Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

Started May 24, 2020 | Discussions
danferrin Regular Member • Posts: 421
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

I use the 100-400 Mk 2 with my 7D2.  I also have the 1.4 extender.  I use the zoom without extender for BIF, and with extender for perched birds.  I am almost always at full zoom.

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Jim Ehrmin Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

Yes, I could do that but haven't seen any crabs.

Thanks for the welcome. I appreciate it.

BirdShooter7 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,476
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

I saw a bunch of crabs at Port Aransas last weekend.  Still plenty around to photograph if you get out early...

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Jim Ehrmin Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

Thank you.

SFHR67photo
SFHR67photo Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?
2

Here's one from a 90D and a Sigma 150-600C, a bit cheaper cost than the Sport model.

Great combo, after you learn it's limitations.

Dinner time is a family thing!

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 5,657
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

SFHR67photo wrote:

Here's one from a 90D and a Sigma 150-600C, a bit cheaper cost than the Sport model.

Great combo, after you learn it's limitations.

Dinner time is a family thing!

Nice shot.  Really good angle.

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SFHR67photo
SFHR67photo Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

Thanks!  I have never done much video with a DSLR, but it is so easy with the 90D that I have flipped that switch several times while watching this pair, gotta say, I'm impressed with it's videos.  Great camera/lens duo.

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crd-01 New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

I use a Tamron 150-600 G1 (a few years old now). I reckon that it is really great value. Its got some dust in it, but you would never know. I have it on a 90D Canon and its rarely taken off it.

Kel

John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 24,395
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

Mark B. wrote:

adonetok wrote:

I have a Canon 90D camera and want to take photos for birds.

Which telephoto lens is good to buy?

Canon or Sigma?

Do I need a big number like 500mm above?

On an APS-C body, bare min would be 400mm. Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 L II has gotten extremely good reviews. You can save some money & weight with the Sigma & Tamron alternatives, but 1) they are a tad slower (smaller max aperture)

The 150-600 zooms have a larger aperture at 600mm/6.3 = ~93mm. The 400/6.3 ones, of course, have a slightly smaller aperture than 400/5.6.

The numbers "5.6", "6.3", "8", etc, are not apertures. There has to be a focal length to divide by those numbers, and the result is the aperture. Those numbers alone are relevant to AF ability and exposure, especially phase-detect AF, but exposure is not directly related to subject capture quality, which actually depends on the actual aperture or entrance pupil. An 800mm f/5.6 lens would give a lot less subject noise than a 300mm f/4 lens, from the same distance and with the same shutter speed (and less diffraction, and more background blur).

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Duckman21 Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

John Sheehy wrote:

Mark B. wrote:

adonetok wrote:

I have a Canon 90D camera and want to take photos for birds.

Which telephoto lens is good to buy?

Canon or Sigma?

Do I need a big number like 500mm above?

On an APS-C body, bare min would be 400mm. Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 L II has gotten extremely good reviews. You can save some money & weight with the Sigma & Tamron alternatives, but 1) they are a tad slower (smaller max aperture)

The 150-600 zooms have a larger aperture at 600mm/6.3 = ~93mm. The 400/6.3 ones, of course, have a slightly smaller aperture than 400/5.6.

The numbers "5.6", "6.3", "8", etc, are not apertures. There has to be a focal length to divide by those numbers, and the result is the aperture. Those numbers alone are relevant to AF ability and exposure, especially phase-detect AF, but exposure is not directly related to subject capture quality, which actually depends on the actual aperture or entrance pupil. An 800mm f/5.6 lens would give a lot less subject noise than a 300mm f/4 lens, from the same distance and with the same shutter speed (and less diffraction, and more background blur).

The Tamron 150-600mm G1 and G2 can retain f5.6 up to 400mm while the Sigma starts shrinking to f6.3 above 300mm. It's only a 1/3 stop difference but can be helpful in some low light conditions, especially if your camera supports smaller ISO increments.

I have the Tamron G2 with my 80D and it is decent at 400mm/f5.6 (sharper than 600mm wide open) but much softer than the Canon at 400mm. Also nice that you can lock it at any focal length. Under most conditions it's a good lens to use but there are some reliability issues to watch out for. I find its focus rather inconsistent at 600mm and the tap-in console doesn't really help - I had more luck adjusting AFMA to +5 on my 80D but often have to adjust accordingly. Maybe there's a decentering issue going on under certain focus distances/lighting. Focusing works best with a single point or cluster for moving objects (but has a tendency to prefer the bottom 3 points for still objects). My unit has been under rough conditions and some dust has got into the lens, but these issues were present long before that.

Another gripe is the stabilization. The stabilization element isn't the sharpest and sometimes adds softness or blur traces. I try not to shoot below 1/250 handheld at 600mm - I'm told the Sigma performs a lot better at lower shutter speeds. Also annoying is that the default stabilizer mode does not have panning detection built in - you MUST turn it off or switch to mode 2 for birds in flight or you run the risk of ruining your shots. Mode 3 (no viewfinder stabilization) works okay for 1-2 shots but can still ruin panning shots. It's funny because they updated the G1's firmware to have panning detection built-in to its single stabilizer mode.

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Maryarena
Maryarena Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Which telephoto lens for taking birds?

I use the 100-400 II.  Why?  Even, if I could afford the larger heavier ones with excellent IQ, it would not be easy for me to carry them everywhere I love to go.  I can hike the trails for warblers, look up in the sky and photograph a flying bird in a couple of seconds.  The 100-400 has very good IQ and is so versatile for all types of local and birding trips.  I love it!  Good luck!

Gloria

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