Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 31 July 2009


In a quandary sums me up at the moment. I want (need) to update my camera lens from the Sigma 170 - 500 to a Canon 400 prime or Canon 100 - 400. So, what do I do? Budget is paramount and unfortunately not very big!


Buy new and have the safety net of a warranty should anything go wrong?
Buy second hand at the risk of "buyer beware"?
Use a local reputable dealer at a higher price or use a distant dealer at a lower price?
Risk a bid or buy on e-bay?
Try to part exchange my existing lens or sell privately?

More Choices?

Go for a Canon 400 prime which is cheaper? I nearly always use my Sigma at 500mm.
Go for a Canon 100 - 400 which may be more versatile, but more expensive?

I am not very good at making decisions and will probably make the wrong one! Hopefully I will make the right choice (probably when all of the bargains have been sold!). Eventually.......................


Colin Wise said...

I have just got the 400 prime Kev and like you did not know whether to go for the zoom or the prime, I googled 'canon 400 f5.6 review' and there was one particular site that done a comparison of the 2 lenses, after reading the review and comparing the pictures of the two lenses I was left in no doubt what lens to buy. The zoom is much more versatile but you do lose quite a lot of sharpness with it. But what really done it for me was they tested both with a x2 teleconverter and the one with the prime was 10 times better than the zoom, there was really no comparison. There was no way I could afford a 800mm lens but after buying a x2 canon compatable converter off ebay for £55 I got the 800mm I needed when attached to my prime lens. You cannot use auto focus with the x2 but thats a small forfeit.Canon do there own converter which I am saving up for. I am very happy with the results so far.One thing that I have missed is that I could not take pics of butterflies, so I am now seen changing lenses from my 400 to my macro lol.Most of the time I have the cinverter on

Kevin Groocock said...

Thanks, Colin. I am going to look at a 100 - 400 on Sunday. Not sure if I will look at converters as you have to tape the pins (or something!). Will write up on here how I get on.

col wise said...

The converter I have, just goes straight on to the lens and then onto the camera (it is a Teleplus MC7). I think you might miss 500mm if you go to the 400mm as you wont be getting as near as you would like.Try using your sigma at 400mm and see how often you want to zoom out.It is a lot of money to spend out and not get the results. I think with the prime you have 2 options 400mm or 800mm with the zoom your options stop at 400mm. The latest pictures on my blog were took with the converter on and bearing in mind that the camera Im using is only a canon 300 and Im no photographer, they were quite pleasing. The redshank and the heron were taken from the carlton hide and they were both on the island in the middle of the lake, but as you say the prime is not as versatile but you do get a sharper picture - I will try and find the link where they are compared for you.If I bump into you sometime you can try the prime and the prime converter combination.

col wise said...

here is one link lol. This is a never ending discussion and no one can make there mind up. It seems if you want all round photography go for the zoom if you want birds in flight photography go for the prime - I dont think there is an answer to this one

Kevin Groocock said...

Many thanks for your comments, Colin and for the link. Just off to work so will have a look this evening.