Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Frodro100 Regular Member • Posts: 249
Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

I will most likely be buying a 7D Mark II this summer, but I'm still at the stage of figuring out what kind of system I can put together with Canon. I've owned Canon cameras before (although not currently), so I have some idea of what kinds of results and performance I can expect, but I never really went to much effort to shoot wildlife, which is what I want to get out of the 7DII and a 300mm lens. As for focal length, I know that many people photographing wildlife often use longer options, but I want the camera to be relatively portable and inexpensive with this particular set-up to start out, so I'm looking at 300mm options, with the Tamron 100-400 seemingly portable enough to qualify, but borderline too heavy/long.

Criteria:

  • Price: under $1000 used on ebay
  • Image stabilization
  • Sharpness at 300mm and maximum aperture
  • Fast autofocus at 300mm
  • Ease of hiking with it - both weight and retracted length
  • Weather sealing would be nice, but not required

Lenses I'm looking at (not saying that these are all perfect matches to my criteria):

  • EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM
  • Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

What are the forum's thoughts on these options or others I may not be considering?

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
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R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 18,130
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?
2

Frodro100 wrote:

Lenses I'm looking at (not saying that these are all perfect matches to my criteria):

  • EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM
  • Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

IMHO it basically comes down to this:

If you need zoom, then the 70-300 (pick your weight).

If you need f/4 (@ 300) then the 300 prime.

All are pretty sharp at 300 (the edge I'd give to the prime), but it has older IS. All of them AF pretty well on moving subjects. The 300 takes a 1.4x TC quite well...

300mm f/4L IS with 1.4x TC (click on "original size")

The prime is pretty darn good bare too...

Click on "original size"

Best of luck!

R2

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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 23,851
This is mine
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  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM

BAK

BirdShooter7 Senior Member • Posts: 2,930
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

I would go with either the 70-300L or the Sigma 100-400 C. I have used both quite a bit and have been very pleased with each.

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harry cannoli
harry cannoli Veteran Member • Posts: 5,829
400mm f/5.6L (NT)
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dgumshu
dgumshu Senior Member • Posts: 3,574
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?
2

As others have mentioned, the 400F5,6 is outstanding and affordable.  You can find them used on the Fredmiranda forum for about 750 or less.  The new Sigma 100-400 is also getting good reviews and is more versatile.

for wildlife, 400mm is the low end.  I wouldn’t go less as you’ll regret it later.

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 3,720
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

70-300L on an 80D.  It's a crop, and while the shot would likely have been even better with the 400 f/5.6, the 70-300 met an immediate need and acquits itself well when stretched.

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photog7320 Senior Member • Posts: 2,423
Don't know about the others but...

...the 300 f/4L IS is excellent. Sharp and contrasty wide open, great built-in hood design, quick AF, good IS.

I've used the heck out of mine for sports.

EJ Fudd Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
canon referbish store 400mm goes on sale for 850 sometimes
2

also agree with a previous poster, less the 400mm your wasting your money

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A Great Quote by Edward Weston...

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mailman88
mailman88 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,852
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII
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I own it, and worth every penny.

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EJ Fudd Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII

I am indecisive so I have to 400 5.6 and the 100-400mm mkII

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"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."
A Great Quote by Edward Weston...

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 3,720
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII

EJ Fudd wrote:

I am indecisive so I have to 400 5.6 and the 100-400mm mkII

Why is that indecisive?  If you know you will want maximum reach and nothing else, grab the 400 f/5.6.  If you know your subjects will be a mix of near and far, grab the zoom.

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EJ Fudd Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII

no in purchasing...bought the 400..then needed zoom for Air shows..was looking at 150-600 but felt the 100-400 was the better choice and could add a 1.4x..decided to keep both. both purchased from refurbished store with great savings

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"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."
A Great Quote by Edward Weston...

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 3,720
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII

I will likely go the refurb route as well (I'm waiting for that elusive intersection of need and opportunity). I would love to get the 400 f/5.6 and 1.4x III combo for under $1,000, though $1,200 is probably a more realistic target.

Please share some of your work, so I can see what you've achieved with them.

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nebulla Senior Member • Posts: 1,023
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

Coming to Canon after many years of shooting Nikon's and having purchased the Canon 7D mark2 along with the 300mm F4 IS, my answer is ... no regrets. The Canon 7D is a remarkable camera and the 300mm + 1.4x TC is a fantastic combination for birding, but if I did not already own the 300mm even before I purchased the Canon body , I might have opted for the 100-400 Mrk2. For birding and especially for BIF, I prefer a zoom lens as it is easier sometimes to find the bird by zooming out first.

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EJ Fudd Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: Best option..100-400mm mkII

waiting for the 1.4x III to go onsale along with a 5D mk iv..march it was at $2250..I missed it

at one pint the 1.4 III was at $275

my 400 5.6 got for $850

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"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."
A Great Quote by Edward Weston...

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Tazz93
Tazz93 Senior Member • Posts: 1,994
7D2 and the Sigma 150-600 C
1

I think the best lens in your price and feature criteria is the Sigma 150-600 C. Its available new for under $1000 and performs pretty good. As for bird and other wildlife, the additional focal length will be welcome. The only aspect, that may be problematic is the size.  While not huge, it definitely isn't small.

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Myer Senior Member • Posts: 2,834
Re: Which 300mm lens for wildlife with 7DII?

I never realized how good the 70-300L is until I got the 100-400Mk II.

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