Zoom Telephoto or Macro


30 Jul 2008 7:15PM
I have a Zoom Telephoto Lens 90 to 300mm and Sigma Macro Lens 150mm, what one is better for birds (robins, blue tits and great tits) in the garden? Any advice, much appreciated, thanks.

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

conrad 16 10.9k 116
30 Jul 2008 7:19PM
The longer the better, so that would be your 90-300.
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
30 Jul 2008 7:26PM
hmm the 300mm is longer so will get you closer shots of the birds and it might have a slitly faster AF than the sigam 150mm. However the sigma will most likley have a better photo quality to it - being a prime lens - to get a boosted range you could consider a 1.4Teleconverter
dragarth 16 247 1 Scotland
1 Aug 2008 8:34PM
Hmm as above but the use of the converter will loose you 1 stop so you might find it's about even in the end..
sean
10 Aug 2008 11:42PM

Quote:Hmm the 300mm is longer so will get you closer shots of the birds and it might have a slitly faster AF than the sigam 150mm. However the sigma will most likley have a better photo quality to it - being a prime lens - to get a boosted range you could consider a 1.4Teleconverter


Whats the image quality like with the teleconverter? Is the teleconverter good for Macro?
justin c 16 5.1k 36 England
11 Aug 2008 12:05AM
Whilst the Sigma 150mm macro lens is an outstanding lens for macro work it will unfortunately be as good as useless for 99.9% of bird photography. The reason being it's just not long enough and you would have to be practically on top of a bird to get a decent subject size within the frame.

A teleconverter wouldn't be the best choice to go with your 90-300mm lens, if it even fits it at all. They generally work best with prime lenses or at the very least, top quality zoom lenses, such as the Canon 70-200mm f2.8.

However, if it's the correct fit for your Sigma macro lens then it's well worth experimenting with it. Image quality is likely to be excellent, particularly if you work with apertures in the f5.6-f8 range.
A couple of big benefits of that combination will be, greater magnification and increased working distance between you and your subject.

For bird photography, there's no reason why you can't get some pretty decent results with a 300mm lens, particularly if your prepared to put the effort into getting close to the birds. A hide is invaluable for this, whether a specially designed one made for the purpose, a garden shed or even shooting from a house or car through an open window.

Hope this helps.
Strobekid 13 369 United Kingdom
11 Aug 2008 12:50PM
I find the Sigma macro range very slow on AF - it just hunts for it all the time. I don't do bird photography, but I'd have thought a quick focus to get the very short shutter chance is one of the essential elements of bird photography?
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
11 Aug 2008 1:26PM
The 150mm works very well with teleconverters in macro mode (not done much/any work with it yet for further off things like birds) its a very fiddly combination to work with as your depth of field = even a small apertures - is very fine, so expect it to be tricky. It does give you twice the magnification though (For a 2*teleconverter) which can get some stunning results - also idealy you want to be shooting at the side ofthe insect - head on shots need a greater depth of field that you just can't get unless you go into photostacking.
If you check my last 3 bug photos in my profile each one is taken with the 150mm and the 2*TC
11 Aug 2008 5:06PM

Quote:Whilst the Sigma 150mm macro lens is an outstanding lens for macro work it will unfortunately be as good as useless for 99.9% of bird photography. The reason being it's just not long enough and you would have to be practically on top of a bird to get a decent subject size within the frame.

A teleconverter wouldn't be the best choice to go with your 90-300mm lens, if it even fits it at all. They generally work best with prime lenses or at the very least, top quality zoom lenses, such as the Canon 70-200mm f2.8.

However, if it's the correct fit for your Sigma macro lens then it's well worth experimenting with it. Image quality is likely to be excellent, particularly if you work with apertures in the f5.6-f8 range.
A couple of big benefits of that combination will be, greater magnification and increased working distance between you and your subject.

For bird photography, there's no reason why you can't get some pretty decent results with a 300mm lens, particularly if your prepared to put the effort into getting close to the birds. A hide is invaluable for this, whether a specially designed one made for the purpose, a garden shed or even shooting from a house or car through an open window.

Hope this helps.



Thanks for the advice, much appreciated!!!!!!! Can you get extensions (tele converters or extension tubes) for the 300mm lens? Wanna try to get closer to the blue tit without going up to him cos he might fly off lol.
11 Aug 2008 5:08PM

Quote:The 150mm works very well with teleconverters in macro mode (not done much/any work with it yet for further off things like birds) its a very fiddly combination to work with as your depth of field = even a small apertures - is very fine, so expect it to be tricky. It does give you twice the magnification though (For a 2*teleconverter) which can get some stunning results - also idealy you want to be shooting at the side ofthe insect - head on shots need a greater depth of field that you just can't get unless you go into photostacking.
If you check my last 3 bug photos in my profile each one is taken with the 150mm and the 2*TC



Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it!!!!!! Your bug photos are great, love the detail!!!!!!
strawman 16 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
11 Aug 2008 5:11PM
If your lens is a zoom that ends in 300mm then unless it is a top notch one (say f4 or faster and an EX or L Series one), I would advise against a teleconverter. you can run into problems of very slow autofucs, perhaps manual focus only, and as a teleconverter works by "croping" into the centre of the image, you will see any optical defects even more.
11 Aug 2008 5:20PM

Quote:If your lens is a zoom that ends in 300mm then unless it is a top notch one (say f4 or faster and an EX or L Series one), I would advise against a teleconverter. you can run into problems of very slow autofucs, perhaps manual focus only, and as a teleconverter works by "croping" into the centre of the image, you will see any optical defects even more.


Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it!!!! If I buy a teleconverter, I'd use it for Macro instead of birds lol.
RichardB 15 328 United Kingdom
11 Aug 2008 5:22PM
I agree with what has been said regarding focal lengths - the longer being better for bird photography.

The Sigma 150mm macro does work very well though with a Sigma 1.4X converter if the range is right. As an example there is a shot of a jet ski in my portfolo that was taken with this combination. The focussing was quick enough to catch the action and the detail is superb in an A3 size print.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.