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Lenses for puffins

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rowarrior
rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 9:19 PM

I'm planning on going on holiday to Mull and Skye in July for a couple of weeks, and while I'm in Mull I'm intending to go over to Staffa to see if I can get some photos of puffins. The last time I tried this I was 9, and I guess the Olympus film SLR my dad had me using had a rather short lens on it, looking at the size of the birds in the shots lol.

Above 50mm I have a Canon 28-135 IS, which I'm sure will be too short, and a Tamron 70-300, which I fear I could get very frustrated with if my photos don't come out very sharp (recent experience taking photos of jousters at Linlithgow Palace would point to it being rather hit and miss, although that could be me too lol)

Anyway, as buying a new lens is out of the question, I was considering hiring one, however I'm not really sure what sort of focal length I should be going for. I think I've gathered from other posts on bird photography that IS would not be particularly useful for this, so I suppose I can discount those lenses if there's a cheaper non-IS available.

Any suggestions?

Thanks Smile

KT

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Strobekid
Strobekid  7369 forum posts United Kingdom
9 Jun 2009 - 9:42 PM

In bird photography, it's the AF speed and accuracy that's important, more so than brightness of the lens. In good daylight, you can easily get above 1/1000th second, even at F8 or above, so you can freeze movement good and proper. If you don't get fast enough shutter speed, whack your ISO up slightly. IS/VR is only good for non-moving subject I find, so I would suggest you have another go with your Tamron 70-300mm. You never know, you might be happier. But if you are going to hire a lens, you may as well go for broke, and get some 400 or 500mm lens. It will be heavy, mind you, so make sure your tripod can take the weight.

rowarrior
rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 9:51 PM

Hi Kegio, thanks for that. My 20D does begin to get rather grainy at 800 and above, so I guess I'll have to be very adept at changing things quickly, or ought I to use TV more? I normally use manual, but I suppose leaving it up to the camera might be a good idea!

justin c
justin c  104526 forum posts England36 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 10:06 PM


Quote: In bird photography, it's the AF speed and accuracy that's important, more so than brightness of the lens.

Quite the opposite I'd say.

AF accuracy and speed is obviously important but it's the faster lenses that will give this, i.e. the faster the lens, the more light it will let in so the quicker the auto focus is likely to be.
Speed and accuracy is in fact not such a big deal with bird photography as 90% of the time you'll be photographing birds which are perched, usually giving ample time for most lenses to lock onto the subject.
Of course, speed and accuracy is of more importance if you specialize in birds in flight.

Another reason why having a faster lens is more desirable than speed and accuracy is you'll often be using an extender/converter with a prime lens for bird photography, this is only really ideal on the faster lenses, especially if you wish to maintain auto focus.



Quote: IS/VR is only good for non-moving subject I find

Sorry to be picky, but that's also incorrect. Image Stabilization is of huge benefit when panning with a moving subject.


If the puffins on Mull or Skye are as close as the ones on Skomer then a 100-400mm lens is a very versatile option.

Last Modified By justin c at 9 Jun 2009 - 10:08 PM
stolzy
stolzy  83753 forum posts7 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 10:11 PM


Quote:
Lenses for puffins

70-200/2.8 is ideal, just the right combination of heft and ease of manipulation. Smaller lenses risk a less than clean kill and the big ones can spoil the meat unless you're very careful.

Coleslaw
Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 10:14 PM

70-200 might be too short, I think. I would go for 100-400 or 300f2.8 or 400 5.6.

KBan
KBan  9457 forum posts England4 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 10:23 PM

i use a 70 200mm with a 1.7 converter.

Keith

rowarrior
rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 11:17 PM


Quote: 70-200 might be too short, I think. I would go for 100-400 or 300f2.8 or 400 5.6.

From what I recall on Staffa they fly right between your feet, right enough, anyone been there recently that may have a better memory of the place?


Quote: If the puffins on Mull or Skye are as close as the ones on Skomer then a 100-400mm lens is a very versatile option.

Thanks, will look into that

rowarrior
rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 11:21 PM


Quote: Quote:
Lenses for puffins

70-200/2.8 is ideal, just the right combination of heft and ease of manipulation. Smaller lenses risk a less than clean kill and the big ones can spoil the meat unless you're very careful.

Hmm, but what would you serve them with? I will have a portable barbecue with me...

strawman
strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
9 Jun 2009 - 11:56 PM

I would serve sautéed potatoes with fresh green beans and may I be so bold as to suggest a new world red to accompany the ensemble.

Sorry far too much wine insufficient bran cells working. Smile

Last Modified By strawman at 9 Jun 2009 - 11:57 PM
rowarrior
rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2009 - 12:05 AM

Catching a fresh green bean in the wilds of Mull may be an ask too far though John...

fauxtography
10 Jun 2009 - 12:09 AM


Quote: Catching a fresh green bean in the wilds of Mull may be an ask too far though John...

Yeah but they are much easier to get with the 28-135 you have...

strawman
strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2009 - 12:18 AM

Even Mull must have a corner store Smile

I would take precautions and take your own wine though.

I would wrap the Puffin in bacon and cook at gas mark 6 for 2hours, if possible sprinkle with fresh parsley. Never tried it myself but let me know how it goes. In Mull there must at least be some fresh sea salt Wink

Last Modified By strawman at 10 Jun 2009 - 12:21 AM
Nick_w
Nick_w e2 Member 73870 forum postsNick_w vcard England99 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2009 - 12:23 AM

It may be worth hiring a lens for the trip, that way you can give it a good try without commiting a lot of resources.

I was hoping to get to the Farnes this year but it now looks unlikely, but for wildlife I use a Sigma 100-300 F4 (sometimes with a 1.4TC) and its excellent.

If you are hiring try the Sigma 120-300 F2.8, or the Canon 100-400, even the Sigma Bigma, 50-500, also consider a monopod or beanbag then you may not need VR.

stolzy
stolzy  83753 forum posts7 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2009 - 6:44 AM


Quote: fresh green beans

Vegetables in Scotland? Good luck with that!

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