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Old February 15th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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zoom lens opinions

I am going to be ordering an ef lens for my xl2

Was wondering about these three canon lenses:

100 to 400 L

70 to 200 L

28 to 300 L

the first two are significanly more economical.

I shoot all wildlife but a lot more birds than others.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 12:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen
I am going to be ordering an ef lens for my xl2

Was wondering about these three canon lenses:

100 to 400 L

70 to 200 L

28 to 300 L

the first two are significanly more economical.

I shoot all wildlife but a lot more birds than others.
Dale,

I just came back from using the 70-200L f/2.8 for the first time.

My initial reaction is: excellent optics. The 2.8 is necessary. The field of view is absolutely brutal. Even at the wide end I had trouble finding targets. I was constantly taking a long time to find targets and I lost a few good ones while screwing around. I should have had a scope (I had a cheap one stolen from my truck just before I left, and didn't replace it).

Also, you have to take the 20x with you everywhere because at 70mm x 7.2, your WIDE angle is 500mm. It was often a relief to put the 20x back on, when shooting intermediate targets - you can go full wide to find it, then crash zoom for shooting. Then get frustrated when the servo would continue spinning when I wanted just a little bit more telephoto.

Having said that - I wouldn't be without the bigger zoom. I just found myself changing lenses far more often than I was comfortable with.

Maybe that 28-300 would solve alot of the problems I mentioned. You'd be around 200mm on the wide end (far, far better than 500mm).
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Old February 15th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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The 28-300mm has more range, but is not quite as sharp as the other two lenses. As zooms go, all three are OK.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #4
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Hi Dale,
I second what Ken and Tony say. When using ef-lenses I use the Ronssight almost every time. I know how Ken feel when you loose a shoot because you're not able to find the target!
Unfortunately I haven't been able to try out the 100-400 lens yet.
On the other hand I have been using the 70-200mm alot. Both Canon and Sigma f.2.8 is very nice to use in the low light conditions up north during winter. But one thing I have noticed is that it is very hard to archieve razor sharp focus with this lens (this is much more critical and visibly with the XLH1 and HDV). I think this is due to the small focus ring on the lens. Less than a millimeter fault on the focus wheel and you are stuck with a soft picture! This is especially difficult in winter conditions when you wearing thick gloves.

Even if its OT, I like to use prime lenses instead of the zoom. I find it more sharp and easy to handle good focus. May I suggest to look at two good alternatives to the zoom lenses:

The Sigma 150mm F2.8 APO EX DG Macro, even if it's a macro lens, I have archieved beautiful teleshots with it. And it's perfect for doing macroshots too!

The Canon 300mm 4.0L, a friend and I tried this lens out last weekend and I must say it was a big surprise and a pleasure to use. Even if it's a f4.0 I got nice and clean footage on a cloudy day. And it's light, no need for any rail to attached it to the camcorder. Compared to the Sigma 300mm f2.8 I could not see any significant variation in the footage.

And as always it's very important to invest in a good and steady tripod when you plan to use external telephotolens. Believe me I know what I'm talking about. Being on the 1500mm ++ end, even a tiny wind or your heartbeat will distort your footage if you not able to "nail down" your camcorder.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #5
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I would like to second all that Per has said and add that I have found a support bracket is a must, besides giving extra support for the lens, I find I have my left hand on the support to give smoothness to any panning movement. Using a 300mm lens, the 2 handed approach to panning gives the best result

Bob Thompson
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Old February 15th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #6
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Dale,
In your list you left out the lens I use, the 70-300 zoom. This lens has almost the reach of the 100-400, is a lot lighter, and doesn't need the accessory mount shoe. It also is 1/3 the price. As Per points out, you will not get the tack-sharp focus with any zoom that you will with a prime lens, but when you are shooting birds, you often need the rapid change in focal length that only a zoom can give.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:09 AM   #7
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Canon 300mm F4

Per,

With reference to your remarks on the Canon 300mm F4, how did you find the overall sharpness? was it as good as the standard 20x lens. I have 70-200 but am also looking for a canon prime that is not to heavy. You seem to be the first person to have tried this lens on a H1

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Mick
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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #8
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Mick, to my eyes I found this lens to be very suitable for my use. Even though I haven't been trying it for more than a weekend, viewing the footage is very pleasant.
When I compare the footage to a Sigma 300mm f2.8 I can not see any visibly difference even on a 39'' HD TV. We did shoot with two XLH1 side by side one with the Canon 300mm f4L and the other one with the Sigma 300mm f2.8. The camcorders was set up with the same settings, same shutter, and adjusted aperture to suit a good exposure.
The sharpness of this lens is remarkable good, giving you a nice DOF. Comparing it to the 20x HD lens is difficult cause of the difference in focal length but when I look through the edited reel with a mix of footage from both lenses they fell seamless well toghether.

The 300mm f4 lens is own by a friend of mine, and I'm considering to switch to it myself. The pros is that it is much lighter than the 2.8 primes, you don't have to use any rail to attached it to the camcorder and it's well suited to stand out in cold, snow and humidity.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 03:10 AM   #9
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Per,

Thanks for that, like you I too find the 70-200mm difficult to focus, when you get it right its great.

regards

Mick
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Old February 16th, 2007, 03:19 AM   #10
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Almost all the pro-level 300mm f/4 lenses from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Contax, Minolta etc are extremely good and almost match the 300mm f/2.8 lenses for biting sharpness. I very much like the AF Nikkor 300mm f/4, but much prefer the 300mm f2.8 ED-IF, especially for it's extra light-gathering power without the need to lower shutter speed on still cameras, or up the gain on the XL DV cameras.
An extremely lightweight, well-built, and very sharp 300mm f/4 is the MF version Pentax A* 300mm f/4 - a superb optic and probably the most compact of all ED-glass 300mm ED optics (and Les Bosher would make a Pentax to XL mount if you need one).
The Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Macro is also an extremely sharp and well-made lens that I have used a lot.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #11
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"would like to second all that Per has said and add that I have found a support bracket is a must, besides giving extra support for the lens, I find I have my left hand on the support to give smoothness to any panning movement. Using a 300mm lens, the 2 handed approach to panning gives the best result . "

Not sure i undrstand what you are saying here. You need a support like a rail (I have one) but what exactly do you mean by two handed approach. I always shoot with two hands one at the servo and one on the barrel of the lens.

I have a pretty heavy duty tripod, but much of my shooting is out of the 4x4 window resting on a bag.

Probably the greatest reason for using a zoom is for composition purposes as in most circumstances you are filming from the best position you have. If the three hundered makes them to mostly do not have time to change lenses and continue shooting. the 150 is only about 300 mm difference in reach and the three hundred fundementally doubles that.

I was hoping to hear some replies on the 100 to 400 and the 28 to 300. The later apparently has some aberations in the closer focal lengths.

It is good news to hear about the 300 f4. that and perhaps a zoom of some sort would make a great combination.


How about some various ideas on two lens combinations. I like pers idea.

I have about 1800 dollars to spend on lenses.

Thank you all for so much input!!!
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Old February 17th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen
"would like to second all that Per has said and add that I have found a support bracket is a must, besides giving extra support for the lens, I find I have my left hand on the support to give smoothness to any panning movement. Using a 300mm lens, the 2 handed approach to panning gives the best result . "

Not sure i undrstand what you are saying here. You need a support like a rail (I have one) but what exactly do you mean by two handed approach. I always shoot with two hands one at the servo and one on the barrel of the lens.
I have found that with the right hand on the pan handle ( it has servo attached) and the left on the support is best. If you are gripping the lens barrel, there is the possibilty of bumping the focus.

It really doesn't matter as long as which ever method you use is comfortable & gives you smooth pans & tilts.

Bob
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Old February 17th, 2007, 01:16 PM   #13
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Dale,
If you are going to be using a lens as powerful as 300mm, I think you will find that an open car window and a beanbag is quite insufficient as a support.
Your tiniest movements will be hugely magnified. Use some of your money for a good video head for your tripod.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #14
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Steven,

I have a heavy tripod with a fluid head. It is rather inconvient for much of what I do.
I do understand the movement issue, all to well, and it is an area I need to improve a lot up-on.

Much of the wildlife here is readily approachable with a vehicle within 50 to 150 yards as long as you stay in the vehicle. It is vast and open prairies here with not much to use to stalk closely.

I have had the notion of building a true door mount with a tripod head that would accept my 75 mm fluid head and allow one to shoot. I have also thought of having my wife drive the 4x4 and I would set up in the bed with a rope seat and steadied tripod. Perhaps this summer I will work on that. last week in the -20's to -30's kinda rules out setting in the truck bed!!!

Panning, I use right hand on the arm with a 521 remote and I use my left arm on the camera for steadiness or camera adjustments on the fly. I need more practice.

Reading the interesting opinions I think I may go with one zoom ( not to sure about which one, and the 300 f4 .

I was hoping to hear more about the 100 to 400, the fact that there is no comment I reckon is a comment in itself.

A friend has the canon 500mm lens, l;ooks like a canon in both rights. I will try it once for kicks, but I know I will not likly be able to handle it!!!


dale
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Old February 19th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #15
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Hi Dale,

Some very accurate responses from this group. I guess if you would like some comments about the 100-400, I can respond since it is 1 of 3 main lenses I use most often. What is your final application with this footage? Weight does not seem to be an issue with you since a majority of your shoots are from the vehicle. One thing to consider when changing lenses with your H1, is to use different presets. It's more convenient than adjusting in post, on the other hand, shooting with a neutral preset allows more flexiblity but that's a whole different thread altogether.
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