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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:21 AM   #1
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Best budget telephoto solutions for action sports

My current land set up for shooting surfing and various other action sports is an EX1 with a Century 1.6x tele converter. I am always using this set up on a Sachtler FSB-6 head and Miller sticks.

The 7D is my first step into the world of interchangeable lenses and the dslr world. I am pretty clueless here and just starting to educate myself with more endless hours of web research. So any info that can help get me out of this chair and shooting is greatly appreciated.

*I am looking for better reach than my EX1/1.6x set up.
*Some zoom range.
*Price range $1000.00 to $2000.00 (If this is not enough for decent IQ let me know)
*Rugged yet as light as possible for running up and down hills and dunes.
*For this set up a little longer DOF is okay.

Looking at products like these

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
Sigma 2x EX APO Tele Converter
Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM APO Lens
Sigma 50-500mm f/4.0-6.3 EX DG HSM
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Or do I just stick to the EX1 for shooting this long stuff and focus on setting up the 7D for closer range shallow DOF situations.

Also considering replacing my Canon HV-30 and surf housing and getting a housing for the 7D. Although the overheating could become a problem locked in a housing. Okay I am rambling. Any suggestions on a telephoto solution are greatly appreciated.

Dasher
Dasher Films
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:45 AM   #2
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For the underwater work I would choose a lens that will give you around 15mm or at least 20mm underwater wide view (a zoom lens if the housing allows adjustments or a fixed lens if zoom controls are absent).

For the land telephoto I would go either for the 100-400mm IS, the 300mm f/4 IS or the 400mm f/5.6. Each of these lenses are very good.

I would avoid any 2X converter due to a big drop in image quality when using them.

If you must use a converter, then I would advise on buying only the 1.4X converter.

Converters work far better with fast-aperture lenses such as the 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/4 and 400mm f/2.8; but are also heavier and more expensive. But the 1.4X also works quite well on the cheaper 300mm f/4 for example, and this would double up for a 400mm f/5.6.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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I have the Sigma 50-500 for stills, and while I love it for it's range and it's very sharp, it's also nicknamed the "Bigma" for good reason. It's probably about twice as heavy as the 100-400 or 120-400, but it retracts into a very small package, about the same size as my 70-200/2.8.

A few other lens you could think of, is the Sigma 100-300/4 and Tamron 200-500.

The Sigma 100-300/4 is very highly rated with internal zoom (none of the lenses you listed are internal zoom, they all physically extend). Zooming is likely also the smoothest.

The Tamron 200-500 is rated about the same as the Bigma 50-500, but is much lighter in weight and build. For stills, the Bigma is faster and has HSM, but for video, that won't be a issue.

BTW, you won't be able to use the Sigma APO 2X w/ the Canon 70-300. The front element on the 2X extends quite a bit, and will hit the rear element on the lens... the same problem might also occur on the other lenses, but I know that the 50-500 has a lockout @ 100mm so that the lens cannot retract all the way when a TC is mounted.

Last edited by Kin Lau; October 2nd, 2009 at 11:50 AM.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:07 AM   #4
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I second the Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4, one of the sharpest lenses in its class.

The older version Sigma 300mm f/4 & 400mm f/5.6 APO Macro lenses (MF & AF options) were also very good and better built than the latest offerings from Sigma.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:45 AM   #5
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Thanks guys

I really appreciate the info.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:54 AM   #6
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If you do decide to get an underwater housing for the 7D (as and when they become available) then I'd definitely steer clear of the polycarbonate ones. Working in the surf zone, just out of the water and just under the water will give you a lot of sunlight on the housing and hence warming (in addition to these possible over heating issues that we are just hearing about). That combination hitting colder water will almost certainly lead to fogging on housing ports. I know in the past when I've used a polycarbonate housing for surfing shots I had maybe 15 mins before fogging started to appear. I'd also agree to go as wide as you can on the lens! Hope this helps.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:59 AM   #7
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Rent!

I know most people are into buying lenses, but I have to suggest renting. The fact is, if you can't afford a top-quality "L" telephoto lens, you might as well rent one. When you're looking at $2000 and up for some of the best long lenses, $100 a week for a rental becomes a more attractive option.

It's also a great way to try out lenses without committing big dollars to a purchase you might not be as excited about later.

I just rented a Canon 85mm f1.2L from this site…

LensRentals.com - Rent Canon, Nikon, Olympus, or Sony Lenses and Cameras

…and it arrived in perfect condition, ready to shoot next week. A $2500 lens rented for $100. Hard to beat that, IMHO.

--SM
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 12:00 PM   #8
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I'm one of the lucky few who has a working Sigma 400/5.6 APO Macro that works with DSLRs (many require a firmware update that's no longer available).

However, for video use only. You can get away with one that didn't have the update since AF is near useless anyhow - I've tried video with AF on the 7D, it's motion-sickness inducing. If you're looking on KEH, it would be the lenses that say "film only".
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 12:24 PM   #9
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I've been asking myself a similar question.

If the EX1's 35mm equivalent is 31-439mm, and you add a 1.6x adapter, you're out to 700mm.

The EX1 delivers great autofocus, at full zoom there's some DoF, plus audio is simple.

Assuming the 1.6x adapter produces good IQ, why spend the extra cash on a long lens that doesn't come close to what's already possible with the video camera?

I'm looking forward to some sort of comparison of the two approaches.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 12:47 PM   #10
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A 600mm f/4 or f/5.6 prime lens on a DSLR would privide far higher quality than the EX1 plus 1.6X adapter. So would the same lenses combined with a 1.4X lens.

The big advantages most camcorders like the EX1 and others have over DSLRs are decent EVF, panhandle remote zooming, decent AF/MF during filming, better IS during video, better sound options etc.
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