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Old Nov 9, 2006, 9:38 PM   #1
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All of you bird watchers out there. What size lens do you use to get close enough without scaring them.
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Old Nov 9, 2006, 11:33 PM   #2
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you can never have enough zoom for birds, but i use a Sigma 80-400. on my 30D body, that's roughlyequivalent to a 125-640mm lens on a full frame camera. i know lots of folks who use Canon 100-400mm zooms, and some use 50-500mm zooms or 500mm primes with 1.4x or even 2x converters. for me, the 80-400 is a good compromise between telephoto capability and weight/ease of use. a lot depends on what kinds of birds you'll be shooting, the terrain, how skittish the birds are, whether you're willing to set up a tripod and wait or plan to stalk, and what camera you have.
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Old Nov 10, 2006, 9:26 AM   #3
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Also think about how much you are willing to spend. Some of the longer Canon lenses are 5K+. How much weight are you willing to lug around? Some of these lenses are pretty heavy.

I use the 300 F4 with a 1.4 extender. Unless you can get close, you may not find this combination long enough.

//jim
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Old Nov 10, 2006, 11:30 AM   #4
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If money/weight is not an issue, get 600mm f4 and be done with it

Otherwise, get 500mm f4 IS

Now if you can't spend that much, here are the rest of the options, IMHO:

Canon 400mm f5.6 prime

Canon 100-400L IS

Sigma 50-500

Canon 300 f4 IS

Sigma 100-300 f4

Tamron 200-500
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Old Nov 10, 2006, 1:03 PM   #5
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bobbyz wrote:
Quote:
If money/weight is not an issue, get 600mm f4 and be done with it

Otherwise, get 500mm f4 IS
Bobby,

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"You forgot the 600 f4 - a bargain for only $7,000 :-)
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 5:54 AM   #6
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And actually if you're really serious (about small birds in particular) then you simply have to use a hide.

You need to get close, there is no substitute for that, you can't make your lens long enough to compensate.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 10:19 PM   #7
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Thank you everyone that replied. I'll take a look at some of our great ideas. Maye even post some when I get some worth posting.
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 10:39 AM   #8
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Funny no one mentioned the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 EX if money and weight is an issue - 600mm (with a 2x TC) handheld in low light:

Parrots in late afternoon formation @ 1/1000s and f/5.6:


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Old Nov 15, 2006, 11:03 AM   #9
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I was waiting for someone to mention the sigma lens. I know it is excellent for indoor sports but NHL would know how it works for photographing birds. Excellent shot NHL!
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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Not sure how well 2xTC would work on that Sigma zoom. Reading from folks using Sigma in sports, they say AF is slower then canon's 300 f2.8. Now with 2xTC, AF will be get slower. I tried canon 300 f2.8 IS with 2xTC on my 30d and AF was real slow. Not sure what camera NHL uses. And 120-300 is not 300mm at full zoom.
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