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Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

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

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

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VIP
Posts: 9,201
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

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

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.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

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

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^)

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Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

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

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

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VIP
Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

Yeah you are getting some things wrong for sure.  The 5Ds is fine for birds and wildlife. Some claim it is one of the best DSLR's ever made. Maybe it is.

 

This concerns me, "...that combination is somewhat heavy to carry for any extended period of time."  I am afraid if you want to do birds heavy is going to be part of it.  The gear to do it right is heavy. If this is a problem perhaps you need to select another hobby. But all is not lost we can relieve it somewhat. For instance a Black Rapid shoulder strap will ease the felt weight quite a lot. The strap mounts to the lens and balances very well.

 

Now for the EF 400mm F5.6 L USM prime, it is a dandy very light lens.  With the 1.4 tel-con you will have 560mm and a f8 aperture.  Possible for sure.  There are two factors here.  Either have a lot of FL or get closer to your subject.  Birds are small and they will remain small if you don't get close.  No matter how much FL you have close is best.

 

Another choice I like a lot and most folks don't know about is the EF 300mm f4 L IS lens.  With the same tel-con it gives you a 420mm f5.6 lens only now you have IS.  Win, win!  These are probably the lightest options for you while maintaining top IQ.

 

400mm is probably the least amount of FL you ever want for birds.  However 600mm is very much preferred and way, way better. That leaves us to what I believe is the best of the bunch right now the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2.

$1200 bucks and you are through.  No tel-con to mess with just 600mm of native FL.  It is not all that heavy and cumbersome to master.  Lot's of folks do it without issue.  Does it take some practice and getting used to?  Of course because 600mm is a lot of FL to deal with.

 

ESO 5Ds, Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 and Black Rapid Sport shoulder strap. My recommended combo for you. Remember there are certain conditions in this type photography that you have to learn to deal with or don't do it.  You can work on the getting closer part for instance.  Realize there is some weight involved too.  Perhaps a smaller light camera like a Rebel T7i for instance. Not only a weight/size benefit but a FL boost for free thrown in.

 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,292
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

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


@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
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VIP
Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

"It's a prime lens therefore it is sharper than zoom lens."

 

This factor alone does not make it "sharper" than a zoom.  IQ or sharpness is only a single factor,  If you are using it as your 'end all' you are making another mistake.  Example you shoot a bird at 400mm but you have to crop it 50% in post.  Same shot with a 600mm zoom and you crop much less. Is the resulting photo sharper or not?  Perhaps not.

I love the ef 400mm f5.6L.  I have had two of them still have one.  But for birds I will goto my 150-600mm Sigma zoom.

 

You mentioned tripod?  If you use a tripod why is weight a concern?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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VIP
Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

"...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

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

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

Don't get me wrong. I love my 5Ds. The image of this camera can produce is crazy! I have printed some as large as 2' x 6' and it's amazingly sharp, especially when paired with the 24x70 f.28 mark II. As far as landscape photography goes, I don't think I'll find a better combination.

 

Unfortunately, the same can't be said when it comes to birds or sports photography. Based on my experience with this camera it does not handle the low light situations as well as other cameras.

 

As for the weight concern, I don't think I am wrong to say the 70-200 f2.8 Mark II is light by any stretch of the imagination. It is a beast of a lens. I have used it on a few long-distance hiking, and by the time you are done with say 100+ mile hike, it is a bit of a struggle, carrying all the gears (Cameras and hiking equipment).

 

 

As for your suggestion about getting closer to the subject, I have heard some folks recommend getting a canvas that would help you to blend in. Unfortunately, that means more gears to carry.

 

Lastly, as for the Tamron, I thought someone said it is pretty big and would need a suitcase to carry around. Unfortunately, that would defeat my purpose of trying to reduce weight.

 

Thanks!

 

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Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

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

Is the Sigma 150-600mm smaller and weigh less than the Tamron 150-600mm as mentioned by others? I have not looked into these. Thanks

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