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Which Canon body for a 100-400 mkII? (1 Viewer)

Hello folks.

Post no.2 from me (just joined from the Cotswolds) and I'm already pestering for advice on what sort of gear to buy for bird photography.

I'm an ex-designer/photographer, with no previous experience of bird photography. I currently have a Fuji mirrorless set-up, but it's not something I'd use for bird or wildlife photography - it's been for discreet photo-journalism, corporate and architectural photography. (I also used to shoot a Canon 5DmkIII.)

My starting point is always glass, so for birding I'm thinking of a Canon 100-400 mkII lens, but for a body, I wonder what you would choose and why:

  • a Canon 7D mkII...
  • a Canon 6D mkII...
  • a Canon 90D.

    An articulated screen would be good, especially for other uses like macro, or if I ever do any more architectural work
I understand the general merits of both full-frame and crop, but if there are some blindingly obvious things I should know, in relation to bird photography, please educate me!

Thanks.
 
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colincurry

Well-known member
I have the 7D Mk2 and 100-400 Mk2 and they work pretty well for me. With bird photography, reach is always important and the 7D2 with its crop factor helps. I understand the auto focus is better than the other cameras quoted and more suited for birds, but those cameras' low light performance might well be better than the 7D2. Other than the 1D series and large primes, this combo was regarded as an excellent combination.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I have the 7D Mk2 and 100-400 Mk2 and they work pretty well for me. With bird photography, reach is always important and the 7D2 with its crop factor helps. I understand the auto focus is better than the other cameras quoted and more suited for birds, but those cameras' low light performance might well be better than the 7D2. Other than the 1D series and large primes, this combo was regarded as an excellent combination.
It's what I use as well and the combination of portability and quality not to mention frame rate is great for catching that exact moment rather than the moment just before or after the key one.

John
 
My friend has the 7DII that he uses for professional surfing and windsurfing photography. It's a solid camera. My other thought was mirrorless and a Canon RP. Given that I'll be shooting 6-8fps, a camera could reach 100,000 actuations pretty quickly. The low light performance would probably be better, but I'd sacrifice reach, unless I add a teleconverter. But then I do look after my gear, and what's the cost of a service for the mirror mechanism every few years?

I guess it's more a reservation about having switched from full frame Cannon to Fuji, I do like mirrorless - not least for the EVFs and live view, something I never thought I'd say. Not sure I want to go back to DSLR in a hurry, feels like a retrograde step. Pity the camera shops are closed.

This is a decision for April anyway, so there's no rush - just thought I'd do my research during lockdown.
.
 
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Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Canon Service for the UK can be found at: https://www.canon.co.uk/pro/services/maintenance/
They don't seem to be as straight forward as the US Service as to the cost, but from experience I know that in the US it is clearer what you get and what you pay. Look here and scroll down to the "Maintenance Services Offered": https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/support/self-help-center/canon-maintenance-service

This is something that I didn't really think about when I purchased the camera, but even with the 7D I rack up a lot of shutter activations. Just checked and at about 5 1/2 years in I have 76,000 on the shutter count and no issues other than the ubiquitous fine dust that gets into and on everything here in China. That includes carrying it with me through brush, marsh reeds, blowing beach sand, -20°C here in NorthEast China, 43° C in Gulf Coast Texas humidity, it has been rained on and baked in the sun and never failed me. I used the service in the US two years ago for my 7D and they checked out the proper operation of everything, updated the firmware and cleaned the sensor and took care of the reason I sent it in which was an annoying amount of dust that had worked its way up into the viewfinder system. As I remember, the service list included a note saying something like, "Inspected and lubricated shutter system as needed". All for the $129 quoted on the website, which included shipping.

These services are for the higher end "professional" bodies. The RF, mirrorless, bodies are new enough that they don't have a listing on service costs for them, but I would expect, given the cost of such, that they will eventually cover them and be similar in cost. Note that many of the mirrorless cameras of any make do have mechanical shutters, so you have the option of using the mechanical shutter to to avoid rolling shutter on fast moving subjects such as BIF or the Electronic shutter only for higher ISO performance and truly silent shutter.

Back to the original issue - For birding you often just can't get close to your subject and the crop sensors give you that added reach to be able to go back home and crop in really close to verify or solidify that bird your just not certain about. As for what brand of camera, you can get great shots with about any of the front runners. I prefer Canon for the the ergonomics, (relatively) easier menus, excellent color science and truly superb glass. No matter what you go with be sure to check on the cost of the glass to go with that body. No matter what brand the top quality glass to support that top quality body is going to be expensive. The standard go to for birding is generally the 100-400mm zoom lenses. Do to the dust issues I fight, I am considering getting a fixed 400mm or fixed 300mm with a 1.4 extender, but that is a special use case.

Canon has discontinued the 7D so you would likely have to go used there, but it is an excellent choice. The 90D is an interesting less expensive option. My brother went with the 90D and it produces wildlife images that I would say are at least as good as my 7D, in some cases, such as higher ISO, better. Not built for as long a service life though - not as well weather sealed and I think the designed shutter count on it is 100,000 whereas my 7D is 200,000.

I am still tempted to tryout the Canon R body. Specs are a little higher than the RP and still affordable compared to the R5 or R6. Also the high ISO performance is reported to be remarkable and they all are reported to give superb results even with the new very affordable 600mm and 800mm f/11 fixed RF mount lenses. Since I do almost exclusively wildlife, I am considering getting an R body and just keeping a 600mm f/11 lens more or less permanently attached. The other option is to wait until the end of the year and see what the cost is like on the promised R7 crop body.

As for the 6D, it is a great camera, but any of the new RF mirrorless look like they would outperform it, so I would probably advise not going that way.
 
Thanks Owen. On reflection, I'll probably stick with mirrorless and buy a Fuji X-T3 or 4 (I have the X-T1) and a Fuji 100-400 lens.
 

Gronk08

Well-known member
If you wish to go mirror less the Sony system is worth looking at and their 200-600 lens. With Canon I have not seen how the RP works with the 100 - 500 but it's a solid lens although you may not fancy the f7.1 at the top end but looks like a solid lens.
Tim.
 

Jim Bennett

Canon User R6 5DMkIIII
Supporter
I am a happy snapper, I have the 5DMk4 and the R6 I love the 5D so will not part with it but this R6 is another kettle of fish I have had it a while now and its getting better every time I use it and with it being able to use the X2 Mk3 I have 800mm at my disposal got a deer the other day that I had to zoom out to 600mm to get it in frame and it nailed it on the lowest FPS setting if I had it on the 20 wow.
 

S.Davis

New member
If you are not in a rush to purchase your gear, it might pay to have a look at the new Canon R6 - there are some interesting (and tempting!) reviews on line especially if you are familiar with mirrorless.... Check out Duade Paton on YouTube for example.
The new ‘bird eye’ autofocus looks incredible 😄
I have several friends who have the 100-400 mkii lens, and it is fantastic - streets ahead of the mki !
 

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