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Thread: Ultimate Supertelephoto for Travel

  1. #51
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Rainy day here in New Hampshire, but the UPS driver was nice enough to drop off a EF 500 f/4 II.


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    And...very first photo:

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  2. #52
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    Very detailed and nicely done, Bryan would be wise to take your research and post it in a linked page in his review section.

    So what will the be your next task? Possibly finding the "Ultimate DSLR Wildlife Body"?

    There is so much discussion about bodies and their specs, but once you make the leap to the big white lenses the camera body becomes an accessory to your glass.
    Right now the the bodies I own have a value of about 20% of the cost of all my lenses.

    I found the 5Ds R put the resolution of the new 500mm to the test.
    The 7D II with its speed was not as quick as a 1 series AF.
    The AF drive of the 1 series will make the 500mm quick, but you do not have the resolution of the 500mm.
    And one shouldn't forget the high speed frame rate of the 1D series and when it matters.
    At day break and sunset noise becomes an issue. With some bodies you have a few stops extra to play with. About 8 minutes a stop is what I have found in the morning and evening. So many variables. Where does it end.

    Researching this since 2009, at some point my solution was to go with multiple bodies. For the most part with what I shoot I leave the 5Ds R on the 500mm.
    Thanks....

    As for next task, I am thinking I take a lot of pictures

    As for "best bodies"....I think you are dead on. I did not summarize, but looking through the EOLs, everyone had 2-3 bodies. It interested me that some of their glass was old, but all the bodies were new. I'll try to dig it up, but I did see a reasonable attempt to evaluate the "best" wildlife body. I didn't feel the need to dwell as the conclusion was the 5DIV.

    But, ultimately, I am seeing 1DXIIs, 5DsRs, 5DIVs, and 7DIIs in a lot of the kits from pro wildlife photographers. As for myself, I think I'll either rent or buy a second body about the time I do something pretty major and will not want to be changing lenses. But, for now, a one body system has been working just fine for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by NFLD Stephen View Post
    Thanks a lot for this Brant! I've been reading this thread as you went along even though I didn't have much to add I did find it very interesting. I've considered getting a supertele at various points but end up not being able to justify the cost for my anticipated usage. Right now I'm content with the 100-400 II but maybe someday I'll pull the trigger.... Until then I'll live vicariously through you, so make sure you post lots of pictures and a follow up review once you've settled in with your new baby!

    Stephen
    Thanks Stephen. That is exactly what I did for years. There are a lot of pictures to take out there and only a few need specific lenses like a super tele. It is a fun hobby and it is good that there are a lot of ways to evolve and grow.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post


    Rainy day here in New Hampshire, but the UPS driver was nice enough to drop off a EF 500 f/4 II.









    And...very first photo:
    Razor sharp right out of the box it appears The "old" 500 has been my bird lens for a long time. Congrats, I'm sure you'll love it.

  4. #54
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post


    Rainy day here in New Hampshire, but the UPS driver was nice enough to drop off a EF 500 f/4 II.
    Sweet! Congrats! Looking forward to much more.

  5. #55
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Thanks Joel and Jonathan!

    I think BillW is also still using the 500 Mk1. Safe to say, between the three of you, I've seen a lot of great images on the forum taken with that lens.

    So, I promised some analysis, again for those interested. Most of this start with some basic geometry (doesn't mean I didn't mess it up, but in the 9th grade I would have nailed it). But imagining two right angle triangles formed by the direct line in the frame center and a second line that goes to the frame edge that intersect at the focal point, you create two similar triangles. Using geometry and the similarities of these triangles, I created the following formula in excel:

    Horizontal size of subject = tan((2*atan(18 mm/focal length in mm))/2)*distance to subject *2
    Vertical size of subject = tan((2*atan(12 mm/focal length in mm))/2)*distance to subject *2

    So you can place with this data in a lot of ways, one, as soon as you know the size of the horizontal and vertical subject at a given distance, you can calculate the pixels per inch (ppi) of that subject for different resolution sensors. I hear different resolutions that are desired, but typically 300 ppi for high quality is a good standard for resolving details and then the human eye can resolve 75 to 150 ppi depending on the distance.

    For example, for my 5DIV:
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    Another way of looking at this is, this is what "20% more reach" is actually buying you. For small birds where you want to resolve as much detail as possible, a 400 mm lens you need to be 26 ft or closer and a 600 mm lens, 31 ft or closer. And 20% of 26 ft is 5.2 ft...so the math is working.

    My bird feeder is ~30 ft away from one of my vantage spots and ~20 ft from another, so this actually worked in slight favor of the 600 f/4 II.

    But, lenses are not as advertised. Bryan at the bottom of his spec page for each lens lists the distance to target and size of the targets. Well, rework the formulas and solve for the focal length and you get this table:

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    EDIT...sometimes, this do not hit you until a bit later, I'll be reworking this table after checking a few things. It just dawned on me that Bryan measures subject to camera sensor, which includes both the distance from sensor to focal point and focal point to subject. So, if I back focal length out of Bryan's measurement, the 500 f/4 II is a 490 mm lens, the 600 f/4 II is 585 mm, and the 400 II @ 400 is 380mm. I'll check a few more things, but relatively, the above table allows for comparing different lenses.

    Now, there could be several errors here, but there is some remarkable consistency. If Bryan was even slightly off in his set up, it would affect these results. But the consistency, look at the effect of the 1.4xTC. With the 400 DO II, it is truly 1.4x. But otherwise, it is somewhere between 1.36 and 1.37x. I think Bryan is being very consistent in his set up so these numbers mean something at least relatively. Another calibration point for me is that you can look at the pics taken with the 150-600S @600 and the 400 DO II @ 560 on page 3 of this thread, and the 400 DO is only very slightly wider framing. That is consistent with 564mm vs 575 mm above. Of course, I could photograph a ruler or something at a known distance and look at the PPI and figure this out, but this is looking good enough for me.

    Big takeaways:
    • The 500 II lens and 600 II lenses are actually 520 and 620 mm, respectively. A bit odd as usually manufacturers round up, like Canon did with the 100-400 II and Sigma with the 150-600S.
    • The 400 DO II is essentially dead on.
    • The 1.4xTC is actually about 1.365x


    So, using these calculated focal lengths, I wanted to see the range of each lens for different subjects.

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    Instead of PPI, I thought about filling different percentages of the frame with this table. Essentially, using cropping to zoom as we often do. I tend to not like to drop below a subject filling up 1/3 of the vertical frame. Less than that and the IQ really takes a hit, IMO. Then, you do not want to fill the entire frame with a subject, as that is just a bad picture. So, I picked 30-80% of the vertical frame. And, of course, my subject heights are approximate. I just wanted to ballpark, but I did make an effort to find different real subject heights.

    A few things that interested me
    • Optical zooms are remarkably versatile, as we all know....but
    • Zooming by cropping with a prime can be almost as effective as an optical zoom. Of course, IQ comes into play here, but with sharper lenses and higher resolutions cameras...this gets interesting. As an example, the 100-400L for a 10 ft high standing bear covers distances of 52 ft to 742 ft. The 400 DO II: distance of 208 ft to 778 ft.
    • Again, here is your "20% reach" for the 500 and 600 mm lenses. Again, for a 10 ft high standing bear, the 500 f/4 II will cover distances from 271 ft to 986 ft. The 600 f/4 II: 323 ft to 1,179 ft. Different, yes. And I am sure some will appreciate the real world difference. But staring at this and wondering about my usage, I did wonder if I'd prefer having the shorter end instead of the longer. Granted, if I have a second body with a 70-200 II on it, if a walking bear at 300 ft suddenly stands, I can switch lenses. Anyway, like I said, the 500/600 are more alike than different, in my current opinion.
    • BTW, resolving fine details with 300 ppi disappears pretty rapidly....I need a 220 MP sensor!


    So, there you go. I wanted to share some of the calcs I did in coming to this decision. So far there haven't been a lot of birds at my feeder and I fly out for a trip tomorrow. But I am liking the addition of the 500 f/4 II to my kit.

    Thanks,
    Brant
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 06-15-2018 at 01:05 PM.

  6. #56
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    It will surprise you with a 2X converter as well but you may need AF micro adjustment to really the get the most from it.

  7. #57
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Terrific analysis... and obviously the sign of someone who has full-blown "L-Disease" (BTW you're in great company here). I bought the 500 primarily for bears (in case you hadn't already guessed). On our latest trip, one guy had a 600 and he missed a few shots due to having too much reach and as such he couldn't keep the whole bear in the frame. My rule of thumb is about 30 metres for a full-frame shot with the 500, and your table seems to bear that out (pun intended).

  8. #58
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    Well done. Now to do the calc w/ the 5dSr . Just kidding.

    When Brant and I did some shooting w/ the 400 and a 2x I found it too long on several occasions. Found the caterpillars where moving too fast.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    Big time . Congrats.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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