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 Post subject: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:22 am 
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Hi there,

In short, I previously had a Canon 450D with Canon 100-400mm lens. This kit got stolen. I now have a Canon 60D with only a kit lens which is the 18-135mm.

My photography is primarily focussed on wildlife and my skill set very much falls within the amateur range although I would like to improve on that and move up the ranks.

I need to acquire another lens for wildlife photography within the next week or so. At the moment though (probably for next 6 to 12 months) I don't have the funds to get a L series lens again. So I need an alternative.

I'm currently considering the Canon 70-300mm IS (not L series). New it goes for about R5k. Also in the mix is the Sigma 70-300 OS for about R3800 I think. I've been trying to read reviews on sites like dpreview.com. I can't really make up my mind. Last few weeks a kept an eye on bid or buy, gumtree and olx as well. No real luck there for 2nd hand units.

I was hoping the experts here can let me know their thoughts on these two candidates and also whether there are any other alternatives.

Thanks a mil


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:49 am 
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http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Revi ... eview.aspx
http://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/l ... dg-os-lens


Seems they are basicly identical
Sigma is better built imo.
And then you have the price difference

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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
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Thanks bert

Much appreciated.

Someone told me that the way Sigma is built, the lens components rotate in such a way that its difficult to shoot with a circular polarizer. I quite like these filters. Do you know anything about this?


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Posts: 117
Working on the assumption that the R5k is the upper limit of your budget and based mostly on a lot of reading and research (although I have shot with quite a few of the lenses in the range) I would recommend the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM over the Sigma any day.

The problem with a lens with a rotating front element is that you need to keep adjusting the polariser filter when the zoom or focus changes. (The Canon also has this problem)

Two alternatives to consider which are also highly thought of by most reviewers are Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS (a much cheaper lens and often included in multiple lens kits with good IQ but not the best build quality) and the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD (this lens is cheaper than the Canon you are considering and most reviewers consider it better quality.)

Good luck with your choices – the 60D with your kit lens is a great camera.


Last edited by mikef on Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:44 pm
Posts: 117
I have found http://www.photozone.de to be one of the better review sites - see below for the reviews of the Canon and Tamron lenses:

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/592-t ... 6vceosapsc

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/566-c ... f456isapsc


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:02 am 
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Location: Cumbria UK
I had the Canon 70-300 IS with me this year in the park. I took some great pics with it and was really pleased with the quality. I liked the 2 options for IS which you'll be familiar with from the 100-400.

The only problem I had was that it just didn't quite have a enough zoom at times and that was frustrating. I had a friend who was with us at quite a few sightings and he got far superior photos using the 100-400. I have since upgraded to a 100-400. I bought a really good condition second hand one. I'm now going to be selling my 70-300. Shame we're on different continents eh?

To be honest, I think if I was you I'd be saving to get back to the 100-400L because I think after having that lens you'll be disappointed in either of the others you're thinking about. Alternatively could you hire a lens in the meantime while you're saving.

Gemma :D

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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Thank you mikef,

Yes photozone.de is great. I've spent a lot of time reading there the last two weeks or so.

You are adding a few interesting options to the mix. I've almost come to a decision just before reading your post. I found a used canon 70-300mm IS USM online for R3400.

Since my previous post I've decided against the Sigma's etc. But I also read excellent reviews on the canon 70-200 f4.0 L USM after someone recommended this to me. Based on various online reviews I read, this is really a high quality lens. Photozone compared it even to fixed focal length quality in some situations which I think says a lot. I have a few options (used and new) ranging from R5500 to R7000 on this lens. For this quality, I can probably stretch my budget to reach that.

I have two concerns with this lens though:
- Focal length. For the KNP scenario, 200mm will probably fall a bit short for most sightings. I guess a 1.4x converter can help.
- No IS. I never shot without IS before and always had a rule: unless its on a tripod, it has IS.

What do you think?

Thanks a million for the valuable input!!


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
Posts: 46
Hi Gemma

Yes my plan is to get up to at least 400mm again. I have a two week trip to KNP from the 7th of Jan and I'm trying to get something just for this trip. By this time next year I should be able to get.a 400mm again,

I had a look at rentals but to rent a decent lens with 300 to 400mm focal length for two weeks will almost cost as much as buying a 300mm.

Thanks again


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:44 pm
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In my opinion if used primarily for wildlife in the KNP the 70-200 will leave you frustrated due to insufficient reach.

The price of the 70-200 plus a decent 1.4x extender would only be slightly less than a good price for a used 100-400 which I consider to be a better option for general KNP use especially when paired with a crop sensor like the 60D.

For wildlife (especially with the slower telephoto lenses in low light) I think IS is almost an essential for handholding and I find I benefit from IS with the majority of my handheld shots.

Based primarily on what I have read and with a budget of about R5000 I would personally select one of the 300mm zoom lenses and my current order of preference would be:
- Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD – Good optically, full-time manual focus available, 4 stop VC (IS) and non-rotating front element (about R4k new)
- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM – Good optically, 3 stop IS and it is a Canon (about R5k new)


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:31 am 
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Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Please assist me decide on a lens
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:55 am 
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Know a few people with Tamron lenses
Very satisfied with the quality

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