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5 May 2012 6:50AM
I'm using a Nikon d3100,and as money is tight and on a budget,the lens i'm using is a Sigma 70-300 lens with a 1x4 converter,but still getting a photo
out of focus,now and then,as i love taking wild life photograph more of the birds especially,trouble is when using my camera at a wild life reserve ,
i get frustrated of people around me with much bigger lenses and feel a right idiot,that puts mine to shame,i have other lenses but not good enough
for wild life,so as you would i'm Stumped,i'll just keep trying,

regards djj

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Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
5 May 2012 7:05AM
Which specific 70-300mm are you using and which specific 1.4 teleconverter?

Far as I know Sigma only make cheaper end 70-300mm lenses and these are all unsuitable for using a teleconverter with. Even the modest 1.4TC still saps optical quality and reduces the aperture by one stop. On these lenses this typically makes them around f8 at their maximum aperture (note some 1.4TC won't report this to the camera, but it is still changed even if its not reported).

Stopping down one stop from wide open to get improved optical performance is thus not really a possibility because you're losing way too much light - light that you need for the fast shutter speed (you'll need at least 1/500sec for hand holding and birds in motion). This means your ISO has to go up so your overall image quality, again, suffers.

The lack of focus is most likely because, whilst your camera retains AF function, once the maximum aperture of a lens goes smaller than f5.6 the accuracy and speed of AF drops considerably (Canon side it actually disables AF when it detects that the lens's maximum aperture is smaller than f5.6 on all but the 1D series bodies).

Unfortunately wildlife is one of the more expensive areas to get into simply because long lenses cost far more to product. The easiest way to improve is improved field craft and getting physically closer to the subject; however at many reserves this is very difficult as access is often restricted to specific hides and pathways.
5 May 2012 7:25AM
A basic Sigma 70-300mm may be difficult to use with a 1.4 teleconverter. Generally a lens with f2.8 or faster is the way to go with a teleconverter. I have just purchased a 1.4 Sigma teleconverter to go with a 70-200 f2.8 Sigma zoom. I will report back when i receive it but this will make my lens an f4 which should still autofocus.
MikeRC Plus
12 3.6k United Kingdom
5 May 2012 10:43AM
Hi DJJ...most of my shots ...some I'm quite pleased with, were shot with a 70-300 lens.
...get the shutter speed fast enough and VR is not so important.
...I'll never get voted 'tog of the year but what can you do Smile

Visit a bird of prey centre...the birds are much bigger and a lot closer...practice 'till your hearts content.
....even flight shots are quite possible with the kit you've got.
.....judicous use of the crop tool and you've got some good pics

best of luck....Mike
cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
5 May 2012 2:29PM
just been out to the Ballywalter Game Fair (with my Sigma 70-300) where they had some `falconry' displays. I used my monpod for the first time (in anger) and think I have some decent shots. They're never going to be as close as I would like but without spending an awful lot of money on a 400 or 500 prime I have to be happy with what I can get. Hope to post some over the next few days/weeks Smile
5 May 2012 5:34PM
Thanks all put my mined at rest,but not going to give up,
Thecrettin 11 4 United Kingdom
12 May 2012 4:51PM

I'm originally from SA and almost exclusively prefer shooting wildlife and nature shots. I'm far more skilled, experienced and comfortable with that than any other type of photography. I mainly use a 70-300 lens and have achieved the most amazing photos. Some of them I know I could have got far with had I entered the Wildlife Photographer of the year award, but I never bothered and when I did finally look into it this past year I noticed the photos had to be taken within the last 3 years if I recall right, and mine where just past 3 years.

So don't worry about your gear being "inferior" to other's out there. Ultimately we're always going to be far off base compared to some people out there that either have way more money than sense and have bought a bunch of gear that they dont know how to use, or they are pro's. Either way I am happy plodding along myself and hopefully one day when money is more available I can get some more fancy lenses.


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