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Lynn Palmer

Canon EF 100-400 or Sigma 150-500 or Tamron 150-600, what would you choose?

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I enjoy shooting landscapes, wildlife and other subjects that frequently require a zoom.  I already have a Canon EF 70-200mm L but it just isn't quite long enough.

 

I'm currently considering the Canon EF 100-400L, the Sigma 150-500 or the new Tamron 150-600mm to pair with my Canon 5DM2.  I'm especially keen to get the lens by Thanksgiving because I'll be travelling for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I've already ordered the Tamron but it's on what is likely to be an extended back order.

 

If you wanted a versatile zoom lens to go with a Canon 5DM2 what would you choose (and why)?  Will all three give me excellent IQ?  Should I reconsider my Tamron order?

 

Edit:  I guess Sigma is coming out with a new 150-600 sports zoom that sounds pretty nice.  I guess the question is would it be worth twice as much as the Tamron if sports and flying birds aren't my primary subjects?

Edited by Lynn Palmer

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Have you considered the Canon extenders to give more length? I have the 70-200 L f2.8 and use both the 1.4x and 2x extenders.

 

A lot cheaper than a new lens and really very good products.

 

Just a thought.

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Have you considered the Canon extenders to give more length? I have the 70-200 L f2.8 and use both the 1.4x and 2x extenders.

 

A lot cheaper than a new lens and really very good products.

 

Just a thought.

 

1+ for travel.

 

however 1- for sport ;-)

 

I use a 2x Mk1 with the 70-200 f4.

The Mk3 is slightly better and has sealing.

 

wim

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I have the non-IS, f-4L version of the lens.  I use a 200mm on my NEX6 (equivalent of 300mm) and it has better reach but still leaves me wanting more zoom.  Therefore I figure I would need at least a 2x extender to be happy. A lot of comments I read say I will have trouble with SoLD images or excessive noise.  Is this the case?  The 2x extender will run nearly $500.  Is it worth trading in the f-4 for an f-2.8?  Would a 300mm be a better option with the extender? 

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I've had a good spell in this type of thing. I had a 7D with a 70-200 2.8 mkII and while it was great IQ, it was too long at the short end and too short on the long end. I eventually traded my 7D for a 1D MKIII and it blew my away, however, it meant that I lost at the long end a wee bit with the 1.3 crop. I opted to go prime and got the 400 f.5.6L after selling my 70-200 2.8 (worst mistake ever getting rid of that lens) and ran with the 400 for about a year, part of the reason I was off the forum all that time (having so much fun in wildlife) 

 

I still felt that 400 was too short, and started looking at the Sigma at the time. I managed to borrow one and next to the 400L is wasn't even close on any level so I sacked that Idea. Most people I know have opted for the Tamron because it's great IQ, however, only for static objects as it's apparently not very fast on the AF front for tracking. 

 

I now have the 70-200 f4L IS and it's alright. It's meant for FF and does a great turn for me at the football. I have no plans to go back to wildlife but if I did, it would be using the same kit I'd pick for sports. I'm looking to trade off my 5D3 for a 1DMarkIV because I really miss the sheer brick like construction of those bodies and the rapid rate on which it works. 

 

One of the best things I ever bought was a pop up chair hide. It was the best long lens I didn't buy lol 

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In the last year I have used both the 100-400mm Canon, and a 10+ year old non-IS 70-200 f2.8 with 2x converter on a 1Ds3 and would not be worried about getting them through QC when my technique was right. I shot motorcycle racing in appalling conditions with the 100-400 and power boat racing with 70-200/2x and the results were good enough. All handheld. I can't remember whether I put any through QC, I would have put most of them through as News so they did not get reviewed in the same way. But I was happy with the results and my judgement seems to align with QC as it is a long time since I had a failure (my queued upload will probably fail now I have said that!). Bear in mind I have been shooting sport and using long lens for most of my photographic life (40+ years).

 

The 100-400 is half a stop faster than the other two. Also it is the oldest long IS zoom in Canon range and replacement has been expected for a several years but Canon have only mentioned that there is something in development. I would happily use one again if was shooting sport more often, would probably buy used though on basis a replacement is coming.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Hi Lynn

 

I have a Canon 100-400L which I have owned for about 8 years, initially shooting with a Canon 10D, then 5D1 and now 5D2 . I recently bought the 70-200 2.8 Mk2, and even more recently bought the Canon 2x extender Mk3.

 

The 100-400 is quite old technology now, and is due for an upgrade I believe. I rarely use it now, as I prefer to carry the 70-200 with the extender on the basis that the quality is virtually as good, and the weight is lighter than carrying both the lenses, as I would always choose to carry the 70-200 with me even if I was taking the 100-400 as the quality is fantastic on the newer lens. 

 

I did do some comparison tests and found that the 70-200 with extender was just as sharp at all f stops apart from f5.6 at 400mm when the older lens was marginally sharper, but only just. Both combinations would pass QC easily still I think. The 70-200 2.8 becomes a 5.6 at 400mm with the extender so all automatic lens functions still work with the Canon 5D2

 

Kumar

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I had, still have actually, the Sig 150-500.  Its a good weather lens, meaning in the UK light levels are usually too low to get that much joy out of it  I guess in Miami that wont be too much of a problem though, its best at f8 and the 500mm end is borderline too soft for alamy.  300mm prime & 1.4 beats it hands down.

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The 100-400 is quite old technology now, and is due for an upgrade I believe. I rarely use it now, as I prefer to carry the 70-200 with the extender on the basis that the quality is virtually as good, and the weight is lighter than carrying both the lenses, as I would always choose to carry the 70-200 with me even if I was taking the 100-400 as the quality is fantastic on the newer lens.

 

My thoughts exactly.  I have the 100-400 and the 70-200 f/2.8 II version.  I ABSOLUTELY love the 70-200 and I've taken some incredible images with it in low light.  I'm much less impressed with the 100-400.  My biggest complaints about the lens:

 

1) it is not as sharp as other options currently on the market and it is terribly out-dated. Images shot even at f/8 appear soft at times.  I attribute this to the image stabilization system in the lens more than anything else.

2) Focal plain is a bit shallow even when photographing at a distance.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing...for me it's a bit of a bad thing.

3) Bokeh is much less smooth as butter and much more like worms and wormholes in wood.  It's tough to explain.

 

I don't have any experience with the Sigma or Tamron.  I was fortunate enough to be able to play with a Canon 400 f/2.8 and I will say if it's a lens you'll use regularly, then it's worth every penny.

 

I have used the Sigma 1.4x multiplier on both the 70-200 and the 100-400 and I would say it was acceptable but not ideal.  There was quite a bit of chromatic aberration in bright light.

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I would go for a 1.4X converter for use on the 70-200, and Canon 400mm prime although not sure if the converter is usable with the 400. I did look at the 100-400 some time age and thought it too soft, but that's just me others might find it acceptable. Even if the converter can be used with the 400 autofocus could be a problem depending on the camera.

 

Good luck

Joe

Edited by Joe Gaul
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It might be worth hanging on for a while before making a decision. It seems the launch of a new Canon 100-400mm f4-5.6 may be iminent.

 

http://www.canonrumors.com/2014/10/ef-100-400-f4-5-5-6l-is-replacement-coming-in-november-cr2/

 

BTW. I did use the old one with a 1.4x converter to get 140-560mm f5.6-8 - it would autofocus with my 1Ds3. The new one should be much better.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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I have the Tamron 150-600 and I am absolutely delighted with it.  I sold my 100-400 because it just wasn't up to the standard of my other lenses and replaced it with a used 400 f5.6 prime.  It is sharp as a tack, but the lack of IS is a problem, as is the lack of close focus.  When the Tamron was announced I stood in line to get it, and it was unquestionably worth the wait.  It doesn't quite meet the IQ of the 400 prime, but the extra reach, the versatility of the zoom, and the IS or vibration reduction whatever they call it makes it far more useful in my bag and the quality is fine with a little PP.  That is, the quality is definitely better than my old 100-400. Plus it is light enough to handhold.  I simply could not carry (or use without a tripod) any of Canon's big guns, so this is a wonderful compromise.  I suggest you don't cancel your order Lynn.

 

Louise

Edited by lensandbrushes
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+1 to Reeray, Wim and a couple others...

 

I bought an EF 2x iii extender this afternoon on Amazon and will test it with my EF 70-200mm F/4 USM for the next month.  If it works well I won't have to buy anything else for a while.  If it's only marginally ok then I may sell the F/4 and pay the difference to upgrade to an F/2.8.  I like to shoot hand held in low light so the F2.8 and the IS would be of value to me.  The 70-200mm with the 2x extender has a lesser reach than the Tamron but gives me greater flexibility.

 

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

 

Thanks for your hard won experience and advice.

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Haarlem_landmarks_Windmill_De_Adriaan_an
 
600mm + 2x ext = 1200mm
Distance between windmill and cathedral: 1500ft
Distance camera - cathedral: 4000ft (1200m)

 

#boys&toys ;-)

 

wim

 

edit: + 2 tripods w 1 bag of sand ea; +2 bags of lead shot on camera and lens, and a small sandbag underneath the lens.

(and a car even when it's only 3500 ft from my home)

Edited by wiskerke

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@Lynn. Whilst you're in the store you might want to try 70-200 F4 L IS. It's considerably lighter and cheaper than the 2.8 version and very hand holdable and it's very sharp. You lose a stop but the 5DMK2 is good up to 6400 ISO and shouldn't be a concern.

 

This image was shot with this lens at 6400 ISO hand held.

 

Thai_theatre_production_of_the__Siege_of

Edited by ReeRay

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Thank you Reeray, for now I'll play with the non-IS 70-200mm lens I have. Then I'll consider my options after I see how it performs for me.

 

That's a great result for ISO 6400, I've never used anything I've shot over 1500.

Edited by Lynn Palmer

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Well, the 2x extender arrived yesterday and I've given it a try but it is difficult to use handheld and for uae with a tripod I will need to buy a mounting ring. Also, it's not auto focusing at all...maybe there's a setting I missed?

 

I'll have to play with it a bit more over the weekend...

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Well, the 2x extender arrived yesterday and I've given it a try but it is difficult to use handheld and for uae with a tripod I will need to buy a mounting ring. Also, it's not auto focusing at all...maybe there's a setting I missed?

 

I'll have to play with it a bit more over the weekend...

 

My lens collar was $10 on Ebay I think; now they're $7 including shipping from China. There are a couple different sizes.

 

Good thing you didn't find out about the difficulty to use it handheld with a really expensive lens.

With some practice and in good enough light it will work without tripod though. IS helps though.

 

The best solution may be a monopod. Despite  having 3 monopods already, i'm getting this one. You may not need a swivel head, when you use the lens collar.

I modded one cheap lens collar so that it fits a RRS clamp. My monopod will be modded also: I plan to use it upside down ;-)

 

A bean bag or equivalent will work really well with a 400mm too. Make one yourself: get a sack of about 8x10 with a zipper, and fill with rice or beans or whatever. At the moment I am using one from the plane, but lots of equipment comes in bags like that nowadays; people use them for toiletries; a small pillow case will work. Some people (like me) get their sewing machine out and make some in different sizes or even patterns, like with 2 ears or 4: 2 up - 2 down. For starters a simple small bag will do. In some cases I have used one on top of a tripod. Works really well with cameras that have shutter or mirror shake. With ultra long lenses, a tripod with small bag on top goes under the front of the lens, now filled with sand. The camera goes on a tripod like normal.

 

Some older camera's are only able to use their autofocus up to a certain f stop. If it's too dark they cannot see well enough to ensure good focus.  I seem to remember it's 5.6 for the 5dmk2. The f4 70-200 combined with the 2X extender will have f8 as it's largest opening. It can work however, but with limitations.

Here's a pretty good discussion about all the options.

 

I have Ds-s, but for various reasons have taped over contacts in the past. For that I had a couple of pre-cut patches taped to the outside of my extenders. (Extender = Canon-speak: all the others call them converters.)

Here's a more elaborate pin taping discussion that may be better in your case. Try simple tape first: just the three in the separate block.

 

BTW for a lot of subjects with long lenses AF may not be the best solution.

On tripod I use 10x live view like in 98% of the cases.

 

wim

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+1 wim

 

What a lot of information to assimilate!

 

At least now I know the Canon 2xiii extender isn't going to work with an f/4 non-IS lens and my 5DM2 camera.  That doesn't bother me that much.  I was already considering an upgrade to a f/2.8 lens with a wider aperture since I like to shoot twilight, night and indoor subjects with available light, plus I want a lens with IS.  Eventually I'll upgrade the camera too.

 

As for the monopod, I have a carbon fiber monopod, a collapsible walking stick with a camera mount and a meFoto tripod with dismountable monopod leg so I've got that all covered.  I've used a small beanbag but I like those large ones on the link you provided.  I'm not anxious to start taping connectors but I guess I can give it a try.

 

So far I've gotten a few images from it but I'm not excited by their sharpness.

 

I'll post later on my progress as I experiment with the extender and lenses.

 

Lynn

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So far I've gotten a few images from it but I'm not excited by their sharpness.

 

I'll post later on my progress as I experiment with the extender and lenses.

 

Lynn

 

thank you!

 

For perfect sharpness, maybe try Live view at 10x; tape the focus ring and have a look through the viewfinder if everything is as sharp as it was on the rear screen at 10x.

Then test the other way around. If there's a difference, it may be bigger this way around.

 

wim

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Lynn

 

When I first started using very long lenses (way before IS!) I wondered how I would ever get sharp pics hand held. It is about technique and practice, so do persevere for the times you can't use support. In some ways it is easier to handhold moving subjects - smooth panning and exposing when following the subject I find takes out most of the 3D wobble.

 

A trick with a monopd is to put the foot in a pouch hanging from your belt and then it is easier to follow moving subjects - swivel from the hips with the camera support. Support like flag carriers often use in parades. Saw several pro photographers doing it that way at a motorcycle race meeting. I have thought about but never done ot myself Some other ways to get some control:

  1. Use a cord to around the lens with a loop to put your foot through - pull up against the tight string, combines well with (3). Takes out upward movement at least.
  2. Take the camera strap around your shoulder/elbow and brace against that; keep yopur elbows tucked tight against the body - eliminate as many of the bits of your body that might move by locking them together.
  3. For relatively static and predictable subjects I I swing the lens smoothly up into position and take the shot at the top of the movement as it stops before it tries to swing back. The reverse of the technique of photographing someone jumping in the air where you catch them as they become motionless at the top of their jump.

Good luck.

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I have to tell you Lynn, I tried the extender route as you are, rented the 2X, the original 500 lens, and the 5DIII.  Could not get autofocus using the 2X with any lens, the one I rented or any of the L lenses in my bag.  When I used a tripod or monopod and managed to get the focus where I wanted the results were still unacceptably soft.

 

I have read that the 1.4X is a better choice and gives sharper results, but you are still going to lose autofocus.  Fantastic if you can get on without it, but it is the one feature of modern cameras that I can't do without.  But that's me.

 

There is a rental company in Canada I know.  After my disastrous purchase of the original 7D I have never bought a lens or a camera without renting one first.  Not an inexpensive route, but it does save costly mistakes.

 

At least in Canada and the US I believe you have the option of returning the item.

 

Louise

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You should get autofocus with 1.4x converter, especially on a f4 lens. I have used the 100-400 f4.5-5.6 with the 1.4x and had AF with my 1Ds3 in  pretty poor light. I am surorised you did not have AF with the 2x on an F4 lens - I thought most Canons autofocused at  f8.

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No reason why a 1.4 wont autofocus on an f4 lens.  I do it regularly on my 300 & 500 Canons

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Here's a good tool to compare lenses, some even with extender mk2 and extender mk3.

The Canon 5dMk2 has more or less the same sensor as the 1DsMk3.

A good review on the same site.

 

The 2x and the f4 70-200 IS do autofocus on the 1DsMk3; not on the 5dMk2. Here's an explanation by Canon why and how it works or does not work. For the 5dMk3 there has been a firmware update to make AF at f8 possible.

If you read those discussions on dpreview, you will see that there are at least three ways of getting converters and extenders to autofocus on Eos cameras, be it somewhat slow. All involve taping of some contacts either making or breaking contact between the three separate contacts on the smaller block. This is a practice that has been going on for as long as the 5dMk2 exists, which is since 2008. Before that Canon users taped the contacts to use non Canon EF lenses with converters on Eos bodies. So it is a long established practice. And it has been one of the eternal gripes some users had with Canon. (The awkward MLU probably being the most hated.)  These two functions are actually there, just disabled (AF) or deeply hidden (MLU). It is true that AF, with taped connectors, is less reliable and the functionality is limited to the center (depending on the body).

 

wim

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