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TOPIC: Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography

Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1572

  • Andrew Browne
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Thanks Ian once again for your device.
Yes it is a hard decision to leave the Canon family.
From memory AF did not work previously with my Canon 5D III/x1.4 III TC,/400mm f/5.6 combination but I did read somewhere that three of the electrodes on the extender could be taped over to enable AF. Do you have any knowledge of this or whether the situation is the samewith the 5D IV?
Thanks and Cheers Andrew
Cheers AB

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Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1573

  • Glenn Pure
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Andrew, your accident sounds like a very severe one. I’m glad the outcome wasn’t more severe as you’ve intimated it might have been. Above all, the best for your recovery and I hope you are able to get back to the birds soon.

I noted your earlier comment about wanting to stick with Canon. The only reason I initially suggested Nikon was that you opened the discussion up with another brand. As a Canon user myself and great believer in the power of DPP, I only suggest Nikon as I suspect they have the edge at the moment in the crop sensor cameras. Either way, I think Ian’s advice is right that a crop sensor Canon like the 80D or 7DII (or Mark III if it ever comes out) is a great choice if you want to stay in the Canon camp.

I’m less sure about your 400 f5.6. Optically it isn’t the greatest although on a full frame like your 5DIII it may be fine. The pixels on that camera are a lot larger than on the crop sensor cameras so any softness or other defects in the optics are going to be magnified. But you have it and if you go down the crop sensor route, it’s certainly worth a try. The other issue, as Ian notes, is the lack of image stabilisation. I hadn’t realised how important this is until I accidentally switched my lens stabiliser off one time. I had to discard a high proportion of the shots from that session.

As for alternative lenses, the Canon 300 f4 may be worth a look although optically it is not top of the list either. But it is relatively light and can be coupled with a 1.4x converter. That will impact image quality though. If extra weight can be considered, the best choice would be the 100-400 MkII which is optically a significant improvement on the Mark I lens and sharper than the 300 f4: I know, I had the 100-400 MkI and upgraded. I am very happy with the results I get on my crop sensor Canon 80D.
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Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1574

  • Ian Wilson
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Hello Andrew,

The 400 mm f/5.6 is fitted with an internal ultrasonic focusing motor and is compatible with all current Canon EOS camera bodies including the 5DIII. However, with the 1.4x extender fitted the effective lens aperture is f/8 and this may not autofocus on the 5DIII. It is certainly not an issue with more recent camera bodies such as the 5DIV which will autofocus with f/8 lenses. However, rather than use a 400 mm + 1.4x on a full-frame body like the 5DIV, I think you would be better off using the 400 mm on a cropped sensor body like the 80D or 7DII. The main issue I see with the 400 mm f/5.6 is the lack of image stabilization in which case the 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 is the best bet provided the weight is not too much for you to handle.

Regarding future Canon bodies, I read a report on Canon Rumors website this morning that the 90D is almost certain for release later this year but the 7DIII is not expected until next year.

Best wishes, Ian
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Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1575

  • Andrew Browne
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Thanks Ian, Glenn and others for your great feedback.
The Canon option and most popular suggestion advises the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 coupled with the 7D II or the 80D. Definitely Glenn's images, the fact it's more recently released, the lighter weight, greater battery life and 24MP have me favouring the latter. This would give a combined weight of 2.37kg and leave me in familiar Canon territory using DPP4 etc. The relatively low camera body prices allow the chance to upgrade at a later time if new advancements warrant.
The alternate is Nikons D500, 300mmf/4 PF ED VR and 1.4 TC for a weight about 1.9kgs.
The new generation mirorless cameras appear to need developments and refinements for bird photography.
I'm home on leave from rehab for the weekend and will visit the camera store to check out the above.
Many thanks to all for your input, it's greatly appreciated.
Cheers Andrew
Cheers AB

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Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1577

  • Bruce Terrill
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Just to throw a small spanner in the works, l noticed on his website last night, that Arthur Morris has sold every last piece of his Canon equipment, quit as a Canon ambassador and has moved across to Nikon exclusively. . .
FWIW,
Bruce

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Lightest Weight Camera & Lens Setup for quality bird photography 10 months 2 weeks ago #1578

  • Ian Wilson
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Thanks Bruce, I too looked at what Arthur had to say last night. I think any members who are interested can make up their own minds about what it all means by visiting his blog site and following the thread down to the bottom, including the answers to questions from his many fans. For Arthur's blog look here

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