scope v zoom lens

To: "Simon Blanchflower" <>
Subject: scope v zoom lens
From: Ian Montgomery <>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 21:08:51 +1000
I use the Canon 100-400 L USM a lot and it's a versatile lens for bird photography. The quality isn't as good as 300 and 400 2.8 lenses mentioned by Nevil, but it's good value and you can take really good photos with it. I like it as, though heavy, you can hand-hold it and get good shots of birds that don't give you enough time to play around with tripods, eg Passerines. The image stabilisation means you can get away with relatively slow shutter speeds in poor light. Note that the automatic focus doesn't work when you use it with a 1.4x (or 2.0x) extender as this reduces the fstop below f5.6.

I also have the Canon 500 F4 (which I bought on the internet from in New York). It's a wonderful lens but very heavy and the IS is overkill as you really need to use a tripod unless you're a body-builder. I'm not. It also makes for heavy cabin luggage when flying. I've just come back from a trip to Sydney by air and have reluctantly decided not to take it with me when I go overseas later in this year, even though bird photography is the main aim of the trip.

I also have a Leica Televid APO 77 which I teamed with a Canon Coolpix 990 (the classic "digiscoping" combination way back in 2001!). I don't use it much now, but it's very good for shots of waders and more portable than the Canon 500.


Ian Montgomery Townsville North Queensland Australia
Wild bird photos: <>


On Thursday, Apr 21, 2005, at 20:39 Australia/Brisbane, Simon Blanchflower wrote:

I'm thinking about getting the Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6L USM with image stabliser which retails in the US for $1,409.95 (over here it costs $3,699 so even with import costs you can save over $1000!).

Anyone had experience with this lens - I know its slower than the one suggested by Nevil (and now I know why his photo's are so good!!) but significantly cheaper - reviews I have read on the net sound pretty good.....any thoughts?


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