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Old Jun 1, 2009, 9:38 AM   #1
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Default advice on a new lens

Hello everyone

I am faily new to photography, while I have taken photos before with a 35mm camera and with a point and shoot digital I am now trying to branch out with my dslr Rebel XSI . At this time I have 2 lenses, a 55mm-250mm as well as a 18mm-55mm, and what I am looking for is a lens that will allow me to bring things in close. Let's say there is a bird in the water, and I want to take a photo of it, this is the lens that I want to bring it close so that we can see what kind of bird it is! If this makes sence to someone, can you help me with the type of lens I need?

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Old Jun 1, 2009, 10:11 AM   #2
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There is a Canon DSLR lens forum on the site. I think you'll get much better feedback if you post your question there.

Having said that, birding is a very demanding type of photography. The right focal length depends on a lot of things:
1. Do you just want to be able to make the bird out or do you actually want a good photo of it? If you just want to make the bird out - buy binoculars - more powerful and less expensive than a lens. If you want to take a quality photo you may have expectations that are too high.
2. When you say a 'bird in the water' what are you talking about - a bird 30 yards awy on a pond or a spec of a bird out on the ocean? This is important with regards to expectations. If the bird is too small / too far away for your naked eye to see details it's too small / too far away to get a quality photo with even the most expensive lenses. Then you're talking about using a telescope and hooking it up.

To further set expectations - I use a 400mm lens when I photograph birds. If you're talking large birds - geese, raptors, etc... You'll easily be able to identify the bird (at least in general - you may not be able to identify exact species without studying markigns in the photo) by the time it's close enough to get a quality photo. For smaller birds (jays, robins, etc...) you need to be within about 40 feet to get a quality photo with a 400mm lens - and that will be with a good bit of cropping.
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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I've moved the thread to the Canon Lenses Forum where more Canon dSLR owners are likely to see it and respond.
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
There is a Canon DSLR lens forum on the site. I think you'll get much better feedback if you post your question there.

Having said that, birding is a very demanding type of photography. The right focal length depends on a lot of things:
1. Do you just want to be able to make the bird out or do you actually want a good photo of it? If you just want to make the bird out - buy binoculars - more powerful and less expensive than a lens. If you want to take a quality photo you may have expectations that are too high.
2. When you say a 'bird in the water' what are you talking about - a bird 30 yards awy on a pond or a spec of a bird out on the ocean? This is important with regards to expectations. If the bird is too small / too far away for your naked eye to see details it's too small / too far away to get a quality photo with even the most expensive lenses. Then you're talking about using a telescope and hooking it up.

To further set expectations - I use a 400mm lens when I photograph birds. If you're talking large birds - geese, raptors, etc... You'll easily be able to identify the bird (at least in general - you may not be able to identify exact species without studying markigns in the photo) by the time it's close enough to get a quality photo. For smaller birds (jays, robins, etc...) you need to be within about 40 feet to get a quality photo with a 400mm lens - and that will be with a good bit of cropping.
John

Thank you so much for your advice, I will now have something to look into. I will go to the Canon DSLR lens forum to get more information!

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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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I've moved the thread to the Canon Lenses Forum where more Canon dSLR owners are likely to see it and respond.

Jim

Thank you, I will now know where to find that forum and gain much needed education!

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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:30 PM   #6
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John

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
There is a Canon DSLR lens forum on the site. I think you'll get much better feedback if you post your question there.

Having said that, birding is a very demanding type of photography. The right focal length depends on a lot of things:
1. Do you just want to be able to make the bird out or do you actually want a good photo of it? If you just want to make the bird out - buy binoculars - more powerful and less expensive than a lens. If you want to take a quality photo you may have expectations that are too high.

Not quite into the binocular thing! LOL However you are correct they are much less expensive!

2. When you say a 'bird in the water' what are you talking about - a bird 30 yards awy on a pond or a spec of a bird out on the ocean? This is important with regards to expectations. If the bird is too small / too far away for your naked eye to see details it's too small / too far away to get a quality photo with even the most expensive lenses. Then you're talking about using a telescope and hooking it up.

When I am speaking of a bird in a pond, actually I would love to take photos of the Blue Herons eating oyters in the "ponds" that I can get about 10 to 20 yards from, however at other places I can get only as close as 30 yards! Herons are rather large, they stand as tall as 2' at the most. There is one spot where I want to photograph the ducks, I would have to be across the road from so that is not far. That is what I want to do.

To further set expectations - I use a 400mm lens when I photograph birds. If you're talking large birds - geese, raptors, etc... You'll easily be able to identify the bird (at least in general - you may not be able to identify exact species without studying markigns in the photo) by the time it's close enough to get a quality photo. For smaller birds (jays, robins, etc...) you need to be within about 40 feet to get a quality photo with a 400mm lens - and that will be with a good bit of cropping.
As far as small birds go, I simply stand in my sunroom! They come to my front yard to eat up what ever is there! Other things that I would like to take photos of are my husband and son when they go and "play" in the shale (rock) pits. My son on his dirt bike, and my husband in his Jeep! I would love to be able to get some good action shots with the mud flying, without getting all wet myself! I think that my son would love to have a photo or two of himself doing some riding!

Thank you,
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:49 PM   #7
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What is your budget? A great lens for wildlife enthusiasts is the Canon 100-400 ($1500). Is that within your budget?
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
What is your budget? A great lens for wildlife enthusiasts is the Canon 100-400 ($1500). Is that within your budget?
Well, that might be a little steep. I will keep my eyes out on deals though! What I am looking for (IF this is possible ) is numbers! You suggested Canon 100 to 400, I believe John suggested a 400. I take it that the 100 to 400 is a much more versitile lens. Is that correct?

THanks,
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 1:02 PM   #9
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You suggested Canon 100 to 400, I believe John suggested a 400.
3Frog
I'm the same person that posted I shoot with 400mm. Yes, the 100-400 is a versatile lens. I use it.

There is a sigma 50-500 for $1100 but that's a very heavy lens - monopod or tripod would be suggested.

A less expensive option is the Canon 70-300. But realize that's not very long. Long enough for those Heron's 30 yards away but way too short for the smaller birds. That lens sells for $570.
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 1:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
I'm the same person that posted I shoot with I hope you noticed that I have only been a member for a short while! Sorry about that! 400mm. Yes, the 100-400 is a versatile lens. I use it.

There is a sigma 50-500 for $1100 but that's a very heavy lens - monopod or tripod would be suggested.

A less expensive option is the Canon 70-300. But realize that's not very long. Long enough for those Heron's 30 yards away but way too short for the smaller birds. That lens sells for $570.
John

Now I guess that my next questions would be

1 Are there generic lenses that would adapt to my Rebel XSI? Is Sgma a generic name, like Tamaron was.

2 What is the "used" market like out there? How safe is it?

3Frog

Last edited by 3Frog; Jun 2, 2009 at 10:35 AM.
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