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Old May 13, 2011, 1:42 AM   #1
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Default Telephoto for EOS 550D

Hey guys, i started this thread in the Canon EOS section (didnt see the canon lenses) so here it is again...

i recently bought an EOS 550D and have the kit lens 18 - 55mm but really want to get a stronger lens... i've been trying to find one that reaches atleast 300mm (more would be great) but quality is very important (however, so is the price)
I'm really not looking for a lens over $1000 as i just dont have the money for that....
1 of the lenses i came across was the Tamron 28 - 300mm (supposedly its actually 280mm) and it seems ok, but im really hoping to come across one that reaches 400mm (but with a low minimum focusing distance)... the Tamron i mentioned has a minimum focusing distance of something like 0.29m when at 300mm (i tried it yesterday and managed to get really close to the lizard)
however i noticed a lot of the others, the minimum is 1m or more....

The lens will be used for photographing birds in flight (pretty much birds in general, that wont be very close), small wildlife like lizards, and probably even larger animals like lions (so a strong zoom is needed)

can anybody suggest a strong, good quality and relatively cheap (1000 or less)???

thanks a lot
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Old May 13, 2011, 8:31 AM   #2
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For birds in flight, 300mm is going to be frustratingly short (assuming subject is more advanced than pigeons or seagulls). The lens that jumps to mind is the Bigma (sigma 50-500) but not a good close-focusing lens. Those two requirements (close focusing but take pictures of birds far away) are kind of contradictory.

By the way, you need to understand you can't shoot birds from as far away as you think. I have a 100-400L. For small birds - sparrows and such - about 20 feet away is the max distance - you really want to be about 10 or closer. Something as large as a Heron, maybe 30-40 yards. But if you're going to be doing a lot of birding, I think you're wasting your money buying anything less than 400mm. Bigma might be the best option around that $1000 price point.
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Old May 13, 2011, 3:15 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot John...
i tried using the Tamron 28 - 300mm a few days ago and was really considering getting it (as it is around $600) but the fact that it was only 300 did in fact frustrate me... at one point i couldnt get closer than about 30 feet from a Gold Finch and therefore couldnt get a great shot (just a little bird in the photo), but when it came to some of the other birds; nuthatch, buntings, gulls, etc, i was about 10 feet away and therefore it was fine...

I've just checked the price for the Bigma and it seems its around 1,000 new or 750 used... so i guess im going to have to work a bit more before i can get it (was hoping to get it in a few weeks)... I also wanted to ask if it is still ok to use handheld... i understand its about 4lbs, but i rather handheld instead of using a tripod... is this going to be a problem?

thanks a lot for your help

Last edited by Tizianohc; May 13, 2011 at 3:51 PM.
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Old May 13, 2011, 4:45 PM   #4
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Actually the Bigma can focus down to 19.7"...
You really don't focus using the focusing ring in this semi 'macro' mode, but vary the magnification by using the zooming ring as it does get quite close

-> When used with a flash, handholding is not a problem as the short duration of the flash pulse (thousands of a second), will freeze any handshaking at slow shutter-speed
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Last edited by NHL; May 13, 2011 at 4:47 PM.
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Old May 13, 2011, 7:25 PM   #5
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If you want it, grab it while you can at those prices !
The original Bigma has been discontinued.

The new Bigma is listing for 1659$us at B&H.

Hand holding like most things takes a bit of practice to get the technique down.

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Originally Posted by Tizianohc View Post
I've just checked the price for the Bigma and it seems its around 1,000 new or 750 used... so i guess im going to have to work a bit more before i can get it (was hoping to get it in a few weeks)... I also wanted to ask if it is still ok to use handheld... i understand its about 4lbs, but i rather handheld instead of using a tripod... is this going to be a problem?

thanks a lot for your help
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Old May 14, 2011, 1:51 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot for all your help and info...
ya i dont think i can afford the new Bigma, but is it really that much better than the original?
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Old May 14, 2011, 12:24 PM   #7
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Default Sigma 170-500mm?

I've seen this Sigma lens on ebay/craigslist for under $500. Does anyone have any experience with it and would it be a reasonably decent starter lens for birds in flight/wildlife? 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical & I've seen it in the DG version as well.
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Old May 14, 2011, 1:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I've seen this Sigma lens on ebay/craigslist for under $500. Does anyone have any experience with it and would it be a reasonably decent starter lens for birds in flight/wildlife? 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical & I've seen it in the DG version as well.
I think I've answered my own questions after finding some reviews. The AF is much too slow to effectively catch any fast moving subject such as birds in flight. So much for an inexpensive alternative.
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Old May 14, 2011, 1:33 PM   #9
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The biggest difference between all the recently discontinued Sigma lenses and their new replacements is Optical Image Stabilization is now built into them.
Which seems to be an expensive addition to any lens.

A feature I personally don't look for in a lens.

Here is a stream of images made by people using the original 50-500 Bigma, seems to work quite well.
http://www.flickriver.com/search/50-500/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tizianohc View Post
Thanks a lot for all your help and info...
ya i dont think i can afford the new Bigma, but is it really that much better than the original?
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Old May 14, 2011, 3:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterP View Post
The biggest difference between all the recently discontinued Sigma lenses and their new replacements is Optical Image Stabilization is now built into them.
Which seems to be an expensive addition to any lens.

A feature I personally don't look for in a lens.

Here is a stream of images made by people using the original 50-500 Bigma, seems to work quite well.
http://www.flickriver.com/search/50-500/
Since the goal is to capture fast moving objects, I agree, since OS/IS isn't really necessary when the shutter speeds are up over 1/250.
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