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Best lens for wildlife/bird photography ?

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User_Removed
25 Jan 2009 - 12:09 PM

I have the Sigma lens and it really is a beast. Tripod or monopod almost essential but hand held just possible at the longer ranges for a grab shot. Purchased mine when "upgrading" my analogue system to Nikon a couple of years ago. Minolta 500AF used to be on the camera for a lot of the time so I knew I had to find a replacement. No way could I afford a prime 500 so the Sigma fitted the bill.

Best feature is the instant focussing, a dream compared to the old 500AF that used to hunt endlessly. Lot of glass at the front so filters can be expensive.

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Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman  114484 forum posts England36 Constructive Critique Points
25 Jan 2009 - 12:54 PM

I use the 50-500mm EX Sigma for nearly all my wildlife photography and it suits my needs.....See my p/f (shameless plug). However, I live on benefits therefore I'm unable to splash the cash like some of the other togs on here......I'm not jealous (COUGH) Sad
In an ideal world then yes I would probably go for more expensive glass, however I make do with what I have and with the exception of the Sigma being a little slow to focus sometimes, I think I do reasonably well. To be honest I've never fould the focus that much of a problem, but I know others shy away a little because they're used to using Canon L glass.....

Ade

LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62425 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
25 Jan 2009 - 1:26 PM

First things first - cropped sensor body!
Why?
30 - 60% more reach (depending on the body), similar AF to top 24x36 if you use 1Ds II (top wildlife sites are still not happy about the 1Ds III AF for birds) or D300, very good noise and dynamic range up to 800-1600 ISO, less kit size and weight for less money plus (probably the greatest cropped sensor advantage for wildlife) either more depth of field or a faster shutter speed for the same viewfinder crop as 24x36.
For wildlife these advantages easily out way the slight very high noise and dynamic range advantages of 24x36 - though if you can afford both take both.
***
I concentrate on working from blinds and medium to large birds when I do bird photography so the D300 with 200-400 plus 14e and 17e when needed give me enough reach.
If I was exclusive birds I would probably get a 500 or 600 prime.

User_Removed
25 Jan 2009 - 3:43 PM


Quote: First things first - cropped sensor body!
Why?
30 - 60% more reach (depending on the body)

Since when - urban myth I'm afraid Smile

Last Modified By User_Removed at 25 Jan 2009 - 3:47 PM
ForeverSnapping


Quote: I use the 50-500mm EX Sigma for nearly all my wildlife photography and it suits my needs.....See my p/f (shameless plug). However, I live on benefits therefore I'm unable to splash the cash like some of the other togs on here......I'm not jealous (COUGH)
In an ideal world then yes I would probably go for more expensive glass, however I make do with what I have and with the exception of the Sigma being a little slow to focus sometimes, I think I do reasonably well. To be honest I've never fould the focus that much of a problem, but I know others shy away a little because they're used to using Canon L glass.....

Ade

Hi Ade Thanks for the advice on the Sigma lens, much appreciated, looked at your portfolio, you have lovely shots, the pictures you took with the Sigma lens have great colour and detail, love the picture of the puffins.

Natasha

ukdrifter
ukdrifter  5 United Kingdom
30 Jan 2009 - 6:08 PM

What about a Canon 600mmf4 no, " IS ", would it be worth spending a 1000 to use with a tripod, of course.?

tomcat
tomcat e2 Member 85835 forum poststomcat vcard United Kingdom15 Constructive Critique Points
30 Jan 2009 - 7:09 PM


Quote: I use the 50-500mm EX Sigma for nearly all my wildlife photography and it suits my needs.....See my p/f (shameless plug). However, I live on benefits therefore I'm unable to splash the cash like some of the other togs on here......I'm not jealous (COUGH)

Your work shows what can be achieved without the need of spending K's on big prime lens'

keep 'em coming Ade

phil_j
phil_j  8133 forum posts England4 Constructive Critique Points
30 Jan 2009 - 7:25 PM


Quote: Your work shows what can be achieved without the need of spending K's on big prime lens'

keep 'em coming Ade

Agree with that.

I use the poorer relation to the siggy 50-500, the 170-500 and find that it gives me some decent results, I would love to have a faster prime, but contary to what most people think, Driving Instructors dont make a bundle (the ads on the telly make me scream with laughter each time I see them).

strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
30 Jan 2009 - 7:30 PM


Quote: Since when - urban myth I'm afraid

Sorry Barrie he does have a point there. Borrow a D300 and stick it next to your D700 and put the same focal length lens on both cameras. Then with no editing print the images on the same size of paper.

The subject will be bigger on the D300 so there is an effect. I will let others describe how you quantify it.

strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
30 Jan 2009 - 7:46 PM

As for lenses, I used to have the 170-500, and on a decent tripod with manual focusing and at F8 I have taken some photo's I am very pleased with.

The primes and more expensive lenses often give more freedom in how you use them, or that bit extra AF speed or sharpness, but that is not to say the zooms and lower cost lenses are junk, with the exception of the Vivitar 100-400, that I did find hard to use without hitting one of its limitations every time.

It is better to use a lens you can afford than not take photographs.

User_Removed
30 Jan 2009 - 7:48 PM

It depends on pixel density doesn't it. If the pixel density is the same between the two cameras, then to get the image on the smaller crop camera to be the same size as that on the larger, interpolation will be required

If the pixel density is greater on the smaller crop camera, then you may print at the same size but then of course then you are not comparing like with like Smile

It's actually very easy to see with the Nikon D3 where you can switch from full frame to crop mode with the same lens attached

(the men in white coats are back Smile)

Last Modified By User_Removed at 30 Jan 2009 - 7:50 PM
strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
30 Jan 2009 - 10:56 PM

Ah but in my specified test it is resolution independent as you print the photo's out at the same size so all you are looking at is the different angle of view Smile

P.S I prefer yellow coats Wink

Paintman
Paintman e2 Member 7823 forum postsPaintman vcard United Kingdom172 Constructive Critique Points
31 Jan 2009 - 8:19 AM

This should do

You may need a special reinforced tripod though.

LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62425 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
1 Feb 2009 - 12:35 PM

I use Nikon's 200-400 VR sometimes with converters for birds and mammals, Nikon's 70-180 for flowers from a tripod, Nikon's 200 macro with flash when I need working distance for insects, and Nikon's 105 VR macro when I want hand held close ups without flash.
I would like a Nikon 500 or 600 VR if I had the money.
There is a bird shot in my portfolio.

LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62425 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
1 Feb 2009 - 3:38 PM


Quote: Quote:First things first - cropped sensor body!
Why?
30 - 60% more reach (depending on the body)Since when - urban myth I'm afraid

Or true!
200mm lens 10 foot wide subject - 20 yards focus on 24x36, or 30 yards focus on DX.
How can that be anything other than more reach?
Plus up to about 800 ISO with modern cameras MP for MP (eg D300/D700) nil to negligible difference for sharpness, resolution, noise and dynamic range.

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