Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM with 1.4X and 2x TC Vs EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by eli_ninor, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. I am seriously trying to upgrade my equipment for Bird and Wildlife Photography. A friend was suggesting that we can be flexible with Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM with 1.4X and 2x TC instead of EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM. What do you guys suggest ?
     
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I am sure you'll get very acceptable results with the 400/2.8 L IS MkII and either of the MkIII EF Extenders.
    I don't recommend that you buy the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM. If I ever were spending my own money on those expensive L Series, I would buy the pair of: 300/2.8 IS MkII and 500/4 IS MkII and probably a MkIII x1.4 EF Extender.
    As it is (and as I mentioned in your previous thread): I use a 400/2.8 IS (original) and I don't really have a great need to go beyond 400mm and a fast aperture is usually more important to me than FL reach: but the (original) 400/2.8L IS works well, with both EF Extenders.
    I have given a lot of thought the my "ideal kit" and if long fast lenses and precision lenses are required I think that a 300/2.8 and 500/4 is the best all round combination as a purchase of pair of very fast primes.
    WW
     
  3. The 400II plus the two III extenders (giving you 400, 560 & 800) has a list price of $12,500 total (Canon list prices in the USA). A 500II with a 1.4x (giving you 500 & 700mm) will cost $1,500 less. And, the 500 is a pound and a half (660 grams) lighter than the 400.
    The most interesting combination for saving money and weight is the 300 f/2.8 IS II USM and the two TCs, giving you a spectacular 300mm, plus excellent 420 and 600 reaches, for a mere $8,300. And the lens is over three pounds (1.5 kilos) lighter than the 400.
     
  4. I am using a 5D3 with a 70-200 2.8 + 2x TC and I just started doing Birds but the result is not at all good till I go 25-30 feet to the subject. But William W buying a pair of: 300/2.8 IS MkII and 500/4 IS MkII + a MkIII x1.4 EF Extender will be too costly. Should I go for 100-400 and 600mm + a 1.4x TC. And @Larry West with 300mm I cannot go beyond 600.
     
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "buying a pair of: 300/2.8 IS MkII and 500/4 IS MkII + a MkIII x1.4 EF Extender will be too costly."​
    If this is so, then there is confusion and I suspect that you meant your opening post to convey this message:
    "A friend was suggesting that we can be flexible with Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM with 1.4X and 2x TC
    - instead of - EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM - OR - EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM. What do you guys suggest?"


    WW
     
  6. So with 400mm + 1.4x= 560 f3.92, 400mm + 2x=800 f5.6. I guess I can replace till 400mm with 70-200 f2.8 + either 1.4x TC or 2x TC. And get a 600mm with which I can have better reach with TCs. Or will it be too heavy for me ?
     
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I am using a 5D3 with a 70-200 2.8 + 2x TC and I just started doing Birds but the result is not at all good till I go 25-30 feet to the subject. . . Should I go for 100-400 and 600mm + a 1.4x TC."​
    It seems that the only issue which is concerning you, is simply: you do not have is not enough Focal Length.
    If this is so, then buying a 100 to 400 is not going to get any closer than the 70 to 200 Plus x2.0 you already have.
    Also, the x1.4 will not be of much use on the 100 to 400.
    ***
    You have another thread where you ask specifically about the 100 to 400: http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00cAuw
    On that thread you have not answered the specific questions asked of you: and that thread is meandering off on the assumption that you are unhappy with the image quality.
    Also on that other thread you specifically state that the 600/4 IS MkII, is too expensive for you.
    I think it would be best, if you clarify these points.
    WW
     
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "400mm + 2x=800 f5.6. I guess I can replace till 400mm with 70-200 f2.8 + either 1.4x TC or 2x TC. And get a 600mm with which I can have better reach with TCs. Or will it be too heavy for me ?"
    I don't see how the weight of these lenses is a serious consideration as I use the 400 F/2.8L IS with a monopod or sometimes a tripod: I have not used the 600/4, but I doubt I would ever use it hand held.
    WW
     
  9. Image quality from 70 to 200 Plus x2.0 is not satisfactory so I thought I will have better reach with 600 mm + TCs will do better even though its expensive. I wanted to finalized on the equipments as I cant always go closer to the subject by 30 feet. I have trying birds with 70 to 200 Plus x2.0, it just does not come out well.
    00cB5N-543719784.jpg
     
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Image quality from 70 to 200 Plus x2.0 is not satisfactory"​
    As requested on other thread, some samples of the images which are unsatisfactory to you, would really assist.
    I think it is very likely that there is a technique error: this will not be solved by you buying expensive new lenses.
    As I have stated on your other thread with your 70 to 200 and x2.0 - you should get Image Quality BETTER than this:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10291553&size=lg
    WW
     
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you.
    I agree that the image of the birds is not really good quality.
    It looks as though it might out of focus; also there could be some Subject Movement captured using a Shutter Speed of 1/320s.
    WW
     
  12. This picture was cropped and pic size was reduced to below 700 pixels so that it can be uploaded here. But I am having difficulty trying to get close to the subject with 70 to 200 Plus x2.0 also.
     
  13. What is the situation where you shot those birds? It looks to me like there is a man-made structure behind them (a window, perhaps?).
    Getting close is not only about how many millimeters you can tote around (or afford!). Wildlife, birds, especially, can become comfortable in a photographer's presence, if the photographer is patient, and avoids sudden movements.
    One usually cannot simply "run up" to a bird and expect it to stay around for you to take a photo. It sees you as a threat, and will fly away. But if approached slowly, you may have better luck. They may fly off, but if you're careful, they'll likely come back again.
    The next option, if possible, would be to set up in a "blind". A Blind is any form of structure that provides camouflage for the photographer, so the wildlife cannot see them, or at least makes the photographer appear more like part of the natural environment (a brush pile, hedge, etc.). It can be as simple as a tarp covering a seated or standing photographer and camera, or as elaborate as a small building with slits that you shoot through.
    One photographer I know built a blind for his own yard. It is mobile, has plush accommodations, and as a result, he gets phenomenal photos of the birds, because they basically don't know he's there.
     
  14. You don't say which body you're using, but for birds I'd recommend the either the EF 500mm f/4L IS (I or II) or the EF 600mm f/4L IS II. Hopefully you're shooting a body that will AF down to f/8, such as the 5D MKIII.
    I plan to upgrade to the Series II 500mm in 2014 to take advantage of the 1.5-lb. weight advantage and superior IS compared to my S-I. For birds, I find my EF 2.0x TC-III mated with my 500mm more than half the time on my 5D3. Using my 1.4x and 2.0x TC-IIIs, I've got 500mm, 700mm and 1000mm at my disposal and I use them each. Lately, I've been shooting white-tail bucks in rut, and I've been using the 500mm bare.
    If you buy a 500mm or 600mm, I'll guarantee that you'll be pleased with IQ, so long as you learn to use them properly. It's no point and shoot proposition, but if you can justify the high purchase price and use them enough, you'll quickly master them.
    If you're on the fence due to cost, consider a Series I 500mm. It's light enough to hand hold and the IQ is only slightly beat by the S-II. Pay around $6,000 and it'll still be worth $6000 two-years from now, so long as you take care of it. Consider it an investment.
    You need to get your shutter speed up by raising your ISO. My default ISO is 800 and I try for shutter speeds over 1/1000-sec.
    ISO 800, f/11, 1/2000-sec., hand held 1000mm (500mm plus 2.0x TC) and cropped 20%:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Image quality from 70 to 200 Plus x2.0 is not satisfactory​
    Sorry, got to disagree, Rohit - and remember, this is "only" the Sigma 70-200mm and Sigma 2x.
    What I think we're seeing in your image is a massive crop. Getting close to birds is a skill that can be learned - "fieldcraft" - and it's well worth cultivating.
     
  16. Rohit, your sample looks like you focused on the ball and not the bird's eye. Also, the shutter speed may be too low to catch these little birds' quick moves, even when seemingly still. Remember, depth of field can be very shallow with long lenses, so you must focus on the eye.
    Use single-point, AI Servo AF and move the AF point around to get it on the eye.
    It's normal to experience a steep learning curve when using long lenses. I guarantee that you wouldn't have been happy with the same shot taken with a 500mm f/4L IS, one of the best lenses known to mankind. Long lens demand high precision in focus, control of DOF and higher shutter speeds, because they maginify movement.
    Most of us that work with long lenses experienced the same problems that you're seeing in your own work. It's not the equipment, it's the photographer. You'll soon fix this and then it'll be time to consider longer lenses. For now, work with what you've got and try out some of our suggestions.
     
  17. Does Autofocus and IS works with both 500mm and 600mm at 1.4 X and 2X TCs ?
     
  18. Rohit Sapam, asked:
    Does Autofocus and IS works with both 500mm and 600mm at 1.4 X and 2X TCs ?​
    It will depend on the body used. The 1D series (I through X) will all AF at f/8, allowing use of the 2x TCs on an f/4 lens. The 5D MkIII will also AF at f/8. The 7D and the xxD series will not AF at f/8 using Canon TCs. You'd be limited to the 1.4x TC on an f/4 lens.
     
  19. So with 5D3, 1.4x and 2x TCs will work in both 500mm & 600mm f4 ? Thanks.
     
  20. So with 5D3, 1.4x and 2x TCs will work in both 500mm & 600mm f4 ? Thanks.​
    Yes, absolutely. You're welcome.
     
  21. Can I conclude that ideal lenses for Wildlife and bird photography is 300mm f2.8 + 500 f4 with 1.4x and 2x TC considering the price, weight, quality of picture and reach ?
     
  22. Rohit Sapam, asked:
    Can I conclude that ideal lenses for Wildlife and bird photography is 300mm f2.8 + 500 f4 with 1.4x and 2x TC considering the price, weight, quality of picture and reach ?​
    It would be hard to argue against that setup, but "ideal" will depend on your ability to carry them and use them. I carry the 500/f4 and a 70-200mm f/4L IS, with the 1.4x and 2.0x TC-IIIs on a 7D and a 5D MkIII combination (you haven't mentioned bodies and that's critical also). I love this set up, but as soon as I can afford it (Q1 of 2014 I hope), I'm moving to the 500/f4-II and the 1D X combination to gain lighter weight and better AF function with the 2.0x TC-III attached.
    Lacking the 500/f4, I'd want the 300/f2.8, but carrying both would a bear. You might want the 300/f4 or the 70-200/f4 or even the 70-300L. However, didn't I read elsewhere that you own the 70-200/f2.8? If so, you've got the short telephoto well covered. That is a fantastic lens and gives up little to Canon's prime telephotos and super-telephotos.
    I've logged many hours and miles traipsing around the woods with two bodies and two lens on my neck and shoulders and a vest with wide-angle lenses and other junk. Believe me, weight is important and going from f/2.8 to f/4 can be a big saver. The IQ of the current generation of bodies is so great at higher ISOs that you really don't need the extra speed of f/2.8s except when you start adding TCs.
    Speaking of IQ, the 400/f2.8 suggested by someone is a fine lens, but the 300/f2.8 and f/4 and the 500 and 600/f4s have superior contrast and color rendition.
     
  23. I use a 5D3 and 70-200 f2.8 + 2x TC presently and was just toying with the idea of various combinations. What do u say about a 400mm f2.8 + 2x TC giving 800mm f5.6 ? 500mm f4 + 2x TC will give 1000mm f8.
     
  24. I prefer the 500/f4 over the 400/f2.8 for its added reach and superior contrast and color rendition. It will AF at 1,000mm, but at considerably slower speed than the 400 at 800mm. The 500/f4 plus the 1.4x TC-III is pretty fast at AF, making it a very useable 700mm lens for BIF.
     
  25. 400mm f/2.8 II is great but short for the smaller wildlife and birds
    500mm might be too short too, but is better
    600mm might be best, 500 + 1.4 would be close enough but not as good as bare 600mm for autofocus
    800mm f/5.6 might be too long also because of its longer minimal focusing distance of 20 feet
    Most economical would be 500mm IS f/4 version 1 (not 2), with a 1.4x III and 2x III
    For birds and action I would want 1D4 or 1D X not 5D 3 if you count on action photos and quick changes
    300mm with 2x could be economical and less weight.
    Bringing both a 300mm f/2.8 and 500mm or 600mm is not fun at all, not even with 2 bodies. If you know your subject decide on 1 lens (unless it's the small 400mm f/5.6 for variety to a 600mm)
     
  26. I love my EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, with and without my 1.4x TC-III, for variety vs. my 500mm, with and without my 2.0x TC-III. By keeping my 70-200mm at f/4, the combined weight is manageable.
    The problem with the 5D3 vs. the 1D4 and 1D X is its AF speed with TCs attached. With bare lenses it right there with the two 1D bodies. The 1D bodies have higher battery voltage, which manhangles the AF drives quicker.
     
  27. When it comes to the subject of bird picture taking you need the longest lens you can afford......
    My wife has Canon's 600 f/4 series ll lens and she thinks the focal length is perfect for taking pictures of small birds and other animals - mostly birds. I use the 500 f/4 series l lens for birds and although, I am satisfied, there is a significant difference in size and even quality of output between the two lenses. And then, the 600 f/4 seems lighter(I think there's close to a pound difference) than my series l 500mm.
    (I'm too cheap, I mean thrifty to trade up to the 600mm).
    For the winter (Florida) months she uses a blind (12 foot tool shed) and shoots through an open window somewhere between the closest focal length and 12 feet away. If the light is" perfect" she gets "perfect" pictures - getting quality light is always a big problem.
    Again, it just depends on how much you are willing to spend to get great pictures.
     
  28. The IQ difference between the Series I and II f/4 super telephotos is real, but most will not see it in their shots. I think that Gerald is simply seeing the impact of more pixels on the subject. The 600/f4-II and the 500/f4-I weigh almost the same, but most prefer the balance of the new 600mm. The 500/f4-II is 1.5-lb lighter than the Series I.
    Choosing between the 500 and 600/f4-II will depend a lot on the body being used with them. When start stacking TCs on them and combine them with a 5D3, then the AF will slow dramatically. OTOH, with a 1D X, there's almost no slowing. The 1D4 is only a little behind the 1D X in this regard.
    BTW, the IQ champ, according to Canon MTF charts, is the 500/f4-II, which has almost a flat line chart. However, in the real world, all these super-telephotos are simply stunning with regard to sharpness, color and contrast.
     
  29. This is my compromised approach by having a China Made X Pro 1.7 (TC/ext tube)...which cheats the camera as having only 1.4x.
    This photo was taken using older 70-200 f2.8 plus the X Pro[​IMG]
     

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