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Archive 2012 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.
  
 
Kisutch
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


I've been trying to get my Mom into photography for a while, gonna give it another shot. She just retired so I'm hoping I'll have better luck this time. I got her a Rebel T3i for cheap, now trying to pick out a lens she could use for taking pictures of birds. The key thing here is to find something that she's likely to take with her (not too bulky) and that has decent enough image quality that she won't be discouraged. I started with an EF 100-300/4-5.6 and it drove me nuts because it was really soft @ 300/5.6.

I'd like to find a zoom that reaches to 300mm, has IS, and is <$750. I briefly considered the 400/300/100-400 L's but I think they're too bulky and heavy.

I was thinking the 70-300 DO might be a good option... Any 3rd party offerings that might be worth looking at?

Thanks for any help.



Nov 24, 2012 at 09:19 PM
dwweiche
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


The non-L lens with IS is highly regarded and affordable.

EF 70mm-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Can be had new for around $500.

The DO is way over your budget and not worth it unless ultimate portability is your only factor.



Nov 24, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


I've had the non L 70-300 IS and yes it's a decent lens. AF is a bit iffy compared to other 'proper' USM lenses.
As said the DO is expensive for the convenience of the smaller lens.

Best 3rd party offering by far is the Tamron 70-300 VC .

Also don't discount the 70-200/4 + a 1.4TC but you do loose IS unless you want to push the budget a lot



Nov 24, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Cicopo
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Considering that technique will hurt her results more than any softness from the better consumer grade lenses AND the fact that she's not really gung ho (from the sound of it) to start with why not consider one of the superzooms that provide a 1 lens solution for her outings. With a superzoom she can shoot just about anything that interests her. I have a Tamron 18-270 VC which does quite well IQ wise & I've read that the newer version is both sharper & has faster AF. Although I don't use mine for R/C I have tried it & it did fairly well on a 7D. I have also owned the 70-300 DO and as stated a bit too expensive for little if any difference from the 70-300 IS unless used by someone with great technique.


Nov 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


At that price, the Tamron 70-300 VC is a good choice.

EBH



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Ralph Conway
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


EB-1 is right. Tamrons 70-300 is not build like the L and not as fast in AF. But it offers great IQ and is a smart (and imo lightweight) lens. Give it a try at your dealer if there is one in your town.

Ralph



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Kisutch wrote:
I've been trying to get my Mom into photography for a while, gonna give it another shot. She just retired so I'm hoping I'll have better luck this time. I got her a Rebel T3i for cheap, now trying to pick out a lens she could use for taking pictures of birds. The key thing here is to find something that she's likely to take with her (not too bulky) and that has decent enough image quality that she won't be discouraged. I started with an EF 100-300/4-5.6 and it drove me nuts because it was really soft @ 300/5.6.
...Show more

In that range of focal length and price I might look at the Tamron 70-300VC.

The DO is super small, but not sure where you get for under $750. Also it is surprisingly heavy for it's size and I believe it is heaver than the larger 70-300 IS and Tamron 70-300 VC. It is also not a sharp or fast as the 70-300L and yet, I think, costs more than even that one.


Edited on Nov 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM · View previous versions



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Just a word of caution.

Taking pleasing photos of birds is hard. If the push is coming from you, not her, I question whether it makes sense at all to be doing this.

Do you have reason to think that she'll enjoy the process of bird photography, given its significant frustrations?

Just a thought....



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


StarNut wrote:
Just a word of caution.

Taking pleasing photos of birds is hard. If the push is coming from you, not her, I question whether it makes sense at all to be doing this.

Do you have reason to think that she'll enjoy the process of bird photography, given its significant frustrations?

Just a thought....


that is certainly a thought too



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM
galenapass
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


StarNut wrote:
Just a word of caution.

Taking pleasing photos of birds is hard. If the push is coming from you, not her, I question whether it makes sense at all to be doing this.

Do you have reason to think that she'll enjoy the process of bird photography, given its significant frustrations?

Just a thought....


This was my first thought as well. Bird/wildlife photography is not only difficult, it is one of the most expensive venues. I started with a 300mm, which was too short. Then went with a 300mm +1.4X - also too short to get nice photos. Next, jumped to a 500mm (and often 500mm + 1.4 or 2X). Now I finally was in a FL range that yielded good shots. However, I still sit in a blind, travel to distant countries, etc...all to get good bird shots.

Are you sure this makes any sense? How about macro photography that can be done in the comfort of your own home, requires one moderately priced lens and can quickly yield nice photos?



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM
 

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Kisutch
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Thanks a lot for the feedback guys.

I didn't mention that used was an option. Seemed to me that the DO's depreciate fast--I'm seeing them on Ebay and here for less than $750.

I would respectfully disagree about bird photography being especially difficult. I think it's a lot easier than landscapes or portraits. I also find that there's lots to photograph without a supertele--birds in the yard, tame herons, ducks, etc. Good point on the macro, I should have mentioned that I'm giving her a 35/2.8 Tokina that I bought for underwater work but never use. I actually find macro to be extremely challenging becuase of the limited DOF, but maybe that's just me.


I'll give the Tammy a look .THanks again for the help.



Nov 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM
schlotz
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Hmm..... BIF vs Mountains. Maybe a good debate?


Nov 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM
galenapass
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Well looks like you've got it all figured out.

With regard to the narrow DOF for macro, I'll offer one more bit of advice, just in case you did not already know. Macro DOF can be achieved with a cheap lens (no tilt-shift) by combining or stacking shots:

shot 1





shot 2





shot 3





shot 4





Stacked shots






use combineZM or similar program



Nov 25, 2012 at 01:08 AM
ultimaterowdy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


I found the non-L 70-300 too soft at 300mm for bird pictures. it's possible that was trying to shoot it @ f/5.6 too much though...


Nov 25, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Kisutch
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Wow, that's pretty slick. I'd experimented with stacking in CS5 but could only get it to work on my telephoto landscape shots. Have to give it another try on macro. I wish they had focus bracketing on modern SLR's, so you didn't have to risk bumping the camera of place when you change the focus. Looks like in addition to getting my Mom to try out Lightroom, I'll have to check out combineZM.


Nov 25, 2012 at 01:44 AM
dsr1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


The Tamron 70-300 4-56 VC is an awsome lens. I'd rather use it an crop than use my Canon100-400 IS on birds.


Nov 25, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Ralph Conway
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


galenapass wrote:
Well looks like you've got it all figured out.

With regard to the narrow DOF for macro, I'll offer one more bit of advice, just in case you did not already know. Macro DOF can be achieved with a cheap lens (no tilt-shift) by combining or stacking shots:

Stacked shots
http://mlschragphotos.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v55/p1289273098-5.jpg

use combineZM or similar program


Great! Thank you. Any link?

Ralph



Nov 25, 2012 at 09:44 AM
reno.peterson
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


Kisutch wrote:
I've been trying to get my Mom into photography for a while, gonna give it another shot...Looks like in addition to getting my Mom to try out Lightroom....


Your efforts are truthfully futile if the camera and lens combo is any larger than a point and shoot or an iPhone...And then getting her to use more and more editing software..."Those convinced against their will, are of the same opinion still"...

More than enough people here have experienced the dire pain of trying to "introduce" the art of photography to a loved one, be it a mother, brother, wife or any one else that hasn't expressed a genuine interest in photography. It's a novel idea, but just to impractical to some.

If she has a real interest in birds, forgo the entire camera setup and get her a very nice pair of binoculars and a very detailed ornithological book that relatable to the local area she's in. And, "if" you were so inclined, spend the time with her and have our camera to take the images for her. In the event that she asks and inquires more about the photography aspect then, school her some and give her the opportunity to experiment with your rig!!!



Nov 25, 2012 at 02:39 PM
M.P.R.
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


For birds you are much better off spending more money and getting the 70-300L, especially if you find a good one used.

The other lenses will have a lot of trouble getting sharp colorful photos, and that is no fun at all, and interest will quickly be lost, throwing away hundreds on a cheap lens that will be difficult to sell. Do it right from the beginning and be amazed at the beautiful colors you find. Worst case, if interest is lost in birding. You can always sell a L lens for close to the price you paid for it when you buy them used. In many cases you can even sell them for a bit more, and they sell pretty quick.

Sometimes you save money in the long run by spending a little bit more. Cheap lenses and birding do not go well together. Feather detail is where its at, and you won't get good feather detail with a cheap lens. You want that wow effect when viewing photos. If you are going to insist on your few hundred price range, I would say 70-200f4 (non IS) or used 300mm f4. (with or without IS) Or possibly used 400mm f4. All capable of great shots. Longer is always better when it comes to birds. But not a fan of the 100-400mm. Not as sharp, more difficult to use due to push pull focus and too heavy for an older person. IMO

The 70-300L would be perfect, as it is very small and light for the quality of shots it gets.



Nov 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Which 70-300 to get my Mom for birds, etc.


I agree with M.P.R that a non-L 70-300 is not any fun for birding.

The 70-200 F4 IS with a 1.4 X TC is also a good option as Ian mentions.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=757&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=4&API=1&LensComp=404&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=7&APIComp=0



Nov 25, 2012 at 09:27 PM
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