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Thread: Recomendations for a telephoto lens for 6D

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    Member HelenClaire's Avatar
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    Recomendations for a telephoto lens for 6D

    Have read similar previous threads but as the last one was 2 years ago am wondering if there is anything new on the scene. I bought my 6D 18 months ago along with the latest Canon EF16-35mm F4L IS lens which I am very happy with for landscapes. However I do love wildlife too and am now keen to buy a telephoto but which one. I tried out the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens at a recent workshop but am keen to look at others as well. I can see from various reviews the Tamron and Sigma are much cheaper options that seem just as good as the Canon. A previous thread on this forum recommended the Tamron 150 - 600mm, followed closely by the Sigma but that was before the newer Canon 100-400mm had come out. So am interested to hear from others as to which ones are a good buy. The Canon is so expensive so am wondering if it is worth the expense if there could be cheaper options out there that are just as good.
    Last edited by HelenClaire; 19-04-2016 at 11:05pm.

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    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    The Tamron and Sigma 150-600mm lenses are big and heavy, and difficult to hand hold.
    The Canon is lighter and has the better autofocus, and will also have a much better re-sale value in the future.

    No picture is any good if it isn't sharp.

    Just my 2c worth.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom, is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Hi Helen

    I am surprised you have not had more input from other members on this forum because quite a few do own the lenses you are looking at.

    In my own experience I own and do use the 100 - 400 V2 (previously owned the V1) and I also own and use the 150-600 Sigma sports. There are pros and cons to both lenses but in the end there is two big differences I think you need to look at.

    For a start both lenses are sharp and I would challenge anybody to spot the difference between two real life pics posted. There is more variability in the manufacturing of the lenses than there is in the actual performance of the lenses. Other factors affect performance - whether the lens is hand held (and who is hand holding), your technique, distance to subject, shutter speed etc etc etc.....

    These factors play more of a difference in performance of either lens than a head to head comparison if one is sharper than the other. I speak from experience as I have both.

    So what is the differences:-

    1. The 100 - 400 only zooms to 400mm. This is important if you are out photographing small birds or animals at a fair distance. This is not a problem if you are going to the zoo for the day or photographing parrots around the back yard. Most people will tell you the 400mm is 560 with a 1.4 ext. (which is still not 600) but you have to remember not all bodies will focus at f8 and the 6D you own certainly will not. Fortunately with the 100-400 there is no loss in quality if using a canon extender.

    2. The 150 - 600 is heavy (especially the sports version), but with the weight of the lens comes quality - it is all metal and it is weather sealed. It is a very high quality lens. I have not held the "C" version of this lens but it is lighter by about 1 kg. I have heard the quality of the lens images are similar although there is a difference in lens construction - but once again us mere mortals would be flat out telling the difference in images shot by either lens. Although the "C" version is lighter - do you really think you can hand hold a 600mm lens steady enough to take a good sharp shot - I would always use a tripod / monopod when shooting at 600mm so I can control my shutter speed given the lens has an aperture of 6.3 at 600mm. It is not unusual to stop this lens down to f8 which will further erode room in your shutter speed range.

    3. When it comes to the difference in brands of the 150 -600 it might come down to price. What i really like about either of the sigma lenses is any software update to the lens can be done at home with the addition of a sigma dock. This dock costs around $100 extra but can be used for all sigma art series lenses. I have also heard, but not experienced first hand, should you want to change brands of bodies then for a small fee sigma will change the mount of the lens to suit the new body.

    4. I would put Sigma "C" and the Tamron in the same league - which ever one is cheaper unless you have a preference in brands (given you are fine sending the Tamron back to the agent for any software update) but the "S" version of the sigma is in a difference league when it comes to construction (plus 1 kg extra in weight).

    My normal set up when shooting these lenses is to have the Sigma on a monopod / tripod on one body and the 100 - 400 on a second body hand held. This gives me the best of both worlds.

    To sum up - if I am going for a walk and want the versatility of hand held lens - then I will grab the 100 - 400 but if I am serious about shooting birds or mammals in the distance then i grab the 150 - 600 and a monopod every time without hesitation.

    You can buy both the Sigma and Tamron for around $1000 and I have seen them second hand on fleabay for less. The 100 - 400 seems to still be around $2000 + at the moment. if you do decide on the 100 - 400 but the price scares you then the V1 still takes great pics and I have shots to prove it if you are interested. It can be picked up for under $1000 on most buy and sell forums.

    Best of luck which ever way you go - they are all great lenses and you cannot go wrong with either choice. Spend more time shooting with any of the lenses and less time procrastinating I say.
    www.kjbphotography.com.au

    1Dx, 5DsR, 200-400 f4L Ext, 100-400 f4.5-5.6L II, 70-300 f4-5.6L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, 24-70 f2.8L II, 16-35 f4 IS, 11-24 f4L, 85 f1.2L II, 500 f4L IS, 300 f2.8 IS, ∑50 f1.4 A


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    Hi Brian,
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Yes I was also surprised in the lack of responses but your post makes up for the lack with some common sense tips. When I tried out the new Canon 100-400mm I did find it quite heavy and needed a tripod to steady it which makes me wonder if I could handle the others if heavier. Unfortunately my trial photos came out rather soft and not as sharp as expected. Not the best outcome for testing out the lens. Though I am certain it was the operator and not the lens that failed. Probably if I had another opportunity to try it out I would get better results.
    Its good to know the Sigma and Tamron are all pretty much the same in performance. However are they just as good as the Canon 100-400mm or better or do all 3 perform equally well? In which case it will be down to weight and price. I wont be procrastinating for too much longer as I need the lens for a photo tour to Uluru and Alice Springs in June.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenClaire View Post
    Its good to know the Sigma and Tamron are all pretty much the same in performance. However are they just as good as the Canon 100-400mm or better or do all 3 perform equally well? In which case it will be down to weight and price.
    Think the Canon lens would provide the best results if you pixel peep. For most of us, all the mentioned lenses would be adequate.
    You can get used to the weight of a lens over time. You also need a bit of time to get used to any new lens. Tick tock Helen.
    And thanks Brain. Am now thinking about that Sigma lens.

  6. #6
    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenClaire View Post
    Hi Brian,
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Yes I was also surprised in the lack of responses but your post makes up for the lack with some common sense tips. When I tried out the new Canon 100-400mm I did find it quite heavy and needed a tripod to steady it which makes me wonder if I could handle the others if heavier. Unfortunately my trial photos came out rather soft and not as sharp as expected. Not the best outcome for testing out the lens. Though I am certain it was the operator and not the lens that failed. Probably if I had another opportunity to try it out I would get better results.
    Its good to know the Sigma and Tamron are all pretty much the same in performance. However are they just as good as the Canon 100-400mm or better or do all 3 perform equally well? In which case it will be down to weight and price. I wont be procrastinating for too much longer as I need the lens for a photo tour to Uluru and Alice Springs in June.
    As Mark suggested if you pixel peep you may be able to tell the difference but I would really challenge anybody if I posted a shot taken with the 100-400 or the 150-600 you could not tell the difference. As I said the difference is more in your technique rather than the actual lens itself.

    I consider the 100-400 a lens I would normally not use a tripod for. If you are saying you would use a tripod for a 100-400 then I would suggest you get the 15-600 as weight is the only advantage the 100-400 has over the 150-600. I always use either a monopod or tripod when shooting with the 150-600 as I simply cannot hold a lens steady at 600mm.

    If you were not happy with your results from the 100-400 I would suggest you look at your shutter speed. Telephoto lenses have a learning curve and are in reality unforgivable. A shutter speed you can get away with you on your 16-35 will punish you on a 100-400. Although others might disagree but I rarely use a shutter speed less than 1/800 and prefer shutter speeds above 1/1600.

    I have plenty of shots using both the 100-400 V1 and 2 available to view. The 150-600 is my wife's lens but I think I have shot with it also so if you want to see a few shots pm me and I can send you links.

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    Ausphotography Regular Dug's Avatar
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    Hi Helen.
    When it comes to trying the lens options Canon have to offer I recommend registering and attending a Canon collective event.
    Adelaide has one often at least once a month.
    https://www.canon.com.au/en-AU/Perso...ation=Adelaide

    They are most often free and a good selection of lenses (and cameras) from the Canon range are made available to try on the day.
    Lenses available can depend on the nature of the workshop, but the 100-400 mk2 for instance makes a regular showing.

    The last event also had such exotics as the 200-400mm with built in x1.4 converter, a 500mm f4 prime and a 300mm f2.8, but that is not usual.

    Its a good way to try Canon gear in real world situations with no sales pitch.

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    Member Morgo's Avatar
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    I'd opt for the Sigma 150-600 C on the 6D. Being a FF body you will want the extra reach over the 100-400 and its a good priced lens.

    If you were to add or move to a body with fast AF, high FPS, F8 focusing etc like the 7D2 then I'd opt for the 100-400 II

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    Ausphotography Regular ktoopi's Avatar
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    Hi Helen I shoot with a canon 100-400 v2 all the time but on a 7d so the crop sensor gives me extra reach. I love the canon lens and the quality it gives but on a 6D you may find that you are wanting more reach depending on the main purpose for using it. I find the canon lens heavy and mostly use a monopd where possible however I am frequently out on a rib on the water shooting sailing so not always possible....I find you do get used to the weight of a lens that you use regularly and I also regularly have sore arms Can't comment on the Tamron or Sigma ...sorry have never used either.
    Canon 5diii; Canon 7D; Canon 3.5 15-85mm IS USM; Canon 4-5.6 70-300mm IS USM; Canon 1.4 50mm , Canon Macro 100mm 2.8 L IS USM, Canon 35mm 1.4 L USM, Canon 24-105mm L IS USM, CPL and UV filters, manfrotto tripod and Lowepro backpack plus dreams for so much more!!


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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Brian has given you some very good info, particularly in relation to the use of a monopod.

    If you want the reach of the 150-600mm it's really down to Tamron V Sigma.

    I shoot Nikon but regularly use my Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 with my monopod and am always pleased with the results, and I'm a very hard marker of my own work.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D800 & GAS

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    Thanks Brian.

    You do have a point. If I'm using a tripod/monopod the weight of the Sigma wont really be an issue. Is the Sigma you are mentioning this one: SIGMA AF 150-600mm 5-6.3 DG OS "C" ?
    I found a good review on You Tube where all 3 were put to the test but instead of giving a winner it went through the pros and cons of them all and left you to decide which would suit you better as the conclusion was that all 3 were pretty much as good as each other, they just had various differences which could impact one's decision. Something that was said though was that the Canon was the fastest to focus on a subject and had a 77mm filter thread which would mean filters I use for the other lens would fit. The Tamron didn't fair so well with auto focus taking a while to find a point. I have also read elsewhere people have found this an issue.

    Thanks also for the tip on shutter speed. That was probably my mistake when trying out the 100-400. As I mainly shoot landscapes I use a tripod most of the time and have low shutter speeds. As the 100-400 felt so heavy I naturally put it on a tripod and then thought I could use a lower shutter speed. I can see whichever lens I decide on, it will be a steep learning curve to learn a different technique for shooting wildlife. This I used to do a lot on my trusty Canon 450D Rebel before I bought the 6D. I still use it with the kit zoom lens for hand held shots so if I use this with the 100-400 I would get a bit more reach.

    So now at least I am down to 2 - Canon or Sigma.

    - - - Updated - - -

    QUOTE When it comes to trying the lens options Canon have to offer I recommend registering and attending a Canon collective event.
    Adelaide has one often at least once a month.


    Hi Dug,

    The Canon Collective is where I tried out the 100-400mm. I was at the Astrophotography workshop at Nildottie a few weeks back. Were you there too?
    Last edited by HelenClaire; 25-04-2016 at 10:46pm.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenClaire View Post
    Thanks Brian.

    You do have a point. If I'm using a tripod/monopod the weight of the Sigma wont really be an issue. Is the Sigma you are mentioning this one: SIGMA AF 150-600mm 5-6.3 DG OS "C" ?
    Helen I only have first hand experience with the "S" version of the Sigma lens. If you planning to use a monopod / tripod with either lens you buy then I would suggest you now focus on the focal length you will need. 150 - 600 is a powerful zoom range and should not be overlooked in your quest for a long range zoom lens. When it comes to focus speed - once again it is so close the mere mortal cannot tell the difference. If you are an expert at catching swallows in full flight then maybe you could pick the difference but in the real world with us mere mortals it is not the lens that will catch that swallow in flight - it is your technique.

    As others have suggested if you have a 7D then I would go the 100-400 but with the 6D I would go the 150-600. In the end you cannot make a wrong decision with either lens. The 6D is better suited to catching stationary birds / animals so once again my choice would be the 150 - 600 (which is the exact set up my wife uses on a monopod when we go photographing wildlife).

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    Hi Helen, I can't comment on the sigma or tamron because I have not used them but I have just purchased the 100-400ii and I'm very impressed with its performance, the price difference was considered when I researched a telephoto lens but I am glad I chose the Canon and if I need more reach will purchase a TC
    Every image is a learning experience that slows down time and captures the small details we often miss.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Hi Helen,

    As Brian has said, your decision really comes down to the zoom range you require. Yes, you can attach a 1.4 X T/C to the 100-400mm lens, and add around $500.00 to the overall cost for the Canon T/C, possibly with no noticeable drop in IQ.

    I've been mainly a bird shooter with a 300mm + 1.4T/C (420mm) and there are not too many times I wasn't wishing for that extra 180mm that a 600mm lens would give me.

    Decisions, decisions !!

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    Ausphotography Regular Dug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenClaire View Post
    Hi Dug,

    The Canon Collective is where I tried out the 100-400mm. I was at the Astrophotography workshop at Nildottie a few weeks back. Were you there too?
    I wondered if that was where you tried the lens, after rereading your initial post.
    Actually thought I had quit out of my reply, since you have already handled the lens. But obviously not.

    Yes I was there Helen.
    I tried to keep track of all the names of people as they arrived, but it got too hard in the end with such a big attendance.


    What a great weekend that was.


    Perhaps I'll see you at the 9:00am Collective event this Sunday.

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    Hi Dug,

    Would have been nice as I have never used a speedlight and was interested in learning, but this Sunday is out for me. There will always be more though.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for your input. I get the feeling though that as they are all great lenses whichever is bought, the Sigma or the Canon, the buyer will be happy with their purchase and naturally recommend that one. It was good to hear from Brian who has tried out both lenses and really can't see any difference between each which is what I wanted to hear. Whichever lens I choose I don't think I will be disappointed.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Brian,

    Although you only use the 'S' version I was wondering when you mentioned the 'C' version, whether you were referring to the AF 150-600mm 5-6.3 DG OS "C" ? I noticed that there are a few versions of the Sigma 150-600 so I wasn't sure which one was the 'C'. Does the 'C' stand for "Contemporary'?

    Yes I would like to see your photos taken with this lens, especially ones taken around 500-600mm range.
    Last edited by HelenClaire; 26-04-2016 at 8:25pm.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenClaire View Post
    Hi Dug,

    Although you only use the 'S' version I was wondering when you mentioned the 'C' version, whether you were referring to the AF 150-600mm 5-6.3 DG OS "C" ? I noticed that there are a few versions of the Sigma 150-600 so I wasn't sure which one was the 'C'. Does the 'C' stand for "Contemporary'?

    Yes I would like to see your photos taken with this lens, especially ones taken around 500-600mm range.
    Yes the "C" i refer to is the contemporary lens. I have never held or seen this lens but I did consider to sell the "S" and get the "C" version purely based on the weight factor but in the end I decided to stick with what I have.

    Here are two earlier threads where I was testing the Sigma when i first got it back last year.

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...apore-birdlife

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...t-very-serious

    Both threads are using this lens hand held. In actual fact this is my wife's lens - I use other lenses but that is only because I have access to other lenses and this lens is my wife's lens.

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    Thanks for the links Brian. Impressive shots. I must admit I am leaning towards the Sigma 'C'. After checking, it is only 300grams heavier than the Canon. The review I watched featured the Sigma sports version which is almost 3kg and that I felt was way too heavy but I reckon I can handle 1.9kg. I am going to try and see if I can hire it out for a weekend or so and give it a test run.

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    Member Babu's Avatar
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    Hi HelenClaire
    Your original combo of 6D (Full Frame) and 16-35mm (wide-ish zoom) is a very handy combo if you have the middle range covered ( 24-70; 24-105; 70-200 ).
    If can fund it, I'd seriously consider purchasing a 7D II + 100-400 II combo ( + 1.4x TC ) for more distant wildlife shots.
    Just changing cameras and not having to change lenses ( dust, salt,moisture... on your sensor) when a once distant animal wanders in close is very practical.
    The prices of the 7D II & the 100-400mm II have come down considerably since their launches.

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    I have the 7D 11 and 100 - 400 11 and love it. I hand hold with a fast shutter speed for birds.

    I hope you are happy with which ever lens you choose.

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