600mm best (cost effective) option for Canon

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Martin
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#1
Folks,

I have been pfaffing about for ages over this so decided to get some advice / thoughts.

I have found myself spending more time at my local nature reserve shooting birds than I ever expected to.

I currently use a 5d3 and 7d2 with the MK1 Canon 100-400 and frequently find myself needing more mm or better ISO performance so have to switch to the 5d3 which further reduces the focal length.

So...

I am looking for a cost effective solution to my problem as I just cannot justify the price of a 600 F4 to myself no matter how much it would be "nice" to have one.

I think my options are:-

Tamron 150-600 £899 Cheap, Hand holdable decent IQ, not weather sealed
Sigma 150-600 C £899 (+39) Cheap, Hand holdable decent IQ, not weather sealed
Sigma 150-600 S £1219 (+39) Cost effective, needs a monopod, better IQ than the C and Tamron (but not by much?), weather sealed
Sigma 120-300 with 2 x £2409+329+39 Expensive, needs a monopod, good IQ without TC, weather sealed, can be used for other things (I already have a 70-200 F2.8)

Anybody been through the same or seen some decent comparative reviews yet ?

Any alternatives I have missed?

Any advice greatly received
 
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Jim
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#3
New 100-400 MkII plus 1.4 MkIII or 2x MkIII extender
 
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mipevo6
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Martin
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#6
Next step is to re-look at your budget, £3.5k of camera bodies and looking to go cheap on glass is the wrong way round IMHO.
300 2.8 mk2 loves converters :D
4599 + 299 is certainly more cost effective than the 600 F4...

I will have to go look at some tests

Thanks
 

fracster

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#7
Buy a 5 or 600 prime, you`ll always wonder how good they are if you don`t.

Just remortgage the house or summat....:D
 
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Rob
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#8
I, too, couldn't justify the cost of the 600mm canon so i opted for the 300mm 2.8 with a 1.4x converter and a 2.0x converter giving me 300mm, 480mm and 600mm respectively and this used with your 7D will give you more when you take into account the 1.6x crop sensor.
 

Neil B

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#9
4599 + 299 is certainly more cost effective than the 600 F4...

I will have to go look at some tests

Thanks
You get 3 lenses adding the 1.4x and the luxury of being able to ditch the tripod/monopod, i've had/tried all the top end gear and believe this is the best set up if you want to stay mobile.
 
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#10
I have found myself spending more time at my local nature reserve shooting birds than I ever expected to.
Good on you ... do you plan on spending even more time togging birds?
If so you will never have enough reach, so you will need quality glass to keep you happy ... I had the Tamron 150-600 and loved its cost, convenience and usability.
However at f6.3 at the long end it does need good light for small birds and the like and neither it nor the others will ever give the quality of a good prime.
If a s/h 300 f2.8 or 500/600 f4 is really out of the question, the Tamron will suit your pocket and will serve you well but there will always be some images where you say "If only" :)
 
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mipevo6
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#11
You get 3 lenses adding the 1.4x and the luxury of being able to ditch the tripod/monopod, i've had/tried all the top end gear and believe this is the best set up if you want to stay mobile.
I, too, couldn't justify the cost of the 600mm canon so i opted for the 300mm 2.8 with a 1.4x converter and a 2.0x converter giving me 300mm, 480mm and 600mm respectively and this used with your 7D will give you more when you take into account the 1.6x crop sensor.
Do you have any real world examples with the 2x ?
Preferably yours of course :)
 
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#13
My Sigma 120-300 didn't play nice with a 2x, photo quality seemed ok but AF was very unreliable unless in perfect conditions.
 

fracster

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#14
You get 3 lenses adding the 1.4x and the luxury of being able to ditch the tripod/monopod, i've had/tried all the top end gear and believe this is the best set up if you want to stay mobile.
I`m seriously thinking of ditching the 500 and getting a 300 2.8 Neil. Should work well with all Nikons three tc`s.
 
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#18
Who told you that you need a monopod with the sigma 150.600 sport ,I use mine hand held 90% of the time ,tried a tripod but it's to much faffing around for me ,o.k I,m not a ten stone weakling but I,m nearly 70 years old . It's the cheapest option to 600 mm that retains decent I.q and you won't be buying someone else's reject Lens either
 
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#20
Who told you that you need a monopod with the sigma 150.600 sport ,I use mine hand held 90% of the time ,tried a tripod but it's to much faffing around for me ,o.k I,m not a ten stone weakling but I,m nearly 70 years old . It's the cheapest option to 600 mm that retains decent I.q and you won't be buying someone else's reject Lens either
LOL I picked one up at the photoshow I thought it was pretty hefty and very front heavy.

I really want to play with one myself to see if I am happy with the IQ as right now the 2 options look like

1220 v 5200
 
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#21
I have just got a used 400DO (mk1) which takes both x1.4 and x2 TCs very well and I am delighted with the results.

I have had 500f4 and 600f4 lenses (mk1 again) from Canon and also the Sigma 120-300 (all three versions) and the light weight of the 400DO wins me over everytime.

Ignore the internet chatter about a lack of contrast with this lens and it not taking TCs. Mine is a 2012 model and I could not be happier.
 
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#23
hi I am not a cannon user so probably not relevant but I have a sony a77 mk2 and went the cheap route of sigma 150- 500 for my first long lens but it was for me a mistake I bought a Minolta 300mm 2.8 af recently and even with a 2x converter on it completely blows away all my other lenses including my sony 70-400 mk2 and as a 300 prime its awesome and the lens was produced in 1983 and works in every way with the converter and reports all info as it should, away what I am trying to say is you cant beat high quality glass
 
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mipevo6
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#24
Folks,

Thank you for all the responses.

Time to go do some more research I guess.
 
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#25
I'm with Neil B. To get the best from your current bodies you need good glass. The 300 f2.8 is expensive for a reason. It's probably the fastest focusing sharpest lens that Canon make. It's arguably the fastest focusing sharpest lens in the super tele field of any manufacturer.

I hired one last year and it was just superb.

It's a once in a lifetime purchase for a lot of people and it's a lot of money. Only you can decide if it's worth it to you.
 
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#26
Try the 1.4 converter with your existing 100/400 and see what you think, you can always get rid of it for very little loss of money. I tried mine on my 400 prime and was amazed at how little degredation there was, haven't tried it on the zoom (yet).
Only took a few shots, so my technique may not have helped either.
Where are you based Martin, you're more than welcome if you're local to me (Harpenden, Herts, AL5) to have a play with my 1.4
(I used it on my 5D3)
 
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#27
I don't shoot Canon but went through the same thing with Nikon. I owned a 300 F2.8 and latest 2xTC but found I was using the TC most of the time to get the reach I needed.

I opted for a used 500 F4 in the end. I have a 1.4 TC but find that I rarely use it.

If you think you can get good use out of 300, 480 and 600mm then the 300 is a great option. But if you think you will want to be at 600mm most of the time then well worth thinking about the prime.

Dave.
 
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#29
I use a MKI 300mm f2.8 IS with MKIII converters and have to say the quality is superb but like Dave I rarely use it on it's own as I am continually wanting more reach. I tried the 150-600mm sport for a few weeks but in the end returned it because (IMO) it was lacking contrast and I wasn't getting enough detail on distant subjects (although I still don't know if just had a bad copy of the lens). Both weigh about the same.

I have toyed with the idea of a 400mm DO MKI and 1.4x which gives a very handholdable 560mm f5.6 but tbh I think the sensible option is probably the 500mm f4.

Anyway if you want shots taken with the MKI 300mm and 2x I have no problem posting a couple here rather than trying to increase my view count by linking to Flickr ;)
 
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#30
Another user of the 300 2.8 mk2 here, it really is a superb piece of glass and concure that it works very well with mk3 extenders.

300 & x2TC wide open at F5.6

HERE

Plenty of others with this lens bare and with extenders on my Flickr if your bored, all EXIF should be available to see.
 
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#31
Another user of 300 2.8 Mk1 with convertors, was looking to go down the 150-600 route. Tried one, and to be honest was decent. But not in the same league as the 300mm.
Only you will decide, and its difficult.
Steve
 
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#32
The 120-300 really doesn't take the 2x TC well. In fact I don't use it much at all for that reason.

On the other hand the bargains forum has a thread on the Tamron 150-600 - Currently £680 from Amazon.it. European sales so full warranty from Nikon. A snip at that price!
 

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#33
there seems to be a lot of recomendations for the canon 300mm but has anyone tried the sigma 300mm 2.8 with and without tc's
 
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#34
I have a mate who had the Sigma for quite a while before buying the Canon 300 2.8 MkII. I don't think you'd persuade home to go back to the sigma even though he had some very nice results with it.
 
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#35
Folks,

Thank you for all the responses.

Time to go do some more research I guess.
Seriously advise hiring the last couple on your shortlist before buying. Choosing expensive kit like this on the basis of reviews and opinions is not easy, so much depends on actual use/situation and subjective qualities.
 
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#37
I would agree with the 300 f2.8 with 1.4x and 2x converters. That's my set up for wildlife and it covers 300 to 600 mm . Image quality superb (IMO), never had the nerve to handhold that much though. Always on a Monopod or Tripod with Gimbal
 
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#38
Another vote here for the Canon 300mm F/2.8 Mk2 - not only good with the x1.4 and x2 Mk3 TCs, but as a bare lens the 300mm has a close focussing capability for butterflies / dragonflies etc

Russ
....What is that MFD, Russ?
 
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#39
@Neil B Having now seen your excellent images on Flickr you will be horrified to know that I am now stalking Following you.
 
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mipevo6
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#40
@Neil B Having now seen your excellent images on Flickr you will be horrified to know that I am now stalking Following you.
LOL me too...

Folks,

Seriously some good advice on this thread.

The issue is always how do we justify the really expensive glass v the ok glass.

I know the rest of my L glass out performs the non L stuff and the Canon (and probably Nikons) tele primes are outstanding.

The 300 does sound like a decent compromise between weight and flexibility, but as pointed out I can see myself being pegged pretty much at the 600 most of the time when doing birds.

The other options are (using camerpricebuster pricing , would anybody buy one of these Grey?)

300 2.8 x 2 = 600 5.6 £4900
400 DO x 1.4 = 560 5.6 £7300
400 2.8 x 2 = 800 5.6 £7700 (does this take converters well?)
500 4 x 1.4 = 700 5.6 £7100

So once you go above the 300 the pricing becomes quite similar.

But the price hike to the 300 route is 4X v the Sigma route and would it be 4x better?

Then jumping again is 1.5x the price....

Onestopdigital sell the 300 for 3799 which means you could get the converters as well for the best UK price.

@HoppyUK is probably right and it may well be worth hiring the 300 with a converter and trying it out.

Tied myself back in knots again......
 
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