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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:13 PM   #1
also known as Ryan Wray
 
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What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

I am doing a nature documentary short film but not sure which lens to use for close ups of birds and other animals. I have a Canon DSLR, and a 300 mm lens, but perhaps should go longer for close ups. I showed some test footage to the people who wanted me to do it, and they said I could get shots of the animals closer up.

Any suggestions for a lens under $1000 if possible?
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:22 PM   #2
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

The classic wildlife lens for Canon is their own 100-400mm Mk 1 or Mk 2.

I’m using a Tamron 150-600mm G1. There’s a G2 of this lens available, which is supposed to be an improvement.

Sigma has their competing 150-600 lens in two different lines, “C” for consumer, and “S” for sports. I read great things about the S lens, but haven’t used one. There are lots of reviews out there for all these lenses. They’re all quite decent for the money.

Beyond those lenses cost and capability go up steeply as you get into the longer sports/wildlife lenses.
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:28 PM   #3
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Okay thanks. I thought maybe I should get one that is also parfocal and constant aperture in case I have to adjust the zoom with the animal movements, during shooting.

However, are those lenses parfocal and constant aperture? I read about them online before but they didn't say if they were those specifically in the specs.
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:28 PM   #4
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

You should consider renting such a lens instead of buying one -- https://www.lenslenders.ca/

The lenses that Seth mentions above are variable aperture. All you have to do is stop down to the maximum aperture value at the telephoto end of the lens, and presto, it's now constant aperture.

Photography lenses in general are *not* parfocal. My advice is to simply avoid changing focal length during the shot. There's no good way to do that with a still photo lens,* unless you have rails and rings for proper external lens control.

* -- one notable exception is the Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS nano USM, which is the only lens that will interface with the Canon power zoom adapter.
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:31 PM   #5
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

The shoot is in six days though, and I was told that my tests shots with the 300mm I have were not close enough. The rental stores do not have anything available in such short notice, so I may have to buy and then sell it again, or something, not sure.
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

There are several different Canon 300mm lenses.

Which one do you have, specifically?

I ask because you might have the option of using a Canon 1.4x extender.

Also, which Canon camera body are you using?
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Old August 11th, 2019, 09:48 PM   #7
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Sorry for not being more specific. Canon 75-300mm lens with a Canon T2i body.
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Old August 11th, 2019, 10:00 PM   #8
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Your lens cannot be used with an extender, sorry.

The Rebel is giving you a 1.6x crop, which is like having a 1.6x extender built right in.

Seth mentioned the EF 100-400mm telephoto zoom. That lens, plus a 1.4x extender, plus your Rebel with its 1.6x crop, is essentially doubling the focal length, giving you the equivalent of a 200-800mm lens.

For more info, see https://dancarrphotography.com/blog/...1-4x-extender/

That lens can be rented at https://www.lenslenders.ca/rent_deta...I&do_search=go -- it is available on the dates you need, and I'll bet they have the extender as well.
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Old August 12th, 2019, 04:43 AM   #9
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Oh okay thanks. Well even with the 1.6 crop, I still showed them the tests, and they said it wasn't close enough to the animals though.
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Old August 12th, 2019, 05:06 AM   #10
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

For wildlife programs they commonly use 2/3" broadcast long zoom range zoom lenses with adapters, so that they can use them on large sensor cameras like RED, but still have the same angle of view as on the 2/3" cameras.

Also, technique and field craft is important, so that can get as close as possible. It can take a lot of time to get a good close up of a bird.
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Old August 12th, 2019, 05:14 AM   #11
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

The T2i body is a budget entry level body from 2010 with an APS-C sensor and the Canon 75-300 lens is also a budget entry level lens with not very good reviews.

There are going to be limitations to the video quality that you get from a camera of that age, with limited recording time and none of the improvements that have been made over the nine years or so since it was introduced. There are also likely to be chromatic aberrations with the lens and loss of clarity on the edges of the image.

I wouldn't consider using that combination for my wedding work, let alone a serious wildlife shoot. You would get far better results for the level you seem to be working at, with something like a Panasonic G4 body and a micro4/3 IS lens. That combination would give you a much more up to date spec on the body with the addition of 4K filming ability and a stabilised lens which would help immensely with close up wild life images.

Just my opinion of course and others will have alternative ones.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; August 12th, 2019 at 05:21 AM. Reason: spilling mistook
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Old August 12th, 2019, 05:21 AM   #12
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Oh okay, well so far no one has complained about the camera quality. As for recording time, it can go for 15 minutes and none of my shots have lasted near that long, so I don't need that long of a recording time though.
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Old August 12th, 2019, 05:31 AM   #13
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Ryan, I admire your enthusiasm and quest for knowledge, but wonder if you may be over selling yourself. On one thread you are talking about directing a feature film with paid actors, audio people, dolly operators etc etc, but here you are talking about shooting a wildlife film for someone, using an old technology basic Canon Rebel, which is definitely not designed as a video camera and a cheap zoom lens that can be bought for less that $100 dollars with all the deficiencies that you can expect from a cheap lens.

You really must get out there and play with different equipment, rather than just asking endless questions that seem to be a substitute for gaining experience.

Roger
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Old August 12th, 2019, 05:35 AM   #14
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Oh well the documentary was a volunteer project I am doing for some people in the wildlife society where I live, for my own experience as well. But they said it was okay if I were to use my own camera, as oppose to me renting a DP who has a better one, which would be more money for them. They said they are happy with mine.

Shooting animals on telephoto is not my usual experience, but I have to do it this week, so I thought I would ask what lenses are best.
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Old August 12th, 2019, 09:51 AM   #15
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Re: What camera lens should I get for this project of shooting animals close up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Elder View Post
Okay thanks. I thought maybe I should get one that is also parfocal and constant aperture in case I have to adjust the zoom with the animal movements, during shooting.

However, are those lenses parfocal and constant aperture? I read about them online before but they didn't say if they were those specifically in the specs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
...Beyond those lenses cost and capability go up steeply as you get into the longer sports/wildlife lenses.
Check out Canonís longer lenses, do some research. Yes, you can find faster lenses with constant apertures, be prepared for some serious sticker shock! As Chris mentioned, the way that working pros manage their gear is they RENT for projects, no one wants to own a lens they use once or twice a year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
...There's no good way to (zoom) with a still photo lens,* unless you have rails and rings for proper external lens control.

* -- one notable exception is the Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS nano USM, which is the only lens that will interface with the Canon power zoom adapter.
I recently read in a third-party review that the 18-135 nano USM also has electronic focus compensation through the zoom range - effectively, itís corrected to parfocal! That wasnít from Canon - Chris, can you confirm?
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