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Old Oct 25, 2006, 4:20 PM   #1
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As the subject says, I want to get more into natur photography. Sadly though, it seems the lenses needed for for suchs tasks dont mix with mortal money. Much as I would love a 400-600mm F2.8, it aint happening unless I win the lottery, and even then it's gonna take some dicussions with the missus :roll:

At the moment I got a Canon 350D camera with a 70-300mm F4-5.6 IF. It a okay lense, but lets face it, it's just to slow most of the time, specialy here in Norway at wintertime.

My budget should be 1000$ max, and from what I can see, that leaves me with only a few options. I have narrowed it down to the Canon EF 200mm F2.8L, or the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8. I know that 200mm aint much when it comes to nature photography, but I hope and pray that working with camoflage and feeding stations should help me out here. Im not looking at shooting eaglers and wolfs just yet, but it would be nice to be able to produce some sharp good images of the more normal forest birds.

Both of this should support both 1.4x and 2x extenders, and this should give me boost focal lenght somewhat atleast. I would love the flexebility of the 70-200mm Sigma, but it's a rather large lense (not that much of a problem), and from what I understand the 200mm Canon lense works better with extenders than the zoom lense.

Any recommendations on the lenses above, or other options that I might not have looked at?
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 6:30 PM   #2
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I have the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8, the older version, not the newer digital enhanced version. It is a super lens and works fantastic with both my simga 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. There are a couple other options to look though too. Tokina 80-400mm f4.5-6.6, Tamron200-500mm f5-6.3. Thses are slower lenses, but by the time you add the 1.4x to you 200mm you are at f4 and f5.6 with the 2x TC. Sigma also has thier 50-500mm f4-6.3 and an 80-400 f4.5-5.6 all of these are around $1000 or less US.
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 7:15 PM   #3
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also might want to consider the Sigma 100-300 f4. It will take a 1.4x TC well and it's extremely sharp. The 400mm 5.6 is also a popular lens (can't remember if that will break your $1000 budget though) for wildlife.
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 7:41 PM   #4
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Hanzo, I have a photo here that was shot with the Sigma 80-400. I am really impressed with the lens. squirl also has posted shots with this lens.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=7

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Old Oct 25, 2006, 8:01 PM   #5
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JohnG wrote:
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The 400mm 5.6 is also a popular lens (can't remember if that will break your $1000 budget though) for wildlife.
Canons 400mm 5.6 is just a little over $1000, my latest B&H catalog lists it at $1050.
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 11:32 PM   #6
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IMO a 200mm is just too short, you'll be using it with a 2x most of the time... -> I'll go with JohnG recommendation

At least according to the measured MTF this 100-300 f/4 is as sharp (with the 1.4x TC) as a prime - See for yourself: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...00_4/index.htm
vs
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...0_56/index.htm

The 80-400mm OS is also excellent, but uou have to decide if you need HSM or not... :?
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 3:33 AM   #7
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Thanks for mnay good replys. Currently my biggest issues with my old 70-300mm 5.6 is that it's just to sow cept for sunny days, and sadly we dont have to many of them here in Norway. My reach with the 300mm aint my biggest concern, and I have to face up to the fact that with my budget I cant sort out both reach and speed, so I was aiming at speed for now, as this is usually the biggest issue for me. My current less works okay with ISO1600, but that does produce to much grain.

With the 200mm F2.8 I have access to a very fast lense whitch should work okay for me when working with a camoflage tent and a feeding station... I pray :roll:

However the 100-300mm F4 looks like a very good deal, even if it's a rather large lense. Anything slower than F4 aint a option I think, since this will limit me to ISO1600 or only sunny days, which in norway is roughly 2 weeks mid-summer :lol:

The 100-300mm gives a good reach with a 1.4 converter for those sunny days, and should be fast enough during the more cloudy average days while still giving me okay reach.

Think I will look more into that option then, Thanks alot for all your help guys!
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Old Nov 4, 2006, 8:19 PM   #8
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the Sigma 80-400 is a great lens, but at f5.6, it's not the fastest thing out there. while it compares favorably with the Canon 100-400L, and costs several hundred $$ less (i got mine for about $975 US), it's still an f5.6 lens at 400mm, and if you're really averse to higher ISO settings, it just may not be fast enough. on the other hand, the image stabilization is excellent, and you can shoot static subjects, orevenmoving ones if they're not too fast, down to quite low speeds even hand-held, which tends to offset the relatively modest apertures. for the money, i think it's a pretty hard lens to beat.

i live in Washington State, in the NW corner of the US, and although not as far north as you are, the days do get short, and it's overcast and rainy a lot here, which means lots of dim lighting. although i try to shoot wildlife on brighter days, i still find it necessary to use ISO 800 at times, just because the settings animals seem to prefer are often dark. nonetheless, i've gotten some pretty nice shots with my Sigma. this one was taken in early April, at dusk, with the sun completely down. even so, at ISO 400, i managed 1/640 @ f5.6. the second shot was taken the next day, on a cloudy, overcastafternoon, at simliar settings.





this last one, while not shot on a cloudy day, was taken at 6 PM, with what was left of the sun barely shining through some trees. again, wide open lens, ISO 400, 1/320 second...



all these shots were also taken hand-held, which shows you how well the optical stabilizer works on this lens.

personally, i'd much rather havea longerlens, and crank up the sensitivity a bit, than be able to shoot at faster shutter speeds, but find myselfwithout enough zoom to get the shot. a high-ISO shotwith a 400mm lens is better than missing it entirely because the f2.8 lens isn't long enough.and remember... Canon cameras, including the 350D, are all very good performers at higher ISO settings, so don't be afraid to use ISO 800 if you need to.




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Old Nov 6, 2006, 2:23 AM   #9
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A small update here, a few days after I wrote this a Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 pooped up for sale second hand for a very good price. So I agreed to live of drie bread and water for the next 6 months and bought it. Been %¤"#¤#/ raining now for 2 weeks straight, but I got a few nice pictures with it alreayd, and it seems to be a HUGE difference from my old lense. And with this I should be able to use even a 2x converter and still have a resonable speed. I hope this will help brighten up my winter, and makes it possible for me to get a few good shoots during the winter. Thanks for all your help on this subject, really appriciated guys!
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Old Nov 6, 2006, 6:23 AM   #10
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So Hanzo.....
Post a few.
Ron
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