Using Extenders

I have been working with a new lens.  I purchased it hoping to find an economical way to get a “longer” lens.  Some of the blogs I read the folks posting the pictures get some really beautiful close-ups of birds native to their area.  This blog in particular: http://morningjoy.wordpress.com/

I also know from her past posts she uses a 500mm lens.  My camera is a Canon Rebel Xsi.  Anyone priced a Canon 500mm lens lately?  The suggested retail price of a Canon 500mm lens listed on Canon USA’s website is $7,000.  Unless money starts growing on trees this spring or I win the lottery, that lens will remain a bit out of my price range, but I have to admit to a certain amount of envy when I look at the beautiful images she captures.

Last year I purchased Canon’s 1.4x extender to use with my 100-400mm lens.  I only used it a few times and then put the extender back in the camera bag where it has quietly waited for me to use again.  The 1.4x extender negates the autofocus feature of that lens.  Before you chastise me for my lazy ways of not focusing myself, I shoot most of my shots handheld.  Why?  Because most of the time the critters I see don’t wait around long enough for me to set up a tripod, adjust the camera settings and then focus the camera.  To quote my local professional camera guru – an extremely patient friend – photography is always about trade-offs. 

To solve the primary problem of how to get an affordable “longer” lens, I decided to buy Canons 300mm f4, which while still kind of pricey gets me one step closer because the 1.4x extender does not negate the autofocus feature of that lens.  Having shot with it for two weekends now, I’ve begun to understand how to get images I like with that lens.  Until yesterday, I was less than enthused with the results.  But as I’ve read on some of the other blogs by both professional and amateur photographers, lighting is everything.


These female Mallards were more than a hundred feet away when I took this shot, and while I realize using extenders isn’t the best solution at getting a “longer” lens, it is the one I can afford.  The picture below was also captured using the 300mm with the 1.4x extender.



3 Responses to “Using Extenders”

  1. March 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Beautiful Photos !!

  2. 2 Randy Roberts
    March 7, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Thank you. I’m glad you like the photos. I check your blog daily, though I’ve noticed you post several times a day. Good luck.

  3. March 7, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Thanks 🙂 Yea I just have it scheduled to post at different times – so that I don’t have to worry about it for awhile LOL 🙂 But i check mine daily too.

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