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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:20 AM   #1
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Long lens for wildlife - Your thoughts and reviews !!??

Hi guys

I'm interested in pooling some of the experience out there on the long lens set ups you use for wildlife tele work. I have the XL2 and I've used 2 different 100-300 lens with it. I have gone for zooms because it gives great flexibility along side the stock 20x lens and takes me from wide all the way to over 2000mm equiv.

The Canon 100-300 F4.5-5.6 USM was my first stop. Its small size makes it very easy to carry and its pretty cheap to buy. However I was only to aware that the optics were a big quality drop in anything but the best light and focusing the thing was really tricky with the tiny ring and high mag factor.

So I moved to the Sigma 100-300 F4 (non-dg) Great step forward, waaay sharper and easier to focus with a huge manual collar. It is quite heavy but worth the weight. I have noticed that the sharpness falls off at 250mm+ although in really good light this could be helped by closing it down a bit. I have to say though although this is a 600 lens I still don't think the image quality is as good as the stock x20....especially not at the long end.

I also have a Canon 50mm F2.5 macro - This really does rock with enough light. As good an image quality as the stock lens in my opinion.

I'd be really interested in all your views on the lenses you use, especially at the long end. If anyone has used the 100-300 sigma DG and the non-DG then please let me know if you think the coating upgrade is worth while??
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Old October 30th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #2
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Hi Mat,
I'm afraid I can not help you about the 100-300mm Sigma, but I think it has been discussed here earlier... maybe take a search?

Anyway, my opinion is that prime lenses is a bit sharper than zooms, at least in the telephotend. And of course brighter lenses like f2.8 are better than f4.5-5.6, but I think you are aware of this.

My arsenal of ef-lenses consist of the following:
- Canon 70-200mm f2.8
- Canon 300mm f4.0
- Canon 500mm f4.0
- Sigma 150mm macro 1:1 f2.8

As you see mostly prime lenses. The pros of the primes is IMHO that they gives a better and sharper pictures, cons is that they don't allow you to change the segment of the picture without swap lenses!

I'm doing some shooting from hides/blindes where primes are very suitable. You can put the bait/carcass in a perfect distance for your prefered prime lens.
On the other hand shooting birds can be real difficult with prime lenses, cause birds change position real quick, here a zoom lens will be more suitable.

It's important to note that anything beyond 2000mm is difficult to handle, if you want good footage. So I think zoom lenses in 100-300mm area will be the best alternative.

For me a 100-300mm zoom will also be interesting to consider. So I also hope that someone will chime in for some interesting reviews!
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Old October 30th, 2007, 05:25 AM   #3
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Hi Per
Wow you have some selection there. I bet that 300 F4 is pretty sweet but as you say it just doesn't have the multi-functionality that I need my long lens to have.

I'd be interested on your views on that 70-200 2.8 ?? Have you used it with a 1.4x. That would give 280mm@F4 would it not? But still have the increased aperture used stand alone....hhmmm

I have to say I've also wondered about the ef adapters extra glass and to whether using Nikon lenses and a glassless adapter wouldn't give sharper results....anyone tried both?

Yeah I'm hoping this thread will provide a good place to swap lens reviews....so come on people!!!
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Old October 30th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #4
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Hi Mat and Per...

I just got a EF 50-200 f3.5-4.5 L lens. It is and old (1989) L lens but still sharp as a knife. I have just tried it out once, but the image came out so clean and that was in full zoom. And the price was low... I could recomend this lens any day, try look for some old L lenses on ebay or sites like that.

Cheers brothers...

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Old October 30th, 2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
I'd be interested on your views on that 70-200 2.8 ?? Have you used it with a 1.4x. That would give 280mm@F4 would it not? But still have the increased aperture used stand alone....hhmmm
I'm quite satisfied with it, albeit in cold weather there can be some struggeling to get proper focus, the ring is very tiny compared to huge lenses.
One other important thing is to find what aperture brings the sharpest picture. Among +/- f8.0 is the best area for my 70-200. I will say that it's quite sharp all the way to 200mm.
I have not tried it with 1.4 extender, I will make some tries and report back.

One other thing a found using ef-lenses is that they transfer the light into the mirror/ccd in the camcorder in different ways compared to the stock 20x. Often I get a greener pictures with ef-lenses with the same preset. I have been struggeling a lot to tune my presets to adjust for this. To make it even more confusing different ef-lenses seem to vary in how much difference in color you get!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus Nord View Post
Hi Mat and Per...

I just got a EF 50-200 f3.5-4.5 L lens. It is and old (1989) L lens but still sharp as a knife. I have just tried it out once, but the image came out so clean and that was in full zoom. And the price was low... I could recomend this lens any day, try look for some old L lenses on ebay or sites like that.

Cheers brothers...

Markus Nord
Interesting to know Markus. By the way what camcorder did you use, the Canon XL-series?
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:31 AM   #6
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Per- Thats very interesting about the greens and general colour differences. I always end up pulling down my greens in post when I've used my EF lens. I have been meaning to spend some time playing with my presets....I think you've spured me into a preset session this afternoon !! Small focus ring -Yeah as I said a small focus ring can be a real pain at these focal lengths, I constantly missed focus on the canon 100-300 I had because of the tiny amount of ajustment between 'sweet' and 'doh!'

Markus- Just the sort of heads up I was hoping this thread would produce. I will have a read about this lens. Do you use it through the EF adapter?
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:44 AM   #7
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Helloooo...

I use XL2 (and ofcourse the ef adapter). The pricetag was low becouse of the slow autofocus and the age, but neither of that makes any different for us. The lens got a “pull zoom” so you can quick change between 50-200.

edit:
I have not notes any greenish colour yet, but I will check this later.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 05:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Per Johan Naesje View Post
Among +/- f8.0 is the best area for my 70-200. I will say that it's quite sharp all the way to 200mm.
I have not tried it with 1.4 extender, I will make some tries and report back.
Hi Per Johan

How dod you go with the 1.4 extender?

I have a sigma 70-200 2.8 series 1 to use on the Extreme (I want to shoot some surfing footage) and I'm wondering about a 1.4 or 2x extender - that should give me a 400mm 5.6
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 10:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
I'd be interested on your views on that 70-200 2.8 ?? Have you used it with a 1.4x.
Well, if you add the extender between the lens and EF-adapter the camera functions but the image is rather poor.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 04:06 PM   #10
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woopsy, double post...

Last edited by Meryem Ersoz; December 22nd, 2007 at 10:51 PM.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 04:07 PM   #11
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i haven't had good luck combining extenders and long lenses for video either. the only time the image doesn't suffer is with something super-fast, like the 200mm 1.8 prime. baddest lens canon ever made....

how about the bigma 50-500mm? i was on the verge of buying one but sold my XL2 to make room for a RED...it's not that expensive, either. i have not used one for video, but maybe someone else has. i'd be interested to hear if anyone has...

i have a 70-200mm 2.8 and the 400mm prime and just found it way to hard to get things in the viewfinder with the prime. it was actually easier to use the sigma 300-800mm zoom, but it's not mobile at all. not at all.

i miss my long lenses, once you start seeing the world through the long bombs, it is hard to go back....
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 04:45 PM   #12
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I'm currently using an old manual Nikon mount Tokina 80-200mm f2.8 coupled with a Nikon TC14A (1.4x) between the lens and the Canon to Nikon adapter with the XL H1, and with very good results. Both the lens and TC are very sharp. I try and stay between f11 and f5.6, and found that f8+/- 1/2 stop give the best quality. With this combination, it gives me ~2000mm at the big end, which in most cases works well. I have a Canon EF adapter, but at the moment I don't have any Canon lenses to use.

Attached are 4 frame grabs show how this combination works in different situations. The fly is at ~5 feet, the hummingbird at ~8 feet, the woodpecker at ~25 feet, and the surfer at ~250 feet. The surf video grab isn't that great, because I was shooting at 1/60th and everything was moving very fast, the surf, the surfer, and the pan. Also, these grabs were from down converted footage. All of these were 3/4 to near full zoom, since when I go to full zoom, I tend to pull it back just a tad.
Attached Images
    
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 09:19 PM   #13
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how about the bigma 50-500mm?
Ha Ha great name! - It's certainly looks the money but I'd be hanging it off the Lex adapter with no way of adjusting aperture.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 07:13 AM   #14
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Well I may have the oldest lens but it is pin sharp and the focus as smooth as silk, it also doesn't seem to have any color shift. Its a Canon 300mm f2.8 FD lens. I use it with a Les Bosher adaptor on a Canon XL2 and with other adaptors on a Sony 600 SP Betacam and a Arriflex 16SR2 film camera.

The lens is an Optex (yes they no longer exist) modified mount. The lens also has a 2x extender but quality does drop off

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Old December 23rd, 2007, 08:28 PM   #15
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Meryam and Paul.

If you go here

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=DARANGULAFILM

and look for the clips "Tiger Balm" and "35 versus 300", both of these were shot with the Sigma 50mm-500mm but through a home-made AGUS35 35mm adaptor into a Sony HVR-Z1P.

The relay for "Tiger Balm" was aerial image ie., groundglass removed and "35 versus 300" was shot with the groundglass in place.

Neither is a fair representation of the lens's resolution when shooting direct-to-camera as you would with the XL camera family as there are anything up to 12 extra pieces of glass in the path by the time you count in the in-camera lens of the Sony and the necessary relay dioptre.

The lens seems less sharp by the time you put a doubler on it. By this time you have haze and other atmospherics at play, so my assessment is not a fair one as I have not shot closer subjects with the combination.

For its available focal lengths, this lens is quite compact, a plus if you are carting it around on foot. The trade-off is a varying aperture of f4 to f6.3. As a stills lens this is not as critical as with video.

There was a favourable report on this lens by a sports shooter awhile back on a stills forum. I don't know where this is now.

He bought one in an emergency circumstance on an assignment - he had left his Canon behind where he had placed it where he wouldn't forget it packing up the day before.

This moving groups in this lens unfortunately are not sealed from the environment as effectively as the physically larger Canons and Nikons. The zoom function physically extends the front element far forward of the main body.

The junction, though a close fit is over a matte finish so the effectiveness of the seal in drizzly weather would be questionable.

This extension attribute has caused a rather unkind rude nickname to be coined for this lens. So if pose value alone is what you are looking for, you may not find it. This lens is pure workhorse, available in any colour you like as long as it is black. The extension occurs outboard of supporting bearing surfaces so the action can be quite stiff to operate until the lens settles down with use.

The rearmost element also travels forward in the zoom function. There is no seal, so chances are any dust in the front of your camera body may get sucked into the lens, or blown back onto the sensor window. Normal best practice cleanliness next to godliness and common sense are required.

Those caveats aside, I am pleased with what I have. There are areas of vignette and corner brightness falloff in my YouTube images. These are attributable to my home-made adaptor.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 23rd, 2007 at 08:37 PM. Reason: can't spell
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