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Reading back on previous forums, this is a variation on a theme.
I use a Nikon D7000 and have recently been exploring wildlife photography with a Nikon AF-D VR 70-300 f/4.5 - 5.6 attached. The results are fine up to a point but I really want a longer focal length, partticularly for flying birds. I cannot run to the mega bucks top of the range lenses and am considering; Sigma 150 to 500 but at nearly 2 kilos I'm not sure I could hold it hand held, Nikon 80 - 400, our local camera shop has a second hand model for about £700, however the reviews seem to be few and far between and what I've seen are not great, or a Nikon 1.4 teleconverter which would seem to be a reasonable, not to mention cheap option.
The guys in the local camera shop tell me that the teleconverter will not work with my Nikon lens, which although I don't doubt what they are saying, sounds very odd to me, they also tell me that I would lost the AF functionality with the Kenko equivalent. Any advice would be gratefully received.
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does this answer the question of compatibility?
Yes, the guys in the camera shop are quite right - the addition of a 1.4x or 1.7x TC to an f4.5-5.6 lens results in loss of AF due to lack of light. This is why TC's are generally fitted to f2.8 lenses, so that the addition of the TC results in greater magnification but also still allows the AF to function.
In regard to your options, there is a Sigma 150-500 in the Epz classifieds at £500 and £50 will get you a Manfrotto monopod to enable you to use it without hand-holding. I would avoid the Nikkor 80-400, which is widely regarded as a bit of a dud. The Sigma 100-300 f4 comes with a matched 1.4x TC and can be had for around £500 secondhand. I have one and it is a STELLAR lens, absolutely razor sharp - have a look on the web for reviews, you won't be disappointed... seems to be very popualar with Bird and wildlife photographers for that reason...
I have the sigma lens, yes it is heavy but I love it, I will say this though it does take a lot of getting used to especially with birds in flight.
All the previously mentioned long lens are good or bad,dependent on the lens sample and the person you talk to. Nearly all lenses are good enough for most photographers, except pixel peepers. It's all down to the economics and the handing. Only you can make that decision. I personally have the Nikkor 80mm - 400mm. With the exception of the slow focussing, i have no complaints about this lens. Yes, all of this class of lens loses resolution at the long end, but is the amount significant to you? Hear are a couple of web pages:
Anne, have you thought about using a mono-pod with the Sigma? You are mobile with the mono, so hopefully you should get the shots you want. Put the Sigma on your camera body at the shop and see how it feels. Maybe you will be comfortable using it hand held.
It may be worth investing in a Gimbal Head and sturdy tripod.
I use a Sigma 135-400 on a D7000, it produces great results. Note that this lens is only available second hand now, expect to pay about £300 ish for one, also it cannot be used with a tele converter - even a Sigma.
Thank you all very much for this, I have done as Stephen suggested and taken my camera into the shop and tried it with the Sigma 150 - 500 and really liked the feel of it. I have a good tripod but not a monopod so will give that a go too. Watch this space!
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