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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a Canon EOS 450D which we are very happy with it for our purposes. We are looking to get a Telephoto lens without breaking the bank. We are looking at Canon's EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6III, the EF 100-300mm f/4-5.6USM and the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6IS for long distance dogs shots. We are total amateurs in this area so any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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You don't mention what lens or lenses you already have, which might have some bearing on how to proceed. It may be that you don't really need the lower end of the zooms you mentioned, in which case you might be happier with a fixed focal length lens like the 300mm F:4 IS L which is a very nice lens and gives you the reach for which you are looking. If you go back to the earlier post "Which Camera" and look at the photos I posted of my knucklehead in and over the water, those photos were all shot with a 300mm fixed focal length lens. A good lens really is an investment and will give you many years of service. In the telephoto range that you are talking about, there are Canon lenses priced all the way from about $2500.00 (almost certainly more than you want to spend(more than I want to spend)) down to a bit over $200.00 or so. When you buy a lens to a great extent you actually do get what you pay for. Often a good option is to look for previously owned equipment sold by a REPUTABLE dealer like www.KEH.com. By buying used, you can frequently move up at least one step in quality. You have mentioned sort of the least expensive telephoto zooms. In that group, only the 55-250 is image stabilized, and it is, I believe the older IS system. With telelphoto lenses (and telephoto zooms), you really want image stabilization. I just posted a detailed explanation of IS in my last post at "Which Camera?"

So, here's what I would recommend without breaking the bank (depending on the bank size and how long you think you may use the lens).
I would probably skip the three lenses you mentioned and look for a used 70-300 F:4-5.6 IS USM (list price $649.00, or $364.00 in "like new" condition at KEH) on the low end or a 70-200 F:4 IS L series ($1065.00 in EX+ condition at KEH) sort of at the high end. I also found a 300mm F:4 in EX condition for about $750.00 (depending on what lens you already have this might be my first choice considering what you want to do). Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't mention what lens or lenses you already have, which might have some bearing on how to proceed. It may be that you don't really need the lower end of the zooms you mentioned, in which case you might be happier with a fixed focal length lens like the 300mm F:4 IS L which is a very nice lens and gives you the reach for which you are looking. If you go back to the earlier post "Which Camera" and look at the photos I posted of my knucklehead in and over the water, those photos were all shot with a 300mm fixed focal length lens. A good lens really is an investment and will give you many years of service. In the telephoto range that you are talking about, there are Canon lenses priced all the way from about $2500.00 (almost certainly more than you want to spend(more than I want to spend)) down to a bit over $200.00 or so. When you buy a lens to a great extent you actually do get what you pay for. Often a good option is to look for previously owned equipment sold by a REPUTABLE dealer like www.KEH.com. By buying used, you can frequently move up at least one step in quality. You have mentioned sort of the least expensive telephoto zooms. In that group, only the 55-250 is image stabilized, and it is, I believe the older IS system. With telelphoto lenses (and telephoto zooms), you really want image stabilization. I just posted a detailed explanation of IS in my last post at "Which Camera?"

So, here's what I would recommend without breaking the bank (depending on the bank size and how long you think you may use the lens).
I would probably skip the three lenses you mentioned and look for a used 70-300 F:4-5.6 IS USM (list price $649.00, or $364.00 in "like new" condition at KEH) on the low end or a 70-200 F:4 IS L series ($1065.00 in EX+ condition at KEH) sort of at the high end. I also found a 300mm F:4 in EX condition for about $750.00 (depending on what lens you already have this might be my first choice considering what you want to do). Hope this helps.
We have EF-S 18-55mm f/3-5.6 IS lens
 

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Should probably have said "photo" shoot. Ran in to some confusion a while back when I mentioned spending time in photo "blinds" too.

Sooo..... Back to the initial question. The 18-55 covers you from pretty wide angle to just a bit over what is called a "Normal" lens but gives you no telephoto capability. It is also a very slow lens for its focal length. The 70-300 F:4-5.6 IS is probably your best bet in a less expensive lens and a previously owned one can be had for about the same price as the ones you mentioned new. I would also say that the 300 F:4 would be a nice choice, but you would be jumping from 55mm all the way to 300mm. For many years I only had three lenses, a 20mm wide angle, a 50mm macro, and a 400mm telephoto. I still only have one zoom. The next lens I buy will probably the 70-200mm F:2.8 IS L as I have had numerous occasions to shoot it and it really good. I am also thinking about getting the 300 F:4 as I have friend that uses one and I have gotten to shoot it quite a bit and it is pretty impressive for what it is. Good magnification, pretty light weight, fast focusing, and tack sharp. Don't know if this has helped as it often comes down to money. I will say that a good lens is an investment (much more so than a camera). Back in the old manual focus/film days I had a Canon Ftb body, then an AE1, then an A1, then two T90's. During that time period, I added to my lens arsenal some, but bought quality lenses and was abel to use them up until I moved to autofocus. Since moving to autofocus I have had an EOS3 (film) and a 10D, and now 2 30D's but have only had three autofocus lenses (all of which I still have). The point being that if you spend the money on good glass, you may be able to use it for ten, fifteen, or even more years.
Another thought: you should probably ask your insurance carrier if you can get an all hazard, scheduled rider for the cam equipment as it will cover it if it is stolen or if you drop it or whatever and there is no deductible. I think I pay about $1.60 per $100.00 of value. I've never collected, but know several photographers that have had cameras fall in lakes or out of trees, etc. Some had ins, some didn't but those that did were happier than those that didn't.
 

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Mike, Don't be afraid of used. We recently saved a ton of money on a used 100-400mm L series zoom. Buying through Calumets store in Oak Brook gave us a money back warranty for 30 days plus we purchased an additional warranty.No issues and it's a great lens. Because of that I thought I would offer up my old 70-300 IS USM for sale but when I asked my wife she says she still wants to keep that lens too. The 70-300 IS USM is a good lens. I looked on E-bay and I'd bet you can get one used around 350.00.

http://www.calumetphoto.com

Playing with the new(used) L lens.

 

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I'll give you my two cents from my wife's experience shooting a lot of dog shots and wildlife.

Buy the L Series lens. You will quickly outgrow a $600 70/300 but you will never part with an L 70/200 2.8. It's all about speed because it's all about light. You'll struggle mightily with a 4-5.6 in lower light/lessor light.

The clarity you get from the 70/200 can be drawn into a better picture quality. An extender on it will take you to 4-5.6 in brighter light, if you want extra reach. Usually it's a wash though.

The L 100/400 is a great lens but harder to carry and the cost pretty high in a 2.8.

Speed and light.

Good luck.

Test Shots





 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for the info. Everyone's help is appreciated.
 

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Take HPL's advice. He knows what he is talking about. You cannot go wrong buying a quality, used lens.
 

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Take HPL's advice. He knows what he is talking about. You cannot go wrong buying a quality, used lens.
You can definitely save money that way. The fewer you see of a particular high quality is a good indicator people keep them...many of the lessor quality are everywhere.

Good luck - I'd say in any event Illinois Bob's avatar is the best. :)
 

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I dont have the link on my phone but there are places that rent lens' too
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I appreciate all the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Well we bought a EFS 55-250 mm Canon lens today. I think it will do the trick for what we want. These were taken from the same place on our deck. One at 55 and one at 250. It's gonna be neat.

zoom test 003.jpg zoom test 004.jpg zoom test 001.jpg zoom test 002.jpg
 

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OK, now that you have made your choice, one suggestion. When using that lens, set the camera to "AV" and then set the aperture to F:5.6 and leave it there. That will make sure the camera will always have the fastest shutter speed possible under the prevailing light conditions. You need the fast shutter speed to stop action and prevent motion blur.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK, now that you have made your choice, one suggestion. When using that lens, set the camera to "AV" and then set the aperture to F:5.6 and leave it there. That will make sure the camera will always have the fastest shutter speed possible under the prevailing light conditions. You need the fast shutter speed to stop action and prevent motion blur.
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