canon lens for 7D

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dicutting10
dicutting10's picture
canon lens for 7D

Hi I would love some feedback.  I have a Canon 7D camera  and have recently purchased an EF Prime 400 mm f/5.6 L USM lens.  I have had some fantastic results with this lens, but do find it a bit restrictive in that it is rather heavy and as I mainly photograph birds in flight I am looking for a lighter lens that will focus quickly.  The 400 mm lens is a bit slow to focus on a bird in flight, mostly by the time I can focus the bird has gone.  Also some of our little wrens etc come up really close and I cannot focus with the 400.  Any suggestions.  look forward to any comments - Diane Canberra

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Hi, Diane. I am not sure of your knowledge with your camera so if i state the obvious don't take it the wrong way.

Your 400 should focus very quick, what i use is AI servo for focus and back button focus and centre point or centre expanded, even with my slow Sigma it keeps up quite well.

As for weight i don't think you will find anything lighter than your 400 at that focal length.

For your close birds the 300 f4 will focus to about 60cm compered to the 400 5.6 1.5m (approx).

The weight difference is minimal but you can put a 1.4X converter on the 300 to get extra reach.

Hope this helps.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

dna1972
dna1972's picture

Shorty,

If you can get me either those lenses capable of focusing as close as you claim, let me know where I get one.

The 300/4L IS USM has a MFD (minimum focusing distance) of 1.5 meters.

The 400/5.6L USM has a MFD of 3.5 meters.

Dianne

The 400/5.6 is the best overall short and light super telephoto lens for flight photography. It will get lighter, the more you use it. Don't give up too easy. You have not provided enough detail on what your birds are that you are attempting to photograph. There are a number of factors to take into account/understand so you can successfully shoot flying birds with a camera.

For flight photography, I always select the center AF point. Actually about 80% of the time I use that AF point. Rear AF-On button focusing is good if you can get used to it. I have been shooting birds for seven plus years now and have just recently converted to the rear AF button. I find that more useful for normal bird photography, not flight. In flight, when you are panning, worrying about two fingers doing things makes the process somewhat more confusing if you are only a beginner. However, I don't muck around to change the AF button selection in between shots as I'd be sure to miss way too many opportunitues. So I have converted to the rear AF-on button focus. Panning is hard enough for larger birds, but very difficult for small, fast fliers and that is regardless of what lens one uses. Though the longer focal lengths become far more challenging.

AI-servo focus mode is the best as it allows for subject movement as you are panning. This mode makes sure the focus remains locked on.

For flight photography in general, one must be very quick to react to a situation and find the bird in the viewfinder, then pan as one takes a sequence of images. While it may sound easy being typed into a text field, flight photography is far more difficult than general perching bird photography as you have to have very good reflexes, solid understanding of your camera's functions and constraints as well to get the best out of a given situation.

My best suggestion is to go to your local duck pond where the birds are people friendly and practice on flying ducks or other larger birds. Let us know how you go.

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Dna, yep bad maths on my side, was converting Imperial to metric and got it very wrongwink

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

dna1972
dna1972's picture

All good mate. yes

You'd have bugger all depth of field with a 300mm at 60cm! There is bugger all at 1.5m!

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