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BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Animals, Pets, & Wildlife Photography

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Photography Question 
Helen N. McHugh
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
 

Best Lens for Wildlife Photography?


I need to purchase a lens for wildlife photography, and wondered if anyone had used the Canon 400mm F5.6 lens? Would the 300mm F4.00 + 1.4 teleconvertor be a better buy in terms of quality of picture? Any advice would be very welcome as I can't decide between the two options!

5/10/2007 3:11:02 AM

 
Jim Zuckerman
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  Hi Helen,
A 400mm f/5.6 lens is too slow for wildlife photography. You will be frustrated that your photos won't be sharp in the shade and low light because your shutter speeds will have to be slow - unless you bump up the ISO. Above 400 ISO is never an attractive option. This lens is much less expensive, and it will be light, but the maximum aperture will be a problem for you.
I would look into a 400mm f/4 or a 300mm f/4 where you can use a 1.4X teleconverter. The latter works, but again you are stuck with the f/5.6 aperture since the teleconverter causes a loss of one f/stop.
Another option is to get the 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto. If you have a camera with a 1.5x or 1.6x magnification, that means your lens is a 300mm, and with a 1.4x you'll be at 420mm at f/4. I've used my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS with both the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, and the pictures are quite sharp.
Anyway, this is more food for thought.
Jim

5/10/2007 10:46:36 AM

 
Helen N. McHugh
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  Jim,
Thank you so much for your reply! Great to get feedback from someone as experienced as you! I did consider the slow shutter speed, but as I have the Canon 5D full frame camera ,I won't benefit from the magnification on the 70-200mm! Perhaps the 300mm F4 with the 1.4 teleconverter is the way to go! I have been dreaming of the 500mm or 600mm ... then I woke up!!
Thanks again, Jim!

5/10/2007 12:08:32 PM

 
Jim Zuckerman
BetterPhoto Member
CorporateFineArt.com
Jim's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Stock Photography
4-Week Short Course: Taking the Mystery Out of Flash Photography
4-Week Short Course: Techniques of Natural Light Photography
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Low Light Photography
Making Money with Your Photography
Perfect Digital Exposure
Photoshop: Advanced Creative Techniques
Photoshop: Creative Techniques
Photoshop: Thinking Outside the Box
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?
 
 
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© Jim Zuckerman
corporatefineart.com
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Helen,
I bought the 500mm f/4 a few months ago, and as you know, that's a huge check to write. But, wow, what a lens! I've taken a large number of incredible pictures with it already, including the one I've attached.
Jim

5/10/2007 12:15:29 PM

 

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