Which Lens is most useful while on Safari

Mar 31st, 2006, 08:15 AM
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That should read "Without" the size and weight penalty...
Matt_from_England is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 09:04 AM
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Re: the 1.4X tele extender on a Canon 20D. Many people have found that the 1.4X will work with the first two pins taped, however the autofocus is very slow and problematic. Forget the 2X it just does not work with the 100-400 Canon. It does not matter what brand of teleconverter you use, the results are the same. Remember that the Canon 100-400mm lens goes from F4.5 to 5.6. At F4.5 you might be able to use the 1.4X teleconverter but the F4.5 is only available at the shorter lengths (below 200mm I believe). So why would you want to use a teleconverter that limited using a fully extended zoom lens? There is no easy or inexpensive work around for this problem. One option is to used one the the excellent 300mm prime lenses with a teleconverter. These combinations (depending on the particular prime lens) will give good results. Another consideration is cost and size. Over 300mm telelphoto lenses become very heavy and very costly. You don't have to buy expensive Canon L glass to get good pics. Sigma makes some excellant lenses (as evidenced by photos presented on this forum). Keep in mind that as you go out in length (increasing focal lengths), it becomes ever more important to use faster shutter speeds and to hold the camera still. As you reduce the amount of light on the sensor, it will be necessary to use slower shutter speeds. I doubt you will be able to set up a tripod for Safari photography and even if you were able to do so (as in Botswana) I think the missed opportunities would be frustrating. Keep us posted on you final decisions and the results. We can all stand to learn how to capture the wonderful images these trips provide. Photography is sort of like gold, you play against yourself and keep trying to improve.
KIBOKO is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 09:30 AM
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You are correct, as long as you can keep it at F5.6 or larger it will work. However, your 80-400mm Zoom becomes an F6.3 to F7.8 with a 1.4X teleconverter. The 2X teleconverter closes it down even further to F9 and F11. Even with image stabilization this dosen't leave much light to work with. From the looks of you pics you know how to get the best out of your 80-400mm, doubt you would want to settle for what comes through with a teleconverter on anything. Just my opinon of course. By the way, really enjoyed you post on the "Accedental Safari". For a really bad experience, try Bedouin Camp in Samburu.
Cheers, CJ
KIBOKO is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 10:53 AM
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Ye gads. Unless you're birding, or like to just play around with lenses, I can't see any use for a telephoto longer than 400mm. If you need 600mm to get a decent shot of a lion, just forget it. A rock solid tripod is required, you are wasting your time hand holding, not one picture will be sharp. After the xx-400mm lens go for a wide angle, 28mm or shorter. Just my 2 cents.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 12:19 PM
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I completely agree that the 80-400mm on a Canon 20d (1.6x multiplying factor, making it an effective 640mm) will be sufficient for about 95% of the long zoom photos. Really, I just wanted to see if I understood the limits with auto-focus correctly.

There were a couple occasions, for the leopard in the tree and the black rhino, that I did slap on the 1.4x TC, thus making it an effective 896mm for these photos. However, of possibly 50 photos, only about 5 of them were acceptable.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Just to keep this running a little longer has one considered the Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF DG at a lot cheaper than the Canon 100 400 and it takes a 1x4 converter well giving it 5.6 up to 420mm with 1.6 crop factor on 20/30 = 640mm at f5.6. This lens has achieved some top reviews as can be seen here:


Only thing it lacks is I.S.

Matt_from_England is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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so if you don't want to pay for a Sigma 80-400mm f4/5-5.6, what would be the next best thing (i.e., less expensive) for a Nikon n50 72mm camera?
jill_h is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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jill_h is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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jill_h is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 04:05 AM
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I've got another tip for you guys. Here's what I do...

As you know, TC's are only made for zoom lenses that start at 100mm, and that - on the wide end - start at F2.8 (for a 2x TC) or F4 (for a 1.4x TC). Right?

Well... except for one lens. The 35-350 L! The 1,4X works flawlesly on that one, as it starts at F3.5 at 35mm (which is less than F4, so you keep AF).

So; an 100-400L + TC is out of the question if you want to keep AF. But 35-350 L + 1,4 TC is very close to that combo ...but with a working AF!

350mm x1,4 x1,6 gives you 784mm effective zoom reach, with AF.

The 35-350 L is a lens that's no longer produced, and that has now been replaced with the 2000$+ 28-300 IS L. Some people are selling their copy at this moment, and prices tend to be rather low (less than 1000&euro. So it's a great bargain IMHO.

One thing you should also know; this lens is often judged as "one of the weaker lenses in the L line-up" (more than often by people who never used it). This is because they compare it to a prime lens, or to a lens with about 3x zoom range. This however, is a very unfair comparison. It should be compared to other "superzoom" (10x) lenses (like the Sigma 50-500 aka "Bigma"), and then the 35-350 L really stands out; MTF charts are better, AF is very fast compared to the others who are kinda slow, and it needs less light (lower F values).

If you buy one 2nd hand, just make sure you do not get a copy with a flawed interior coating (early lenses of this type have a coating problem on one of the glass parts inside). The flaw can be seen through the rear glass. Just search for "35-350" in the dpreview Canon lens forum, and you'll find out all you need to know.

One other advantage for a superzoom: less need to change lenses. With all the dust in Africa, this is something worth thinking about.
pixelpower is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 03:29 AM
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Got a question 2 add for you guys; what's the best technique to change lenses without getting dust in your camera?

I heard about a satin pillowcase opened on 2 sides...
pixelpower is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Stay out of the dust storm!

If you keep your lenses well covered, back and front, in a decent camera bag, you shouldn't have dust challeneges. Remember to brosh down after drives & most importantly keep your blower & dusting brush ina sealed environment, ziploc bag type thing.
mkhonzo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Keep your camera pointed down while you change lenses to keep dust from falling into it. The lens will be catching dust but it's easier to clean the lens than the camera.

Other than that, be quick!
sundowner is offline  
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