 

Now I'm talking 3 cameras and two tripods? Maybe I need more help with this problem.

 

Norm

 

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎11-16-2015

Re: What zoom to buy?

[ Edited ]

I thought of your second solution. Problem with moving the feeder closer to the house is that birds make a mess on the lawn. Backyard would look terrible. Could build a patio under the feeder and clean it up occasionally, but it would still be unsightly. Might even build a patio or gazebo out back eventually (it's a new home), which would scare away the birds. Finally, birds of prey, like hawks, stay away from homes.

 

Please explain what's below from your post because I don't understand it. I assume you are recommending another configuration.

 

Canon 6D, Canon T3i, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; EF 85mm f/1.8; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art"; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

 

Norm

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,040
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: What zoom to buy?


@Norm53 wrote:

I thought of your second solution. Problem with moving the feeder closer to the house is that birds make a mess on the lawn. Backyard would look terrible. Could build a patio under the feeder and clean it up occasionally, but it would still be unsightly. Might even build a patio or gazebo out back eventually (it's a new home), which would scare away the birds. Finally, birds of prey, like hawks, stay away from homes.

 

Please explain what's below from your post because I don't understand it. I assume you are recommending another configuration.

 

Canon 6D, Canon T3i, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; EF 85mm f/1.8; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art"; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

 

Norm

 


Ah, Norm, you've gone and exposed yourself as a newbie.  Smiley Wink

Those items are part of Scott's signature; he's telling you what equipment he has.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
VIP
Posts: 11,505
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: What zoom to buy?

"...  closer to that bird feeder so you can be getting better IQ by shooting an excellent 70-200 lens ..."

 

The first part of this advise is good. Very good!  The latter not so good.  80 feet is going to be a tall order even for a 600mm lens.  Closer is always better than a bigger lens. IMHO, I don't consider any lens under 400mm viable for shooting birds.  I also don't like the ef 400mm f5.6 with a tele converter on it.  I do like the ef 300mm f4 with a tele converter if that is the way you want to go.

 

There is really only two options for you in lenses right now. One is the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF.  And two is the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Canon.  Both are a little under $1100 bucks.

There is an outstanding Canon option, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens.  But at $2200 and 80 feet distance I wouldn't get it.

 

Below is two samples shot with the big tele zoom at 600mm.

123.jpg

 

This was shot with a 600mm tele at 20 feet.  It is also heavily cropped in PS.  Yeah, OK you say but a hummingbird is very small.

Below this shot of the heron was shot at 75 feet.  This is a huge bird.  Plus the photo is also cropped in PS.

 

124.jpg

 

People have the mistaken opinion that telephotos are designed to shoot things very far away.  Like the Moon for example.  Yes, they can do that but they actually are for making your subject larger in the frame.  That means, a bird, very small, needs to be very close.

There you have it, my two cents and worth every penny.  Get a big lens and get close.  Smiley Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,505
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: What zoom to buy?

 

"Please explain what's below from your post because I don't understand it. I assume you are recommending another configuration.

 

Canon 6D, Canon T3i, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; EF 85mm f/1.8; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art"; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

 

Norm"

 

 

That is his signature which includes his gear.  Has nothing to do with recommendations for birding.

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