Birding lens (in addition to Canon 100-400)

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Birding lens (in addition to Canon 100-400)
Mar 17, 2013

I hesitate to start this thread because I know this subject has been discussed ad nauseum -- a good birding lens. But I'm going to ask anyway.

I already own the Canon 100-400 - and do not want to give it up because it is great for certain situations. However, I have gotten more interested in birding recently and the 100-400 does not perform well in low light or when trying to focus on a moving bird. There is a lot of noise and not much feather detail in those situations.

Considering that I already own the 100-400, is there a 2nd lens that I could add to my collection for low-light and more in-flight shots? I am on a limited budget but could squeeze out about $2000, max. I considered an older FD lens but decided that I don't know what a lens that old may have been through and (as far as I understand) I would lose AF, as well as Program Mode and TV mode, even with the Canon adapter.

I would consider selling the 100-400 if it would help me to afford a faster lens that I felt could replace it and not just be an addition to it. I guess that would be a zoom and not a prime.

I'm also not opposed to a different brand.  One that is more affordable than a Canon, and even if not as sharp as a comparable Canon would still give better images in certain situations than the Canon 100-400.

Thank you.

(I shoot with a 30D, and the other lenses that I own are the kit 17-85 and a 50mm 1.4).

 mariadc's gear list:mariadc's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Canon EOS 30D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
Canon EOS 30D
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