7D or 300 f/4 IS for longer reach ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by kanellopoulos, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. I have a 5D MkII, 70-200 f/2.8 IS and 1.4X
    I have been invited to take photos of bears and wolves in a fenced park. I think 200mm, or 280mm with the extender, could be a bit short.
    I have 2 options within my budget: 1. EF 300 f/4L IS or 2. EOS 7D.
    I can think of arguments for both options, and it seems a difficult decision.
    With the 7D I get: 200*1.6*1.4 * 18/21 = 384mm f/4 IS + a new second body.
    With the 300mm f/4L IS I get: 300*1.4 = 420mm f/5.6 IS, but of FF quality.
    I now use my good old 20D as a backup body, but it's getting older and older. Other lenses I have: 17-40, 70-200 f/4, 17 TS-E, 24-70, 100 macro
    What would you do ?
  2. Get closer to the bears and wolves....
    actually I would get the 7d. It also has a faster shutter speed for when the wolves are running away from you. plus its an extra body. I know I don't have a good reason but thats what i would do.
  3. the 7D is more expensive than the 300mm f/4, so if your budget supports the 7D, why not get the 300mm f/4 L AND a used 40D? 40D's are going on ebay for around $600 and about $1000 for a used 300mm. 7D alone is about the same price.
  4. Perhaps a new 300mm f/4 plus a used 40D is a good compromise...
  5. Wouldn't 200mm cropped from your 5D MkII be about the same as 320mm (200 X 1.6 crop factor) using your 70-200 on a 7D as far as pixel count? I know it won't be exact and on paper the 7D combo may technically be superior (haven't actually done the math), but in the end would there be that much of difference--even making large prints?
    I'd say go for the lens.
  6. Canon's 2X extender works very well with the 70-200mm f2.8. Or consider the 100-400mm.
    I would go for a lens rather than the 7D body.
  7. You have a 70-200 f/4 and a 70-200 f2.8. Sell the f/4, there is no need for duplication, and purchase the 300 f/4 prime. Along with the 1.4X you will have the reach with minimal money expended. I agree with Nathan, as an owner of a 40D and 5DMarkII, the 40D will provide additional options without having to get bailout money. Good Luck.
  8. I don't believe the 2X extender works well enough on any of the zooms. It works fairly well on the supper telephotos such as the 300 and 400 2.8.
    That being said 300 f4L IS works excellent with the 1.4 extender giving you a 420 also and that is what I would recommend for the original poster. The 300 also has a nice Macro mode which is quite handy.
    300 f4L IS and the 1.4 extender. I use this combination on my 5D MkII and I find it to be a versatile combination with excellent quality.
  9. I love the 300 on my 40d, and 10d for that matter. I have the 1.4x but dont use it that much.
  10. Is this a one time experience or something you'll be shooting regularly? Have you considered renting longer glass instead of buying?
  11. my experience shooting wildlife is that you basically can't have a lens that's too long. for me, a 200 (plus a 1.4 tc) on a crop body doesn't even get me in the ball park at times.
    a 300 sounds like the better choice. as above, 40d is going for very modest cost now. so you might get one as a 'tele-converter'. there is simply no comparing a 300 (with a 1.4 tc) on a crop body to a standard tele on a 5d. even with the crop set-up you may need to be quite close to really fill the frame. for small birds you need to be just a few feet away... with bears and wolves would suggest more than a few feet
    if you had a crop body and a 400 or even a 500 with a 1.4 tc you might still not have the reach. i vote for the lens. those guys that shoot nfl games are on the sidelines with 400s and 600s -- that's not even 50 yards. yeah, i vote for the lens.
  12. A prime 300 or 400mm lens is too long, especially if the animals are "fenced". You really need, imho, a good zoom telephoto. A top end of 300mm would be good, 400mm better. The 200 might do with the converter.
    Also, don't forget that the high ISOs are there for a reason, and you shouldn't avoid them out of some sense of ritual purity. Those of us who once could only get the shots with ASA 400 or 500 film somehow don't find the noise so terribly objectionable, especially if you do post-processing noise reduction.
  13. As Benjamin Bloom suggested, rental of the lens will settle the issue. If it's a configuration you feel comfortable with then buy the lens for future use in similar situations. How often wil you actually need it?
  14. I would go with the 100-400 L for this. If you still need more reach you will be looking at a crop sensor camera. It's not really clear how much reach you will need. Can't you do a shoot first and then go from there? In my experience you need reach and flexibility.
  15. @Douglas S.: The difference between the 2 versions of my 70-200 is more than 1 Kg. This is not exactly duplication, especially if you go hiking... Also, only my 2.8 has IS.
    @Benjamin: Renting is not an easy option here in Greece. Anyway, the 300 was on my long-term wishlist. I enjoy macro and close-up a lot. Along with 500D closeup lens, it will do wonders...
    I think I made up my mind. The 40D's 10MP resolution is too low to offer any advantage against cropping my 21MP photos. I will sell my 20D, and get a new 300mm f4L IS plus an EOS 550D. I already have a rugged, sealed body. The 550D seems to be a nice "teleconverter" which will also offer the latest technology improvements, at a price I can justify (I have no wife...). This raises the budget, but it's worth it (because I am not exactly a pro).
    Thank you all ! !
  16. Take a look at the 100-400. This is a great performer on the full frame Canon bodies, and the flexibility of focal length choice is very valuable. The performance of this lens at 300mm is extremely good - I doubt that you would be able to tell whether the 300 f/4 or the 100-400 at 300mm was used if you compared good sized prints next to one another.
  17. I agree with Dan.
    Since you have a superb FF camera the 100–400 would give you full coverage not to mention the flexibility of a zoom. I'd rather choose that over a fixed-focal lenght 300mm on a crop body.
  18. Although the 550D does have much higher resolution than the 40D, the 40D does have a higher burst rate (6.5fps) than the 550D (3.4fps) or your 5D (3.9fps). Sometimes this is a great thing for shooting wildlife; all the res in the world won't help if you don't get the shot. And while 10MP doesn't sound like much compared to 18 and 21MP, it is still a lot and the 40D produces nice images. Heck, I wouldn't even discount the idea of keeping the 20D, its a hell of a camera as well, and shoots 5fps. Just something to think about.
    Also, the controls of the 550D will be very frustrating and hard to get used to after using a 5D and 20D with the rear dial. You don't want to be trying to figure out how to navigate the menus while shooting a bear in action.
  19. What about the 400mm f5.6 prime? A superb lens and very fast auto focus. It will work as a 640mm with the 7D. It is fairly light and cheap as well. A TC would not be a good idea with the 400mm.
  20. My collection includes a 5DII, 7D, 1.4x TC Mk II, the 300 F4 and also the 70-200 F2.8 (non IS) and thus feel qualified to pass osme comments. The 300 F4 is at least as sharp on the 5DII as the 70-200 (while I do not have the F2.8 IS I have both the F4 IS and F2.8 non IS version of this lens) and in my opinion slightly sharper. In the real world AF on both lenses is very similar in performance. When you add the 1.4x TC the zoom is clearly slower than the prime and not as sharp. Add in the 1.4x TC to both will reduce performance but I find the prime is better than the zoom when this is done. The best option for the task you have in mind is probably the 300 F4 (although the 400 F5.6 may be a good solution but I have no experience of this lens). On the other hand the 7D would give you a second body and is a very good camera. Thus for the specific task get the lens but for overally versatility get the body as the 5DII and 7D make a great pair. The 300 F4 is a great lens and if you need quality and fast AF is the best option but is (as several posters have pointed out) rather specialized. thast said i love mine and with the high ISO capabilities of newer DSLRs do not miss the 300 f2.8 it replaced (although my back is happy).
    In terms of the 100-400 I personally am not a big fan of this lens and the people I know who own it are strongly divided. Some of them love this lens while others are unhappy with the 1 touch system and slower AF. For fast action sports such as ski racing the AF is too slow on the F5.6 lens and the two people I know who have tried to shoot this sport with the 100-400 have to use Manual focus - even with 1 series bodies. On the other hand I know three people who use the lens for (non-sports) photography and are very happy with it. I suggest you look at the lens and make your own decision.
  21. With the 7D I get: 200*1.6*1.4 * 18/21 = 384mm f/4 IS + a new second body.​
    Nope. You get 200*1.4=280 and an image that is cropped compared to the 5D. The sensor crops, it doesn't magnify, and for wildlife you want magnification. The pixel density will count for something but it won't give you the equivalent of 384 compared to the 5D2.
    I would go for the lens.
    Looking back at my pictures of (wild) grizzlies in British Colombia I guesstimate that a 300mm lens on a 30D at a distance of 30 yards will give a decent frame coverage of an adult brown bear pictured side-on. In a fenced park the shooting distance can change drastically so I would go for the 100-400 zoom. Or get the 300mm+1.4x on the 5D2 and put the 70-200 on your 20D for the closer shots.
  22. +1 for the 100-400mm
  23. The "1 touch" system of the 100-400 actually makes the most sense for such a long zoom since as you zoom and move your hand forward/backward you tend to keep the support under (more or less) the center of mass.
  24. I would also give a vote for the 100-400. I use mine on a crop sensor camera so I get a little more "reach" with it, but it's a really nice lens. I started in photography back in the canon FD days when push/pull zooms were common, so that aspect doesn't really bother me--for some people, it's a real sticking point. But I absolutely love mine.
  25. Mike, it's about pixel density, not about cropping.
  26. @Mike: For my purposes, I want the subject to take up a bigger part of the image. So cropping is OK. I am not trying to do life-size macro. Of course I will not get the distance compression a 400mm lens would offer, but the background is not of great importance here. Also note that I multiplied by 18/21. I am trying to compare things here in a way meaningful for the problem at hand.
    It turns out that my 20D will be used again. It's fast, and has less than 2MP lower resolution than a 40D. The real problem is the ancient screen... Even the 5D Mark I screen seems bad, after using a Mark II for a year.
  27. dan w
    I would opt for the 7D. Consider New AF system, 8FPS, pro quality sealing. Check out the specs. I recently upgraded from 40D and am very happy.
    PS Larger 100% view finder & new brighter 3" LCD are nice touches
    good luck on your choise

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