Best long lens on a budget

 
Best long lens on a budget
Best long lens on a budget
Introduction

Wildlife, bird or other telephoto photography. Canon or Nikon body needed a long lens. Preferably 400mm or longer. What are the parameters of the ideal lens ?
700mm f4(sharpest at f4) and not more than 1,5kg (does not exist). Something like this would be the preferred solution. What are the real possibilities: canon 500mm f4 with a 1,4h converter.
Sharp, f5,6, but little bit more than 4kg (with the converter.) Only problem for most people is the rather significant price tag. With the same amount of money easily can be bought a used car for example. Same can be said for the 800 f5,6, 600 f4, or even the 300 f2,8 lenses. For people who are not rich, or simply don’t want to spend that much on a lens, perhaps must look elsewhere. Something similar is true for Nikon lenses as well. The category below that lenses is the Canon 400 f5,6 (in my opinion the best value super telephoto), Canon/Nikon 300 f4 lenses with or without a teleconverter. For many people even these lenses are not affordable. Personally my opinion is that the best lenses for super telephoto photography in optical point of view is the prime (single focal length) lenses. What are the other possibilities:

Possible alternatives:
Prime lenses:

Canon 200f2,8 with 1.4x, 2x or stacking converters, surprisingly good, lighter than the Sigma zooms (995g), but no versatile, better colours.
Canon 200mm f2.8 review
Canon 200mm f2.8 with a 2x converter
Sigma 400 f5,6 most copies only work only wide open on digital bodies, fully working copy is good deal, perhaps not bad with an 1,4 converter
Nikon 300 f4 older version good value
Nikon 400 f3,5 older manual focus lens has a reputation that is very good with teleconverters, also can be used on a Canon body, but quite big and heavy
Nikon 500 f4 P manual focus lens reported to be better that the 400 f3,5
Minolta 200 f2,8 super sharp rare lens
Tokina 300 f4. perhaps ok with a 1,4 converter
Tokina 300 f2.8
Pentax FA 600 f/4 very rare lens
older canon FD manual focus lenses e.g FD 500/4,5 perhaps can be used on nikon bodies, not on canon

Mirror lenses:

Mirror lenses are different than normal lenses, at a tight budget can be a solution.
Other possiblity are the reflex (mirror) lenses
usually 500 f8 in smaller size

Zoom lenses:

Most zoom lenses are the Sigma xx-500 zooms. Sigma 50-500 is approximately on par optically with a Canon 200mm f2.8 with 2x converter, but the Sigma is a lot heavier. The Canon 200 with 1.4 or the bare lens outperform the Sigma with a huge amount, no to speak about brightness. The 170-500 can have much cheaper, but it has unfortunately a slow screw-drive focus motor. But it is 0.5 lighter than the 50-500. As mainly interesting for birds the Sigma 50-500 is not up to the performance I would like to have, even considered it’s price. For this price the Canon 400f5.6 or Nikon 300 f4 is much better.
Sigma 50 – 500 f/4-6.3
Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 review
Sigma 150 – 500
Sigma 170 – 500
Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 review
Sigma 100 – 300 f4
Tokina/Soligor 100-400
Soligor 100 400/4.5-6.3 review
Soligor 80-400

And one bonus the new upcoming Tamron 150 600 f5-6.3-Di Vc USD tele
I am sure that the new Tamron will not be as sharp or fast focusing like the Canon 100-400 or 400 f5.6, but it is much longer. This is also in reality an f8 lens, but the longer reach makes this lens very interesting. It is also heavy though like the Sigma 50-500 (app 2kg).
At the moment the price and optical qualities of the new Tamron 150 600 super tele lens is not sure. Price seem to be 1000-1100 USD/Eur.

Canon, Nikon 70-300 zooms with is or vr

This lenses are not long enough, and typically not the best at 300mm. From hides or really close distances perhaps usable.
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Vr

70-200 zooms not very good with 2x Teleconverters

Other possibility to make the lens longer to use micro 4/3 system bodies, Like panasonic started from G3, or Olympus PEN. The reach gain is 1,25 in canon bodies compare to Aps-C. The 300mm lens on a canon 7D body becomes, 375mm on a Panasonic G3, or 400mm becomes an 500m and so on. The aperture cannot be adjusted normally only with more expensive teleconverter.

My preference is a sharp prime lens with teleconverters. This helps to keep weight relatively low, and picture quality high. Perhaps there are other lenses around usually older versions has’n t got autofocus and picture quality perhaps not so high. The test tells how good the lens is. If a lens not tack sharp without converters, perhaps not really worth to spend money on a converter. The converters also need to be tested. Usually Canon, Nikon, Kenko are the preferred types. Usually cannot have a very good lens for nothing, more you spend, better you get. The used Canon, Nikon primes are the best value lenses according to my opinion.

Bird photography lens reviews

Canon 200mm f2.8 review
Canon 200mm f2.8+2x teleconverter
Canon 300mm f4 is review
Canon 400mm f5.6 review
Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 review
Soligor 100-400/4.5-6.3 review
Canon 100-400 review
Canon 400 vs 100-400
Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 review

Teleconverters

Kenko 1.4 dgx review
Kenko Pro300 1.4 dgx review
Kenko Pro300 2x dgx review
Canon 2x MkII review
Soligor 2x converter review
Kenko 3x converter review

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 Posted by at 9:08 pm