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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss birding lens...looking to purchase a lens for birding, the sigma 150-500 and the canon 400 f5.6 seem to fit the bill ...
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Old 18-05-2009, 14:56   #1 (permalink)
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birding lens

looking to purchase a lens for birding, the sigma 150-500 and the canon 400 f5.6
seem to fit the bill but after reading that many reviews i,m still undecied. eos 50d budget max £1000.owners views and pictures appreciated. pip
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Old 18-05-2009, 15:43   #2 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Hi Pip and welcome to Pixalo You will never have enough reach for birds. However, if you are using a 50D then it will communicate better with a Canon lens. I presume you have looked at all the other points like IS, weight, prime or zoom etc., oh, and what you can get for a grand. I've not used either of those lenses and don't know prices but for £1,000 you'll get a 100-400, which I do have, and can recommend, even if you do have to up the ISO on a cloudy day - but your 50D will cope with that. Someone else will be along soon.
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Old 18-05-2009, 15:55   #3 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Hi pip, and welcome tp pixalo,
I have the 100-400 and have held the 150-500, it was pretty light and I was wanting to get it. I am happy with the 100-400 and use it with a 2X converter all the time now, using it mainly for wild life. Look in my gallery and any wild life pictures in there will have come from using the canon lens. It is sharp enough for me with the 2X at max tele, I don't know about the 150-500.
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Old 18-05-2009, 23:08   #4 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

I'd probably go for the 150-500mm for the OS and the lens has had pretty good reviews - but I don't just take birds/wildlife so would use the zoom more. The 400mm will be sharper (and you could add a 1.4x TC for only 1 stop and slight quality penalty) but the Sigma OS will give you 3 stops

Don't think the 100-400mm will be within budget and it's certainly a nice lens but not up to the 400mm for quality (I use one a fair bit - and for birds it's always stuck @ 400mm!). I'm toying with getting the 120-500mm (just love the thought of that extra reach, flexibilty and OS!) - and never had any probs with my other Sigma lenses which I use most days

As an aside, I'll add that most of my bird shots are taken with a 300mm (occasionally add a 1.4x) - have to get a little closer but the quality of a prime @ f/4 with IS makes it worth it!
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Old 18-05-2009, 23:50   #5 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Have a look in my gallery. The birds on the 2nd and 3rd pages were taken with the 150-500 all at about 500 and hand held. That may help you a bit.
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Old 19-05-2009, 02:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by pip View Post
looking to purchase a lens for birding, the sigma 150-500 and the canon 400 f5.6
seem to fit the bill but after reading that many reviews i,m still undecied. eos 50d budget max £1000.owners views and pictures appreciated. pip
Hello... I am also "New" here, but having a 100-400 lens, can I offer my twopennorth...
(alongside all the other advice)

At extreme zoom, I have problems with light, and have to raise the ISO, even in strong daylight, to get a good shot at times, especially with Wildlife that has a habit of not staying still for slower exposures... this, of course, alters the quality of the result I get.... if your "Longer" sigma lens comes more than 67mm across that mine is, then you may get the light you need....
It looks as though the Sigma says its about 86mm?...

I would say the Canon lens would be the better bet, as that would probably be guaranteed to have inbuilt IS, image stabilisation, but if the Sigma has IS, I note it uses "OS", Optical stabilisation, I can say that Sigma lenses are quite a good buy, as I have two here... the 200mil on my EOS, and the same size for an old Pentax ME super, both give excellent results.

Of the two lenses you have indicated, both get good write-ups, you know for sure that the Canon one will work with IS and Autofocus, but will the Sigma's own autofocus and OS system be compatible?... is there anywhere close to you that has that lens that will allow you to put it on your camera to find out for sure?...

If you are paying that much for the lens, I would suggest handling the thing before you buy.
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Old 19-05-2009, 08:18   #7 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Dragon View Post
I would say the Canon lens would be the better bet, as that would probably be guaranteed to have inbuilt IS, image stabilisation, but if the Sigma has IS, I note it uses "OS", Optical stabilisation, I can say that Sigma lenses are quite a good buy, as I have two here... the 200mil on my EOS, and the same size for an old Pentax ME super, both give excellent results.

Of the two lenses you have indicated, both get good write-ups, you know for sure that the Canon one will work with IS and Autofocus, but will the Sigma's own autofocus and OS system be compatible?... is there anywhere close to you that has that lens that will allow you to put it on your camera to find out for sure?...

If you are paying that much for the lens, I would suggest handling the thing before you buy.
The Canon 400mm f/5.6 does not have IS whereas the Sigma does have OS (Optical Stabilisation - the Sigma designation for IS just as Nikon uses VR - they all do the same thing)

To explain the "compatability" and "communicate better" issues: Sigma are a lens manufacturer who's reputation is built on providing lens for a number of camera makes. They reverse engineer their lenses to achieve compatability (essentially take a competitive lens to bits and find out how to make one that'll work). As a result all their lenses will work on all cameras on release. However, the competitive manufacturer might then bring out a new camera and change the specs that then stop Sigma lenses working - happens rarely but does happen. Sigma will "re-chip" your lens, for free, to the new camera. I've used Sigma lenses for years and have never found it necessary to re-chip nor have found any other cross-manufacturer issues (and I hear the same stories on Tamron and other 3rd party manufacturers)

Handling the lens on your camera is definitely the best solution - I'd highly recommend hiring both lenses over a weekend if you can't find someone from whom you could have a lend
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Old 19-05-2009, 16:44   #8 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
The Canon 400mm f/5.6 does not have IS whereas the Sigma does have OS (Optical Stabilisation - the Sigma designation for IS just as Nikon uses VR - they all do the same thing)
Oooops....Am I looking at the wrong lens review then?....
This page
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens Review
Says it has IS.....
That is where I took my info from.
Quote:
One of my favorite lens features found on the 100-400 is image stabilization. The image stabilizer helps significantly when handholding in low light -
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Old 19-05-2009, 16:49   #9 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
- I'd highly recommend hiring both lenses over a weekend if you can't find someone from whom you could have a lend

Apologies, I hit send too soon, I think there is a website called #lensesforhire.co.uk# (Link altered in case its wrong...) google for it, but there are actually places that do do the lens hire thing, if that helps anyone?...
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Old 19-05-2009, 18:19   #10 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Dragon View Post
Oooops....Am I looking at the wrong lens review then?....
This page
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens Review
Says it has IS.....
That is where I took my info from.
Ahh, gotcha! Not the wrong review but the options were:
Quote:
Originally Posted by pip View Post
looking to purchase a lens for birding, the sigma 150-500 and the canon 400 f5.6 seem to fit the bill but after reading that many reviews i,m still undecied. eos 50d budget max £1000.owners views and pictures appreciated. pip
and the 100-400mm is more than £1k (tho' appreciate there might be a s/h one at that price)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Dragon View Post
Apologies, I hit send too soon, I think there is a website called #lensesforhire.co.uk# (Link altered in case its wrong...) google for it, but there are actually places that do do the lens hire thing, if that helps anyone?...
Quite a few, including me, have hired lenses from them - I'd certainly thoroughly recommend them
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Old 20-05-2009, 07:50   #11 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
and the 100-400mm is more than £1k (tho' appreciate there might be a s/h one at that price)
Mark
There is a VERY good second-hand camera shop in Manchester that I use...
I bought the Cosina 100-400 there, immaculate condition, for under £100, with a lens filter holder thrown in.... Usually second-hand "BIG" zooms are sold because of under-use and being just too dam big to carry about for us mere mortal, or, the owner has part-ex'ed for a bigger (better) one....

I was going to trade the ol' Pentax ME super in, but for what its worth, I decided to keep it.
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Old 22-05-2009, 17:58   #12 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
There is a VERY good second-hand camera shop in Manchester that I use...
I bought the Cosina 100-400 there, immaculate condition, for under £100, with a lens filter holder thrown in.... Usually second-hand "BIG" zooms are sold because of under-use and being just too dam big to carry about for us mere mortal, or, the owner has part-ex'ed for a bigger (better) one....
Could you post up address of said shop in Manchester please.
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Old 23-05-2009, 01:49   #13 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

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Could you post up address of said shop in Manchester please.
I can "Show" you the shop, scroll down the page to get the address & phone number, its on Lever st, about 3 mins walk from Picadilly.....
The Real Camera Company - Manchester Camera Retailer
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Old 23-05-2009, 14:45   #14 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

I've owned most of the options for birds and wildlife. The 100-400mm can be a great lens but suffers inconsistency issues. If you go that route check performance at 400mm wide open. Not all copies are equal. You need a birding lens that does well at its longest length. Most copies will be fine by f8 and with good ISO performance of most recent bodies you may be OK, but if you want a wider aperture then just check. The 150-500mm has a better OS/IS (4 v's 2 stop on the Canon) and has a better range, but it is big and heavy. These mid range, slower zooms will all be fine at f8 and IQ differences will be small. I would have another Sigma as gave me great results, while my 2 x 100-400mm's didn't unless stopped down. The 400mm L is at the next level and for birds in flight the super fast AF will count. Lovely design, very simple to use and super sharp even wide open. I'd say get a monopod, a cheap Manfrotto will be fine, as it'll up your keep ratio. I've had three 400mm's L's and all performed superbly. I have never seen any issues reported with it. Very consistent quality.
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Old 23-05-2009, 16:29   #15 (permalink)
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Re: birding lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Dragon View Post
I can "Show" you the shop, scroll down the page to get the address & phone number, its on Lever st, about 3 mins walk from Picadilly.....
The Real Camera Company - Manchester Camera Retailer
Cheers for that, I'll have a look when I'm next up there.
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