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  1. #1
    cmo
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    Alternative to Canon 5.6/500 IS - which sharp, manual lenses?

    Canon has such wonderful lenses... but at a price. I love the stabilizer in my 2.8/70-200 lens, but everything beyond that gets really expensive.

    On eBay you find a lot of cheap telephoto garbage, typically no-name 500mm/1:8 lenseswith a T2 adapter, and some terrible mirror lenses, many of them from Russia with love but no quality control. That's not on option.

    Adapting OLD telephoto lenses like in the good old days might be an option. What kind of lenses would you recommend if sharpness and contrast are the main issues?

  2. #2
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I tell you what, I have used a mamiya 645 format 500/5.6 on various 35mm bodies and I like it a lot. The Nikon F adapter cost me maybe $20, the lens itself maybe $500 or so. The lens construct is excellent.

    A TC on your 70-200 or on a 300/4 is also perhaps not a bad idea.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  3. #3
    cmo
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    Nice idea. Mamiya has always made great lenses...

    In case others have proposals, everything between 400mm and really long might be interesting.

  4. #4

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    What about Leitz Telyt lenses for the Leica R system?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post

    A TC on your 70-200 or on a 300/4 is also perhaps not a bad idea.
    I have the EF Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS, 300mm f4L, 1.4xTC and 2x TC. You don't want to rely on the 2x TC for any serious work. You lose too much contrast and sharpness. The 1.4x is okay though.

    I see the Canon FD L lenses on ebay fairly often (Adorama seems to have one or two listed there almost constantly lately) at a significant savings over the EF lenses. The catch is that I don't know if you'd get infinity focus without an optical adapter and then you lose quality. There are FD to EF adapters though that allow for focus confirmation.

    Dan

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The FD 500/4.5 L was one of the latest designs of the big teles for the FD system, and was in fact the same lens as the first version for EF mount. Given the cost of these lenses, it would be worth purchasing an FD body just for use with this lens.

    Canon did make an FD-EOS converter, which acts as a 1.2X extender, for lenses longer than 200mm, but these are expensive and hard to find, though I do have one, and it's not for sale.

    I use the FD 600/4.5, which some people think isn't as good as the L lenses in the FD line, because they have never actually used it and are only looking for the red stripe. The only problem I've had with this lens is some chromatic aberration that can be visible in high contrast scenes with a 2X extender. This isn't an issue that I can see with the 1.4X extender. Here are some typical shots with the FD 600/4.5--





    The FD 500/4.5L is probably a sharper lens, being of later design, but for birds I'll take the extra 100mm.

    With any of these lenses, the tripod and head are more important in terms of sharpness than the lens, so I think it makes sense to save some money on the lens and put it into a tripod and a head like a Wimberley or Arca-Swiss B2. The manual focus versions are also considerably lighter in weight than the autofocus versions, even more so if they have IS, and a good tripod is better than IS, presuming you don't have to handhold it on a boat.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    Canon did make an FD-EOS converter, which acts as a 1.2X extender,
    As David said these tele extenders are quite rare and weren't sold directly to the public according to this source:

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-manual-lenses/

    As a practical matter I would work with an FD body unless you are lucky enough to find and buy one of these converters. Compared to the modern EOS teles the prices of these optics are comparatively cheap but of very good quality.
    Don Bryant

  8. #8
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    I'll second the recommendation of a Leica Telyt (400mm or 560mm).

    While not perfect (doublet schemes with significant curvature of field), they can deliver absolutely top-notch results, especially with wildlife photographs.

    With luck, you'll also get the shoulder support, which closely emulates IS-type vibration reduction.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  9. #9

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    You might also adapt manual Nikon or Contax lenses.

  10. #10
    cmo
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    I have a Leica Telyt 6.8/560mm, a 5.6/400mm Noflexar head, and a 1.5x and 2x converter. Not bad, but I am still looking for alternatives. Especially with the converters this equipment is quite difficult to handle.

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