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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-21-2013

Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

Hi Forum,

 

I am going for a trip to Yellowstone National Park this May end. I want to buy a telephoto lens to shoot wildlife.

 

I am confused between EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM ,  EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM  and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM . 

 

I am unable to decide which lens would be better suitable for wildlife photography. I have a Canon T2i and currently using the kit lens 18-55mm with it. 

 

Any suggestions on what lens should I go for???

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

It's a question I think pretty much everybody who goes to a major national park or on a safari goes through. The reality is that people that are into wildlife photography own a 70-200 and a longer lens. 

 

You're debating between the wide apertures of the 2.8 (think morning, wildlife) vs reach.   Personally I think reach wins, because if I can't fill the frame with my subject I'm not going to worry about moving my ISO up a notch.  But on the flipside, Yellowstone is alive at sunrise (and before) so it's tough for a photographer.  You'll see some guys out there with very large, very expensive lenses, trying to get both reach and aperture.

 

But if the 70-200 is in your budget then why not look at the 100-400L?  It's variable aperture, and quite slow (5.6), but the reach sure can help.  It's a common debate between the 100-400L and a 70-200/2.8 with an extender; I think the 400 wins.

New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-21-2013

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

Thanks for the feedback. 

 

My dilema is not just regarding Yellowstone National Park. I want to buy a lens that will accompany me to almost everywhere and can be used to take long distance shots. 

 

What you said is absolutely true, I cannot decide between extra reach of 100mm and aperture. 

Super Contributor
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎12-29-2012

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

[ Edited ]
If it were I and since you have a crop body, I'd go for the 70-200 2.8II. Most wildlife at Yellowstone is reasonable close (at least in my experience). Yes you might see some far off moose where 400 mm would be nice. The real question is, after Yellowstone what lens will you benefit from most?

Another option is to rent a 400 or even 600 telephoto along with your new lens.

Edit: To echo cicopo below, don't forget a wide angle for the spectacular landscapes.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,327
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

I can't say enough about Yellowstone to know what you might need but do recommend thinking about rentals which ultimately may help with better choices once you've experienced a few different focal lenths. Lensrentals.com has a pretty good site & great reputation so I suggest exploring there for different options & what it would cost to experiment without making a huge purchase you'll regret later. If that doesn't fit your way of thinking my next suggestion is the 70-300 L IS or 100-400 L IS if wildlife is the main interest but from reading other stories about Yellowstone you'll need a wide lens too.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
VIP
Posts: 10,817
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

Unfortunately the only way to advise you on this topic is to know your budget.

If you can pony up the cost, the choice is the 70-200mm f2.8 II. It has no peers!

If you can't like it, you can't like any lens. It is in a class by itself. Add it's 27-70mmm f2.8 II partner and you are set up with a very top notch and probably unbeatable combo by anybodies lenses.

 

If the budget is not so lofty another choice for a tele would be the 400mm f5.6 prime. The fact is most people wind up using the long end of a zoom way more than the short side.

You are going to a place where there is a picture everywhere you look. Wildlife is only one portion of it.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, along with less and less other stuff.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

[ Edited ]

@neeraj87 wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. 

 

My dilema is not just regarding Yellowstone National Park. I want to buy a lens that will accompany me to almost everywhere and can be used to take long distance shots. 

 

What you said is absolutely true, I cannot decide between extra reach of 100mm and aperture. 


And the reason you can't decide is, there is no one right answer.  Welcome to the black hole of SLR photography.  Smiley Happy

 

I've been in the same dilemma myself for some time now.  I’ve been dreaming about a big white zoom for years and finally started seriously considering the purchase a year ago or so.  So I got on these websites and started doing my research and long story short…  I bought a 6D!  Didn’t see that coming.  So now my problem is worse, as coming from a crop, 200mm isn’t very long on a full frame.

 

I do suggest renting if you have the ability to, it helps put things in perspective.  It’s easy to get jaded online as everyone fawns over the big boy lenses (70-200 II, 24-70 II…) and you get to thinking that a lowly 100-400L or 70-200 I can’t be very good.  They are good, and if you don’t spend your free time shooting pictures of test charts then you probably won’t notice the difference.  The 100-400 wasn’t even on my list until I used one for a weekend.

 

And finally, intended use maters.  Pesonally I’m leaning towards the 70-200/2.8 because I want a fast lens and I LOVE thin depth of field.  However, if I was getting ready to go to Africa on a safari there’d be no question that I’d be buying a 400mm lens.

New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-21-2013

Re: Which telephoto lens to buy for Yellowstone trip

Thanks, I will consider renting lenses and trying them out. However in near future I want to own a lens to take with me during small photographic expeditions. I think I will fo with 70-300 mm given its price, light weight. 

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