Re: Bird photography - the most versatile lens?

To: "Birding- Aus" <>
Subject: Re: Bird photography - the most versatile lens?
From: "Matthew Taylor" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:02:06 +1000
I use the Canon 300mm f4 image stabilised lens with a 1.4 x teleconverter for most of my birding /herps shots.  It is one of the cheapest L series lenses and the 420mm I get with the converter is reasonably useful.  I switch to digiscoping if this doesn't give me enough magnification as I can't afford the Canon big lenses.  The downside is that framing the shot is not as easy as with a zoom. 
If I had the option (ie money) I would probably go for the 100-400mm zoom f4.5/5.6 IS or the 400mm f4 DO IS and use the 1.4 converter to get the extra reach.  One thing to check up on is whether you still retain autofocus if you use a 1.4x converter on the 100-400 lens.  With Canon cameras, once the effective aperture goes over 5.6 the autofocus stops working (unless you own an EOS 3 body in which case it will go to f8).  So with the 100-400 plus 1.4 converter you will get a 140-560mm f6.3/7.8 zoom lens but will probably have to use manual focus.  If you get the very expensive 400mmDO IS and add the converter you will get a 560mm f5.6 prime lens and retain autofocus.
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