I know this is a difficult question, but I love telephoto lenses, the longer the better, but I can't afford the superb Canon super-telephoto lenses. My main nature photo cameras are EOS 3 bodies. I used Novoflex lenses in the past, including a 560mm Telyt head (not too bad). I used a Tamron SP 8/500 mirror lens (not bad for a mirror lens, and I love the size, weight and "bokeh", but these are prone to flare) At this time my longest lens is a 4/300 with a 1.4x Extender. The lens is very sharp, has a good IS and AF. With the converter image quality is half gone. With a 2x converter it would be pretty bad. I am looking for alternatives beyond 400mm. Canon tells me: - get a 4/400 and a converter -> $6,045.00 plus the converter - get a 2.8/400 and a converter -> $11,499 plus the converter - get a 4/500 -> $10,499 - wait for the new 4/200-400 with built-in converter -> probably $9,000 - get a 100-400 plus a converter -> $1,439 plus the converter, and it's not even really sharp and contrasty without using a converter - get a used 5.6/400 plus a converter -> $1,500, no IS, no AF at f8 - get a 2.8/70-200 II plus a 1.4x and a 2x converter -> f8/560mm, $3,000, and say goodbye to sharpness These guys raised their prices enormously during the last years. Canon goes Leica, Canon goes nuts, and Nikon is no better. Sigma tells me: - get a 120-300mm and a 2x converter -> $3,199 plus the converter, and say goodbye to sharpness - get a 300mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM plus a converter -> $3,399 plus the converter - get a 120-400mm F4,5-5,6 DG OS HSM plus a converter -> $1,000 plus the converter, and say goodbye to sharpness and contrast and forget about AF at f8 What I say about Sigma is that I had three lenses and all of them needed a repair Some old-school guys tell me: - get a $100 lens on ebay and get great results and bring canvas, brushes and oil ink to get a result - get a soviet Photosniper lens for $100 and bring watercolours - get an east german Pentacon 5.6/500mm, buy a golf caddy to carry 3.5 kilos and say goodbye to sharpness on 35mm film (these railguns are not bad for medium format) - get a 50mm lens and walk closer to the subject What are your recommendations for a poor guy with a limited budget? I know there will be compromises... I could live without AF and IS, but sharpness, contrast and reliabilty are important to me. I could even live with a fixed aperture (mirror lens) or using a golf caddy or pickup truck Things that came to my mind: - old ED Nikkors - Reflex Nikkors - long telephoto lenses for medium format systems - long telephoto lenses from Pentax, Minolta, Leitz - modifying Canon FD era lenses PS: I own a very good tripod.