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Old 09-09-2009, 09:41 AM
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koputai (Jason)
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Canon lens help

Folks,
Looking to buy a new tele lens for the 350D as my wife is going on a safari in Africa in a
couple of weeks. Of course, I want to get one that is reasonably good for astro work as well.
So, I have a few questions I'm hoping some of you more familiar with this stuff can help me with.

As I understand it, L-series is best, then DO, then standard. True?
I suspect that prime would be better than zoom, but zoom would be better for general use.
Does the IS system help or hinder when doing astrophoto's? If so, can it be turned off?
What is the longest hand-holdable focal length? Is 200 a reasonable limit, or is 300 hand-holdable?
All answers gratefully received!

Thanks,
Jason.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:23 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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300 is hand holdable, although it won't be perfectly sharp, even with IS.

You are correct in the L/DO/normal lens quality heirachy.

If you're doing astro imaging, you should have your lens/camera mounted on a sturdy tripod, etc, so IS should be turned off when doing this imho.

I'd usually recommend a stand alone telephone, say the 300mm f4 IS L series, but a zoom is also handy...maybe the 100-400 might be OK, but I don't think it's IS enabled from memory, and it's a big and heavy lens, probably too much to realistically hand hold imho.

Also - 300mm isn't very long to be honest. You really want to be working with a minimum focal length of 500mm, but that's big moolah...

Dave
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:46 PM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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Why the need for long lenses Jason? Don't the safari folk get you right up close and personal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpastern
I'd usually recommend a stand alone telephone,
Or a cordless works for me, but for photography in Africa I'm not sure whether Australian models would be compatible with their network.

Sorry couldn't help myself.
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:07 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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rofl!!!! I mean telephoto you stirrer hahaha, good one!

Dave
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:11 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Hi Jason,

David is right. A lot of the safari/wilderness photography that I've seen on the web, the photographer has been using the behemoth 500mm f/4L IS USM. Leon got one recently. Maybe he'll loan you it.

By the way, did you download DPP that I put up for you? Did it all work fine?

Regards,
Humayun
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:14 PM
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:18 PM
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Hi Humayun,
Yes, I've downloaded it, and hope to try it tonight. Will let you know how I go. Many Thanks.

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:19 PM
Sharnbrook (Mike)
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I would strongly recommend the 100-400L IS Canon lens for Africa. There are many times when 400 is essential for really strong impact shots. I have such a lens, and I have been to Africa with it. It's heavy, and somewhat cumbersome, but it's an excellent lens.

As a rule of thumb, the shutter speed should be at least the reciprocal of the focal length being used. 300mm, 1/300sec. However, remember that with a 350D, there is a 1.6x factor, so 300mm fl is the equivalent of 480mm, so 1/500sec would be the slowest practical use for hand held. (That said, using the IS gives 1-2 stops extra, so you would probably still get by with 1/300 sec)

Yes, you can switch IS off. With my 100-400IS lens, it is recommended to switch IS off when using it on a tripod, or on B settings. It comes complete with a soft case, and a lens hood, as well as a tripod attachment, which is very useful for carrying the camera around when the lens is attached, as it is at the point of balance, and I find it very easy to hook my fingers around it for convenient and comfortable carrying.

For astro use, the focal length can be securely set by tightening the zoom ring, so you don't get any creep. I haven't tried to use it for serious Astro use, so I cannot comment on actual results.

If you do decide to get the lens, (it isn't cheap), I would strongly recommend getting a 12 and/or a 16mm extension ring, which is very useful for taking "close-ups" of small birds and the like.

If your wife is going to S. Africa or Kenya, in particular, she should be VERY careful about carrying the lens and camera around in full view when in large towns, or anywhere where there are crowds. In game parks or country areas, it's generally OK, but warn her not to carry a camera around her neck when walking alone in the street or on the beach, as that is asking for trouble. Make sure it is covered by her travel insurance or household insurance for all risks, and take a note of the serial number. Sorry to be alarmist, but trust me, it's a fact of life.

I hope she has a wonderful time, and if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:21 PM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Quote:
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On Safari...
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:15 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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hey that looks like me (the avatar on the right that's jumping up and down)!

Dave
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:30 PM
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Having been the previous owner of Leon's 500L, I can testify that its a go-er for safaris - except....you need a VERY sturdy mount, a Kirk or similar that can be attached almost anywhere on a vehicle. Its definately not hand-holdable for more than a few seconds. These mounts typically run $300-$1000 depending on features. The 100-400 is IS enabled but is not very sharp compared to other L glass. I've seen better results with a 70-200 f2.8 IS and teleconverter. Though thats getting a bit pricey.
A good compromise is the 300 f4L IS or the 400 f5.6L IS and shooting in RAW to capture more detail. You can then enlarge the image without much loss of detail.
The downside is that the autofocus is a bit dodgy at this apeture and you need good light and/or a slow moving target. There are quite a few on the second-hand market so it shouldn't break the bank.
Hope this helps. Have a great trip and watch out for the Hippos.
PJH
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:08 PM
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Perhaps you should let the lads know your budget Jason!?
These lens recommendations are starting to cost as much as a holiday!!
I think I would be looking at a very good (L) zoom to cope with lots of situations and a monopod as minimum for stability.
That said, these guys above have much more experience with photography than I do.
Perhaps I'm being optimistic but a balance between focal length and portability/usability would be the go...70-200mm f4L IS??
Just get them to move the Land Rover a bit closer!!!
Doug
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:29 PM
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koputai (Jason)
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Good point Doug. Ideally I'd love to get away with it for under a grand, but I'm willing to spend up around 2k if I need to.

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:34 AM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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mmm, a few options. My personal advice - go the 300mm f4 and the 1.4x teleconvertor. The main issue you're going to see is that this will push the minimum aperture to f5.6, meaning less light for the AF sensors, so AF will be slower and less accurate. Been there, done that. Don't even think of the 2x TC, cos, unless you're using a 1 series body, you'll lose AF past f5.6. Good ole Canon crippling its camera bodies deliberately. Notice Nikon doesn't do this - pretty much all of the bodies from the consumer to pro use the same AF modules.

Dave
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:43 AM
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharnbrook View Post
I would strongly recommend the 100-400L IS Canon lens for Africa. There are many times when 400 is essential for really strong impact shots. I have such a lens, and I have been to Africa with it. It's heavy, and somewhat cumbersome, but it's an excellent lens.
Very strongly agree with Mike!

I was lucky enough to particpate in a photo safari in Tanzania a few years ago and bought a 100-400 specifically for that trip.

Here is a link to a write up by the organiser http://www.luminous-landscape.com/lo...tanzania.shtml - I'm 5th from the left in the group photo. Lots of good info about what to expect and useful equipment!

As to hand-holding, most safaris use "pop-top" 4WD vehicles, in which case you can rest the lens on a small bean bag on the edge of the roof.

As noted in previous posts a zoom is not as sharp as a prime lens, and for astro work the 100-400 may be a little slow (I'm still experimenting with this).

Whatever lens you end up with I wish you every success with it!

Colin
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:04 AM
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koputai (Jason)
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Thanks for all the help and advise guys.
I'd really like to lash out and get some fancy glass, but seeing as my wife isn't used to SLR's
and changing lenses all the time, I'm thinking something with a reasonable zoom range is best.
Also, being a woman (like most wives) she wouldn't enjoy lugging something big or heavy around.
From my investigations, it seems that the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is a good compromise.
Good points:
Range of zoom
f4.0 is ok
Has IS
Has Ultra-Low Dispersion elements like L-series.

It seems this is essentially an L-series but with a lesser focus motor.

If no one tells my I'm amazingly wrong, I'm hoping to head out this weekend and get one.

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:23 AM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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It'll probably be too short imho. I don't think you can use the TC with them either, from memory, Canon's TCs only work with their L series lenses. Being a zoom will cause issues as well. Even then, trying to use a TC with the lens will push it beyond f5.6 and you'll lose AF. There's no easy solution to this I'm afraid, everything is a compromise. Hopefully the Safari jeeps get close enough to the wild animals for your wife to get some decent shots.

Dave
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:55 AM
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koputai (Jason)
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Don't forget it'll be on a 350D, so effective focal length is 480mm.

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:58 AM
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RB (Andrew)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koputai View Post
Don't forget it'll be on a 350D, so effective focal length is 480mm.

Cheers,
Jason.
Jason don't forget, your not actually getting extra reach because it's a crop body, it just means your imaging a smaller portion of the imaging circle compared to 35mm FF camera.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:24 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Jason,

I had one of those when I first got a 300D. I can tell you that lens is nothing like an L-series. It is not sharp and has poor contrast. It's also very slow to focus.

Also, it will only be f/4 at the 70mm range.

I would say, though, that for a beginner or learner, it is fine. If you don't intend to create large prints then it should be OK.

The problem with all this photography stuff is that quality is expensive and keeps us all broke.

Regards,
Humayun
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