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Old October 15th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #1
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400mm lens or 200mm and doubler?

These are Canon lenses but the discussion should be portable I'd think.

I'd like a zoom telephoto lens for portraits, outdoors, wildlife, etc. Might be a while since I'm still saving and this would be the biggest non-video lens I've bought (oh, bank account) AND I'm thinking about bundling another camera in with the deal (oohoho bank account).

I can only afford one lens so I figured better go all out and was looking at a 100mm-400mm 4.5-5.6L. I tried it at (mystery vendor), it was amazing how easily those fore/backgrounds drop out! But after talking with the sales rep she said I might be better off with the 70-200mm f2.8L and a doubler.

That combo costs more and I have no experience with doublers. But, it would almost be like having two lenses. The 70-200 requires less light, I've rented it before, it's great. And I wasn't thrilled with the "telescope" action of the 100-400. Maybe it's a learning curve but it didn't feel very precise for the first try.

Anyone been in this boat before? Cool as a 400mm lense would be the 200mm/doubler combo sounds better. Could not seem to find any posts on doublers either. Thanks for any help!
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #2
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Do you really need a long lens? How well would "a doubler" work? If it's just hobby shooting, don't waste your money. Buy 1 or 2 good lenses. See if you can find some lens evaluation articles on these lenses.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 06:10 PM   #3
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What's a doubler? A tele-extender?
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Old October 15th, 2006, 07:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Granovski
Do you really need a long lens? How well would "a doubler" work? If it's just hobby shooting, don't waste your money. Buy 1 or 2 good lenses. See if you can find some lens evaluation articles on these lenses.
It would be really great for wildlife stuff. I've done ok without, but there's a lot of times where 135mm (even with crop factor) doesn't cut it.
Plus people are asking (and even paying!) me to do portrait stuff. Again I've done without, but having something that can quickly get the DOF that I like would be nice.

Haven't used a doubler (or teleconverter as Keith illuminated) myself, I was hoping to learn about them via this discussion ^_^
I've read nothing but good about the lenses, maybe some kwirks with 400mm that are adjusted to in time. I actually rented and used the 70-200mm for a weekend and have since spoken with shooters that use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Loh
What's a doubler? A tele-extender?
You are correct sir; the sales rep called it a doubler and I've been stuck since.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #5
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If you're going to put a 2X filter-converter on a zoom lens, be prepared for focussing problems. Just buy the lenses you really need. For potraits, all you need is a "normal" or a slightly longer lens. For wildlife, and if you're getting paid for it, buy the long lens instead of a 2X thingy.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 11:14 PM   #6
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I'm never getting into wildlife photography but I do have a 2X Tamron that I sub in between my body and my 70-300mm IS USM. Frank is right, you nix your autofocus once you put in a telextender. So all it does is give you the longer reach. That's better than nothing but it wouldn't be good for birds or anything that doesn't stay still for very long.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #7
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Be prepared to loose the speed advantage of the faster F2.8 when using the doubler. It'll cut down your light (check techinical specs for exactly how much).

When compring the two, the 100-400L has an image stabilizer, not sure if you are looking for the 70-200 IS or not... but that would sway me one over the other if I was shooting at full telephoto much.

If it was me, I'd prefer just to buy the 100-400mm, unless you would use the 70-200 a lot...

Doubling the 200mm into 400mm doesn't give it the same DOF characteristics as the 400mm.... does it? (I'm asking not telling)
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Old October 16th, 2006, 07:14 AM   #8
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The best two Canon zooms to go for in the range that you want are the 35-350mm L and the 100-400mm IS L.

I advice you to not buy a 2x converter (doubler) as it will degrade your image badly in most cases.

A 400mm prime fixed lens will provide you with the sharpest and cheapest option (compared to the same maximum f/stop as the 100-400mm zoom), and you can also always buy a sharp prime fixed 200mm lens with the money saved. If you must buy the 70-200mm zoom + converter, then the best and sharpest option is a 1.4X converter.

Another superb and sharp zoom option that will provide a fixed aperture throughout the zoom (important in many cases) is the Sigma 100-300mm F/4.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 12:03 PM   #9
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Thanks much for all the views/opinions. I assumed there would be a bit of hocus pocus with a teleconverter and I guess it's not worth the "saving". Plus if I ever go 5D (lol) then it's likely worthless. Thanks again!
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Old October 17th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #10
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i was looking at teh 70-200 2.8 vs the 100-400 4.5 for the 5d...
now theres a new 70-200 L IS USM f4

i considered an extender then i tried them out side by side..

no way would i use an extender.. not if critical focus is required.. with the 5d u can get awayu with alot as its so damn sharp it isnt funny.. but in teh end, your image IS degraded.

now my lense kit covers
50mm 1.8 v2 (cheap but works a treat)
100-400 L IS USM 4.5 for the 5d, i cant fault this lense..
24-105 L IS USM (standrd lense)
and i might even try to go down a notch with a fisheye.. but im yet to decide this..

One thing to remember, is the size of the image your shooting..

12mp is approximately 16 a4 sheets of paper..

8mp is about 12pages.. so even if u do crop excessively, you wont really be killing off the print res all that much.. especially considering most prints dont go over A3 anyway..

If u do go for the 100-400 make sure u have something in between as well, as this lense is really good for portraits and the line (yes it IS a long lense, but teh DoF is absolute kick ass..

Head off to fredmiranda.com for lense reviews.. just go to the reviews link at teh top of the page.. real reviews by real world users...
u can always crop it later to make it look like youve framed it properly
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Old October 18th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #11
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Hi,

my wife an I use the 70-200mm/2.8 IS with 1.4x and 2.0x extender (the Canon term for converter) as well as the 100-400mm/4.5-5.6 IS.

We have never experienced any focusing problems with the 70-200mm plus converter (1.4x or 2.0x). And yes, the theory says that a converter degrades the quality. However, at the end of the day we cannot say which photograph was taken with the 70-200mm plus converter or the 100-400mm (other than by looking at the meta data that is).

Personally I don't like the 100-400mm very much because it is a push-pull type zoom and the center of gravity shifts considerably when you zoom in or out. Furthermore, it is very difficult to use this lens with a bean bag (which we use extensively when photographing wildlife from a car). On the other hand, the 70-200mm is probably the best zoom lens I have ever used. It really is a "bread und butter" lens for us.

My choice would be the 70-200mm/2.8 plus extenders.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 08:46 AM   #12
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Ok, I think I'm forgoing the teleconverter idea and the 400mm. Great lens but I don't feel like using the telescope action right now. I'll probably get some version of the 70-200mm.
Thanks again for all the feedback, I really appreciate the group expertise.
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Last edited by Jeff Miller; October 23rd, 2006 at 06:51 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 07:44 AM   #13
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i seriously cosnidered the 70-200L IS USM 2.8, BUT i found it to be rather soft at 2.8... it really did shine when it hit f4 and above.. .. now for a 12mp picture, this can easily be fixed, coz your pics arent gonna be 16 a4 pages across.. but to me, its sharpness althoguh good at higer f-stops jsut didnt cut it.. and with a full frame ccd, the adapters just caused many more problems with edge detail.. or lack of..

the 100-400 works a treat though i have to admit, and with the 580ex, u can set variable zoom ranges for the flash to reach up to 18metres. This is great for balcony allocations during weddings and u dont have to run up and down like a madman simplay coz your zoom doesnt reach far enough. Im used to the DVX100 325mm reach, especially for weddings... so the 400 was suitabe for me.. thing is i rarely need it.. i use the 24-105 f4. Stupid wide on a FF and nice and tight at full zoom.. to me, the Viewfinder on the 5d is still too big, so im getting the shrinidink diopter to scrink my screen a little.. dont know what implications it will have on focus though.. it only 30bux though, so its not gonna kill me..
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Old October 24th, 2006, 10:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
to me, the Viewfinder on the 5d is still too big, so im getting the shrinidink diopter to scrink my screen a little.. dont know what implications it will have on focus though.. it only 30bux though, so its not gonna kill me..
Funny you would say that. All people I know complained about the small (and dark) viewfinder of the Digital Rebel/20D/30D. The 5D is the first digital Canon apart from the 1 Series models with a decent viewfinder.

I kept my 20D as a backup, but whenever I use it now, I have the feeling I'm looking into a dark tunnel with some light at the end of it...
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 04:17 PM   #15
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I work full time as a photographer and find the 70-200 f/2.8 to be indispensable.
From sports, portraits, concerts, general journalism it is the go two lens for a lot of stuff.
I could not get by with out it.
With that said I would not recommend the 2X converter with it unless it comes down to getting the shot or not.
I would how ever recommend the 1.4X TC as it does not steal much if any quality from your lens.

The 100-400 is also a nice lens especially if size is a factor (much smaller then a 200-400 f/4 Nikkor or 400 f/2.8) and the quality is fairly good if stopped down a stop although in low light I find it just not able to cut it.

My suggestion is to go with the 70-200 PLUS a 1.4TC. When you get a bit more cash buy a longer lens if it be a 100-400 or one of the 300 or 400 primes.
This will give you the best of both worlds.

Cheers,
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