Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 2, 2003, 10:12 PM   #1
Member
 
Bahamut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 65
Default Canon EOS 10D, now what lenses for nature photography?

Hi.

I intend to use the 10D for nature photography, everything from ants in my back yard to elephants in the Kruger National and have a max budget of $2000 for lenses.

After a lot of browsing I decided on the Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM (for larger stuff that don't run off to far) and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro (for small stuff and portraits), but then I discovered extension tubes, extenders and close up lenses and all when to pot.

Is there a better way to accomplish what I want to do and is my assumption that buying dedicated lenses are better than buying a general urpose item that would frustrate you in the end.

Thx.
Bahamut is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Oct 3, 2003, 12:31 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

The quality of zooms has improved substantially over the years. I wouldn't rule them out. On the other hand, primes (non-zooms) are better. That is undeniable.

How much do you care about optical quality? Is the absolute amazing optical quality more important than flexability or reach? (Origionally I said no to the last question, but now I'm thinking I might be wrong... people change.)

Why I ask is because the 100-400L is a very nice lens. I have it and like it a lot. On a tripod it produces very nice, sharp results. And it's light enough to hand hold for long periods of time (and IS lets you get away with it.) And the zoom aspect gives you flexability. Its close focusing distance isn't very good, but you know about extention tubes so you can solve that problem.

Also, it fits in you price range! $1,400 roughly. You'll still probably want the macro lens and/or some serious extention tubes.

I've never seen or used a closeup lens, but I've read bad things about them from someone I trust (Lin Evans on this forum and others.)
I should also say that the 300 f4L IS is a very good lens. Really very sharp, fast focusing, little flare. So you won't be wrong going that way... unless you find you need more reach and have to put a teleconverter on it (or buy another lens.)

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2003, 8:41 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
sjms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,735
Default

if you have a budget of $2k thats fairly easy.
1- canon 70-200 f2.8L IS USM ($1600-$1650) which under your camera (1.6x)would be roughly a 112-320mm lens. the quality of the IS lens is excellent giving you the portrait at 112mm.

2- then a canon 1.4x teleconverter II (~$279) extending it out to a ~157-450mm. the teleconverter will kick it up to be very good upper end zoom in a great range. the 70-210 has a tripod ring included for obviously a tri or mono pod. the IS function helps in the hand holding stage and even on a tripod.

this setup gives you a range fron 112-450mm at approx f3.5 with the IS function with 2 components.

going this route precludes a quite a bit of lens swapping your setting youself up for on doing primes while maintaining lens quality, ease of use, and manouverability.

total for both is just a hair under $2000.

then you can start to save for a good tripod and head setup.

the ants for the moment will have to wait for a good macro. the Sigma 105 f2.8 EX ~$369. don't knock them. the lens is good. and for the amount of use the price is right.
sjms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2003, 12:10 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

If you're not going to shoot a lot of birds, sjms' idea is a good one. I prefer the 100-400, but the 70-200 is an even better lens (in its zoom range.) There are debates if its a good as the 100-400 out near 300. It's fairly close. Some even add the 2x TC to get out to 400. But then you loose 2 f-stops, and the quality drops. Why not get something with real 400mm by that time?

If you are going to shoot birds (i.e. small animals which are afraid of humans) you'll want a longer lens than the 70-200 + a converter. But if you only do them on occasion... it should work.

Extention tubes are cheap and would reduce the close focus of that lens to enable some macro work. Not ants in the back yard, but larger spiders or crickets would work I bet.

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2003, 12:23 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
sjms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,735
Default

eric remember with the mag factor he would be already beyond a true 400 actually at ~450. while maintaining a better apeture capability. the 2x losses don't make up for the gain in mm.
sjms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2003, 3:46 PM   #6
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,139
Default

You already have some pretty good advice - you need to cover both the tele end and the macro end for what you want to do. Actually, for ant sized photos the 100mm F2.8 is really not enough do do you justice.

My suggestion would be to save for a dedicated macro flash and either use a reversed lens (the 28-105 USM works well with a reversing ring) or bite the bullet and spend about $800 for Canon's MP-E 165 1:5 but then you will also need the dedicated flash which is about $600.

The least expensive way to shoot something as small as ants is the reversed lens. A reversed 28mm lens will yield around a four times life size capture. This means an ant 1/4 inches long would occupy about 1 inch on the film or sensor plane so that it would nearly fill the frame. To get better than this would require a bellows and extension tubes. The primary need is for excellent lighting because when you get to this level of magnification, you have zilch depth of field and absolutely MUST shoot at a minimum of about F16 or better. This usually requires a tripod and with a bellows a set of rails so you're looking at some hefty cash any way you attempt it.

The Canon dedicated lens will go to about 5 times life size but since the "snout" of the lens will be in the way of anything except dedicated lighting on the lens itself, you won't be able to use it without this.

Here's an image taken by one of my friends, Charles Chien using a reversed lens with bellows, extension tubes and dedicated lighting. This is about as good as it gets without going to photomicroscopy (shooting through a microscope). This tiny golden ant is about 1/4 inch long and you are seeing about 1/6th of the ant in this photo.

As for telephoto, you are headed in the right direction. You will need at least a 1.4x tele extender though in addition to the 300mm lens.

Lin

Lin Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2003, 9:18 PM   #7
Member
 
Bahamut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 65
Default

After finding Lin's dime on the board and the fact that I do not want to get that close to an ant, but rather shoot it and a bit of it's habitat mostly during daylight and under an African sky, the 100 Macro became a "I WANT IT" for me.

This ruled out the 70-200L with 1.4x teleconverter due to budget constraints and I decided to opt for flexability vs prime.

Thus I will soon be the proud owner of a 10D, 100mm Macro & 100-400L.

Thanx eric s, sjms & Lin Evans for your responses and various other posts I found extremely helpfull.

Can't wait to shoot something....... anything...... please!
Bahamut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 4, 2003, 10:48 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

Have fun and post some pictures for us!

One warning on the 100-400L. Some people get good ones, some get bad ones. This has lead me to believe that their quality control isn't what it should be. I would order from a place which will let you return it (for another one) without a hassle. And get out and use it quickly. Test it.

I got lucky with me, and its quite good. I wish it here sharper... but I think that is more my skill (and desire to shoot hand held ) than it is the lens.

Lin

That is an amazing ant picture. WOW.

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 4, 2003, 11:26 AM   #9
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,139
Default

Quote:
That is an amazing ant picture. WOW.
Hi Eric,

Yes, Charles Chien does some incredible things with macros. I haven't heard from him for some time so will have to see what he's up to these days. If you ever see his name around on the forums, check out his images for some true "inspiration."

Best regards,

Lin
Lin Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:19 PM.