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Lightweight lens (1 Viewer)

iraqbabbler

Well-known member
I've been using a canon 20D with the old version of the 70-300mm zoom, but I have decided to upgrade to a 7D mark II. However, I'm not sure which lens to get. I was pretty sure that I'd go for the new canon 100-400mm mark II, but it is considerably bulkier than what I've been used to.

I'm also considering the 70-300 mm L series zoom as a lighter alternative. I mean is the extra 100mm going to make that much of a difference as far as reach is concerned? What do other birders think about the 7d mark II + the 70-300mm combination?

Are there other lightweight lenses I could consider?

I am more of a birder than a bird photographer, but I do enjoy taking shots of birds; especially when I go traveling to new places.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
I posted the thread on size matters to give a visual idea of reach but in simple terms and in your case of the 70-300 vs 100-400 the latter has a very significant 25% extra reach and a very significant 20% better minimum focus distance if you fancy chancing your arm at a bit of macro photography when the opportunity arises.
The 70-300 does have a weight advantage but I guess it's what you get used to. When I first purchased a 300mm f2.8 I thought it was massive. It isn't, you don't even need a tripod for it. The 600mm f4 Mk1 is massive.
I have a 70-200mm f2.8 which is 100gms lighter than the 100-400 and I consider that lightweight.
On the other hand if you are considering the 70-300 DO lens it is very light indeed.

The difference in the 7D2 and the 20D is so significant I think I would just buy the camera body before going any further. The old 70-300 will probably not be worth very much anyway and I'm not sure there is much point or advantage in upgrading it although I can't speak from experience having never owned one.
That aside, I would then think about getting the 100-400 as well.
Good luck in your decision!
 

iraqbabbler

Well-known member
Thanks for the advice, Dave. I was thinking of the L series 70-300; I presume it has better IQ than the DO version, am I right? I suppose 25% extra reach is significant, but I wonder if the 70-300 would still be alright, especially given that the 7d will provide 20 megapixels which is a huge improvement on the meager 8 megapixels I've been used to with the 20D.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
I use the 7D2 and 100-400 mk2 as a walkabout setup. I use a shoulder strap (attached to the lens foot) and find that I can carry this for extended periods without any aches and pains.

Much as I liked my 20D the 7D2 is a vast improvement in all respects, but then it is a very much newer design. You will see at least a 2 stop improvement in high ISO, vastly improved AF speed and tracking as well as much greater flexibility. The frame rate and increased buffer will be a revelation too. Whatever you decide on the lens front the 7D2 will be a huge upgrade.

Whilst the 70-300 L is a very nice lens I think that you would really miss the reach of the 100-400. Mine is normally used at 400mm and frequently with a 1.4 extender attached! Another alternative is the Canon 400 F5.6L. A very nice lens and cheaper/lighter. Do bear in mind though that it is a prime and has no IS - not issues for me personally but it can be for some users.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Thanks for the advice, Dave. I was thinking of the L series 70-300; I presume it has better IQ than the DO version, am I right? I suppose 25% extra reach is significant, but I wonder if the 70-300 would still be alright, especially given that the 7d will provide 20 megapixels which is a huge improvement on the meager 8 megapixels I've been used to with the 20D.

I have never owned any of the 70-300 series but in terms of IQ I doubt there will be any difference whatsoever between the three non DO ones.I know nothing of DO lenses either.
Lens improvements are more likely to be faster focussing, lighter weight or image stabilisation improvements all are which are good to have but at the end of the day the focal length is exactly the same and the glass capable of producing just as sharp an image. That's why, for the outlay involved I would consider getting some significant reach advantage such as the 100-400 offers.
 

ApusApus

Well-known member
I posted the thread on size matters to give a visual idea of reach but in simple terms and in your case of the 70-300 vs 100-400 the latter has a very significant 25% extra reach and a very significant 20% better minimum focus distance if you fancy chancing your arm at a bit of macro photography when the opportunity arises.
The 70-300 does have a weight advantage but I guess it's what you get used to. When I first purchased a 300mm f2.8 I thought it was massive. It isn't, you don't even need a tripod for it. The 600mm f4 Mk1 is massive.
I have a 70-200mm f2.8 which is 100gms lighter than the 100-400 and I consider that lightweight.
On the other hand if you are considering the 70-300 DO lens it is very light indeed.

The difference in the 7D2 and the 20D is so significant I think I would just buy the camera body before going any further. The old 70-300 will probably not be worth very much anyway and I'm not sure there is much point or advantage in upgrading it although I can't speak from experience having never owned one.
That aside, I would then think about getting the 100-400 as well.
Good luck in your decision!


Just a small point but isn't the increase in reach 33% and not 25%, ie it's going from 300 to 400mm which is even more significant?


Shane
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Just a small point but isn't the increase in reach 33% and not 25%, ie it's going from 300 to 400mm which is even more significant?


Shane

You have got me there,I don't know for sure!
The way I see it is if you now have 400mm it's 25% more than the 300mm you had before but you may well be right.
Either way it's not to be sneezed at!
cheers Dave
 

GrahameNZ

Well-known member
The difference in fl is even more apparent when you put a 1.4 tc on the lens.
420mm and 560mm
Unless your mainly working with larger birds reasonably close up 300mm is too short.
Don't waste all those lovely new mega pixels you are getting by cropping them away in post.
 

stevegg

Well-known member
I would start by getting the 400mm f5.6 prime lens. It's super sharp, lightweight and the cheapest of the long telephotos. Unless you are shooting large birds from very close you will be at 400mm with the zoom. I don't miss IS on this lens.
 

miketoll

Well-known member
I have the 7D mkII and use it with the 100-400 mk II and it is a superb combination plus it will autofocus well with the 1.4 converter (centre point + four helper points) with little effect on image quality. The IS is very good and worth having making handheld shots straightforward.
In the past I had the original mkI 70-300 and it was poor compared to anything else.
I then bought the 70-300 DO which was better but eventually died so I then got the 70-300 L. This is a superb lens far sharper than any of the other 70-300s but it is far too short for bird photography. It will take the latest Kenko 1.4 converter (not the Canon one) as long as you turn off the lens correction in the cameras menu (If you don't the camera basically goes haywire and you get a weird distorted circular image plus the camera may lock up).
Hope that helps.
 

PeteQuad

Well-known member
A 400mm has 33% more reach (100mm more, which is 33% of 300mm). Sorry I couldn't let this go as a former math major ;).

I could not be happy with 300mm for birds unless I only took pictures of ducks, geese and herons. I had a 300mm zoom for years and could never get close enough to anything small for a decent shot.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
A 400mm has 33% more reach (100mm more, which is 33% of 300mm). Sorry I couldn't let this go as a former math major ;).

OK smarty pants , I failed my maths O level ( aged 15 years) twice before I eventually passed.:-C:-C:-C

No offence intended of course!!!!
 

mike_gss

VERY new birder
I use the 7D2 and 100-400 mk2 as a walkabout setup. I use a shoulder strap (attached to the lens foot) and find that I can carry this for extended periods without any aches and pains.

Apart from the body type I have this set up too. Yes, the mk2 is pretty heavy (c.1.6Kg) but the shoulder strap (Black Rapid) makes carrying the camera very easy. If the strap length is correctly adjusted the camera hangs, lens down, nicely by your hip. It's even easier to carry at the 100mm (shorter) setting. The camera can be quickly brought up to the eye for shooting by the free-sliding buckle. Yes, the 100-400mk2 is heavy (heavier than the 400/f5.6) but the IS is very impressive (IMHO). I can shoot hand-held, wide open (f5.6) at 400mm and ISO 400 at 1/60 seconds pretty reasonably.

Incidentally I bought mine from HDEW Cameras - significantly cheaper than other retailers. Technically it's a grey import but reading other threads on this subject this seems to matter little as it's the same genuine Canon product that non-grey retailers sell and the guarantee seems just as good.
 

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