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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 09-Mar-12 02:14 AM
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"AF bird lens advice needed for D60"


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

I became a bird watcher a couple of years ago. Went as far as my AF-S DX 55-200mm F4-5.6G ED could take me. Need advice as to what lens to get next that is compatible with the D60, and that also has full auto-focus.

Most of my shooting will be of song-birds in trees fifty feet away, with some as near as ten feet; a few waterfowl at 50 yards; and occasional shots of hawks in flight at various distances. Am willing to forego the latter two if the songbirds' quality is increased as a result. Half of my shots are in moderate to full sunlight, the rest in shade or cloud cover. Greatly prefer avoiding use of flash. I really like small depth of field in bird photography, but want to avoid paying thousands extra to get it.

I am considering fixed lenses of 300mm and up, as well as zoom with an upper end between 300 and 500mm. I am an expert in Photoshop Elements, so the long lens doesn't need to do ALL the work.

(My understanding is that Nikon does NOT make a teleconverter that will work with a D60.) Have any of you had success with extension tubes?

I am considering Nikon and non-Nikon, both under $1,000 and over $1,000, both new and used. I would like to keep it under $1,000, but if your experience was that under $1,000 just didn't yield results that would please the semi-professional, I really would like to hear your story. Whatever tips you can offer regarding regarding "important factors when considering used lenses" would be helpful: price, source, age, condition. For instance, I've never bought a used lens before. How would I know, other than by obvious external appearance, if a lens had more than moderate use? If you are recommending a used lens, and have a decent idea of current market price, that would be a plus. Finally, if you can attach some images of bird photography, taken with the D60 and with the lens that you are recommending, that would be MUCH appreciated.

For you Massachusetts bird enthusiasts, hope to see you at Mt. Auburn Cemetary over the next three months!

Many thanks for all of your help.

  

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Reply message RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60
MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
09th Mar 2012
1
Reply message RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60
BillinBoston Silver Member
09th Mar 2012
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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
09th Mar 2012
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BillinBoston Silver Member
10th Mar 2012
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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
10th Mar 2012
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BillinBoston Silver Member
10th Mar 2012
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11th Mar 2012
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BillinBoston Silver Member
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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
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BillinBoston Silver Member
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BillinBoston Silver Member
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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Fri 09-Mar-12 04:21 AM
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#1. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Bill,

Welcome to Nikonians!
The closest prime is the Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED IF AF-S ($1349.95 new) is optically superb and can be used with the Nikkor TC-14E II (1.4X (420mm)) or the TC-17E II (1.7X(510mm)) on your D60 while maintainig AF in decent light. While it is a little over your budget it is the least expensive 300mm AF-S prime available.
The closest zooms would be the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM ($999.00) or the Sigma 150-500mm f.5-6.3 DG APO OS HSM ($1069.00).
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 09-Mar-12 07:46 AM
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#2. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 1


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

A thousand thanks for your very informative and speedy reply.

Q-1. So I guess I was wrong in thinking that the Nikon website said that the D60 could not handle a teleconverter?

Q-2. Any idea what the 14E and the 17E cost? And, can I use these with the Sigma lenses, or would I need a Sigma teleconverter?

Q-3. I run all of my images through Photoshop Elements. If I were to compare the final photographs from my Nikkor F4 to my Sigma 4.5 or 5.0, what would I see in terms of graininess? Would the Sigma have significantly more, just a tiny bit more, etc.?

Q-4. If I won the lottery, bought a Nikkor F2.8 300 for nearly $5,000, then compared its results with the Nikkor F4 (and the Sigmas as well), on a comparative scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the overall results from each lens?

Q-5. If a dozen photographers, who all considered each other as semi-professional, got together to consider using the Nikkor F4 300, and the two Sigmas mentioned in your reply, along with appropriate teleconverters, would they as a group SERIOUSLY consider making these lenses their "lenses" of choice for bird photography? The reason I ask is that I don't know that much about comparative lens results. When I hang out in person or on the web with true semi-professionals later this year, will my work that came out of these three lenses have the possibility of measuring up favorably to theirs? I don't want to spend less than $2,000 if all that I can produce are amateur results. I've been a landscape and butterfly photographer for twenty years, and have, like anyone, picked up some skills along the way. This lens will probably be the last major photographic purchase that I make in my lifetime, being already 64. I'm hoping, with your help and that of other Nikonians, that it will be the right purchase.

Q-6. Given my age and all of the above, do you recommend my buying new or used, and from whom?

Sorry that this round took longer than the first. I would understand if you wanted to drop out.

Again, many thanks Marty, and best wishes in your own shooting.

Bill













Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Fri 09-Mar-12 09:21 PM
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#4. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hi Bill,


>Q-1. So I guess I was wrong in thinking that the Nikon
>website said that the D60 could not handle a teleconverter?

If you check the D60 Users Manual AF-S / AF-I Teleconverters when used with AF-S lenses are supported. The restriction is that the combination should have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster. This is Nikons standard for All DSLR AF systems with the exception of the new D4 and D800/D800E that are rated to f/8. In good light, f/5.6 can be exceeded though as the ambient light level goes down, AF performance drops until it doesn't work. The TC-14E II adds 1 stop and the TC-17E II adds 1.5 stops this makes the 300mm f/4 w/TC-14 a 420mm f/5.6 lens and with TC-17 a 510mm f/6.8 lens. Note that AF performance is reduced when using TC's and the higher the Magnification
the more the AF performance drops off. The same holds true for the ambient light level.

>Q-2. Any idea what the 14E and the 17E cost? And, can I use
>these with the Sigma lenses, or would I need a Sigma
>teleconverter?

The TC-14E II is $489.95 and the TC-17E II is $499.95.
No! The Nikkor TC's will not even mount on the Sigma lenses.
The Sigma TC's won't mount to those Sigma lenses either. The Sigma 120-400mm and 150-500mm are slow lenses to begin with at f/5.6 and f/6.3 maximum apertures to begin with and will not AF with a TC and Manual focus will be almost impossible as the veiwfinder will be very dark with a TC mounted to either lens.

>Q-3. I run all of my images through Photoshop Elements. If I
>were to compare the final photographs from my Nikkor F4 to my
>Sigma 4.5 or 5.0, what would I see in terms of graininess?
>Would the Sigma have significantly more, just a tiny bit more,
>etc.?

The Nikkor is razor sharp without a TC and probably sharper than either Sigma with the TC-14E II. The Sigma 150-500mm will be very close to if not slightly better than the 300mm f/4 w/TC-17E II at 500mm. At 300mm the Nikkor wins by a good margin.

>Q-4. If I won the lottery, bought a Nikkor F2.8 300 for
>nearly $5,000, then compared its results with the Nikkor F4
>(and the Sigmas as well), on a comparative scale of 1 to 10,
>how would you rate the overall results from each lens?

The big Nikkor primes are about the sharpest lenses made and the 300mm F/2.8 is one of the best of the best. (10)
The 300mm f/4 is optically superb but it is not in the same class as the 300mm f/2.8. (7)
The Sigma 150-500 advantage is the versatility of a zoom and OS (Optical Stabilization). (5). The same holds true for the 120-400mm. It is a recent lens and I have never tried one but I suspect it will perform similar to the 150-500mm.

>Q-5. If a dozen photographers, who all considered each other
>as semi-professional, got together to consider using the
>Nikkor F4 300, and the two Sigmas mentioned in your reply,
>along with appropriate teleconverters, would they as a group
>SERIOUSLY consider making these lenses their
>"lenses" of choice for bird photography?

You will more than likely get 12 different opinions on the choice of best lens for birding.
The one thing that All will agree on is that for shooting birds and BIF there is never enough focal length. Longer is always better.
Each will have their own budget which is a huge factor when one considers the price point of the Super Telephotos. Given an unlimited budget most would buy a 600mm f/4 ($10,300.00) plus a set of TC's and a D800, D7000, D300, and or a D400 when it is introduced to get more pixels on the subject or a D4 or D3s for shooting in low light.
Others would get the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 for its versatility and excellent optics (even though the primes are optically superior).
Those on a budget would buy a used super telephoto or the 300mm f/4 ED IF AF-S new or used. As the budget gets tighter, the Sigma's start to look better as they have the focal length with OS at a low price point.

>The reason
>I ask is that I don't know that much about comparative lens
>results. When I hang out in person or on the web with true
>semi-professionals later this year, will my work that came out
>of these three lenses have the possibility of measuring up
>favorably to theirs?

I have seen excellent images captured with the kit 55-300mm and very poor images captured with a 600mm f/4. The Photographer is the key part of the equation.
A good Photographer can get better images with lesser equipment than an average Photographer can get with the best equipment.
Again, mastering Long Lens technique takes practice and more often than not Excellent Support (tripod w/ gimbal head), patience, and being in the right place at the right time. The longer the lens, the more important a quality tripod and head are. The 300mm f/4 can be shot hand held in good light. That can't be said about the Big Boys.
While I have taken a few shots with my 400mm f/2.8 hand held, even Arnold in his prime would have difficulty shooting without a monopod or tripod for any length of time.
Another question is how far will you be carrying your gear accross what type of terrain and how much weight are you willing to carry?
The 300 f/2.8 is more than double the weight of the 300mm f/4.
Both Sigma Zooms are a little more than a pound heavier as well.

> I don't want to spend less than $2,000
>if all that I can produce are amateur results. I've been a
>landscape and butterfly photographer for twenty years, and
>have, like anyone, picked up some skills along the way. This
>lens will probably be the last major photographic purchase
>that I make in my lifetime, being already 64. I'm hoping,
>with your help and that of other Nikonians, that it will be
>the right purchase.

I would recommend renting the lens before you purchase it . That way you will know if it fits your particular requirements and shooting style.


>Q-6. Given my age and all of the above, do you recommend my
>buying new or used, and from whom?

Only you can answer that question.
I have purchased both new and used gear over the years.
I would recommend buying New gear from a Nikon Authorized Dealer, and Used Gear from well known reputable Dealers or from someone that you know and trust.
The more expensive the item, the more important it is to trust the seller.
For used gear, check: www.keh.com , www.adorama.com?kbid=912610 , www.bhphotovideo.com .
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sat 10-Mar-12 01:09 AM
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#5. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 4


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

You've been SO helpful. This almost wraps it up for all my lens questions. On ebay, if there was a seller you didn't know, but had a 99.5 reputation selling over a 1,000 items, would you consider making a purchase over $2,0000? If a particular lens was advertised as "no returns", and only had "Ebay Buyer Protection," would that be a deal-breaker for you? A professional photographer on ebay is selling his AF-S 300 2.8D (no VR) for $2,850 (current starting price, no bids yet, expires in 2 days). Can I even use a "D" lens, (which I believe is designed for F-mount bodies), or do all of my considerations need to be for "G" only with my D60? Finally, if I could find a compatible 300 2.8 lens, is that lens going to be so heavy (at 6 lbs) that I would need a tripod for four hours of shooting, and thus wouldn't absolutely require the VR feature?

On to a new area: birding itself. Does the Nikonians website encourage forum discussions on bird photography, or should I go somewhere else for those particulars, e.g. where is a great place to go in eastern Massachusetts for viewing and photographing northern flickers?

Do Nikonians ever organize themselves into small-group (3-20) photographic day-trips or longer, either local, in-state, or out-of-state? If so, how do I plug into that?

Thanks again.

Bill

P.S. You have no idea how valuable your advice has been to me. I've known of no other source in my lifetime who has had the patience to deal with my barrage of questions, who answere a specific query succinctly, and who also gives just the right amount of additional information so that I walk away a man who has indeed been taught "how to fish."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sat 10-Mar-12 07:27 AM
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#6. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 5


US
          

Hi Bill,


>On ebay, if there was a seller you didn't
>know, but had a 99.5 reputation selling over a 1,000 items,
>would you consider making a purchase over $2,0000?

Personally I have never purchased anything on ebay and I don't think that will ever change. IMHO it is too much like the wild west. Too much risk for my blood.

>If a particular lens was advertised as "no returns", and
>only had "Ebay Buyer Protection," would that be a
>deal-breaker for you?

See above.

>A professional photographer on ebay is
>selling his AF-S 300 2.8D (no VR) for $2,850 (current starting
>price, no bids yet, expires in 2 days).

There are two versions of the 300mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-S The original and the Series II. The Series II is a little lighter than the series I.
There is also the older 300mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-I that I recommend that you stay away from. The AF motors for All the AF-I lenses are no longer available so when they fail you will have to find a donor lens with a good AF motor, or use it as a MF lens or a boat anchor.

>Can I even use a
>"D" lens, (which I believe is designed for F-mount
>bodies), or do all of my considerations need to be for
>"G" only with my D60?

All Nikon DSLR's use the Nikon "F" mount.
D type lenses have distance encoding and an aperture ring.
G type lenses have distance encoding and no aperture ring.
The D60 does not have an AF motor built into the camera body so it requires lenses that have AF motors built into them for AF to work.
Nikon or Nikkor lenses with the AF-I and AF-S designation have AF motors built into the lens and will AF on the D40/D40X/D60/D3000/D5000/D3100/D5100 bodies. With an D type AF-S lens you must set the aperture ring to the minimum aperture setting (highest f/#) f/22) and lock it.


>Finally, if I could find a
>compatible 300 2.8 lens, is that lens going to be so heavy (at
>6 lbs) that I would need a tripod for four hours of shooting,
>and thus wouldn't absolutely require the VR feature?

You will need a monopod or tripod to shoot for any extended period of time. I made the mistake of leaving my monopod at home when I shot a football game with my Series II. Fortunatly it was an early afternoon game with bright sunlight. I was able to shoot the game by putting it down between plays and my arms were aching for the following few days. I won't make that mistake again.

>On to a new area: birding itself. Does the Nikonians website
>encourage forum discussions on bird photography, or should I
>go somewhere else for those particulars, e.g. where is a great
>place to go in eastern Massachusetts for viewing and
>photographing northern flickers?

Yes!
Check the Wildlife forum.
We have many talented members that shoot birds and birds in flight.

Check the Good Locations forum.

>Do Nikonians ever organize themselves into small-group (3-20)
>photographic day-trips or longer, either local, in-state, or
>out-of-state? If so, how do I plug into that?

Yes! There are some local Chapters that have get-togethers and organized activities. There doesn't seem to be a chapter in New England yet but there seems to be some interest in starting one.
Check the Nikonians Chapters forum.

>Thanks again.

You are very welcome.

>P.S. You have no idea how valuable your advice has been to
>me. I've known of no other source in my lifetime who has had
>the patience to deal with my barrage of questions, who answere
>a specific query succinctly, and who also gives just the right
>amount of additional information so that I walk away a man who
>has indeed been taught "how to fish."

Thank you for the kind words.
Glad to help.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sat 10-Mar-12 07:32 PM
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#7. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 6


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

I am finally settled on the Nikkor AF-S 300mm F4 and the TC 14E II. I haven't found anyone selling the F4G, only the D. Does Nikon even make an AF-S 300 F4 G?

I was surprised that Willoughby's Camera said that the D lens would NOT support AF on the D60. Any reason why they would say that?

You mentioned choosing the highest F/# on the D and locking it.

Q-1 How do you lock it?
Q-2 Once it's locked, is there anything the D lens won't give me that a G lens would?
Q-3 With the D lens, to what F-stops will I have access in the Aperture mode?

Thanks again.

Bill














Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 11-Mar-12 12:42 AM
26815 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#9. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Hi Bill,


>I am finally settled on the Nikkor AF-S 300mm F4 and the TC
>14E II. I haven't found anyone selling the F4G, only the D.
>Does Nikon even make an AF-S 300 F4 G?

No! While many are waiting for Nikon to update the 300mm f/4D ED IF AF-S (introduced in August 2000) it hasn't happened yet. The update should include VR and the Aperture Ring will disappear and change from a "D" to a "G".

>I was surprised that Willoughby's Camera said that the D lens
>would NOT support AF on the D60. Any reason why they would
>say that?

Nikon Alphabet Soup Nomenclature can be confusing.
They are likely confusing the 300mm f/4D ED IF AF-S with AF-D Nikkors that have screwdriver type AF mechanisms that are driven by an AF motor built into the camera body. Again "AF-S" is the key nomenclature that defines the lens as having an AF motor built into the lens.

There is a long discontinued(2000) AF 300mm f/4 ED IF (Note: No "D") and a screwdriver type AF drive:

That will not AF on your D60.

The current 300mm f/4D ED IF AF-S:

Has a Silent Wave Motor built into the lens and will AF on your D60,
See page 146 under CPU Lenses AF-I, AF-S in the D60 Users Manual .

>You mentioned choosing the highest F/# on the D and locking
>it.
>Q-1 How do you lock it?

If you look closely at the image above, at top back of the lens you will see the locking switch on the Aperture Ring. Slide the locking lever towards the camera body to lock the aperture ring.

>Q-2 Once it's locked, is there anything the D lens won't give
>me that a G lens would?

No. "D" lenses have an Aperture Ring. "G" lenses do not.

>Q-3 With the D lens, to what F-stops will I have access in
>the Aperture mode?

The Entire range from f/4 to f/32.
Film bodies since the mid 1990's and All DSLR's have Command and Sub-Command Dials that are used control the Aperture settings making the Aperture Ring redundant. The Pro bodies can be configured to use the Aperture Ring to control the Aperture. It all goes back to Nikon providing both foward and backward compatibility throughout their system. Starting with the D40, to keep the price of entry level bodies as low as possible some of the compatiblity was eliminated.

D type lenses are backwards compatible with MF film bodies dating back to 1977 without modification. The G type lenses are not.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sat 10-Mar-12 10:10 PM
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#8. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 6


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

I went shopping on line today for the 300 D AFS. Everyone is back-ordered right now. Only Adorama has grey market lenses @ $1,169. The best that I can tell about the difference between grey and regular is that regular comes with a 5 year warranty, grey comes only with Adorama's own 1 year warranty. Although Adorama sells an additional 7 years for $34.95 under "Mack".

Unless you strongly advise me otherwise, I will buy the grey in a day or two. Not to save the money, but because I'm afraid I'll miss a chunk of bird season before the regular lenses hit the stores.

Your thoughts?

Bill

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 11-Mar-12 01:20 AM
26815 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#10. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

Hi Bill,

>I went shopping on line today for the 300 D AFS. Everyone is
>back-ordered right now.

Have you considered renting one to make sure that it fits your requirements?

The reason is Nikon builds all of their top tier lenses in batches.
When they get into the supply pipeline the Dealers fill the back orders first and then fill their shelves with the remaining units.

>Only Adorama has grey market lenses @
>$1,169. The best that I can tell about the difference between
>grey and regular is that regular comes with a 5 year warranty,
>grey comes only with Adorama's own 1 year warranty. Although
>Adorama sells an additional 7 years for $34.95 under
>"Mack".

There are a few things to keep in mind:
1. USA lenses and gear are imported by Nikon USA the Official Nikon Distributor in the USA.
2. "Gray" Market or "Imported" lenses ang gear are imported though sources other than Nikon USA.
3. The Gear is identicle.
4. Nikon USA will not service Gray Market or Imported lenses or gear Ever. Not Even for a Fee.
5. Nikon Authorized Repair Centers will service Gray Market and Imported lenses and gear for a fee.
6. As you correctly wrote above, for the first year if you need warranty work you will have to return the lens back to the Dealer for service.
7. The resale value of Gray Market gear is a little lower than gear imported by Nikon USA.

>Unless you strongly advise me otherwise, I will buy the grey
>in a day or two. Not to save the money, but because I'm
>afraid I'll miss a chunk of bird season before the regular
>lenses hit the stores.

I have never purchased or used a Mack Warranty.
I have read both negitive and positive feed back about Mack Warranties so I leave the research to you or someone else that has experience with them to chime in.

The Ring Motors in AF-S lenses are not inexpensive to replace if they ever go bad.
That said, my oldest AF-S lenses were purchased in 1999 and are still going strong.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

P.S. Have you checked out the other fora?

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sun 11-Mar-12 08:59 AM
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#11. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 10


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

Thanks again. Points taken.

Yes, I did go to Wildlife, and posted a lengthy opus of seven questions. Perhaps a little overwhelming--no responses yet.

Bill

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sun 11-Mar-12 06:51 PM
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#12. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 10


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

Re other fora.

Just posted to Good Locations forum.

I don't use an I-phone, nor intend to. It doesn't look like there is too much there for me at the moment, but I left my concerns and suggestions anyway. Although with time, maybe I'll figure out how to make better use of that site.

Hope your weekend is going well.

Bill

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 16-Mar-12 07:51 PM
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#16. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 10


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

I bought the 300mm F4 and TC 14E II from Adorama on Monday via BuyItLater 6 month interest free. Free shipping arrived the following day! After reading the Mack reviews, I decided to pass on it. Too unreliable, plus they have your lens for weeks and weeks.

I did search all over Boston for rental of those two lenses--nobody had any. The lens rental place in Tennessee would have cost over $100 for four days, plus I would have had to wait a few days to get them.

Went out Wednesday to do the 300 hand-held, and yesterday with the 300, TC 1.4 and tripod. I was surprised that the hand-held worked so well, even at speeds below 1/500. And the weight was manageable: four straight hours of shooting without a break, and no muscle fatigue during or after. But the tripod results were superb, the best image-quality shots of my life, even on a day of medium overcast, and speeds as low as 1/160. As many had mentioned, AF is a bit slower when the TC is in use, but not as slow as I expected. Many reviewers had warned about the Nikon 300 tripod mount. But my Manfrotto/Bogen has a quick-release plate, and that platform is plenty sturdy, as NONE of my 140 shots suffered from camera motion-sickness.

I could not be happier with the above two lenses. As I get used to the DOF nuances, I'm sure I'll be even happier. At this point in time, I think that the only way that I would ever move up to the 2.8 300 and higher would be if my income range suddenly increased, and I were travelling to exotic locales. For local shooting, the 300 Prime and 1.4 TC are a perfect match.

Once I've studied and figured out how to post to "my gallery", I'll put some BEFORE (Nikkor 55-200mm F4-5.6) and AFTER (Nikkor 300mm F4)images in there. BTW, is there a how-to for preparing images for "My Gallery" uploads?

Thanks again, Marty, for taking me from zero to sixty in such a short time. (Or should I say 60 to 300?)

Bill

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 09-Mar-12 07:51 AM
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#3. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 1


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

P.S. I LOVE your wish list.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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master drago Registered since 06th Feb 2012Wed 14-Mar-12 06:21 PM
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#13. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hello BillinBoston. I've been trying to shoot birds for just about 7 years now from my home mostly north of Houston. I've wanted the longest lens I could put my hands on. I recently got the Sigma 150-500 and find it a sweet piece of glass. I think Ken Rockwell has a review of it on his pages. Like all lenses in this category, it's heavy and can become a great pain to lug around. I honestly believe that with few exception, all the newest glass will give great results optically. I've posted four of my bird shots at http://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showgallery.php/cat/21549 with details of the lens used. All are sized for web in PS6 and the only processing is done in camera - fairly heavy I might add. My advise is to stay away from used equipment unless you have the skills to fully evaluate the hardware.

Kenneth Drake

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 16-Mar-12 05:05 PM
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#14. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 13


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for your reply, which proved pretty prophetic. I actually bought a new Nikkor 300 F4 and TC 14E II a few days ago (from Adorama--free shipping UPS Ground 7-10--arrived NEXT DAY--although just a stone's throw away from New Jersey). Went out Wednesday to do the 300 hand-held, and yesterday with the 300, TC 1.4 and tripod. I was surprised that the hand-held worked so well, even at speeds below 1/500. And the weight was manageable: four straight hours of shooting without a break, and no muscle fatigue during or after. But the tripod results were superb, the best image-quality shots of my life, even on a day of medium overcast, and speeds as low as 1/160. As many had mentioned, AF is a bit slower when the TC is in use, but not as slow as I expected. Many reviewers had warned about the Nikon 300 tripod mount. But my Manfrotto/Bogen has a quick-release plate, and that platform is plenty sturdy, as NONE of my 140 shots suffered from camera-motion-fuzz.

I could not be happier with the above two lenses.

Best wishes on Texas shooting. Bird season in eastern Massachusetts peaks in April and May, with all of the migratory songbirds passing through, so I'm getting pretty revved up.

Bill

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Fri 16-Mar-12 05:29 PM
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#15. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

Hi Bill,

Congratulations on your new 300mm f/4 and TC.
Glad to hear how happy you are.
Enjoy!
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Fri 06-Apr-12 05:41 PM
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#17. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 15


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

Thanks again for all of your previous help. It is now time for me to give serious consideration to proper FLASH capability with my D60 and 300 F4.

I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on flash equipment, nor do I want to be stupid, buying a nice lens and then limiting its potential with a substandard flash unit.

I currently own a Vivatar 283 Thyristor which used to work fine on my Pentax ZX7. Any chance, under the right conditions, that this could work? It appears that its maximum range is 40 feet.

In addition to the appropriate flash unit itself, I need to give some attention to flash MOUNT. My medium duty Manfrotto tripod has a simple Bogen platform head, with quick-change plates.

Here are the typical uses for the flash. I'm finding that. although I can hand-carry my D60/300 F4/TC 1.4, I don't like to. It’s a little bulky, and, if I need to go to manual focus, it's very hard for me to focus and hold the camera at the same time. So we can say that, whenever I'll be using the flash unit, it will be with the camera mounted on a tripod. Camera-to-subject distance for smaller birds will be 10-50 feet. For shooting flying birds (herons, ducks, hawks), the distance will be c. 60 to 120 feet.

I'll probably buy from B&H or Adorama, new or used.

PART II

I've apparently misplaced my D60 owner's manual. Is there a location on line that has a complete manual through which I can browse? My most burning question at this moment is how to use the D60's built-in flash on back-lit subjects, especially birds and portraits.

Bill

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Fri 06-Apr-12 10:31 PM
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#18. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 17
Fri 06-Apr-12 10:34 PM by MEMcD

US
          

Hi Bill,


>I currently own a Vivatar 283 Thyristor which used to work
>fine on my Pentax ZX7. Any chance, under the right
>conditions, that this could work?

Do Not mount the Vivitar flash on your D60!!!!!!

Before connecting the Viviar 383 to your D60 check the Sync voltage and polarity.
Most of the Vivitar 283's have a sync voltage high enough to destroy the circuitry of your D60.
I will provide a link with directions for testing sync voltage when I get to my computer.

Another potential issue you might have with the 283 is flash duration. I am not sure what the flash duration is but if it is slow you may have a problem freezing the motion of the BIF since you will be limited to using the maxim sync speed of the D60's shutter is 1/200th sec.

I would suggest thinking about a used or refurbished SB-800.
It has power, versatility, a short flash duration, and has FP high Speed sync mode though I am not sure if the D60 supports FP mode.

For shooting birds you should also consider getting a flash X-tender or Better Beamer to extend the flashes range.

>In addition to the appropriate flash unit itself, I need to
>give some attention to flash MOUNT. My medium duty Manfrotto
>tripod has a simple Bogen platform head, with quick-change
>plates.

I assume that when you use the tripod with your 300mm lens you are mounting the Manfrotto Q/R to the tripod foot on the lens.
For birding, specifically BIF many use a gimbal head on their tripods with an Arca-Swiss compatible Q/R. Then use a bracket attached to the lens foot to mount the flash w/ flash X-tender. That keeps the camera, lens, and Speedlight balanced on the gimbal head. The drawback is the expense. A gimbal head can cost more than a brand new D60, then the cost of the plates and flash bracket add significantly more to the total.

The least expensive way is to mount the Speedlight in the cameras hotshoe and deal with the balance issue the best that you can.


>PART II
>
>I've apparently misplaced my D60 owner's manual. Is there a
>location on line that has a complete manual through which I
>can browse? My most burning question at this moment is how to
>use the D60's built-in flash on back-lit subjects, especially
>birds and portraits.

Nikon D60 Users Manual in pdf format.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Fri 06-Apr-12 11:27 PM
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#19. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

Hi Bill,

Here is the link wit instructions on testing the sync voltage of Speedlights: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/g1strobe.html
They can be found about 1/4 of the way down the page.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Sun 17-Jun-12 03:43 PM
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#20. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 19


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

I bought a used SB 800, as new is discontinued, and a Better Beamer flash extender. I've been pretty happy with the results. But when I take photos of yellow warblers from 20 feet on bright sunny days, the shadow on the lower part of the bird does not disappear with use of the flash. My camera data indicates the flash was in use, but the resulting photo looks not much different than with no flash, except I get a bigger depth of field. On the other hand, I've shot a flicker at 70 feet at 6:30 p.m. in shade, and got perfect results. I check my camera "readings" as to Hi or Lo with speed and f-stop, and try to always hit dead-center. So the questions are "Why do I still get shadows on flash shots in bright sun?" and "What can I do to correct it?" When I go out later today or tomorrow, I will use the SB-800 WITHOUT the flash extender on shorter shots, and see if that makes a difference. In the meantime, your thoughts on this situation?

Thanks,
Bill

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 19-Jun-12 03:40 PM
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#21. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 20


US
          

Hi Bill,

You need quite a bit of flash power to overpower the Sun.
In that situation, try using Manual exposure mode and under exposing by about three stops. With your SB-800 in TTL mode ( not TTL BL mode) it should eliminate the shadow since the flash will be the primary light source.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Tue 19-Jun-12 06:39 PM
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#22. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 21


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

Thanks.

1. How do I know if I'm in BL mode or not? Under what conditions is it IMPORTANT to set, or not set, for BL?

2. I bought my SB800 used, with no manual. Can you give me a link to one? Biggest question right now: Significance of mm numbers 24 through 105? Better Beamer says put setting on "50"--why? If range to subject varies from 5 feet to 75 feet, is 50 the best setting for all?

3. Many of my outdoor flash bird pictures are good. Some are not. Biggest problem seems to be underexposing in low to medium-low light. Setting is typically Aperture priority 7.1, Better Beamer IN use (set at 50mm). Subject 15-25 feet away. Some back light. What is problem? How to correct? (If I wanted to include a picture, with camera data available, how do I do that?)

4. What is typical recycle time on SB800? How many flashes in 10 seconds before no flash occurs? (By the way, if Flash is cycled-out, will the shutter still release, so that I am unaware of just having shot "in the dark"?)

5. I'm visiting the National Aviary in Pittsburgh in early July. Typical large indoor environment, birds flying around, some pretty far away. Will be using 300 F4, with 1.4 TC. Any idea if using Better Beamer is better than plain SB800?

6. If shooting birds indoors with a flash, what is best camera setting? Aperture priority? Automatic? Other? I find that it is difficult, when shooting small birds with a flash, to be able to adjust to rapidly changing light conditions, from no back light to heavy back light. My D60 can flash between 1/60 and 1/200, from F5.6 to F32. I would prefer to over-expose, rather than under-expose. What is a good approach: A. For camera settings; B. For flash settings; C. For photographing strategies.

7. Am still in learning stage with flash photography. Sometimes get bird movement mini-blur even with flash. What setting change, if any, would eliminate this problem?

8. How do I find out the dates, times, and places of Nikon TTL Flash courses? Is any of this on-line? Good DVD's?

9. If I suspect that a particular question of mine has already been asked, and answered, on Nikonians, how do I navigate myself to that location (to answer #8, for example)?

A lot of questions here, Marty. Please feel free to answer only one or a few at a time. Also, if you think that any of the above questions would be better played as a general post, please tell me. I don't want to monopolize your valuable time.

Many thanks,
Bill

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 21-Jun-12 05:10 AM
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#23. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 22


US
          

Hi Bill,

For many of these questions, you will get better answers in the Speedlight forum.

>1. How do I know if I'm in BL mode or not? Under what
>conditions is it IMPORTANT to set, or not set, for BL?

I am not sure when the SB-800 is mounted on a D60, but when the SB-800 is mounted on other Nikon DSLR's with both the camera and the SB-800 On: check the Display on the SB-800, it should indicate: TTL, TTL BL, AA, or M modes. You can change the flash mode by pressing the mode button on the SB-800.
The BL means the flash is optimized for Balanced filL flash. TTL BL is best used outdoors when you need some fill.
When you are indoors or want the Flash to be the primary light source use TTL flash mode.

>2. I bought my SB800 used, with no manual. Can you give me a
>link to one?

Nikon SB-800 Users Manual

> Biggest question right now: Significance of mm
>numbers 24 through 105?

Speedlight Zoom settings.

>Better Beamer says put setting on
>"50"--why? If range to subject varies from 5 feet
>to 75 feet, is 50 the best setting for all?

If they recommend using the 50mm zoom position, I suspect that the Better Beamer's optical design is optimized with the Speedlight zoom head set at 50mm.

>3. Many of my outdoor flash bird pictures are good. Some are
>not. Biggest problem seems to be underexposing in low to
>medium-low light. Setting is typically Aperture priority 7.1,
>Better Beamer IN use (set at 50mm). Subject 15-25 feet away.
>Some back light. What is problem?

There are several possible causes. Without seeing the image and the Exif data we can only guess.
What Metering mode were you using?
What Flash mode (TTL or TTL BL)?
Was the Speedlight firing at full power (the ready light in the viewfinder and on the back of the Speedlight will blink when the Speedlight fires at full power)?
The back lighting could be fooling the meter.

>How to correct? (If I
>wanted to include a picture, with camera data available, how
>do I do that?)

It depends on what the problem is.
Download the image to your User Gallery and provide a link in your post.

>4. What is typical recycle time on SB800?

It depends on the type of batteries you have installed in the Speedlight and if you are using the 5th battery.

After a full power dump the SB-800 will recycle to full power between 2.9 sec. (w/5 fresh NiMh batteries) to 7.5 sec. (w/4 fresh Lithium batteries)

>How many flashes in 10 seconds before no flash occurs?

It depends on the number and type of batteries, how fresh they are, how much power the flash fires at, etc.... If the flash fires at very low power it can fire upto several times per second. If it fires at full power, you can get between 2 and 4 full power flashes in 10 seconds, again depending on the number and type of batteries.

>(By the way, if Flash is cycled-out, will the shutter still release, >so that I am unaware of just having shot "in the dark"?)

Unlike when using the built in Speedlight, when using the SB-800, the shutter will release before the Speedlight recycles to full power. Which will result in under exposure.

>5. I'm visiting the National Aviary in Pittsburgh in early
>July. Typical large indoor environment, birds flying around,
>some pretty far away. Will be using 300 F4, with 1.4 TC. Any
>idea if using Better Beamer is better than plain SB800?

I suspect the Better Beamer would be the better option. That said, you might want to verify that flash photography is allowed.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Mon 25-Jun-12 04:19 AM
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#24. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 23


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi Marty,

Many thanks for answering most of the questions. I will go to Speedlight Forum for the rest.

Bill

  

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Lighter Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Feb 2012Mon 25-Jun-12 04:13 PM
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#25. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 0


Calcutta, IN
          

I have not read the whole thread but the message of the OP. I had exactly the same question in mind for about a year and ultimately I bought AF-S 300 f4. Optically, it is the best bang for the buck providing you superb optical quality even when wide open.
There are used non AF-S versions available which are optically identical, but for birds I do not think they will be that suitable. AF-S lenses are much faster when AF performance is considered, and this is a very important factor if you are shooting Bird in Flight. Old non AF-S lenses are fine for perched ones, but for BiF shots, they may not be that useful.
Use a 1.4x Nikon TC and you have the most affordable 420mm f5.6 prime lens without loosing a bit of optical quality.
Hope this helps

http://500px.com/sriroyc
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sroyc/
My gear: D90, AF-S 300 f4, AF-S 18-55 VR, Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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BillinBoston Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2012Tue 26-Jun-12 06:20 PM
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#26. "RE: AF bird lens advice needed for D60"
In response to Reply # 25


Hyde Park, MA, US
          

Hi,

Thanks for the reply. What you describe is exactly what I did: new 300 F4 with TC 1.4. It makes SUCH a difference with birds in flight. Even Willets flying 40 mph have come out crisp and clean. I am not yet able to afford a gimble like you have, but am still able to get 50 to 75% of the flight shots presented to me by shorebirds and larger.

Did you start off using your 300 F4 without a gimble? How would you compare shooting with and without?

I doubt that I'll ever make it out to your corner of the world, but best wishes in all of your photo endeavors and beyond.

Bill

  

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