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Lens Range for Effective Bird Shots

Started by dwalton, 11/13/2003 06:46AM
Posted 11/13/2003 06:46AM Opening Post
I'd like to get some opinions on what you feel is the effective lens range for effectively taking quality bird shots.

For example, let's say that I've lost my mind, and I'm looking to spend a wad of money on a Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS, along with a 1.4 teleconverter. At the high end, with a D/SLR, this would yield something like a 448mm length, with image stabilization, and pretty good aperture.

Is 448mm really enough, or should I be looking at something like a 100-400 IS with the 1.4 teleconverter (which would yield me something like 562mm)?

Thanks very much for your thoughts and opinions.

Doug
Posted 11/13/2003 08:51AM #1
I'll give you my two-cents worth....and its worth every penny! smile

I have found that my 80-400mm VR (Nikkor) is an excellent lens for bird photos in many situations. It has provided me with many good images. I rarely use it with a teleconverter, although I have done so on a few occasions. At 400mm, the lens is an f/5.6, which allows for clear shots under many lighting conditions. However, the addition of the teleconverter (mine is a 2X) adds two full stops, and really makes clear shots a lot tougher to get. It also makes a tripod almost mandatory. I find that the extra magnification is usually not worth the tradeoff of 2 f-stops.

My gut feeling is that, if you bought the 100-400mm lens, you would probably use it without the converter for most shooting situations. But, if conditions dictated its use, you could add the converter.

The 70-200 1:2.8, with a teleconverter, would probably provide more versatility, but I think you might want a 2X instead of the 1.4X, because you will often want maximum zoom. I would guess that you would mostly carry the 70-200mm with the 2X teleconverter attached (f/5.6), when birding, and remove it only when conditions allowed. This combination would be excellent and versatile however, allowing for quick conversion of the camera to meet a wide array of situations.

What you really need is a 70-200mm, a 100-400mm, and a 500mm f/4, with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters.......perhaps you could get a second mortgage! smile

Cheers,
Tyler

"The expression of the beautiful is in direct ratio to the power of perception acquired by the artist." (Gustave Courbet)