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Thread: Supertele choices

  1. #11
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    I went shooting yesterday with the 1DX and the 300mm f/2.8L IS + 2XII and I felt it was too short for most birds and I couldn't get enough reach to the Osprey nest. I was also not too pleased with the decreased sharpness, and slower AF speed on the 2XII on the 300mm version I. I know that the 300mm version II and 2xIII are better, but it still must be a compromise.

    The 1Dx is pretty heavy and now I was using the 300mm with 2X, and I used to use the MKIV 300mm + 1.4X. I definitely felt the difference.

    Ok, so the new super-telephotos got lighter and our camera got heavier. In case anyone didn't notice the 2XIII also gained about 3 ounces.

    I went from the 7D (1.6X), to the MKIV (1.3X), and now the 1DX (FF).

    "It seems the more I spend, the further back I get, financially and figuratively!"

    John, If I were you I wouldn't get the MKIV, because you've already experienced the 1DX, and the MKIV is a slight step backwards in AF speed. I would rather see you put the MKIV money into longer glass. If you don't need f/2.8 for indoor events or night games, then you should also pass on the 400mm f/2.8L IS II.

    So, it comes down to the 500mm or 600mm. Most people say to go for the longer lens for birds, and now that is especially true with the FF 1DX. With the MKIV, I think you could make an argument for the 500mm with and without the 1.4X, but then 700mm will be the longest reach without giving up AF, as compared to the 600mm +1.4X @840mm. If 700mm is long enough, then 500mm would be a nice compromise, considering cost, weight, and flexibility. If are more interested in sports, larger game wildlife, and portability, then the 500mm would be the way to go.

    Canon will eventually come out with a new 1.6 Crop Camera with the improved AF and noise capability, then the 500mm would suffice.

    I think with these new high ISO, low noise cameras, that the 500mm will become more popular for sports. Keep in mind that the 400mm on the MKIV was 520mm. Everyone needed f/2.8 for for speed to keep the noise down. Now, people will be able to shoot at 25,600 max instead of 12,800 max, because we've gained a whole f-stop over the MKIV. Of course if people choose the 400mm f/2.8L on the 1DX then they will lose the focal range from 520mm to 400mm. Then if people add the 1.4X to the 400mmm to bring the focal range back up to 560mm (which also gets a little long for sports), then they will be giving back that f-stop again, and slowing down their focusing speed with the extender.

    I see the 500mm/4L IS II as becoming more popular for field sports with Canons new flagship FF 1DX and even with the 5DIII. Now, for small children, the 600mm will still be pretty good for field sports to get those cute isolated sports portrait shots. As they get older, and faster, then it will be a little too long.

    If Canons 70-200mm II and new super-telephotos are any indication of which direction they are headed in, then I think we will be able to look forward to a new sharper 100-400mm, as well as the new 200-400mm +1.4X @ 560mm. The only downside to the 200-400mm @560mm is that it won't be long enough on full frame with smaller birds. I could see the 200-400mm being great for sports and air shows.

    Rich

  2. #12
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    If they (Canon) would see fit to allow f/8 AF then it would be a no brainer for birds .... the 800mm +/- the converters

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Eade View Post
    If they (Canon) would see fit to allow f/8 AF then it would be a no brainer for birds .... the 800mm +/- the converters
    You know we should think that, because all the other supertele's with the 1.4 converters are fairly usable. My impression of the charts is that the 800mm with the 1.4x is kind of weak. Naked lens though it would be great way to go.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=0&APIComp=0

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    You know we should think that, because all the other supertele's with the 1.4 converters are fairly usable. My impression of the charts is that the 800mm with the 1.4x is kind of weak. Naked lens though it would be great way to go.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=0&APIComp=0
    @HDNitehawk (Rick), I agree, its not that impressive.

    The 600mm II +1.4x looks a little sharper, with less vignetting than the 800mm f/5.6

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=1&APIComp=1

    @Joel, I also wish the new bodies handled center AF f/8 maximum aperture, but couldn't you still use that combo in live view mode for "stationary" birds on a tripod at 1000mm-1200mm?

    Rich

  5. #15
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    Rich

    I was hoping that the 500mm II with a 2x III would give reasonable IQ. According to the charts it looks as if it will be border line.
    It does appear to me that the 600mm II might give the longest reach at 840mm, at least that I would find acceptable. It does look impressive. Plus with the 600mm you get the new cool white paint job.

    Rick

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    I suppose my main interest in the 400 is that versatility, the option to use it for sports when the time comes for my kids. But, I suppose I'd be better off with the 600 now, and adding the 300/2.8 II down the road.
    Well, the 400 would definitely be more versatile, and it might be my choice for exactly the reasons you mentioned, but then I don't photograph birds. On the other hand, if you're thinking of adding the 300 later... well... that's a tough choice.

    Hey, I have an idea... why not just get 'em all?

  7. #17
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Spent some time with the ISO 12233 charts this morning (on my new Apple 27" Thunderbolt Display , which for some strange reason shows a lot more detail than the iPhone I was using last night) and the 2x III results in a pretty big IQ hit - the 400 II + 2xIII loses out to the 100-400 @ 400mm (yes, that's 800mm vs. 400mm, but that lets me compare it to what I have now), and the 500 II and 600 II with 2x III also lose out to the 100-400 @ 400mm. OTOH, with the 1.4x III, the 500 II and 600 II are still better than the 100-400, and natively they are much better.

    So, I think that eliminates the 400/2.8 II from my list. I just need to figure out if the 600 II is actually handholdable for me, or if the small weight reduction with the 500 II makes that much of a difference. It's the difference between 12.7 lbs and 11 lbs - not sure if that's meaningful. Note that when I refer to 'handholding' the mostly means walking around with it on a Blackrapid strap and lifting for shots along the way. With my 100-400mm, I often bring a monopod (would need to replace the Manfrotto 234 tilt head with something like the RRS MH-02 for the increased load), and use that when I'm going to be in one place for a while.

    Jon, I like your idea but I only have two kidneys...

  8. #18
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    I had just this debate over the last year myself and have ended up with the 300 2.8 II (which I shipped to Canon today for the firmware update), ordered the 600 4 II and I have the version III teleconverters. I had hoped to buy just one lens from the new supertele group, but this is where I ended up.

    Renting the 500 and 600 showed me this - the 500 II feels incredibly light for its size and performed great with the 1.4X III on my old 5D MKII in terms of IQ. I can certainly see hand-holding a few shoots with this lens. AF was not so good with that body for BIF shots. Manual focusing with the 2X tele gave decent images in terms of IQ (contrast suffers most to my eye) - it's just too hard to make this work with moving subjects though and buying an older model body to get AF for just this combo at f8 seems a waste. If hand-holdability is a key, this is a great choice.

    Just got the 5DMK III and tested with a rented 600 II. Although the 600 lost a lot of weight, it feels much heavier than the 500 II but I loved it on a monopod or tripod with the 1.4X for hummingbirds. I don't see myself shooting many handheld shots with this lens - too front heavy for my back. I carried it on monopod/tripod over about 5 miles last Saturday in the NC heat and found it portable but at the top of my limit for a day hike.

    I spent this w/e shooting with the 300 2.8 + 2X from similar locations as the 600 - IQ of this combination is actually very good at f8 (one stop down, so two stops away from the 600 f4, and using the center of the image circle - hummers just don't fill my frame when in motion...) and is a very portable set-up when weight is the main issue. The other great thing about the 300 + 2X is the close focus distance if you can work from a blind.

    The 600 + 1.4X (840) was about as long a lens as I could productively use for shooting hummers in flight - maybe I'll get better at tracking them and get a 7D one day (or 7D MKII?). A 7D would also help for other applications - thinking about renting one after the 600 arrives just to see how I like the set-up. From Bryan's ISO charts w the 400 2.8 II, it doesn't look good with the teles at all - striking difference from the 300 f2.8 II, so I ruled that out early since a single focal length option at this price just isn't worth it for me. As Bryan noted, the 800 f5.6 seems to have been obsoleted by the 600 + 1.4 performance.

    I really benefited from this site's reviews and the commentary from the senior members - many thanks. I linked as many purchases as I could for a smll payback.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    So, I think that eliminates the 400/2.8 II from my list. I just need to figure out if the 600 II is actually handholdable for me, or if the small weight reduction with the 500 II makes that much of a difference.
    John, the extra length doesn't sound like much nor does the extra weight. These lenses are big and awkward, I think you might find it a bigger deal than you think, just my opinion from dragging mine around for almost three years now.

    So how about this idea, wait till they are both in stock and load up and take a road trip to B&H. 4+ hour ride from where you are right? I think it would be a journey well spent.

    Second idea, assuming Adorama has a wonderfull return policy like B&H. Buy the 600mm and if it is to heavy and long, send it back and get the 500mm. I would have suggested renting one from lensrental but the return idea is cheaper.

    Rick

  10. #20
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    So how about this idea, wait till they are both in stock and load up and take a road trip to B&H. 4+ hour ride from where you are right? I think it would be a journey well spent.

    Second idea, assuming Adorama has a wonderfull return policy like B&H. Buy the 600mm and if it is to heavy and long, send it back and get the 500mm. I would have suggested renting one from lensrental but the return idea is cheaper.
    Good points, thanks, Rick! I do think a visit to the B&H Wonderland is in order - and it wouldn't even need to be the 4+ hour drive, since I fly into Newark 1-2 times per month for business (I'd just have to book a later return flight, rent a car and drive up there - I'd feel a little guilty telling the car service driver to take me to B&H and wait on the corporate dime ; actually, I think it would be easier to just take the train - it's a 30-minute run between EWR and Penn Station, and it's a short walk from there to B&H).

    I did check out lensrentals, and my immediate reaction was that a 4-day rental cost would cover the 1.4x III teleconverter - that sort of thing is why I'm not a fan of renting a lens 'to try it out'.

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