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Thread: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    We have sort of discussed related questions under the 'lenses' tag before, but not, I think this specific dilemma.

    Just recently (since coming back from France), I've started to get itchy about going longer than the 200mm I've got with the Canon 70-200 f4 L.

    It might pass. But until it does ..............

    The Canon 100-400 L is getting a bit long in the tooth. The IS has only got 2 stops.

    The Canon 400 L f5.6 has no IS. The 400 L f4 and f2.8 (both with IS) are way out of my price range.

    The Sigma 100-400 gets very reasonable reviews, but it's not a Canon (so what, it's good?).

    Go for the 100-400 L - People still write good reviews.

    Sell the f4. Buy the f2.8 II + a 2x extender.

    Putting 2x extender on the f4 would make it an f8 (I could go up on my normal 100 ISO to 400, but that would still lose any notion of a narrow DoF). The 1.4 extender would only take me to 280mm (albeit on a crop factor body).

    Any beams of light that can show me the road ahead, or even any more thoughts to add to the confusion, would be welcome.

    (signed) Confused from Glenfarg

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald,

    It seems you are looking for more reach, but the Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS also seems to have good reviews. And the IS is supposedly good for 4 stops. I came across this when looking for possible (and probably hypothetical) additions to my kit.

    http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/e...-6l-is-review/
    Last edited by abhi; 19th July 2011 at 08:32 PM.

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    As I am sure you are aware at f8 you will lose autofocus on a crop body. Only the 1D will focus at f8. So the 70-200mm f4 + 2x extender may not be a good idea.

    It may not matter for what you shoot but my interest in a 400mm lens is for birds and sports. For those situations I'd want the camera to concentrate on focussing while I concentrate on the aiming.

    I'll follow any suggestions with interest since my kit currently tops out at 200mm too. It would be interesting to hear the experiences of people actually shooting this kit. For me the 70-200 f2.8 + 2x extender is top of the list. It provides the flexibility of the shorter focal lengths since I am not a full-time bird shooter. If that were the case I think the 400mm f5.6 + mono/tripod would be the way to go.

    Alex

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald,

    From your neat images of France and the French, I expect that you use your 70-200mm f/4L IS the way I do by carrying it just about everywhere and shooting with it frequently (as opposed to carrying a telephoto lens only for venues which usually require long focal lengths such as sports and wildlife).

    I would think that a major concern when using a lens in this fashion is the weight of that lens. I have a 300mm f/4L IS lens which I have lugged around on some all-day shoots and it is pretty tiresome carrying a lens of that weight. I mention the 300mm f/4L IS because the weight of that lens is quite close to the weight of the 70-200mm f/2.8 (various types and various makes).

    If you are seeking a reasonable weight lens with very good to excellent IQ and an extra 100mm over your present 200mm maximum, the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens might be a consideration. You will lose a stop of light at 200mm which might or might not be a problem for you. The 4-stop IS might make this slower lens workable.

    IMO, there is no lens which fits my needs as well as the 70-200mm f/4L IS. As I have mentioned in many posts, I usually carry two 1.6x cameras (now it is a 40D and a 7D). One camera will wear the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the second camera will wear the 70-200mm f/4L IS. This combination suits my needs for general and travel photography quite well.

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    Ady's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Hi Donald,

    After about six weeks of deliberation I have just ordered the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS after previously hiring this and the 100-400.

    I do love the 100-400, I'm one of those who likes the push/pull zoom. However it is a very old (and heavy) lens and this is reflected in the image quality and IS. The 70-300 on the other hand is pretty much the same price, has (noticeably) better image quality (sharpness, CA and distortion) throughout the focal range, is lighter, has better IS, and the clincher for me is the weather sealing (with a filter).

    Obviously the reach is shorter and at the moment there is no compatible Canon extender, though there are folks who have reported that the Kenko 1.4 does work with this lens.

    The other niggle is that the tripod collar is an add-on at 150 but I've found hand holding to be fine, especially with the excellent IS.

    I don't have any publicly viewable shots taken with the 70-300 yet but all the shots here: http://ashmoreimaging.com/btcc2010 were taken with the 100-400.

    Once the 70-300 has arrived I'll gladly take some example shots of appropriate subjects for you to take a look at (if you let me know what kind of thing you are interested in), I can't promise anything in terms of the aesthetic qualities of the shots but they should be in focus and appropriately exposed.

    On the other hand you could wait for the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM with built-in 1.4x Extender which is due out later this year, but I suspect it will require a second mortgage!

    All the best.

    Cheers,
    Ady

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Thank you to those who have replies thus far. Any more thoughts will always be welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    Once the 70-300 has arrived I'll gladly take some example shots of appropriate subjects for you to take a look at (if you let me know what kind of thing you are interested in)
    I'd be very interested

    On the other hand you could wait for the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM with built-in 1.4x Extender which is due out later this year, but I suspect it will require a second mortgage!
    Yeh, right. I was thinking of getting two, so that one could be a spare.[/QUOTE]

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Everything I've read about the 100-400 L refers to its 2-stop IS.

    I've just been looking at Canon UK's site and its says; "The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM features a three stop Image Stabilizer (IS), making this an ideal lens for handheld work."

    Anyone care to comment?

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Unless you are going into photographing birds, Donald, I would think that the 70-200 would be sufficient.

    Do you currently own a 1.4x converter?

    When I was getting a new lens in this area of length I considered the new 70-300 but, besides the price, it wasn't available in the UK then; and I already had the converter. So I went for the well trusted 70-200.

    But if you add together this lens plus a converter it must come close to the 70-300. Do you need to go bigger? I haven't seen much feedback on the 70-300 yet so I can't really comment on the quality.

    The 400 mm prime is popular with bird photographers and will take converters. But what put me off it was the rather long minimum focus length, which I think is around 11 ft. although this is fine for distant birds, or some other uses.

    But for me, when one minute I am looking at birds then a rare butterfly lands 6 ft away I need to change lenses.

    As I have previously mentioned, I eventually went for the Sigma 150-500 for a long distance lens. And although it works fine for me (at F8 to F11) it isn't exactly a walkaround lens.

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Hello Donald,
    I've been “away” for a few weeks. Saw your question and thought I'd offer a few comments.
    If your 70-200 f4 is the IS version, I can confidently say that the Canon 1.4 extender II works really well with it. Now that's not much extra reach, but it's not much extra weight to lug around and it's a bit more “affordable” than a separate lens. I find the IQ is very little degraded – out of focus areas not quite so smoothly creamy, and the auto focus is a little slower.
    The 400 f5.6 is a real sleeper. Yes it is a very old design – but within it's well known limitations – the image quality is epic. In my experience it is second only to my 180L macro. For a 400 it is a reasonable weight and somehow handles and balances far better than one might think.

    Regards,

    Nick.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Quote Originally Posted by nickjohnson View Post
    If your 70-200 f4 is the IS version, I can confidently say that the Canon 1.4 extender II works really well with it.
    Thank you, Nick.

    And it is the case, isn't it, that the 1.4 causes a 1-stop loss (so I'd go to f5.6) and it retains autofocus capability?

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald...
    I just noticed this comparison of the 100-400L and the 70-300L on the Photography on the Net Canon Forum. It was done by an owner of both lenses...
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/....php?t=1069375

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Thank you, Nick.

    And it is the case, isn't it, that the 1.4 causes a 1-stop loss (so I'd go to f5.6) and it retains autofocus capability?
    Yes!

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald,

    What is your reason for wanting to add more length? Is it to fill the frame, unhappiness with the results you get at 200mm when resizing, or just a combination of wanting a faster lens and more zoom? i too would like to get that extra distance and even tried the 500mm mirror lens route, with only a minor amount of success, so just wondering where you want to get too with your query.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    What is your reason for wanting to add more length?
    Compression, primarily.

    I've been looking at long-lens landscapes off and on for a while and whilst I was in France recently, I saw lots of good images, but didn't have the equipment to make the picture. Since I've been home, I've been looking at my local landscape with the same eye and am seeing what might be possible.

    The secondary reason is a sense that I need to expand my repertoire beyond what I am most recognised for - the B & W landscapes. And that is taking me towards people involved in and attending events.

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald, recently I just bought Sigma 150-500mm APO DG OS HSM and using it with my D7000 and I think it's a good lens.
    It's sharp and fast focusing.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donny

    Thanks for giving your thoughts.

    The other one that's come into my thinking is the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM. Okay, it's not a nice white Canon L, but if I'm being brutally honest with myself, my only real affordable option in that department would be to get the 1.4 Extender for my existing 70-200 F4 L. I don't want to have to be brutally honest, but sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm not a professional and that this is a hobby.

    The reviews on this lens are generally positive. Anyone out there using it?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Compression, primarily.

    ~ and whilst I was in France recently, I saw lots of good images, but didn't have the equipment to make the picture.
    Hi Donald,

    I appreciate this may go against your quality criteria, but really, there was nothing preventing you taking the shot and cropping more agressively in PP, was there? It is less of a constriction than being unable to shoot at a wide aperture for reduced DoF when you don't have the right lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Since I've been home, I've been looking at my local landscape with the same eye and am seeing what might be possible.
    So now you can take the shot, crop as you want to, and work out what focal length you'd need to achieve it without cropping and you'll know whether 280/300mm is in the ball park, or whether something like the Sigma is necessary, or if the 100/120 - 400mm would be adequate.

    Another awkward question; I would imagine you are a "tripod person", if you are, isn't the IS is irrelevant?

    Don't get me wrong, I'd always go IS if possible, as I am so not a "tripod person"
    and of course, for versatility, you may decide you want it anyway.

    Just my tuppence worth,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Thank you Dave. These are the sort of challenges I need to be faced with in coming to a decision.

    I am indeed a 'tripod person', but can see the opportunities for perhaps some limited hand-held stuff.

    I think the key difference between cropping severely on a 200m shot and a genuine 400mm shot is the perpsective achieved. A tightly cropped 200mm shot is still going to look like a 200mm shot, whereas the 400mm shot is going to produce a very different relationship between foreground and background objects (or that's what I'm telling myself).
    Last edited by Donald; 20th July 2011 at 04:16 PM.

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    But remember the potential problem of humidity distortion when shooting long distance landscape through 'thick air'.

    And the further away you are the more distortion is likely.

    However, I also sometimes want a more 'cropped' image when it is impossible to physically move closer. But I do reject quite a lot of shots due to the haze difficulty.

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    Re: Started thinking about the need for more length, but not necessarily girth!

    Donald

    Here is some real world advice. I have lived with and used all the Canon lenses you might consider.

    The 100 to 400 L lens and it is not the way you should go. The image quality compared to your 70 to 200 is inferior. Your absolute best bet if you want to stick with Canon is to upgrade to the 70 to 200 2.8 IS II and then get a 2X III converter. I have this combination and it is wonderful when you want a light and practical 400mm lens with all the features. It is obviously only a 5.6 at 400mm but in most situations that only means bumping your iso up a stop or 2. A huge bonus is that you have all autofocus features still available. Weight is a real issue. I also have a 400mm f2.8 and it weighs a ton. I spent yesterday lugging it around on an old manfrotto tripod with a wimberley head and by the time I got home I was knackered. In the interests of practicality or unless I want the absolute best images I can get or if the light is not critical I use the 70 to 200 with a TC.

    I know the 70 to 200 MkII with a converter is not cheap but it will give you all the versatility you need and you still have the conveninece of a 70 to 200 lens, which I can assure you, you will use more frequently than the 400.

    If you win the lottery you might consider the new 400mm f 2.8 L II with 4 stops of IS and new lightweight body. I have heard that they are shipping the first few at the bargain basement price about $10K US. (might even be more given the way the US$ is going).

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