Telephoto recomendations for a 20d
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Chainshot
Registered: Aug 19, 2010
Total Posts: 213
Country: United States

Looking for recommendations on a telephoto lens for a 20d. Thinking about shooting more wildlife and nature subjects. I'm just a hobbyist. I tried a 55-250 and wasn't too impressed. Could have been because I had it zoomed all the way to 250. Any pics that I took at 250 were just terrible though. I want something with IS/VC/OS. Canon, Tamron or Sigma. Seems like Canon is always a tad sharper from what I've looked at and read about though. I'm thinking something up to the 300mm range. The big dog 400+ lenses would be overkill for me. Unless, something like the Sigma 50-500 has good IQ ? The 70-200s are always for sale...haven't tried one...kinda' scares me to buy one for that reason. Maybe I'm dreaming and you need 300+ for detailed shots.

Thanks for the suggestions and real world experiences.



JimboCin
Registered: Aug 21, 2005
Total Posts: 1102
Country: United States

Any particular price range in mind?

There are a lot of possibilities.

My personal reco would be the Canon 400 f/5.6 if you want 400 mm or more (with a 1.4 teleconverter - but you loose AF), the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS Mk II with the 1.4 teleconverter if 200mm up to 280 mm is long enough for you.

---

The Canon 400 f/5.6 is very sharp, and is a favorite of birders and wildlife photographers. It does not have IS. (I don't own this lens).

The Canon 3.0 f/4.0 IS lens is very nice. It takes the 1.4 teleconverter quite well when needed. It was my favorite tele lens until I got the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 Mk II.

The new Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS Mk II is a phenomenal lens. Great performance, great IS.
With the 1.4 teleconverter it is 280mm, and is almost as sharp as my 300 f/4.0 IS lens. The IS on the 70-200 Mk II is a four-stop, and is really phenomenal - much better than the IS on the 300. The 70-200 is more versatile than the other lenses, but also more expensive.

The reason you may find a number of Mk II's for sale certainly has nothing to do with the quality of the lens.

There also is the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6. A lot of people like this lens because of its versatility. I did not like the one I had because it was very soft. Others report theirs to be sharp - so it certainly could have been just the copy I had.

I have never been particularly impressed with the image quality of the Sigma 50-500 that my friends have had, but I have no personal experience with it myself.

A good place to go to get an idea for what the relative sharpness of the various lenses will look like is here. It generally matches my experience.



Imagemaster
Registered: Feb 23, 2004
Total Posts: 33033
Country: Canada

Go for the Canon 100-400:



Imagemaster
Registered: Feb 23, 2004
Total Posts: 33033
Country: Canada

*



JimboCin
Registered: Aug 21, 2005
Total Posts: 1102
Country: United States

Imagemaster: Great photos! If the one I had would have been anything like that I would still have one today.

The one I had was so soft that even Rudy Winston would not have been able to get good shots with it.

Jim



jay tieger
Registered: Oct 11, 2006
Total Posts: 1735
Country: United States

Chainshot wrote:
Looking for recommendations on a telephoto lens for a 20d. Thinking about shooting more wildlife and nature subjects. I'm just a hobbyist. I tried a 55-250 and wasn't too impressed. Could have been because I had it zoomed all the way to 250. Any pics that I took at 250 were just terrible though. Maybe I'm dreaming and you need 300+ for detailed shots.

Thanks for the suggestions and real world experiences.


WHY are you not happy? Some samples would be best for relevant advice...otherwise you'll get a lot of nice ideas, but.....it could be technique as much as technology...Many people could show you good shots taken with the 55-250 and good shots at less than 250mm



dbehrens
Registered: Jan 13, 2002
Total Posts: 1620
Country: Canada

I would second the 100-400 IS. I have used this lens for over 10 years and probably have taken at least 50,000 pics with it. For wildlife photography it goes with me everywhere. Although it does not compare to my 500 f/4, which is my sharpest lens by far for wildlife, still I have taken some of my best pics with the 100-400.

Since you want to match this up to a 20D, the examples below are all taken with the 20D and they are all shot wide open at f/5.6. I also have a small write-up and more examples at http://www.pbase.com/dbehrens/100400&page=all.
Dave























ultimaterowdy
Registered: Apr 18, 2008
Total Posts: 611
Country: United States

I loved my 300f4 IS . used it on a 20D and 40D. clearly the 100-400 works well, too .



shroud72
Registered: May 11, 2011
Total Posts: 77
Country: Spain

The Canon EF-S 55-250 is not that bad but it is a bit soft at 250mm, however you can use that towards your advantage in these types of shots.







I find it a perfect zoo lens but maybe its a bit short for wildlife.
Saving up for the Canon EF 100-400 lens so this will have to do for now.
Taken from my aging 450d / XSi camera.


Ian.Dobinson
Registered: Feb 18, 2007
Total Posts: 11212
Country: United Kingdom

Chainshot wrote:
Looking for recommendations on a telephoto lens for a 20d. Thinking about shooting more wildlife and nature subjects. I'm just a hobbyist. I tried a 55-250 and wasn't too impressed. Could have been because I had it zoomed all the way to 250. Any pics that I took at 250 were just terrible though. I want something with IS/VC/OS. Canon, Tamron or Sigma. Seems like Canon is always a tad sharper from what I've looked at and read about though. I'm thinking something up to the 300mm range. The big dog 400+ lenses would be overkill for me. Unless, something like the Sigma 50-500 has good IQ ? The 70-200s are always for sale...haven't tried one...kinda' scares me to buy one for that reason. Maybe I'm dreaming and you need 300+ for detailed shots.

Thanks for the suggestions and real world experiences.


OK
stabilised upto 300mm going down in order of preference. (you choose your budget and portability needs)
70-300L
sigma 120-300 OS (2.8)
28-300L
Tamron 70-300 VC
Canon 70-300 IS
Canon 70-300 DO

+ the prime 300/4L (of course the 300/2.8 would be top of the tree)

going longer (upto 400)

100-400L






Chainshot
Registered: Aug 19, 2010
Total Posts: 213
Country: United States

I bought it when they had the rebate going on earlier this year. I had a good chance to shoot some black bear pics in the Smoky Mtns. I got a few good pics out of it...as long as it wasn't at max zoom range. I returned it because of that. What good is it if you can't get any keepers at the max range ? It was afternoon with decent light conditions.

Thanks for the real world pics taken with the 100-400. I will also check out the other recommended ones as well.

jay tieger wrote:
Chainshot wrote:
Looking for recommendations on a telephoto lens for a 20d. Thinking about shooting more wildlife and nature subjects. I'm just a hobbyist. I tried a 55-250 and wasn't too impressed. Could have been because I had it zoomed all the way to 250. Any pics that I took at 250 were just terrible though. Maybe I'm dreaming and you need 300+ for detailed shots.

Thanks for the suggestions and real world experiences.


WHY are you not happy? Some samples would be best for relevant advice...otherwise you'll get a lot of nice ideas, but.....it could be technique as much as technology...Many people could show you good shots taken with the 55-250 and good shots at less than 250mm



jay tieger
Registered: Oct 11, 2006
Total Posts: 1735
Country: United States

Chainshot....
Were your shots unsatisfactory because of focus, because you didn't get close enough....because of camera/lens shake....(hence your desire for IS)?

There are excellent examples of shots taken with lenses cheaper than the 55-250, and lenses shorter than 250, and so I am curious WHY a lens many people do well with is not working as well for one person as it does for them...

Obviously getting closer than 250mm is an issue but since enlarging from 250mm (let alone from 85 and 135) should be possible at least a bit, if you could post samples from the 55-250 we could better help your decision making process....



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33503
Country: Thailand

Both the 400/5,6 and the 100-400 are great lenses for a decent price



Chainshot
Registered: Aug 19, 2010
Total Posts: 213
Country: United States

I opened the RAW files and saved them as jpg (no PP). The EXIF info is: 5.6, iso 100, 250mm on all of these. Shooting in Av mode. It was a spur of the moment sighting with IS on. These are the best from that sighting. I got a few decent shots with the lens. But none from the long end. Anything more than maybe 20-25 ft. away were throw away.







OwlsEyes
Registered: Feb 23, 2003
Total Posts: 4289
Country: United States

You would be asking a lot from any lens at your shooting distance. There is no question that an L lens would increase detail and contrast, but... and here's the key, the combination of shooting distance, misfocus, and underexposure is not giving your lens a "fair-opportunity" to resolve detail. I use 300 f2.8IS w/ & w/out converters as well as a 100-400L for my wildlife work. Both are outstanding, but if I were to be working these subjects at this distance, I'd be shooting with a strong (gitzo or manfrotto) tripod and ensuring that I nailed my focus. You also need to learn how to approach your subject to make the most of your opportunity.

Regarding a lens... If you want the best for the least... 300mm f4 IS... It's old w/ old and loud IS, but it takes converters well, 400 f5.6 great lens-no IS-poor close focus, 100-400L IS - great all around wildlife lens w/ old IS and great image quality untill 400mm (where it softens a tad), new 70-300L IS... Great image quality & af but at 300mm the lens is f5.6... I find this too slow for a high-end 300mm lens. Final option... No IS,, but great older L-lens... oiginal 300mm f4.0 is super sharp and can be purchased for about $700, but beware, if it fails, it can be tough to repair due to the lack of available parts.

When thinking about a new lens, please note that improved technique will have the greatest impact on your images, w/out this, a new lens will only be a new lens.

If you are interested in technique, check out my blog as I'm in the process of authoring 101 tips for the nature photographer (just posted Tip #31): http://bruceleventhal.blogspot.com
Cheers & good shooting,
Bruce



jay tieger
Registered: Oct 11, 2006
Total Posts: 1735
Country: United States

Chainshot wrote:
I opened the RAW files and saved them as jpg (no PP). The EXIF info is: 5.6, iso 100, 250mm on all of these. Shooting in Av mode. It was a spur of the moment sighting with IS on.


Okay...Here's what I see for the middle shot...
Auto exposure, Aperture-priority AE, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100
The shot looks underexposed a bit....

The ISO is too low...up ISO to 400 from 100 and you get to use F8 @ 1/400 sec

This would have improved the exposure reducing "noise" increasing IQ

This would have improved aperture (F8 vs 5.6) for sharpness...NEVER use a zoom wide open if you want sharpness...well maybe not NEVER...if you can isolate the subject using 5.6 then the APPARENT sharpness will over-ride the softness inherent in using wide-open apertures.

This would have increased the shutter speed for stopping action better.

Even using ISO 800 for better photo IQ is far better than using a slower ISO and getting underexposed, soft and fuzzy images....

As for the exposure...using the standard histogram...the highlights in particular are beyond the exposed histogram that ends at 150....moving the slider from 255 to 150 (and the shadow slider from 0 to 11) and you can see how it would have looked if it had been correctly exposed to begin with (albeit with less noise, since increasing the highlights increases the noise)







RobertLynn
Registered: Jan 05, 2008
Total Posts: 11425
Country: United States

What about perhaps the sigma 120-300?



OwlsEyes
Registered: Feb 23, 2003
Total Posts: 4289
Country: United States

RobertLynn wrote:
What about perhaps the sigma 120-300?


I've owned one of these and it is a great lens... but there are a few things to consider before buying one:
1. It's heavy and will require a very sturdy tripod to maximize its performance.
2. It can be picky when it comes to autofocus.
3. It might be a budget buster.

If you're lucky, you might be able to find a clean 120-300 f2.8 HSM (pre-DG) for between $1400 & $1600. We sold ours and replaced it with the 100-400IS because my wife did not like to hike with the 120-300... it was too heavy for long and hilly walks.

cheers,
bruce



RobertLynn
Registered: Jan 05, 2008
Total Posts: 11425
Country: United States

OwlsEyes wrote:
RobertLynn wrote:
What about perhaps the sigma 120-300?


I've owned one of these and it is a great lens... but there are a few things to consider before buying one:
1. It's heavy and will require a very sturdy tripod to maximize its performance.
2. It can be picky when it comes to autofocus.
3. It might be a budget buster.

If you're lucky, you might be able to find a clean 120-300 f2.8 HSM (pre-DG) for between $1400 & $1600. We sold ours and replaced it with the 100-400IS because my wife did not like to hike with the 120-300... it was too heavy for long and hilly walks.

cheers,
bruce

I've seen 1 or 2 recently in the 12-1300 range.

I was just trying to think outside of the box, because he was asking about 300mm.



jay tieger
Registered: Oct 11, 2006
Total Posts: 1735
Country: United States

just to let OP see what the 55-250 can do....

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=459569



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