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Old Jan 3, 2004, 1:43 AM   #1
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Default Canon 300/F4L IS with and without 1.4x TC - opinions?

Does anyone have this lens? From what I've read and samples I've seen it is a great and tack sharp lens at 300mm. The real reason I'm interested in it is because I want to couple it with Canon's 1.4x TC. That combination people still rave about and claim it is better than the 100-400L at 400mm.

Anyone have any comments on that? True, not true?

For example, see http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/rev...00mm/index.htm

I'm looking for a decent tele lens solution at about 400mm. A prime is fine with me, I expect that if I had a zoom I'll be mostly using it at the long end anyway. I'll use it mostly for some wildlife shooting in national parks and the like. Since I'm also an IS junkie the choice really is 300 F4L IS or the 100-400L IS. I like having a great 300mm lens at a decent f-stop (F4) without breaking the bank. If that combined with a 1.4x TC still outperforms the 100-400L I'm sold.

Thanks for any and all input
Barthold
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 6:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
If that combined with a 1.4x TC still outperforms the 100-400L I'm sold.
A fixed focal will always beat a zoom... but are you going to test bench it?

If not, IMO the 100-400L(1380g) is more practical... @ 1.19 kg it's not any lighter with the 1.4x(220g) anyway, and certainly not any cheaper. Changing lens in the middle of a shoot is not desirable, and you'll need to carry your 70-200 f/2.8 with you as well for the other focal range...
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 7:45 AM   #3
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Default 300 sharp? you betcha!

I have a shooting buddy who has the 300 f4 IS as his weapon of choice. He used ti use a 70-200 f2.8 and 1.4 converter but he found the 300 to be sharper. When we Zoo shoot he uses only the 300 with the converter in his pocket. I've stood shoulder to shoulder with him and his results are always just that striking bit sharper. When I next make a move this would be my choice unless someone can show me something better. So no I can't tell you first hand but I can share with you what I've seen in his results. There are some extremely tough choices out there and this lens vs the 100-400 will no doubt be debated forever. You'll have to pick what will do the job best for you and then come back and tell us about it.
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 1:56 PM   #4
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Hi NHL, Tomsch,

Yes, a fixed-focal will beat a zoom. There's no question that at 300mm the prime is much better than the 100-400L at 300mm. My question was mainly about the combo 300 + 1.4 TC. Tomsch relays what many others have too, that that is a really good combination. I know a zoom is more versatile, but I'll enjoy the challenge of a prime (if you can call it a challenge :-)) and I'm guessing I'll be mostly at the long end of the zoom anyway.

As for the weight NHL brings up, that is true. From what I've read though the 300 prime is better balance for hand-holding. The 100-400L at 400mm has a lot of weight at the end of the lens, acting as a lever effect. How much that really matters, I don't know yet.

Thanks!

Barthold
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 3:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Canon 300/F4L IS with and without 1.4x TC - opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barthold
Does anyone have this lens? From what I've read and samples I've seen it is a great and tack sharp lens at 300mm. The real reason I'm interested in it is because I want to couple it with Canon's 1.4x TC. That combination people still rave about and claim it is better than the 100-400L at 400mm.Barthold
The 300mm lens will effectively be a 480mm lens on your 10D due to the 1.6x factor of its smaller digital sensor. That makes the 300mm lens a 480mm/F4.0 lens without the converter.

I believe the article you quote considers the lens/TC combination on a film camera... thus the 420mm comment...

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Old Jan 3, 2004, 8:48 PM   #6
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This discussion is raging right now on another forum I post on.

The general opinion there seems to be that the 300 +1.4TC is the same optically as the 100-400L @ 400. I don't know this to be fact, as I don't own the 300. I'm becoming disenchanced with the 1-4L. It doesn't have the reach I'd like, and the optical quality seems to be a mixed bag. I can get some really good shots with it, and other times I can't. I'd like to say it's me, but I've heard enough other people say the same thing that I'm starting to wonder.

Eric
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 10:18 PM   #7
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Hi Eric,

Can you post the link to the discussion you mentioned? I would like to read it.

Are you considering selling your 100-400L? More reach is always nice, but above 400mm it quickly is going to cost $$$ it seems. Especially since you're pretty picky ;-)

Thanks,
Barthold
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 8:45 AM   #8
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I know you're all Canon's, but what do you guys think about the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 combination?
Quote:
With this lens I'm losing the 70-120 range of my Canon zoom, but I'm certainly gaining on the far end where I feel I need it most. Also, I'm not using my 100-400mm f5.6 Canon lens now, since I can use a 1.4X tele-converter and get 420mm at f4. Although I did use a 1.4X tele-converter on the 100-400, the lens was now an f8 at 560mm, while with the Sigma 120-300 and a 2X tele-converter I now had 600mm at f5.6!

At around $1,900 or so, the Sigma lens is a heck of a lot less expensive than the Canon 300mm f2.8 and, in my opinion, the Sigma has completely eliminated my need for buying another one (Mary uses one, or did, anyway). At any rate, I loved the lens, so much so that after we returned from Yellowstone I called up Allen's Camera and ordered a second one for Mary. This fall, in Africa on both our Kenya photo safaris and on our gorilla treks, we both used that lens and Mary, like me, just loved it.

If you're shopping for a fast zoom, or a 300mm f2.8 lens, seriously consider this Sigma lens!
There's no IS, but then with a 600mm we are in tripod territory anyway (or a 300 f/2.8!) :lol:
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 3:26 PM   #9
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I don't know if you can read this link without signing up. But here is the link:

http://forums.naturephotographers.ne...841&m=92010414

It should be pointed out, that while we are a happy bunch of mostly amatures here, naturephotographers.net is more like 60%+ pros. It is scarry how often I see "Congratulations to XXX" and when I view the thread its about how they got the back cover photo that month in Outback Photo, or got their picture in Popular Photography. Or the latest one, one guy one in the Nature's Forest catagory in Canadian Geographic Photo Contest (Canada's most prestigious photo contest.)

So if I look picky, it's nothing compared to this bunch.

I do agree completely about the cost issue. I won't get rid of the 1-4L, it's just so small and easy to carry. Plus, I can use it fairly easily from a kayak. I'm thinking of either the Sigma 300-800 ($4,500), or the Canon 600mm f4 IS ($7,200). The 600 is fairly heavy @ 11.5lbs but the sigma is 12.9lbs! That certainly limits the use. And for that much money, I'd want to use it a lot. And that certainly is a hell of a lot of money, so I have to really convince myself that its worth it. I can afford it, but should I?

NHL
You'd probably do better with the sigma 100-300 f4. That is rated at 4.09 (vs. 4.90 for the Canon 300 f4 IS) on photozone.de. The Tokina 100-300 is rated even higher (4.24). Then again, the 120-300 isn't listed there, so I don't know how they stack it up against the others.

The question is how good is the sigma TC? I don't know. I know that Canon's is considered really, really good.

Eric
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 1:41 AM   #10
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NHL, Eric,

Yes the new Sigma 120-300 looks very attractive too. Especially since it is f2.8. I should do some research on it. All I've read about it is in this month's Shutterbug, and it had many good things to say about it. Of course, if I have that lens I'm not sure I can justify keeping my 70-200 .....

Can you use a Canon TC on a Sigma lens? Does that fit?

Eric, thanks for the link. I'll go read it if I can. Sounds like that is a forum where you'll want to be careful with your opinions and questions!

If you're going to buy a lens that big and heavy, you do need some really good tripod too. Are you sure you're really going to use a lens like that a lot? I still find myself using my 17-40L the most. Today I went out and made a point of only using my 70-200. It certainly makes for different types of photos!

Hmmm, now I think of it, did you get an insurance policy for your gear? I did get one with State Farm, it was ridiculously cheap (I think) compared to the risk of me dropping my camera and lens on some hike and having to pay for a new one out of my own pocket.

Barthold
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