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Old Feb 19, 2007, 8:15 PM   #1
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Sorry if this is a repeat post of past. I am using a Sigma 70-300 zoom with my Canon Rebel XT. I would like to upgrade to a telephoto lens to get some better shots from same distances. Any input would help out alot. Thanks in advance.


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Old Feb 20, 2007, 6:40 AM   #2
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photo118 wrote:
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I would like to upgrade to a telephoto lens to get some better shots from same distances.
I'm a little confused. the 70-300 IS a telephoto lens. Do you just want a better quality 70-300 lens? Or do you want a lens with more reach than 300mm?

What is it you're looking to upgrade on - image quality, focus speed, reach, aperture?
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 1:04 PM   #3
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My mistake. I should have asked about a super-telephoto lens. I would like to get a bit more up close with the shots. Hope this clarifies things. Thanks alot.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 1:19 PM   #4
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What types of shots? That will help determine whether 400mm or 500 or 600 is preferable and also what apertures are required and whether the task is suited for manual focus. Because one route to get longer is to use a quality telephoto lens and add a 1.4 or 2x teleconverter to it. But not all lenses fair well with a TC and use of a TC can force you into manual focus which may be ok for some things but not OK for other uses. As an example, using a 1.4x TC on top of a Canon 400mm 5.6 lens will give you a 640mm lens but it must be manually focused. So, for birds in a nest it might be just fine, but for sports work it wouldn't be practical.

As onother example, night time soccer or footbal requires fast apertures so the above mentioned 400mm 5.6 would be useless for photographing those things.

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Old Feb 20, 2007, 2:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for some thought. I have a Sigma 70-300mm. I would want to get closer to the wildlife, etc. I did not think about a converter. Would you have anything in mind for this type of lens? Thanks for letting me pick your brain on this matter.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 3:06 PM   #6
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Well at least we've narrowed things down to wildlife :G

There are plenty of more experienced wildlife photogs than me. So, hopefully they can chime in.

In general, you can't have too much reach for wildlife shooting. I personally use a 100-400L for the limited amount of wildlife shooting I do. Even with a 1.4x TC attached (which forces me to manually focus since non-1 series canon cameras do not focus with lenses slower than f5.6) that seems short some times.

I know when I was selecting that lens there was a debate as to whether to buy the 100-400 or the 400mm 5.6 prime. The 100-400 offered more versatility while the 400mm 5.6 was lighter / sharper and I believe faster to focus. So folks indicated those aspects made it a better lens for shooting birds in flight than the 100-400.

Now, the lens you're currently using is 5.6 and isn't terribly sharp at 300mm so it probably wouldn't do very well with a TC on it (hey what do you want for < $200). So, you want more reach than 300mm and you probably still want to autofocus. Here are some options:

Canon 400mm 5.6 - I believe this performs better with TC than the 100-400 but I don't have the lens so someone else must chime in. Still won't have autofocus though or even if you use third party TC or tape pins autofocus will be slugish.

Canaon 100-400L - same autofocus issues as above with TC AND not as sharp.

both of which are fairly light

Now we get into heavier options:

Sigma 100-300 f4 ($1000) plus 1.4x TC ($200) = 140-420mm lens that's sharper than the Canon 100-400L but DOESN't have the IS. Can use a 2x TC but then have autofocus issues.

Sigma 120-300 2.8 ($2200) which can take a 2x TC ($275) that gives you a 240-600mm lens and you still have autofocus. I know NHL is a fan of this combination. And, while I own the 120-300 and love it, I don't have a 2x TC so I've never used the combination. But now you're getting into some heavy lenses. If I'm hiking I prefer the size/weight of the 100-400 to carrying around the 120-300. But if you're planning on going to a specific local and setting up and waiting for your subject portability might not be an issue (heck people lug around 600mm lenses because they want the best possible shot).

Sigma 50-500 - the Bigma - big, heavy lens - 5.6 aperture so lose autofocus if you use a TC.

Tamron 80-400 - new lens. Don't know much about it.

Their are more options at higher price points but I'm guessing you don't want to spend $5000 on the lens :G

So, there are multiple combinations that will get you more reach.. But each one has pros/cons with regard to price, autofocus ability, size/weight. I just know from my experience that the difference between 300mm and 400mm with respect to wildlife isn't HUGE. You'll see an improvement in optical quality and focus speed but if you were too far away at 300mm chances are you'll still be too far away at 400mm. So, I personally would be inclined to go for an option that allows me to extend out to 600mm and still retain quality. But that's me. And, as I said I don't do enough wildlife shooting anymore to make purchase decisions based upon it.

Again, hopefully some o the more experienced wildlife photogs will see this and respond.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 9:14 PM   #7
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my two cents..

300mm is tooo short unless ur in a zoo. For birds and wildlife i would definitely want something thats atleast 600mm(using a 2x atleast)


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Old Feb 21, 2007, 10:42 AM   #8
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Any special brand that you may suggest with my Canon Rebel and a Sigma 70-300mm lens? Is one just as good as the other? Would one give me sharper shots than any other? Thanks for your input.
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