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What zoom to buy?

Norm53
Frequent Contributor

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

 

112 REPLIES 112

"Sigma 600mm lens $1090 (B&H)<---- Your choice, consider the dock if you choose the Siggy.  Requires a lot of work! Smiley Sad
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
The Sigma dock allows you to adjust auto focus to your exact camera.  No other lens company offers this.  A lens and camera must be shipped to the manufacturer for this service.  You can also update the firmware yourself.
 
"MT055X tripod $249 (B&H)<---- fantastic.
gimbal head $185 (B&H)<---- Great for the Sigma super tele but not so good for normal camera shots with the 17-55mm.
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
Gimbal heads do not wirk well with short lenses.  Consider a ball head, too.
 
electronic trigger ??? <---- Almost unnecessary.  I doubt you will like it and therefore will not use it.
Need to know why. Won't disturb the camera when I press the shutter button. Seems like a natural for my setup."
 
This all depends on how good you want your photos to be.  You are spending a lot of money to settle for so-so photos.  Cameras do not take pictures.  Photographers do.  The best way to learn is by experience.  But a less expensive way is to listen to people that have actually done this.  And this guy says a trigger is a waste of time and money.  Good pictures require a good photographer.  If you want a remote, triggered, set up go buy a game trail camera.  Or perhaps you could set up your iphone out there!  So which will it be?
 
You can't do this with a trigger!
 
_52D0390-Edit.jpg
 
EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Norm53
Frequent Contributor
"Sigma 600mm lens $1090 (B&H)<---- Your choice, consider the dock if you choose the Siggy.  Requires a lot of work! Smiley Sad
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
The Sigma dock allows you to adjust auto focus to your exact camera.  No other lens company offers this.  A lens and camera must be shipped to the manufacturer for this service.  You can also update the firmware yourself.
 
Don't know what "dock" means. Are you saying that I cannot just screw the lens onto the camera and shoot away? That I have to send the 2 pieces to the mfg. (Japanese) for this? If so, then this system isn't for me because I will want to replace the 600 with the 55 when I go to the beach on occasion and then switch back to the 600 when I return home.
 
"MT055X tripod $249 (B&H)<---- fantastic.
gimbal head $185 (B&H)<---- Great for the Sigma super tele but not so good for normal camera shots with the 17-55mm.
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
Gimbal heads do not work well with short lenses.  Consider a ball head, too.
 
You are not reading my setup correctly: The camera w/600 goes on the tripod. The camera w/55 goes in my bag to the beach or field. Does this change your opinion?
 
You are spending a lot of money to settle for so-so photos.
 
First you use the word "fantastic" for this purchase and now the money is for "so-so" photos. Seems I'm going downhill fast.
 
Norm
 

RobertTheFat
Honored Contributor

@Norm53 wrote:
"Sigma 600mm lens $1090 (B&H)<---- Your choice, consider the dock if you choose the Siggy.  Requires a lot of work! Smiley Sad
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
The Sigma dock allows you to adjust auto focus to your exact camera.  No other lens company offers this.  A lens and camera must be shipped to the manufacturer for this service.  You can also update the firmware yourself.
 
Don't know what "dock" means. Are you saying that I cannot just screw the lens onto the camera and shoot away? That I have to send the 2 pieces to the mfg. (Japanese) for this? If so, then this system isn't for me because I will want to replace the 600 with the 55 when I go to the beach on occasion and then switch back to the 600 when I return home.
 
"MT055X tripod $249 (B&H)<---- fantastic.
gimbal head $185 (B&H)<---- Great for the Sigma super tele but not so good for normal camera shots with the 17-55mm.
Don't understand why. See below for setup."
 
Gimbal heads do not work well with short lenses.  Consider a ball head, too.
 
You are not reading my setup correctly: The camera w/600 goes on the tripod. The camera w/55 goes in my bag to the beach or field. Does this change your opinion?
 
You are spending a lot of money to settle for so-so photos.
 
First you use the word "fantastic" for this purchase and now the money is for "so-so" photos. Seems I'm going downhill fast.
 
Norm
 

To find out what a dock is in this context, just Google "Sigma dock".

 

If you adjust a lens to a particular camera, it may not work as well on a different camera. But it has no effect on how the camera works with a different lens.

 

If your camera has autofocus microadjustment, you can usually do the adjustment in the camera (which can often keep track of a dozen or more lenses) instead, Then you don't have to make changes to the lens that may affect how it behaves on other cameras. Your 7D Mark II will have AFMA; your T3i doesn't.

 

And if you don't know what autofocus microadjustment is, Google that before you ask. You'll understand our answers better if you don't go into every subject blind.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Norm53
Frequent Contributor

"By connecting a Sigma Art, Contemporary, or Sports lens to a computer with the SIGMA USB DOCK, photographers can update the lens firmware and adjust focus position and other parameters. Exclusive SIGMA Optimization Pro software makes customization easy. It is possible to select the autofocus speed and adjust the focus limiter and Optical Stabilizer (OS) function."

 

This is beyond what a novice needs to understand and be concerned. (We are talkng 7D, not T3i.) Therefore, back to my question: Can I easily screw my 600 onto my 7D easily, and can I unscrew the 600 and screw the 55 onto the 7D easily, and can I reverse the process easily?

 

"Gimbal heads do not work well with short lenses.  Consider a ball head, too."

 

This should be no problem because the short (55) lens is used out of the house w/o a tripod. Only the 600 will be on the camera when it is on the tripod. Now I suppose you want me to research to the difference between "gimbal" head and "ball" head.

 

Norm

 

 


@Norm53 wrote:

.....     ......

 

"Gimbal heads do not work well with short lenses.  Consider a ball head, too."

 

This should be no problem because the short (55) lens is used out of the house w/o a tripod. Only the 600 will be on the camera when it is on the tripod. Now I suppose you want me to research to the difference between "gimbal" head and "ball" head.

 

Norm

 

 


This is a gimbal head.  Some heads do not allow enough clearance below the camera mount to clear the base of the head when the gimbal is swung forward, which tilts the camera upwards.  The camera body will bump into the base.

 

Induro_485_002_GHB2_Gimbal_Head_1255700972000_655340.jpg

 

Below is a ball head.  Both the ball and the above gimbal incorporate Arca-Swiss style, universal mounting plates.

 

Benro_B2_B2_Double_Action_Ballhead_1291818784000_743913.jpg

 

This head includes many desireable features.  It uses separate knobs for horizontal panning, ball friction, and ball control.  Ball friction is highly desireable because it allows you to move the camera/lens setup around without it flopping all about.  The panning base has a degree scale, which is viewed on the other side through a window.  Some bases have a printed scale all the way around the base, which I prefer.

 

INDURO_1435725168000_IMG_509473.jpg

If you purchase a ball head, be sure to purchase a fairly robust one.  Less robust heads have a tendency to shift slightly when you fully tighten the ball.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."

Norm53
Frequent Contributor

If you purchase a ball head, be sure to purchase a fairly robust one.  Less robust heads have a tendency to shift slightly when you fully tighten the ball.

 

Thanks for saving me some reseach time. How about the head below. Robust enough?

 

Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head with RC2 Quick Release

 

 

Norm

 

PS. I sometimes receive this error message: "Your post has been changed because invalid HTML was found in the message body. The invalid HTML has been removed. Please review the message and submit the message when you are satisfied."

 

S/w then clears the problem, but I don't know exactly what I'm doing wrong.


@Norm53 wrote:

If you purchase a ball head, be sure to purchase a fairly robust one.  Less robust heads have a tendency to shift slightly when you fully tighten the ball.

 

Thanks for saving me some reseach time. How about the head below. Robust enough?

 

Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head with RC2 Quick Release

 

 

Norm

 

PS. I sometimes receive this error message: "Your post has been changed because invalid HTML was found in the message body. The invalid HTML has been removed. Please review the message and submit the message when you are satisfied."

 

S/w then clears the problem, but I don't know exactly what I'm doing wrong.


Manfrotto makes very durable tripods.  I am not a fan of their heads for one basic reason.  Manfrotto makes too many different QR, quick release, plates, and almost none of them are Arca-Swiss compatible, or with one another.  All of the images of the tripod heads that I posted use Arca-Swiss compatible QR plates. 

 

If you buy a Manfrotto head, and later decide to buy a better, then you will likely have to re-invest in QR plates.  I have two tripods, one heavy duty and one more totable.  I have four quick release plates, which are mounted on two cameras and two lenses.  I can put any lens or camera onto either tripod.

 

Just keep in mind that tripod/head kits always compromise on something, unless you spend top dollars.  If I had too choose a Manfrotto kit, I would look for one with a magnesium head, which had a friction control.

 

Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Aluminum Tripod with 054 Q5 Magnesium Ball Head Kit

 

[EDIT]  The above tripod kit can also be purchased with accessories from some vendors.  Accessories include a bag, a spare QR plate, a carrying strap, and leg weights.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."

Norm53
Frequent Contributor

Just keep in mind that tripod/head kits always compromise on something, unless you spend top dollars.

 

I've scratched Manfrotto because it is not Arca-swiss compatible. How about I buy one of the Induro gimbal heads (Biggs says that the Sigma 600 is too unwieldy for a ball head.) Which of the 3 shown will give me the most bang for the buck?

 

http://www.indurogear.com/products/induro-ghba.aspx

 

Norm

 

I happen to like the Induro/Benro gear.  The gimbal head was correctly identified as Induro.  The ball heads are the Benro B2, which is a best buy, IMHO. 

 

The second ball head was an Induro, the BHL2, I think it was.  I scrubbed away the model numbers, so I'm not sure anymore.  Both Induro and Benro include very good cases, and tools, with their better tripods.

 

I use the Induro PDH3 3-Axis Pan/Tilt on my heavy duty rig.  The QR bracket employs a double action knob to release the plate.  In other words, the plate will not release just because you turned the knob to loosen it.  It will stop before the plate is clear to release from the plate.  The knob must be then be pulled, and further turned, in order to fully release the plate.  All of the better Induro/Benro heads use this feature.  I love it.  I'm clumsy.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."

I know of no gimbal head that is not Arca-Swiss compatible.  Not that it really matters but there could be one out there that isn't.

 

Also, not that it matters either, but if you get any editor that doesn't say Photoshop or Lightroom, I will be of little to no help.

 

After all the comments by you and relies from everybody, my recommendation has evolved.  The original list is the best outfit but for you at this point, it is not the best for right now.

 

Buy the lens.  Buy the tripod.  Buy a gimbal head.  That's all.  Don't go further until you learn more. No dock (beyond you at this point). No Ac converter (the camera goes to sleep). No trigger (almost worthless).

 

What I understand now is you want to set this thing out in the yard.  Camera/lens on the tripod.  Hope it gets a bird in the lens path.  Shoot (pray) for the best!  Or is it from inside of the house through the French doors?  Perhaps you can clear it up a bit for me.

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