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Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?
  
 
Husker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I currently have a Canon 6D that I use for most photos. I like having a full frame for wide shots and as my walk around body.

I have been getting back into macro photos, and would like to get back into wildlife photos as well (birds, mammals, etc.).

I currently have a Canon 200 2.8L prime and a Canon 2x tele, but I am looking for more length.

Here is my question: I want to spend around $1000 or less. Would you recommend I get a Sigma 150-600 contemporary for my current full frame body, or would it be better to buy a 7D Mark II body and use my current lens/extender? 7D mark II (1.6x crop) + 200 2.8/2x = 640mm F5.6.

I originally thought buying the lens would be the better deal, but... this seems like buying the 7D mark II body might be the better choice with what I currently have. Is there something I am missing or any experiences from you experts that would help impact my decision? Thanks!



Sep 28, 2017 at 07:08 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I'd go for the glass. I don't have personal experience with the Sigma 150-600 C that you mentioned, but it sounds decent.


Sep 28, 2017 at 07:32 PM
Husker
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Any particular reason you'd go with the lens over the body?



Sep 28, 2017 at 07:34 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


The 6D is an excellent body. Your 200/2.8 L is too short for wildlife. Get a longer lens. Depending on what you shoot, you might also want a cropper body, but I tend to go for glass first.


Sep 28, 2017 at 07:38 PM
Husker
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


But a 200 2.8L + 2x tele (which I already have) + a 1.6x crop body = 640mm lens. The lens and a 7d mark II are about the same price, but the lens is 150-600mm and the cropped body would give me 640mm. (I may not have been very clear about that in my description)

Any advantage of the 150-600 on my 6D versus my 200/2.8 + 2x on the 7Dmark II?



Sep 28, 2017 at 07:41 PM
dmcphoto
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Let's suppose we have two cameras, one one a full frame and one a 1.6x crop frame, both with the same pixel density (pixels per square mm). If all other factors are equal you're certainly better off with the full frame. In that case the 1.6x sensor is just seeing a smaller piece of the image, but there is no real magnification taking place. It's exactly the same as cropping an image from the full frame sensor, but the full frame sensor gives greater flexibility in framing when you take the photo and more cropping flexibility later.

But all is seldom equal. The pixel density of the 7D2 is considerably greater than the 6D, and pixel density is really what matters in this case. Again, that assumes everything else is equal.

Given the 7D2's higher frame rate and higher pixel density I think it's the best choice of the two for wildlife, and if you get a longer lens later on it'll be even better.

IMO.




Sep 28, 2017 at 07:44 PM
AvianScott
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I would keep the 6D and buy a 150-600.

My reasoning:

-You have the flexibility of a zoom (IMO, the most important factor)
-A 2x extender will likely degrade image quality enough that the 150-600 will be sharper without stopping down.
-The image quality of the 6D is superior to the 7DII.
-You'll get faster and more accurate AF using a combo without an extender.

The only advantage I see with the 7DII is the AF system. The center point on the 6D is phenomenal, but the 7DII has better outer points and faster tracking - again, this may be stymied by the 2x extender.



Sep 28, 2017 at 07:49 PM
Greg Lavaty
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


If it were me I would save a little longer and get both the lens and the camera in that order.


Sep 28, 2017 at 07:55 PM
Husker
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


AvianScott wrote:
I would keep the 6D and buy a 150-600.

My reasoning:

-You have the flexibility of a zoom (IMO, the most important factor)
-A 2x extender will likely degrade image quality enough that the 150-600 will be sharper without stopping down.
-The image quality of the 6D is superior to the 7DII.
-You'll get faster and more accurate AF using a combo without an extender.

The only advantage I see with the 7DII is the AF system. The center point on the 6D is phenomenal, but the 7DII has better outer points and faster tracking - again, this may be stymied by the 2x extender.


Okay, I think these points make the most sense to me. The impact of the 2x on image quality and focus will probably be the deal breaker. I do note that AF isn't great with the 2x, but the quality seems fine to me on the 6D. It looks like the best bet would probably be getting the 150-600 lens and then when I have some more money I want to spend get the 7D II (or perhaps a newer fast/crop camera). I am incredibly impressed with the 6D so far. Although the autofocus is not perfectly fact, it sure beats the 20D I was using before. I also don't imagine shooting things like birds in flight incredibly often.

Thanks so much for all the comments, and please feel free to chime in with any others.




Sep 28, 2017 at 08:04 PM
AvianScott
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Here are some samples I took when I used the 6D with the Tamron 150-600. I would expect the same or slightly better IQ with the Sigma.

http://scottweberpal.zenfolio.com/150600



Sep 28, 2017 at 08:20 PM
 

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AvianScott
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Another advantage of the 150-600 - image stabilization.


Sep 28, 2017 at 08:31 PM
Husker
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Those photos look fantastic. Thanks for the confidence boost.


Sep 28, 2017 at 08:56 PM
Mikehit
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Up front, I have always been a believer in 'glass first' so I would say get the lens first and the suggestion of the Sigma 150-600 C is my pick as well.

A lot of the best wildlife I find is taken early morning or late afternoon when ISOs start creeping up. I have the 7D2, 1Dx2 and 6D and have rented the 5DIV. Once you get to iso 1600 the quality of the FF pixels starts to override the pixel density of the 7D2. In good light I am happy to use the 7D2, in lower light it is definitely the 1Dx2. In this respect the 'reach' advantage of the 7D2 is overplayed, IMO.

For general shooting, 400mm is the minimum you would want. The 2x extenders on the 7D2 will give a reduced AF performance, which is another bonus for the Sigma zoom.

Next consideration is the subject matter. If you want to shoot slow-moving or stationary wildlife then the 6D will be fine. If you want to shoot behavioural images where timing of the shot is important, or where the wildlife is moving then the 7D2 with its broader AF spread and its faster frame rate may well be a significant consideration.
Do you want to be able to crop to create a high-standard shot or are you happy with 'good quality record shots' - I don't mean that disparagingly, but everyone has their own standards and expectations. For example, some people I know are keen bird photographers and have great photo kit to record what they have seen with little thought to things like compostion head angle or 'peak action' whereas some (like myself) image quality is paramount. So you need to think carefully about what it is you are trying to achieve.





Sep 28, 2017 at 09:01 PM
CW100
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I'll also vote for longer glass
one of the 150-600 zooms or 100-400
www.flickr.com/photos/mmirrorless



Sep 28, 2017 at 11:22 PM
Ferrophot
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Thank you Avianscott for your samples. I have ben looking to get back up to 600mm on a 6D having moved from a 7D +100-400L set up. I think I'll go with a Sigma 150-600 C, the ability to convert it to a Nikon mount should I move that way in the future is also an attraction.
As an aside, I find my 100-400L is great on the 6D, so much better than on the 7D.



Sep 29, 2017 at 01:14 AM
tsangc
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I'd be the first to say the FF vs crop argument is bunk because it doesn't take into account the huge price difference to go to a full frame body of equivalent density. I believe crop factor "reach" is a cost effective method.

But in your case, I think the 150-600mm makes much more sense because you'll be using the lens natively without extenders and the subject matter in wildlife really demands something beyond 200mm, even with a 2x on there.



Sep 29, 2017 at 02:04 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I'd go with the 150-600C. I had that lens for a while and it was a really nice sharp lens, good AF, and decent IS.
With either option you end up shooting a 5.6/6.3 combo and that means a higher ISO on average....the 6D will do a lot better with those higher ISOs. BUT if you would like more FPS and a more advanced AF system in the camera then the 7D2 is a good option....but I'd still save for a longer lens even if you get the 7D2.




  Canon EOS-1D X    150-600mm lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/2000s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 7D Mark II    150-600mm lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/2000s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  




Sep 29, 2017 at 02:16 AM
Daniel Smith
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Buy the 1DMkIV body. Still excellent quality images and body.



Sep 29, 2017 at 03:23 AM
Husker
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


Thanks for all the comments. I was looking for people to have some experiences and points that I had perhaps been missing. Based on my goals and current gear, I think getting the 150-600 for my current body is the best choice.

Thanks for all the photos shared, they were excellent.



Sep 29, 2017 at 12:22 PM
ggreene
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Wildlife photos... 1.6x body or longer lens?


I would say you made the right choice. The pixel density advantage is great in good light but once you get into the higher ISO range (above 1600) it starts to dissipate. At least that was my experience comparing the 1D4 (27MP), 7D2 (47MP), and 1DX (18MP).


Sep 29, 2017 at 12:38 PM
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