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Old Mar 30, 2004, 2:25 PM   #1
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OK folks. I'm looking to add some long lens capabiltiy to my bag for wildlife and birds. I currently own the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS with the 1.4 TC, but that doesn't quite satisfy my lust. Ultimately, I'd like to be around 500mm and still have AF functions on the Rebel (until it gets replaced who knows when)

Under consideration:

Canon 500mm f/4L IS: Big bucks, but IS
Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX: $3200ish, lighter and shorter than Canon
Sigma 300-800mm EX: $4500ish, BEAST, but sheesh 800mm!
Sigma 300 f/2.8 EX plus 2X TC: $2500ish...gets me to 600 @ f/5.6
Canon 300 f/2.8 plus 2X TC: Same as Sigma but more money and IS

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me which I should buy, but rather comments on what you own or what you would buy, why and/or why not, etc.

I am open to other lenses to consider, of course (although the Bigma holds no particular interest to me). Hopefully, we can get some good discussion going on this subject.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 3:08 PM   #2
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The Sigma (what's up with Bigma), also features a 50-500mm f/ 4.6 (I think it's also IS). It's only about 900USD. Of course, I have little knowledge of Sigma (Bigma) lenses OR Canon.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 3:14 PM   #3
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OHenry

I'll go for the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 EX... It's cheaper than the 300 f/2.8 EX!
... With the 1.4x it's still quite good: http://www.hoothollow.com/Tip-December%202003.html

I hesitated last X-mas and went for the Bigma, but now my lust turn to the 120-300 f/2.8 EX. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 4:23 PM   #4
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Well, technically I shouldn't post because of your qualifications. I don't have any of those lenses.

But I thought Id say that Im planning to get a canon 600mm f4 IS in the next month or two. I want as much reach as possible. The only downside that I see is the weight. Id have to get a special gimbal-style head that adds extra weight. Getting the 500 means you could get a Wimberley sidekick, which is much lighter than the full Wimberley.

So dont forget the weight of the head in the equation.

Eric

Ps. Well, the cost is a huge downside, but my fear is if I spend the money I wont use it at times because of the weight (over the 500.) Then Id be wasting money.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 4:36 PM   #5
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Have you thought about the Canon 100-400L ? It's not F2.8 but from what I hear it's a great lens - Eric S has one, maybe he can tell you about it.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 5:00 PM   #6
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Eric,
The Wimberley head is 3.7lb without the mounting clamp. The Side Kick is 1.3lb but must be used with a ball head that has a seperate pan lock. If you used an Arca that would add in 1.4 to 3.5lb additional. The King Cobra ,another gymbal style head is 3lb even, so it isn't designed for the long hikes unless you are a young lad. As soon as your quest takes you into the long glass weight is heaped on in a hurry.

Ohenry,
I don't have any of the lenses you mentioned either. I had read a good article on a test of the 300-800 Sigma but I can't seem to locate it right now and I do not want to quote it from my failing memory. I do know one thing for certain, what ever lens a fellow gets, it will never be enough. You'll just be wanting for more. I how have my lenses divided into two bags. One contains all wide angles which I consider anything below 180mm. The second bag contains the lenses that I actually use and there isn't one in there long enough for me! I want that SIGMA!
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 5:45 PM   #7
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Well, owning the lens isn't really a qualification to answer...I am more interested in some ideas.

The downside of the 100-400 is that it's 5.6 and therefore if I wanted to go longer, I would be forced to use manual focus with my camera.

I hadn't thought about the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8....another one added to the list

Yes, I thought about the 50-500, but for some reason I'm not enamoured with it, even though I"ve seen some decent pics from it and others here have spoken highly of it.

Eric, I had already factored in the idea that I would need some sort of gimbal head with a longer lens. The 600 almost demands the full Wimberly, where with a 500 I could retain my current tripod and get away with a Kirk or Sidekick unit. (I saw your comment on this matter at NPN)

I have read several good articles on the 300-800...all good....it's the 13 pounds that gives me the willies

Good thread so far!!
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 7:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohenry
The downside of the 100-400 is that it's 5.6 and therefore if I wanted to go longer, I would be forced to use manual focus with my camera.

I hadn't thought about the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8....another one added to the list
I'm with you on this:
1. IMO A 300mm f/2.8 is a must have for its perspective and associated Bokeh... worth every penny of it: The 120-300 f/2.8 just happens to cost less than most!
2. With a 1.4x its a 420mm f/4
3. With a 2x its a 600mm f/5.6 (I'm no wildlife fan...)
4. Its number ain't too bad either (rated higher than the 300-800mm EX): http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/easytxt.htm#Ztelel
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 10:19 PM   #9
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http://www.photofocus.com/zine7/sigma.html

A test of the Sigma 300-800, may or may not interest you but it is worth the read at any rate. There are not alot of reviews done on some of the lenses in that price range. I don't guess that many people really own them, mostly they dream scheme and pontificate like those of us here. When Eric gets his he will be in a minority class me thinks.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 10:47 PM   #10
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I have a Canon 500mm f/4.5. I always use a monopod with it. I don't have a head on it, I just screw the threaded rod into the bottom of the lense.

If I had to carry a tripod... I'd probably... well... do something else. A monopod is pretty painless... stick it in your belt, or screw it into the lens and carry both over your sholder...

-jb
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