Wildlife Photography - Tips and Tricks


A new video with some wildlife photography tips. Get better photos with longer lenses to nail those wildlife shots! 


Tamron SP 150-600mm

Tamron SP 150-600mm

  • Animals are for the most part shy making a 400mm lens your best bet with 600mm getting even closer for great shots.

  • Using a longer focal length brings the wildlife to you, letting them take up more of the shot for an impressive photo.

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary

The Sigma 150-600 C is one of the best values in super telephoto, The Tamron G2 is a little sharper but more expensive. Check out photorec.tv/wildlifegear for recommended gear cameras and lenses for wildlife photography at every budget.

Shutter Speeds

When you are shooting with a longer lens you want to watch your shutter speeds. Typically when photographing it goes aperture first, but when using a longer lens and especially when photographing wildlife, it's shutter speed first.

Focal length rule: Focal Length * 2(Times the amount of coffee you've had)

A post shared by Roy McKee III (@roymckeeiii) on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:30am PDT

That means for a 400mm lens you are looking at roughly a 1/800 shutter speed. The rule doesn't account for your subject though, meaning that in cases of faster objects like birds in flight you'll need speeds up to 1/2000 of a second. Going for faster photos first can net you "safe" shots with a higher ISO, meaning more noise, then you can back the speed down a bit for cleaner images. Tripods and IS can help speeds a bit as well keeping things a bit lower as well.

  • Remember - expose properly, don’t underexpose your image because when you brighten the image in post it is going to get much noisier.

  • Focus mode - with static or slow-moving subjects a single point is fine - running or flying - a wider array of points really helps the camera track your subject. And switch to Continuous AF for subjects on the move.

Sony a7R III

Sony a7R III

Gear Recommendations - photorec.tv/wildlifegear

Feel free to post questions about gear here or consider joining my awesome photography community at the Photo Enthusiast Network

Sigma Announces 14-24mm F/2.8 Art Full-frame Lens

SIGMA 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM ArtWe're 2/3rds of the way through the lens trinity with Sigma announcing the new Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens. A full-frame design, this should be an excellent lens for shooting landscapes, interiors, and stars. Designed to work with 50MP cameras. Near zero distortion (less than 1%) and minimal chromatic aberration is the claim. The Sigma ART line has impressed photographers for several years now and I expect this lens to be a serious winner.With the recently released 24-70 Art, we're just waiting on a 70-200mm lens at this point. The 14-24mm lens currently only available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma SA mounts, Sony owners must use an adapter like the Sigma MC-11 adapter for now.  There are strong rumors that in just a few months Sigma will announce FE mount versions of many of their lenses.SIGMA 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM ArtThe Sigma 14-24 Art features Sigma's Sports line of dust and splash proofing with a seal at the mount. Build for high-speed, high accuracy autofocus. This should be a great option for those wanting to capture close up sports and action shots.Another exciting announcement is the introduction of the front mount conversion service for the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 which allows the lens to be used in multicam productions, e.g., VR rigs. The exclusive front round component minimizes the risk of interfering with other cameras and eliminates undesired shadows in the content.We're one step closer to the lens trinity from the Sigma Art line and this likely represents an excellent option for Canon photographers and Nikon user looking to save over the current Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 that costs nearly $1900.

Preorder Coming Soon at B&H

Canon Mount | Nikon Mount

Sample Images

[gallery ids="17506,17507,17508"]


Lens Construction
17 Elements in 11 Groups
Angle of View
Number of Diaphragm Blades
9 (rounded diaphragm)
Minimum Aperture
Minimum Focusing Distance
26 - 28 cm10.2-11.0 in
Maximum Magnifications
Dimensions (Diameter x Length)
ø96.4mm x 135.1mm3.8in. x 5.3in.
Canon, Nikon, Sigma

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens Review

Guest Review from Videographer and Photographer Korey Rowe - Check out his Youtube Channel.

While there are countless detailed reviews out there that can give you the true spec’s and breakdown on this new lens, these are my personal thoughts regarding choosing the Canon 70-300 Mkii over other zoom lenses including L Series Glass.The new Canon 70-300 MkII is a viable L series Tele-Zoom replacement for Canon (Canon Mounted) shooters, especially those looking to have a photo and video zoom lens. With a “Nano IS Motor” that delivers four stops of IS and STM like smooth and quiet focusing, this USM upgrade is nothing to pass over. It incorporates Canon's first digital display on the lens which is customizable and quite handy.New lens elements (UD Glass) gives you sharper results at an economical price point with better light disbursement over its predecessors and cheaper than fluorite glass elements typically found in high-end zoom lenses. While it softens in the corners just a touch and has a variable 4-5.6 max open aperture as cons, the savings and versatility in video mode make this my new go to kit tele-zoom lens.We all know that shooting distances in photo mode can be tricky and it gets even more complicated in video mode. Capturing a professional result that is not too shaky or not sharp enough can often be difficult when dealing with older zoom lenses. Because Canon DSLR’s often leave the IS up to lens to do the work having this much stabilization will be a game changer when shooting run and gun close ups especially in 4k video mode on the 5D Mk iv (pushes the focal length over 400mm).In a two camera shoot having a reliable B-cam on close-ups that can publish smooth cutaways can make or break the final outcome of a short form advertisement or YouTube video. Also having a digital display that can give you quick reference on focal length (Which updates for APS-C cameras), aperture and more is the next step in lens evolution.Lastly, saving on space and weight can be a nice addition when traveling and trying to make it in those shrinking overhead bins. As sensor technology continues to expand almost daily it's nice to see that the lenses have started to get some new tech as well.
Guest Review from Videographer and Photographer Korey Rowe - Check out his Youtube Channel | Instagram

New Sigma ART series lens 24-35mm F/2

Update #2 (7/20/15): Price at $999 - Preorder now from B&H Canon Mount | Nikon Mount | Sigma MountUpdate: The lens is now official - Expected arrival at the end of July. No word on price - I suspect it will be under $1000.  My comment about the 18-35 ART lens - "it's like carrying around a bag of primes" also applies to this lens and Sigma has actually said something similar "It covers three of the most commonly used prime lenses, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm all in one lens. "- I think they watched my video ;)Listings are now live on B&H Photo but incredibly thin on details we care about - Price and a firm ship date.Will you be ordering?Sigma 24-35 f/2 Canon Mount | Nikon Mount | Sigma MountBased on comments you left on the Facebook post - interest is mixed, many of you feel similar to me, the range here is just short enough to be a little less exciting- though the sharpness and the fact that you get f/2 will be lovely.Original Post:We are a huge fan of the ART series lenses. Every lens I have tried has been exceptionally sharp with top-notch build quality. See what's in our bag for the Sigma lenses we use daily.The next lens Sigma will be announcing is the 24-35 f/2 and to be honest this has me scratching my head.   Sure f/2 in a zoom lens is quite amazing, similar to the amazing Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 for crop sensors but that range is awfully short.Are you interested? How would you use?  I would be more interested if they could get the range closer to 50, so a 24-50 f/2 would be sweet but ending at 35mm feels a bit limiting.sigma 24-35 f/2 ART series sigma 24-35 f/2 ART seriesPhotos courtesy of digicame-info.comThanks Knut Aage Dahl for alerting me to the info.Full Press Release from SigmaThe Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce that we are going to introduce the SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art, the world's first*1 large-aperture full-frame wide-angle zoom lens offering F2 brightness throughout the zoom range.While offering the premier optics of the Art line, this lens covers 24mm, 28mm and 35mm focal lengths. Incredible performance overturns the conventional perception of a zoom lens.SIGMA was determined to create a zoom lens that offers the same brightness and resolution as a fixed focal length lens: in other words, the highest level of optical performance. The result of this challenge was the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom to offer a fast F1.8 aperture value throughout the zoom range. Building on this concept, SIGMA has developed the new SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art for 35mm full frame sensor. It allows photographers to carry one lens to do the work of three fixed focal length lenses, a 24mm, 28mm and 35mm — with F2 brightness and top optical performance. One package delivers flexible functionality and high convenience. In particular, at the 24mm and 35mm focal lengths, this lens offers the performance that is equivalent to that of two prime lenses in the Art line. Instead of changing one high-performance fixed focal length lens for another, simply zoom. This is a new zoom lens for 35mm full frame sensor SLRs that offers the quality of a fixed focal length lens at various angles of view.Key features1. The world’s first large-aperture full-frame zoom lens offering a wide open aperture of F2 throughout the zoom rangeA large-diameter zoom lens covering the full frame image sensor. Optical performance equivalent to a fixed focal length lens throughout the entire zoom range. These are the concepts the SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM embodies. It covers three of the most commonly used prime lenses, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm all in one lens. In order to achieve an attractive bokeh effect at wide aperture, we have developed the world's first zoom lens for the 35mm full frame sensor with an F2 aperture value throughout the zoom range*1.2. Outstanding optical performance of the fixed focal length lenses in SIGMA’s Art lineThe SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM builds on the concept of the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom lens to offer F1.8 brightness throughout the zoom range. Thanks to the outstanding optical performance, the lens provides the quality of high performance fixed focal length lenses in the Art line.3. Covering the range of three fixed focal length wide-angle lensesDelivering excellent functionality and convenience, one lens offers the equivalent quality of three high-performance fixed focal length lenses at F2 brightness: 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. With a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is suitable for close-up shooting, portraits with an attractive bokeh and deep-focus landscape photography. Photographers have access to the angle of view equivalent to that of three wide-angle lenses without having to switch them. While achieving the desired background effect can be difficult with a conventional wide-angle lens, the large diameter of this lens allows photographers to open the aperture wide and use the shallow focus to achieve stunning results.4. Incorporating SIGMA’s latest technologiesTo realize a large-diameter zoom lens for full frame cameras with F2 brightness, SIGMA designed each and every part with uncompromising care and quality. The lens incorporates large-diameter aspherical lens elements, which require advanced technologies to manufacture, one FLD (“F” Low Dispersion)*2 glass and seven SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements, of which two are aspherical lenses. The advanced optics and optimized lens power distribution minimize spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature, resulting in outstanding optical performance. Even at widest aperture, this lens delivers breathtaking image quality.5. Convenient handlingThe inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, enhancing the lens' stability and allowing use of Circular Polarizing filters. This specification is particularly convenient for shooting video.Other featuresMinimum focusing distance of 28cmWith a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is excellent for close-up photography.Designed to minimize flare and ghostingFrom an early stage in the lens design process, flare and ghosting have been measured to establish an optical design resistant to strong incident light sources such as backlighting. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions. The included lens hood can be attached to block out extraneous light, which can have a negative effect on rendering performance.Hyper Sonic Motor ensures High AF SpeedThe HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. By optimizing the AF algorithm, smoother AF is achieved. Also, this lens offers full-time MF by rotating the focus ring of the lens while auto focusing*3. Without changing the AF/MF Focus Mode Switch, it allows faster focus adjustment.Rounded DiaphragmThe 9 blade-rounded diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.Brass bayonet mountThis lens incorporates a brass bayonet mount which has both high accuracy and durability. A special treatment to reinforce its strength is applied to the surface giving it greater strength and making it highly resistant to long-term use.Applicable for the Mount Conversion ServiceAs an experienced lens manufacturer that has been creating a diverse range of interchangeable lenses, we have started the innovative "Mount Conversion Service*4". With this chargeable service, the mount of your current SIGMA lenses can be changed to another mount of your choice. It gives new life to your favorite lenses when you wish to use them on a different camera body.Art line delivers high-level artistic expressionSIGMA is organizing all its interchangeable lenses into three product lines; Contemporary, Art, and Sports, where each line has a distinctive concept. Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, our Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. With the astonishing rendering performance that meets the highest standard, along with landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, close-ups, and general snaps, they are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture and starry skies and many other scenes.Customization and flexible adjustment for convenience or a specific purpose is possible. SIGMA USB DOCK that is designed exclusively for the new lens line-ups.With the optional SIGMA USB DOCK, you can update your lens firmware, adjust focus points and customize Full-time MF function settings as well as the timing to operate the Full-time MF function. By attaching this lens to a SIGMA USB DOCK, which is connected to a computer, the dedicated software "SIGMA Optimization Pro" offers various types of customization and adjustment.New product lines from SGV concepts that are setting new benchmarks for image quality.Design ConceptWith the new product lines, supplied hoods incorporate rubber for the connected part. Lens caps and AF/MF switches are also newly designed in order to improve usability. For the internal parts, various metals and a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite)*5, which works well with metal, are located to achieve products with high accuracy. The lens barrel includes the year of release, engraved for users to recognize when the lens was released.Evaluation with SIGMA's own MTF measuring system "A1"We used to measure lens performance with an MTF measuring system using conventional sensors. However, we've now developed our own proprietary MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system (A1) using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of our quality control inspections. All SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM lenses will all be checked using "A1*6" before they are shipped.Made in JapanAll SIGMA's manufacturing – right down to molds and parts – with a few exceptions, are carried out under a single integrated production system, entirely in Japan. We are now one of the very few manufacturers whose products are solely "made in Japan". We like to think our products are somehow imbued with the essence of our homeland, blessed as it is with clean air and water, and focused, hard-working people. We pride ourselves on the authentic quality of SIGMA products, born of a marriage between highly attuned expertise and intelligent, advanced technology. Our sophisticated products have satisfied professionals and lovers of photography all over the world, because our manufacturing is based on genuine craftsmanship, underpinned by the passion and pride of our experts.Footnotes*1 Among interchangeable lenses for 35mm full frame image sensors (June, 2015)*2 FLD glass is the highest level low dispersion glass available with extremely high light transmission. This optical glass has a performance equal to fluorite glass which has a low refractive index and low dispersion compared to current optical glass. It also benefits from high anomalous dispersion. These characteristics give excellent correction for residual chromatic aberration (secondary spectrum) which cannot be corrected by ordinary optical glass and ensures high definition and high contrast images.*3 The default setting of Full-time MF function varies for each mount.*4 This "Mount Conversion Service" is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized subsidiary / SIGMA distributor.*5 TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) offers thermal expansion characteristics similar to those of aluminum. Parts made with TSC deform less, making possible lens construction of extremely high precision. As compared to polycarbonate containing 20% glass, a commonly used material, TSC offers approximately 70% higher elasticity. As compared to polycarbonate containing 30% glass, it offers 25% higher elasticity. (Comparison is between SIGMA-produced components.)*6 A1:Aizu 1

Big Zoom Field Review

Canon 100-400 Mark II - Fantastic Zoom LensUpdate: The Canon 100-400 f/4.5 - 5.6 is now in stock and shipping from B&H - Buy NowUpdate: Added thoughts on the Sigma Contemporary version in the Sigma 150-600 section below.I spent a week in Montana and Yellowstone National Park and used the trip as a test of a handful of telephoto lenses - these are the big ones, the ones you want to consider when you are getting serious about wildlife or sports photography.

Video Review of Big Zoom Lenses (and one telephoto prime)

Tested Lenses

  • Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD
  • Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens with Canon Extender EF 2X III

I used these cameras on a Canon 5D Mark III (full frame) and a Canon 7D Mark II (APS-C/Crop Sensor).

TamronTamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

  • Price: $1069.00
  • Weight: 4.30 lb (1.95 kg)
  • Filter Size 95mm
  • Partially Weather Sealed (some discussion online about just how weather sealed this lens is)
  • Plastic Lens Hood
  • Removable tripod collar
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 106.3"

For the money I found the Tamron to be an excellent lens. Seems just as sharp as the others in the review, maybe a tiny bit slower at focusing but nothing remarkably different. Build quality is good, some concerns over just how weather sealed it is and you only have Vibration Compensation (VC) on or off, no option for panning or more active motion while using VC. At 4.3lbs and 17 inches with hood attached and zoomed to 600mm you are dealing with a big lens that I still found to be comfortable hand holding. I am bummed that the filter size is 95mm, you are going to be spending serious cash to fit that lens with a decent filter. Recommended- B+W 95mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer MRC Filter You also have very limited compatibility with extension tubes. Will not work with Canon and possibly some functionality using a Kenko 1.4x but you lose one stop of light and reports of some AF being much less reliable. No bag or carrying case provided.Tamron Summary - For the money this is a great lens that gives you 600mm and remains fairly portable.Buy from B&H: Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD LensTamron Samples: [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Tamron 150-600 Samples" link="file" ids="7409,7410,7411"]

SigmaSigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens

  • Price: $1999.00
  • Weight: 6.3 lb (2.86 kg)
  • Filter Size: 105mm!
  • Fully weather sealed
  • Customizable using USB Dock (sold separately)
  • USB Dock Adj
  • Soft locks
  • Massive!
  • NON-Removable tripod collar
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 102.4"

People stop and stare when you pull this lens out of your bag. Fully extended and using the included metal lens hood you are holding a massive lens and at 6.3 lbs I found this lens really to be at the limit of handholding and I really only recommend using it in situations with tripods/monopods or beanbag setups.  Focus was responsive but with the large size holding it on target at times was tricky. The 105 filter size is going to cost you if you want to throw anything on here. The B+W 105mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer Filter I recommend is $350! With the complaints out of the way I can share that this is a well built, fully weather sealed lens that offers an impressive amount of customization. You have 3 modes you can setup with the USB dock that gives you control over focus speed, focus limiters and adjust the Optical stabilization as well as make micro focus adjustments allowing you to really achieve sharp focus with your body and lens.  You also have multiple modes of OS and the lens will lock into position at all the marked focal lengths. This is important as the lens will certainly creep if not locked. You can easily unlock at any point by rotating the zoom ring.  I found the colors and contrast out of this lens to be excellent and it is compatible with Sigma and Canon extenders, you will lose AF with some extenders and focal lengths. Most lenses need at least f/8 to focus and the 2x extender at 600m gives you 1200mm f/13 lens, manual focus only.  It comes with a nice cloth lens cap cover, metal lens hood and padded carrying case.Sigma Summary: Sharp 600mm in a feature packed lens - just make sure you won't be in a situation where you need to handhold for more than a few minutes.UPDATE: Sigma is now shipping this lens in the Contemporary version.  Full Sigma 150-600 Sport Version vs Sigma 150-600 Contemporary Version Comparison coming soon. Brief differences. 

  • The Sports version prioritizes optical performance and the Contemporary version prioritizes portability.
  • Contemporary version weighs 4.25 lbs (2 lbs less than the sport version)
  • Contemporary version is more compact and features a removable tripod collar
  • Contemporary version filter size is 95mm (105mm on sport version)
  • Contemporary version sells for $1089! (Almost the same price as the Tamron)
  • Preorder the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary from B&H

Buy from B&H: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens | Sigma USB Dock $59Sigma 150-600 Samples:  [gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="7412,7413,7414,7415"]

canonCanon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

  • Price: $2199.00
  • Weight: 3.5 lb (1.59 kg)
  • Filter Size: 77mm filter
  • Fully weather sealed
  • Lens Hood has a filter door
  • 3 IS modes
  • Adjustable tension for zoom range
  • Removable Tripod Collar
  • Minimum Focus Distance 38" (Best in the class)

I am going to give you the summary for this lens first - if budget isn't a concern this is the lens I would pick. Yes, you sacrifice some reach, 400mm vs 600mm from the Tamron and Sigma but you gain a much more portable lens that is easy to hand hold and focuses fast with excellent sharpness and overall image quality. The most expensive of the bunch, not counting the price of the Canon 70-200 and 2x extender, you pay for this convenience quality package but get a well built lens that is significantly lighter than the other two, offers a normal sized filter, full weather sealing, customizable tension and a lens hood with a little door for rotating CP filters.  For the Canon 100-400 I recommend the B+W 77mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer MRC Filter. You also get three IS modes, normal, active and during exposure only.  I found the IS to be excellent and we shot handheld video using this lens and am very happy with the stability. This is the lens I found myself coming back to again and again during my travels. It was portable and easily fit in my Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials Backpack. Handholding was a dream and while shooting the animals the lens focus speed is fast, really fast and had no problems keeping fast moving animals in focus.  This lens coupled with a crop sensor camera like the 7D Mark II is awesome, you get that extra reach from the crop factor and the focusing brains of the 7D Mark II coupled with the speedy lens gave me tack sharp images again and again.   Compatible with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters from Canon- with the 2x you will be manual focus only but interestingly the dual pixel AF of live view with the Canon 70D and Canon 7D Mark II still works albeit slightly slower.Summary: Fantastic lens if you desire portability, fast focus and handholding versus 200mm more that the Tamron and Sigma offer. Buy from B&H Photo: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM LensCanon 100-400 Samples[gallery link="file" ids="6963,6964,6965,6966,6967"]   

canon400Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

  • Price: $1339.00 ($1239 with rebate ending Jan 31st)
  • Weight: 2.75 lb (1.25 kg)
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Integrated hood
  • Partially Weather Sealed
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Removable Tripod Collar
  • Minimum Focus Distance 137.8" 11 feet!! (Worst in class)

I am a big fan of prime lenses(6 Reason you should own a prime), I believe they often offer excellent values, to name one reason and the 400mm f/5.6 L from Canon does not disappoint. It is the sharpest of the bunch, again in my real world testing I saw only slight variations across all these lenses, the lightest of the bunch and the most portable with a nifty integrated lens hood you will never leave behind. Downsides - no image stabilization and I personally find longer telephoto primes to be harder to work with. If you are not in the right spot you may need to do a good bit of "zooming with your feet" to get the desired composition. With shy wildlife this can be difficult.Summary: If you are willing to sacrifice versatility and IS you get a sharp and portable lens. Buy from B&H: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM LensSample 400mm Images:[gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="6961,6962"]  canon70-200canonEX2x

Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 + Canon EF 2x Extender

  • Price: $2648.00 (70-200 = $2199.00 & Canon 2x =  $449.00)
  • Weight: 3.99lbs (70-200 = 3.28 lb (1.49 kg) & Canon 2x = 11.46 oz (325g))
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Weather Sealed
  • With 2x extender you suffer 2 stops of light loss
  • With 2x extender you suffer slower focus with more hunting.
  • With 2x extender you No Auto focus on some lenses (If max aperture is above f/8)

I recognize that this is an odd combo to throw into the review but it was actually requested by a few people. Lots of serious photographers already own the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens as it is an awesome lens for wedding, event and even portrait photography.  Sometimes those photographers want more reach but not often enough to shell out $1000-$2000 for a bigger zoom. Using the Extender gives you a 140-400 f/5.6 lens at only a slight cost increase.   You are starting at f/5.6 where the other lenses give you slightly wider apertures and I did see more hunting and generally slower AF when using the two together.  I will add that the extender does not impact image quality much if you start with a good lens and I was very happy with some of the shots I got. Remember that the 1.4x and 2x extenders have limited compatibility and you should watch my video on the 2x extender to learn more.Summary: an affordable solution for more zoom if you already have the 70-200 and don't plan on photographing fast moving subjects often.Buy from B&H: Canon Extender EF 2X IIISamples images from Canon 70-200 with 2x Extender[gallery td_gallery_title_input="70-200 f/2.8 with 2x Extender" link="file" columns="2" ids="6956,6957,6958,6959"]

Sample Images


Final Thoughts - Big Zoom Field Review

Great news - all of these lenses performed well and I was happy with the quality from all of them.  It really comes down to your needs and the conditions you will be shooting in. The Tamron's value is hard to overlook with 600mm of reach for just $1069 and while I liked the quality and features of the Sigma, the size and weight just wouldn't work for the type of portability I want.  As I mentioned above the Canon 100-400 was the lens I just kept coming back too and would be the best lens for mine needs, I just need to start saving.  I'd love to hear from you which would work best for you and why? Leave a comment below.Buy LinksSupport my review buy from B&H or AmazonTamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD:B&H: http://bhpho.to/1zYHKLzAmazon: http://geni.us/Tamron150to600ZoomSigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens:B&H: http://bhpho.to/1Dhu7oMAmazon: http://geni.us/Tamron150to600ZoomCanon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens:B&H: http://bhpho.to/1JI7bmiAmazon: http://geni.us/Canon100to400MIICanon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:B&H: http://bhpho.to/1v5sOKrAmazon: http://geni.us/Canon400mmPrimeCanon EF 2x Extender:B&H: http://bhpho.to/1He4Gu6Amazon: http://geni.us/Canon2x 

Review Canon 55-250 IS STM Lens

This is the newest version of Canon’s 55-250 lens, it replaces the 55-250 IS II which replaced an  even old 55-250 IS. I want to just touch on the highlights of the 55-250 IS STM lens and answer the question - is it worth the extra money versus the 55-250 IS or are you better off saving a little more and getting the 70-300 IS USM?  So this is partly a review and partly a Canon EF 55-250 IS STM vs Canon EF 70-300 IS USM vs Canon EF-S 55-250 IS II Battle. Very light emphasis on battle.

Quick Glossary of Terms.

  • IS: Image Stabilization - internal gyroscopes stabilize the lens when you are hand holding and allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without handshake causing blur in your images.

  • USM: Ultra Sonic Motor - A focusing system used by many canon lenses that offers quick focus and with some lenses full time manual focus.  This isn’t true of the 70-300 IS USM - it is not full time manual focus.

  • EF-S: Lens mount sized for Canon’s crop sensor cameras (APS-C) Examples include Canon T5i and Canon 70D.

  • EF: Lens mount appropriate for Canon’s full frame cameras like the 6D and 5D Mark III. Will also work on APS-C cameras

[gallery ids="4059,4058,4057"]

The highlights -

  • Arguably the headline feature of this lens is now that this is an STM lens it means silent autofocus - this is a big deal if you are using it with a camera that allows continuous auto focus during video like the T5i or 70D it also makes a difference in smoothness of autofocus during video with T5i - The T5i really needs those STM lenses to achieve smooth focus and you can see a large difference in focus capabilities. The 70D is more capable in focusing, it is less dependent on the STM lenses but you still see an improvement and smoothness and speed and of course noise of focus.   The Verdict? The lens is completely silent - No sounds from focusing or the IS system.  The old 55-250 IS II does make noise and in quieter conditions the IS system of the 55-250 IS and the 70-300 IS is recorded by the cameras mic making them less desirable to use for video work, at least with IS on.

  • So the STM version is smoother and quieter in focus. Do photographers (not videographers) care?  I took all three lenses 55-250 IS II, 55-250 STM and the 70-300 IS USM to a recent cycling race and was really pleased with the speed of the STM in focusing on faster moving subjects,  noticeable improvement over the 55-250 IS II.  I was photographing some of these riders in servo mode as they were headed right toward me and the lens was quick enough to keep them in focus for more sharp shots than I expected.  Compared to the 70-300 IS USM the number of in focus shots was about the same.  One difference and this may be due to the slightly longer range provided by the 70-300, when that lens, the 70-300 loses focus it can really struggle to get it back.  I see less delay and struggle from the 55-250 STM. Verdict - the 55-250 STM is as capable as the more expensive 70-300 IS USM and yes, photographers (not videographers) should care.

  • Image Quality- The STM is sharper across the board - nothing amazing but a noticeable improvement across the range and these improvements bring it in line with the 70-300 and in some cases beats the 70-300. I was especially surprised by the results out at 250 and 300. The 55-250 STM was sharp enough that you could compensate for the decreased range by cropping the image/increasing the image size and you in many shots I still had a sharper image from the 55-250 even after that increase. Verdict - The 55-250 STM beats the 70-300 IS USM often enough that I see very few reasons to continue to recommend the 70-300 IS USM.

  • Build quality - The new version feels solid in the hand - offers full time manual focus if you half press the shutter, neither the older 55-250 IS II or the 70-300 IS USM offer full time manual focus. And compared to the 55-250 IS II the focusing is now internal, the older version had some rotation during focusing which made it difficult to use a circular polarizer. The new version solves that frustrating issue. Verdict: It is a budget lens and build quality reflects that but it does feel solid in hand and well constructed - focus ring is larger. 70-300 IS USM does offer two versions of IS - standard and a version for panning with action. 70-300 IS USM is also an EF lens, useable by full frame cameras, it also has a metal mount vs plastic with the 55-250 STM.

[gallery ids="4056,4055,4054,4053"]

In Summary you have a lens that has improved enough it makes the more expensive 70-300 IS USM obsolete - obsolete might be a strong word as the 70-300 does give you slightly wider apertures at those longer focal lengths and is still the cheapest/longest option from Canon that works on a full frame but ultimately I think this new 55-250 IS STM is a better value and it is a no brainer purchase if you want more zoom when buying a T5i or 70D because of the current $150 discount.  And it certainly is worth the small increase in price over the earlier 55-250 models. Videographers that use autofocus and want zoom - this is a no-brainer purchase - it does the job very well.

Support this site and my work.  Buy the 55-250 IS STM from Amazon | B&H

Save $150.00 on Canon EF-S 55-250mm STM Lens for every 1 Qualifying Canon EOS Digital SLR Camera you purchase offered by Amazon.com. Enter code RBYIJDFJ at checkout.

70 to something zooms [Quick Post]

I recently posted about a price drop for the 70-300 IS USM lens on Amazon. As of this post it is selling for $400 or just under.  This is the best price I have ever seen this lens sell for.   That prompted a few questions, comments and emails with thoughts and questions about the 70-200 f/4 L that is just a bit more.  The 70-200 f/4 L is selling new for just under $600 and you can buy a used copy for just under $500.   70-200 f/4 L lens is a nice lens.  It is an excellent value, very sharp and renders colors so nicely.  The 70-300 is very nice too, but it isn't L glass, it does however provide you with an extra 100mm and Image Stabilization (IS).   So which would I buy?[Photo samples coming soon]If I was a wildlife shooter on a budget or someone that wanted a zoom to carry around all day/on hikes/walkabouts I would pick the 70-300 IS USM. It is the lightest of the bunch at 1.39 lbs and having that extra 100mm is really nice where wildlife is concerned. It still won't feel like enough if you are trying to get those amazing national geographic like shots but it does a good job and the IS can be very helpful, it is even possible to shoot some video and use the IS for smoother action.  One bummer, the lens is USM but not full time manual focus, this is a lens you really want to use with back button focusing. Buy the 70-300 IS USM from Amazon, your purchase helps support this site.If I was a portrait or wedding photographer on a budget the 70-200 f/4 L USM is an excellent lens to take people photos, any photos really but at 1.55lbs it is starting to get heavy and won't be much fun to carry around all day. Buy the 70-200 f/4 L USM from Amazon.There is also the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM, the difference between the lens above is IS, 1/4 pound heavier and about $600 more for a total of just under $1200.  I believe it is slightly better optically but I have never actually shot with this lens so I can't say for sure.   Again, IS is useful in these longer lenses and this could be used by a sports photographer or a wedding photographer on a budget, though some might scoff at the idea that this is a budget minded lens.  Buy the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM from Amazon.And one more lens, because Luke asked ;), the 70-200 f/2.8L USM , we are now getting into dreamy territory.  Not a huge amount of image quality difference from the 70-200 f/4 but you get the constant f/2.8, excellent for indoor sports photographers and wedding photographers.  But this lens is HEAVY, weighing in at 2.89 lbs with a giant filter size of 77mm.  It also cost over $1200. Buy the 70-200 f/2.8 L USM from Amazon.And for another $1000 on top of that you could pick up the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM II lens or the original for slightly cheaper.  Both are excellent lenses, though very heavy and very expensive. There are also third party lenses like the Sigma and Tamron 70-200 but I have not been happy with the quality of any of the copies I tried. 70-300 IS USM - $40070-200 f/4 L USM - $60070-200 f/4 L IS USM - $120070-200 f/2.8 L USM - $120070-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM - $2100