Time for new (L) glass

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Itsed65

Well-Known Member
OK, so I have run into some extra cash lately (the only good thing about mandated overtime I guess), and want to upgrade at the longer reach range of my gear. I shoot with a Canon 40D and a 5DII. I'm thinking of either a 100-400L or the 300 F4L. I already have the canon 70-200 2.8L and the canon 1.4 TC.

Does anyone have experience shooting trains with a prime telephoto? I do shoot a lot of other things as well, wildlife, aircraft, landscapes and so on. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has either of these and any comparisons, thanks.

Ed
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
I much prefer my primes, I have a 20/1.8, 50/1.4 and a 100/2.8 and use them more often than zooms altho lately I am using my 70-200/2.8 a lot just to get comfortable with it. In my case I was going to go with the 200/2.8 prime, but some extra funds came along and the flexibility of 70-200 won me over. I used it exclusively for some recent zoo shots where it was perfect.

My trackside shooting is just better served with shorter glass, not longer, but that's likely a factor of my locations more than anything else. Simply put, the primes are sharper and more useable trackside. Of all my lenses the 20/1.8 (Sigma) is really the most useful trackside. Yeah, I can get close....

The 300/4 + 1.4 will get you 420/5.6, not real fast but nothing to sneeze at either. Realize that the longer you get the more important a tripod will become, limiting the flexibility of the long glass.

Don't forget the crop factor affects your shutter selection in consideration of the 1/mm rule: 300x1.4tc= 420mm, crop factor of 1.6x420=672; ~1/700 minimum shutter shutter hand held. Combine that with the max Av of f4*1.4= ~5.6 and you'll need some serious light or high ISO for even sunny day shoots.
 

CSX 700

New Member
The 300/4 + 1.4 will get you 420/5.6, not real fast but nothing to sneeze at either. Realize that the longer you get the more important a tripod will become, limiting the flexibility of the long glass.

Don't forget the crop factor affects your shutter selection in consideration of the 1/mm rule: 300x1.4tc= 420mm, crop factor of 1.6x420=672; ~1/700 minimum shutter shutter hand held. Combine that with the max Av of f4*1.4= ~5.6 and you'll need some serious light or high ISO for even sunny day shoots.
Personally I would vote for the 100-400L IS. Its a great lens, have had mine for nearly 8 years now. It covers an incredible range and image quality is superb. I too have the 70-200L F2.8 IS but usually my first choice is the 100-400L when I am out.

With the Image Stabilized lenses you can get away with far slower shutter speeds than in the examples above. With my 100-400L I can shoot at 400mm 1/125 with excellent results handheld. With good technique you can get away with even slower speeds, depending on the subject. You still have to have a proper shutter speed to freeze the subject ofcourse but the Image Stabilization will compensate for camera shake and its quite obvious when you press down on the shutter and the IS activates.

Bryan Jones
Brooks,KY
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
I am not sure how much extra cash you have, but if you can afford it, I would go for the 300/F2.8 To me light is more important than range. Also, if you ever get a 2.0X teleconverter, it won't work with the 100 to 400.
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
You should clarify that Brad as that is a bit of a misnomer. The lens itself will work with the 2x, however autofocus will not.
 

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
I am not sure how much extra cash you have,
Not THAT much :rolleyes:

I LOVE fast glass, and I did look at the 2.8, but the old version is 5 grand and sold out everywhere, and the NEW version is $6,600 (and not available yet)! :eek:

I use my big lenses mostly in daylight and outdoors though, so I can't justify the added cost at this time.

After a few days of reading all the reivews, and asking adivce on several forums along with this one (thanks for replying everyone!) I decided i couldn't decide.

So I bought both! I found a 9+ used copy of the 100-400 at B&H at a substantial discount, and used my credit card reward points to pay for about half of the 300 at Amazon. They will arrive just in time for my trip to Yosemite this weekend, and maybe even for some afternoon railfanning before that!

I will post rsamples of RR pics using both when I get the chance.

Thanks again everyone!

Ed
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
Simply put, the primes are sharper
Do you see a noticable difference?

I have an 80-200 f2.8 that out performs my shorter zooms. I've considered a 24-70 f2.8 that is reputed to be in the same class as the 80-200. But I could also spend the same money on a couple good primes, say a 24mm and a 50mm. When I get a free weekend I plan to rent a couple lenses from Calumet and shoot around the Chicago area.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
Do you see a noticable difference?

depends on the zoom and the prime and the pic, Pat. My 50/1.4 will clearly beat almost anything I have anytime, and any of my primes will beat my inexpensive 75-300 and the even moderately priced 28-135IS. However depending on the aperture, the 70-200/2.8L will easily beat my Sigma 20@1.8 (wide open) but around f8-10 the 20/1.8 is awesome and very much indistinguishable from what I can tell in the field. It's hard to compare them directly since one is 20 and the other can't go wider than 70.

But there are times when a zoom is required; last weekend we spent Saturday at an indoor "zoo" and the 70-200/2.8L was definitely the right choice for that. The biggest issue I had there was the minimum focus distance of the 70-200 is a problem at 5+ feet.

Hands down the best value (Nikon or Canon) is the 50/1.8. For a little over $100 you can get a sharper, clearer and just better pic than with most zooms costing 3-4x the amount; and it is incredibly fast! Every SLR shooter should have one. It is a good intro to the Joy of Primes.
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
Hands down the best value (Nikon or Canon) is the 50/1.8. For a little over $100 you can get a sharper, clearer and just better pic than with most zooms costing 3-4x the amount; and it is incredibly fast! Every SLR shooter should have one. It is a good intro to the Joy of Primes.
You've got that right. My "Nifty Fifty" takes sharper photos than my almost $500 17-40mm L.
 

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
I loved my nifty fifty until about the third time I had to put it back together. It does take great sharp photos, but it feels like it will fall apart if you blow on it too hard or, as in my case, it just stops working. I finally got the Canon 1.4 50mm and haven't looked back. I also have a sigma 30mm 1.4 that works really really well on my crop camera.

I agree primes generally take sharper photos, and I have a pretty good collection of them (20,30,50,85,100 and now 300 and yes I have a problem :rolleyes:) but since I have to shoot from either my car or a wheelchair, it limits my mobility flexibilty when using them, and that can be a challenge with shooting trains, so a zoom tends to work better for me in that situation. I still like to keep both bodies with me with different lenses though, so I am going to try keeping a prime on one of them from now on.

I have recievd both of my new lenses and am on my way to Yosemite tomorrow so I should have a good opportunity to try them both out on both bodies. Hopefully I will see some RR related stuff to shoot on the way there to try them out on.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
Hands down the best value (Nikon or Canon) is the 50/1.8. For a little over $100 you can get a sharper, clearer and just better pic than with most zooms costing 3-4x the amount; and it is incredibly fast! Every SLR shooter should have one. It is a good intro to the Joy of Primes.
The free weekend came and I shot a rented 24-70 f2.8 alongside a 50 f1.8. I skipped the brick wall and playing card comparisons. Instead I went track side, swapped the two back and forth between my two bodies and shot what came along in the light there was. Back home looking at what I have I can sometimes tell which body a given shot came from but I have to look at the Metadata to see which lens it was. One thing I did notice was the prime usually picking up an f stop and sometimes a bit more vs. the zoom. At $120-130 everybody should have one.
 




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