Best telephoto zoom lens on a budget?

Started Jul 13, 2007 | Discussions thread
Gene L. Veteran Member • Posts: 3,788
Some thoughts

I cannot advise you, especially since you didn't state your intended purpose for this lens. However, I can offer some thoughts that you may or may not find useful...

If you intend to do birding and/or nature photography, consider saving a bit more cash and get something like the Canon 400 f/5.6L or the Tamron 200-500 f/4-6.3. People seem to like the Tamron and it is just under $800 right now (Sigma4Less). The Canon 400 f/5.6L is universally touted as the best of class, but for that you are talking just over $1000. Good technique and a sturdy tripod are prerequisites for producing good images with these lenses.

If you want something very portable to give reach well beyond that of your walk-around lens, then the Canon 70-300 IS is an obvious choice. It is next on my list of lenses to get. It is compact and light enough that it will go backpacking and probably about everywhere else with me. I have sampled it at the local camera stores and am quite impressed with the image quality and especially impressed with the IS.

The 70-200 f/4L also fits your budget, but you must really consider how it will be used because it lacks IS and has only a modestly fast aperture. If shooting most always in bright light or with a tripod, then it is arguably the best image quality for the money. However, if shooting under general conditions without a tripod, I suggest the 70-300 IS solution, as a blurry image is no good regardless of the quality of the optics that produced it. Also consider that 200mm is considered a bit limiting for some people.

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-Gene L.

I am not convinced that creativity can be taught. However, I do believe that it can be coaxed from its hiding place.

 Gene L.'s gear list:Gene L.'s gear list
Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 60Da Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM +3 more
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