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Thread: Best Compromise for Bird Shots

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    Best Compromise for Bird Shots

    I will be getting the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens and will use it on a full frame camera (5D).

    I wish to get somewhere near 400mm from this lens to take the occasional Bird shot (a dedicated lens is out of the question right now), and am tossing between the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters from Canon.

    Which would be the better option:

    1) 2x teleconverter giving 400mm zoom but less image quality

    2) 1.4x teleconverter giving 280mm zoom with slightly better image quality and crop the image to have a field of view similar to 400mm ?


    Regards,

    Finn
    Canon 5D | BG-E4 battery grip | 17-40mm f/4L zoom | 50mm f/1.4 prime | 24-70mm f/2.8L zoom | 300mm f/4L IS prime | 1.4x III teleconverter| 580EX II flash | Velbon Sherpa 600n tripod | Lowepro Nova 3AW bag | Various Singh-Ray Filters

    Wish List | 100mm f/2.8 macro

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    I was tempted to do this as well with the 135mm f2. get a 1.4 or x2 to comprise on IQ for reach. But i decided against it as the whole point of getting a lens is to be sharp.

    A 2x Teleconverter will reduce IQ significantly and drop it down 2 full stops
    x2 = 400m @5.6

    A x1.4 is no better in terms of IQ.

    Just wondering. Why did you get a 70-200 if you wanted a birding lens?

    the 100-400mm 5.6 IS is the go

    Check out the results

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...=0&FLI=6&API=2

    While you will get better resolution from the FF 5D. Cropping a 12mp image say by 200% to get that extra 200mm isnt a good solution. If you had to you can resize it using Genuine fractals software but i have yet to test this out on thoses lenses.

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    At first I thought this was a tough question, Finn. On the one hand, it is always better to avoid teleconverters, or if you can't avoid them, at least use a smaller one rather than a bigger one. IQ aside, you also lose aperture and focus speed. On the other hand, 400mm is really the baseline for bird work. Anything less than 400mm and you are always going to be battling. So it's an evenly balanced question.

    But then I read your question more carefully and it's not so tough: the answer lies in your camera. On a 5D, you have very low pixel density, meaning that heavy crops are out of the question. Despite its many virtues - and indeed as a direct result of its other good qualities - the 5D resolves less detail than any other current or near-current camera (except the Nikon D3 and D700 twins). For this reason, it is very rare to see a 5D used as a birding camera. (I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's not a camera you would ever consider if bird work was your primary goal.)

    Given that you are going to be struggling with pixel density already (i.e., have lower reach than you'd have with a 50D or a 350D or a 1Ds III or a 5D II), I don't think you are in a position to seriously contemplate an effective 280mm lens. It will have to be the 2X.

    Note that one or two AP members have 2X Canon converters for sale in the classifieds section, or at least they did last time I looked. You might want to check that out.
    Tony

    Edit and critique at will. Tokina 10-17 fish, Canon 10-22, 24-105, 100-400, TS-E 24, 35/1.4, 60 macro, 100L macro, 500/4, Wimberley, MT-24EX, 580EX-II, 1D IV, 7D, 5D II, 50D.

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    PS: I am assuming that you have other priorities and are not in a position to take Trigger's advice and get a longer lens instead of the 70-200. Obviously, if that were not the case, you'd want to go with something 400mmish, a 400/5.6, a 100-400, or on the 5D, maybe a Sigma 150-500 OIS - on the 5D you can spare some ISO (those big, clean pixels again) in order to gain a little extra reach (the price of those big, clean pixels).

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    PPS: you might care to ponder buying a different body for birding with. Something like a 20D or a 40D wouldn't cost a lot, and would give you better results, and make a very handy backup for the 5D in case of problems. It is always good to have a backup body.

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    To make my point clearer, I will
    Quote Originally Posted by finn View Post
    take the occasional Bird shot
    , so I am not into serious Birding - just testing the waters as it were.

    I just wish to get some extra reach.

    That link to the lens comparison is very good. Thanks. It shows the softness you get with either 1.4x or 2x teleconverters, which is putting me off.

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    It is possible to get good images with a 2 X TC, but in my findings only if you are still close to the subject and use it to simply fill the frame with less cropping later. In my opinion a 1.4 X TC will still deliver very good IQ, but you are only gaining an extra 80mm, not worth it on a 200mm lens I dont think.

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    I think a 1.4 is worth it for a 70-200 in general, 80mm might not sound a lot but it's an extra 40% and that 40% comes in handy especially when cropping. You only lose one stop too.

    Obviously, you are still gonna be a bit short for serious birding, but for close ad-hoc bird shots it will be pretty fine.
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    I've seen a few people on here using a 70-200 2.8 with a 1.4 on a 5D2 with exceptional results. I realise it's not the 5D, but I think if it's only to test the waters I think you will be generally happier with the 1.4, and it can be used for many other things than just birding.

    They are in fact my next two purchases as soon as the budget allows it. (Maybe after the 5D2 still haven't decided yet).

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    have you considered a sigma 100-300? gives a tad more reach, is fast and you wont suffer from having to add a TC to get that little more reach.

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    Alann, there is a huge difference between the 5D and the 5D II.

    The centre area of the 5D II (the bit that would be the whole frame if it was a crop camera) is 8MP. In other words, using a 5D II for birding is like using a 20D or 30D (except that you get some extra space around the bird).

    But the centre area of a 5D Mark 1 is 4MP. Using a 5D Mark 1 is like ... er .. well there never was a direct equivalent, but it falls between the D30 and the D60. A 5D, in other words, offers less resolution for bird photography than a 2002-model D60, and only marginally more than a D30 from almost a decade ago.

    An informative and very beautifully written hand-crafted article about pixel density and why it matters for bird photography can be found right here on AP. It was written by ... er ... me!

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    Thanks for all your feedback guys. I think I will forget the idea of sticking a teleconverter to my 70-200mm lens.

    - Image quality will suffer
    - Less light will be gathered
    - and being around the $500 mark, it would be better putting that money aside and spending it on a f/4 400/500mm range zoom

    I still have my 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 for the time being !

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    Quote Originally Posted by finn View Post
    Thanks for all your feedback guys. I think I will forget the idea of sticking a teleconverter to my 70-200mm lens.

    - Image quality will suffer
    - Less light will be gathered
    - and being around the $500 mark, it would be better putting that money aside and spending it on a f/4 400/500mm range zoom

    I still have my 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 for the time being !
    You will get some great bird shots with the 90-300mm if you wish to.
    You will be better off waiting and putting your money to a better lens 400mm or higher.

    Peter
    Any comments and critique always welcome
    Canon 400d twin lens kit & 60d : Canon 580 EX II & 430 EX II Flash | Cokin filters NDG 2,4 & 8 ND 8. + CPL | Sigma APO 150-500 OS DG | Canon 400L Canon 17-40L & 60 mm Macro.


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