Canon Telephoto help needed

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AndyO'Connor
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Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by AndyO'Connor » June 26th, 2013, 12:29 pm

I am going to Baja in the beginning of September and am interested in renting a tele as I only have a 17-55mm 2.8 and 100mm 2.8L in my bag. It needs to be light enough that handheld/carrying is possible, and I'd prefer "L" quality glass and sealing since I may get some use near the surf for dolphins etc. My 3 that I'm looking at are the 70-300L f4-5.6, 300 f4L and the 400 f5.6L. Price doesn't matter as renting the lenses from these choces is between $110-$130 for the time I'm going. The 300 f4 and 70-300 have IS which is nice for handheld, and since most of my shots would be during the day, the f5.6 of the 400 is fine. I would like to hear from anyone that has used 1 or more of these lenses for herp shots in particular, but any use is fine. The pros are straight forward, the 70-300 is versatile, the 300 has IS and would be sharper at 300 than the 70-300, and the 400 has the most reach, but no IS. They are all within an inch in total length I believe and I think the weight difference is fairly insignificant as well, but please give me your opinions. I've got about a month and a half to decide, and the only thing that might make my mind for me is if any of these 3 becomes a special deal or discounted rental.

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chrish
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by chrish » June 26th, 2013, 3:40 pm

You might also consider the maximum magnification of these lenses. A sharp 300 or 400 can be a great lizard lens if it focuses close enough/with enough magnification.

The zoom would be more versatile, of course.

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justinm
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by justinm » June 26th, 2013, 7:10 pm

Andy,

I have the 70-300mm and I don't think it's very sharp at 300mm, just a little under and it's fine though. It's very versatile, but it is heavy. I do usually carry it though... If I had my druthers I would have the 300mm L Prime, and 100mm Prime and whatever wide angle you're dreaming up shots with. Call me sometime, I was starting to forget who you were.

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Kevin Price
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by Kevin Price » June 26th, 2013, 9:19 pm

The 300L f4 lens all the way. It has IS and a decently wide aperture. It is a very sharp lens. The 400L f5.6 has a little longer reach, but no IS and a stop less of light gathering ability. Handholding the 400 without IS can be dicey, and depending on the light available you may not have enough shutter speed to compensate for the motion without jamming your ISO up. Plus the 300L has a minimum focus distance of just under 5 feet, whereas the 400L has a minimum focus distance of about 11 1/2 feet. The 300L is much better suited for close up shots. The 300L rents for just $67.00 for 7 days at LensRentals.com. I've used both and hands down the 300L is the best choice (for me). As for a zoom lens, I have also shot a lot with the 100-400L out herping, but I've found myself shooting almost exclusively at 400mm with that lens. A fixed prime near that focal length, like the 300L, will be sharper, with an additional stop of light, and is lighter.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by AndyO'Connor » June 27th, 2013, 6:35 am

Thanks for the responses, I was leaning away from the 400 due to non-IS and it is the heavier of the 3 (and I don't think it will fit in my camera bag ON the camera).

Justin, you have the 70-300 L? Canon has 3 or 4 different 70-300s. I know it's not quite as sharp as the prime, but I had read a bunch of reviews and all said it was very sharp, just not quite as sharp as a 70-200 or 300 prime.

Chris, Thanks for the tip, I forgot to check magnification, although I think they are fairly similar on the two 300 lenses.

Kevin, thanks for the thorough response. I was watching borrowlenses.com for their deal of the week (25% OFF rental) hoping one of these lenses is offered in the next month, if not I will compare prices. It's an 11 day trip so it adds up.

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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by fvachss » June 29th, 2013, 3:36 pm

I own the 70-300L and 300/4IS and used to own a 400/5.6 and 70-300 non-L. Others may differ, but here are my opinions:

1. The 300/4IS is my favorite herping lens. I like to get in for close-ups and the 300 excels at that - and takes a 1.4x very well when you want those lizard head shots.

2. I'd say the 70-300L is a decent choice for herping, and indeed I've found others on the trails using this lens for this purpose with good results. That said I just find that the 300/4IS (often with the 1.4x) works better for the sort of shooting I like to do. The 70-300L is a very sharp zoom lens and this is still true wide open at its maximum focal length (something not as true of the otherwise fine non-L of the same zoom range). While the 70-300L has a newer and more effective IS system than that in the 300/4IS prime it suffers in comparison when a 1.4x extender is attached. The 300/4IS + 1.4x is still prime sharp and AF's just fine (albeit a bit more slowly than the bare lens). Put an extender on the 70-300L and you lose a noticeable amount of sharpness and AF in the bargain. For general travel the 70-300L is a fine flexible telephoto, but for herping I'll choose the prime every time.

3. The 400/5.6 is a fine lens for birding in bright light, but really not for much else. It's sharp wide open and focuses fast, but without IS I find I need at least 1/1000 to keep things sharp. Even more important for herping, with an MFD of 3.5m you can't frame anywhere near as tightly as with a 300/4IS with its 1.5m MFD.

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Matt J
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by Matt J » June 30th, 2013, 3:59 pm

Not to complicate your decision, but why are you not considering the 100-400mm lens? You get an 'L' lens, image stabilization, 400mm of reach, and it is compact enough to walk around with all day. I couldn't imagine hiking with a 300 or 400mm lens, but I try to baby lenses like that.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 1st, 2013, 6:11 am

The 100-400L would also be an option I suppose. Basically for now I'm waiting to see if any of the lenses becomes a deal of the week on borrowlenses and if they do, I'll go with that. Otherwise I am leaning feavily toward a zoom option.

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Biker Dave
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by Biker Dave » July 14th, 2013, 1:39 pm

How does borrowlenses.com (or similar) work? Do they charge for shipping time or just usage time?

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Kevin Price
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by Kevin Price » July 14th, 2013, 5:03 pm

Dave,

They charge for the total amount of rental time, or the amount of time that the lens leaves their facility and is returned. Yes, they charge additionally for shipping. For example; borrowlenses.com has the 300 f4 for $88.00 for ten days plus $24.95 for shipping. Lensrentals.com has the same lens for $90.00 for ten days and $25.00 shipping. It's a good idea if you want to test a lens first before you buy it, or if it's a lens you would never be able to afford but renting it allows you the ability to shoot with it for a specific time.

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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by fvachss » July 15th, 2013, 4:30 am

While these lens rental companies certainly perform a valuable service, for lenses readily available on the used market I generally just prefer to buy the lenses I'm interested in. The buy/sell prices on high quality used lenses are pretty stable and when I've decided I didn't like a lens I've generally been able to sell it (usually after several months of use) for around what I paid for it. This approach isn't as risk free as simply renting, but if you can physically inspect gear before purchase or buy from a trusted source I believe it provides those interested in trying new lenses with significantly more bang per buck.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 15th, 2013, 6:54 am

Yes, I picked up the 300 f/4 as it was last week's deal of the week on borrow and I got it for 14 days, insured, shipped, for $130. If I had ~$900-1100 I would have just bought one of these lenses in the discussion, but I definitely don't right now so renting was my only option, otherwise you are right, you can buy and sell many of these lenses for roughly the same price typically. Borrowlenses recently lowered their shipping to residential addresses to match the shipping to their list of camera shops so it is always $25. The deal of the week option is nice since it's 25% off the rental prices.

On a side note of buying and selling, the recent Canon rebates on the 5d mk 3 have lowered the value of the ef-s lenses, primarily the 17-55 2.8 IS that I was attempting to sell (that I just bought 2 months ago) because the market is flooded with them. I bought it in May for $740 and now the average selling price on eBay has been ~$650.

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chrish
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by chrish » July 18th, 2013, 1:51 pm

Here's what you need:

The new Canon 200-400 IS USM L with built in 1.4x telextender making it really a 200-560mm lens. Put that on a Canon APS-C DSLR and you have a roughly 300-900 zoom.

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/can ... mm-4-1p4x/

Yours for only $11,799! I think you probably get free shipping for that price. :lol:

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 18th, 2013, 3:20 pm

borrowlenses has it for only $600 a week!! LOL

reptileexperts
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Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

Post by reptileexperts » August 2nd, 2013, 1:32 pm

Definitely made the right choice, I have the 300 F4 IS, the 400 F5.6 NON IS, and have used the 100-400 F5.6 IS. . .

the 300 F4 is the sharpest out of the lot, with the 400 f5.6 coming in at a close second. The 300 F4 in contrast will accept a Canon EF II 1.4x TC wonderfully! And give you a 420mm F5.6 IS lens that smokes the former.

FWIW, the 70-200 F4 has become my favorite herping lens. It has a lot of reach, is a zoom function lens, and when you add a single macro extension tubes, you get some seriously beautiful bokeh

Image
5D Mark II, 70-200 F4 with macro tube

Image
5D Mark II, 70-200 F4 without macro extension tube

its an old lens, lacks IS, but is compatible with all canon bodies, and accepts a TC or Macro tubes. 2 thumbs way up for this lens as a purchase for your future at under 600 USD used typically, heck on craigs list you can get them around 500!

Cheers, and good shooting!

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