Greetings all, seems like forever since I have posted in here.
Do I miss the D300 & 200-400 combo?
I have been asked this question several times now over the last few months. For those who don't know I sold my 200-400 to fund a D800 and some printing equipment (got tired of waiting for a D400) to better suit my landscape work which is what I am doing most of these days anyway. For landscape work the choice was great, I love the D800 for that type of work. In terms of wildlife and in particular birds in flight I have been holding off judgment until my annual Eagle season trips. To replace the 200-400 which I only used for Eagle season since I stopped shooting sports a few years back I purchased the Sigma 150-500. I got to go out for the first time this season to photograph some Eagles last Sunday. I can now say that with out a doubt I don't miss the D300 200-400 combo and that the D800 & Sigma 150-500 rocks!! Did I miss the 8fps, not one bit. I didn't really shoot that way anyway. I shot more keepers in a single day last Sunday using 3-5fps then I ever shot with the D300 on the same outing. IMO the auto focus system of the D800 works much better then the D300 for BIF's. I shot in all three crop modes, 1.2 1.5 & full frame. Most of the time I was shooting FX unless the birds were too far away in which I tried the others. There was slight overcast, the sun was out but lighting was soft. It was actually kind of nice almost like filtered sunlight. I shot manual with auto iso with base at iso 400 most of the day, shutter speed was set to 1250 and shot at f8. My shutter speed could have been slightly higher, 1/1600 while shooting at 500mm @ 36 megs FX. I suspect I will do better the next few times out and be able to keep 1/1000 to 1/1250. The weight difference I think is something I will have to get used to as I felt I was a little jerky at times. Here are some of my favorites from the outing. I have another two or so I would like to share that I will put into another post later on. Comments are always welcome!
The 150-500 is indeed working great but it is no 200-400 when the light is poor like yesterday was. I really think what makes this combo work though is the D800. Even though it only shoots 4-5 fps I get more in focus shots then I did with the D300 shooting 8fps. I really have not noticed any speed difference as far as focus tracking goes. I am usually locked on way before I start shooting when shooting BIF's though. I did miss lock on a subject twice today and to get it back it was not as fast as the 200-400. I did get in back in time for the shot though. Right now I have nothing but praise for the D800 shooting wildlife over the D300.
Beautiful pictures, Scott. I'm glad you're happy with the new combo. I've been using my Sigma 150-500 for a while now, and it worked on my D70S, then D90, and now on the D7000. While not necessarily in the same league as a prime Nikon, I have been quite satisfied with its performance on a cropped sensor. It's good to see the performance is as good on a full frame as well. It bodes well for my lens if I should move to full frame in future.
You are right, it is not in the same league as the Nikon primes. If there every comes time where I can justify the cost again I would probably look into another. For shooting Eagles once a year I think the 150-500 will do just fine.
Thanks, Scott, for the explanation (the images are great, too!). Aside the Bronx Zoo, I haven't shot birds or wildlife in a few years and the list or theoretical photo safaris and vacations preclude those subjects for another few years, so I just this morning sold my 200-400 to retroactively fund my D800e and my current shopping list of lighting accessories and other toys.
So I;m packing up the lens. Picture me falling to my knees, arms hugging my chest, tears streaming down my face.
Maybe there's a 150-500 in my future
Jon Kandel A New York City Nikonian and Team Member Please visit my website and critique the images!
I have tried both crops, the 1.2 & 1.5 along with FX and cropping. So far I think I like shooting FX and cropping later. There is definitely less chance of clipping wing tips and such. Like I said, I have never been big fps shooter which is probably why it don't bother me at all. I stood next to a gent today shooting a Canon 7D I believe. He was shooting 12fps and used it often. I'll bet he went home with 5,000 pictures, not for me.
Great series Scott! The new combo seems to work as well, if not better than the D300, 200-400 set-up. I, too am getting tired of waiting for the D400 and am feeling Nikon is toying with their clientale. I'm going to wait a couple more months but may "pull the plug" for the D800, or the D600. #1 and 4 are my favorites.
Right now I actually do think it works better then my old combo. However I think most of the credit goes to the D800. If you are really thinking of either the D800 or 600 you might want to see if you could rent one for a weekend to see if it works for you. For what you are shooting it would appear you really don't need the speed but more so the crop factor. I think the 1.2 or 1.5 option would work well for you if you need that.
The photo gods have not been good to me lately. Every time I have a chance to get out I dont have any light. Today looked decent for a while but then came clouds and sleet. I will probably try to get down Sunday, it is supposed to be partly cloudy.
It was good to see you again today. Sorry it was so slow. We had light, tons of fish, birds and they all chose to fish for smaller shad out of good reach. Go figure..... Hopefully the season will remain for a while yet. See you in a few weeks.
These look much better on my iPad instead of on your phone while we waited out the rain
The weatherman through us a curve today with the rain and the clouds after calling for clear skis in the afternoon. The action was great and I can't wait to get to my images and also see more of yours! Maybe we can get Dave to join us tomorrow if the weatherman cooperates. The action so far this eagle season is the best it's been in a few years. Hope to see you tomorrow
I have recently started taking wildlife pics, had a 8 point buck walk up behind me within 10ft while I was getting ready to photograph a doe drinking water. It is an experience I have missed! I was able to photograph an Eagle for the first time this weekend as well, but I need more than my 200 with a 2X on it.
I was searching for what others are using for a lens as I need to replace my Sigma 70-200 and the 2X Converter on my new D800. Looks like I found my answer on the sigma 50-500. Images look sharp, and definitely sharper than mine.
My pictures were mostly blah, but I was shooting ISO 200, when you say you were shooting ISO 400 base are you saying that was the slowest ISO you were using? If so maybe that is one problem my outdoor wildlife pictures are not as crisp as my indoor with the Sigma, I tend to shoot only ISO 100 or 200 outside max.
I have had experiences like that in the wild as well. It very much keeps me going back for more. Just to clairify I have the 150-500 and not the 50-500. Why do you feel you are not getting sharp images with the combo you have now? I have heard good things about the 70-200 and 2x.
I was using auto ISO and shooting manual. I choose f/8 for DOF and shot at 1/1250 for shutter speed. I set the base ISO of 400 not fully understanding how auto ISO worked. I should have just left it at default. All that happened though as a result is when I had enough light I got higher then 1/1250 as a shutter speed. Today I shot f7.1 1/1600 a base ISO of 100 and a high ISO cap of 4000. Usually the lower the ISO the better in all situations. Only raise it higher if you need to.
Scott thanks for the reply and info/clarification.
After posting, I took a look at my camera and I realized, while learning the D800 I setup bank A with VR off. I took the camera back out this Sunday to the same spot and this time on a tripod, still with VR off. The pictures were extremely clear, since I was using a very sturdy tripod. Alas, there was no Eagles in the nest, maybe next week.
BUT... What I did do was also put the camera in DX mode. Granted I only got a 4800 x 3200 picture, but if I understand the theory. By going DX I essentially turned my 70-200 w/2X into a 600mm beast. I don't think I need another lens for a while, unless I need a larger crop. Before I had to crop the image, I think letting the camera crop produces the better image. But I do think it needs at least F11-f22 to produce a good shot. Pictures from f2.8-f8 were washed out.
So yes, a very good lens. I should have done more testing, but that gives me an excuse to go back in a few days for more pics And order a 1.4TC and push my luc
Take care, and very nice pics and thanks for making me think som
Mon 07-Jan-13 01:39 AM | edited Mon 07-Jan-13 03:28 AM by Bump57
Thanks Preston. The combo really is turning out to be more then I expected. Maybe we can arrange some kind of exchange program between some cooperative blues and some fishing Eagles, I will have my people call your people.
I love these images, and am amazed at the quality. You posted on my thread about the 150-500 with the D800, so I tried it out today. My husband has one but I've never shot with it until today.
I shot close to 100 images, and only had about 1/3 keepers. The rest were blurry. Most of the time, the shutter speed was well over 1000, but toward the end of the shoot as the sun was going down, I was getting 1/320 to 1/400. I shot on a bean bag. The problem is that 30 or so shots into the shoot, the lens started chattering. I read everything I was supposed to do before leaving the house. I used OS because the back of my hand was on the bean bag, which was on the car window. I cradled the camera and lens. I figured that qualified for OS. The car was shut off when I shot.
The lens started chattering so bad, not the bit where you depress the shutter halfway, then wait for OS to settle, then take the shot. That's how it worked to begin with. It chattered and chattered and wouldn't quit. I could not, of course, get focus with this going on. I turned the camera off, turned OS off, turned the camera back on and it still chattered. What's up with that?
You can see a couple of the halfway decent shots I got with it on my thread in the lens forum. I think I would like this lens if not for what happened today.
Mon 07-Jan-13 03:42 AM | edited Mon 07-Jan-13 04:44 AM by Bump57
I sorry but I don't remember posting on a thread of yours. Do you have a link I can follow to jog my memory? I am not sure what to say about the issue you had with the lens. I have not had any problems with my copy. This might be a question to ask over in the lens thread though.
If you shot 100 images and you had 30 keepers I would say you had a great day! Last Sunday I shot 429, I kept 18. Yesterday I shot 589, I kept 66 on the first go through I don't expect it to stay there. Honestly the 18 & 66 are high for me, I am extremely picky these days.. If I shot 500 images, came home and found one or two that made me sit back and go WOW, I'm happy to delete the rest. So having 18 out of 429 is a really good day..
Edit to add: Today I shoot 629 images. I have kept 10 to further work on. What I am trying to get across here Betty is don't feel bad you only got 1/3 keepers, that pretty darn good.
Mon 07-Jan-13 02:33 PM | edited Mon 07-Jan-13 02:47 PM by Betty L
>Hi Betty, > >I sorry but I don't remember posting on a thread of yours. Do >you have a link I can follow to jog my memory? I am not sure >what to say about the issue you had with the lens. I have not >had any problems with my copy. This might be a question to ask >over in the lens thread though. > >If you shot 100 images and you had 30 keepers I would say you >had a great day! Last Sunday I shot 429, I kept 18. Yesterday >I shot 589, I kept 66 on the first go through I don't expect >it to stay there. Honestly the 18 & 66 are high for me, I >am extremely picky these days.. If I shot 500 images, came >home and found one or two that made me sit back and go WOW, >I'm happy to delete the rest. So having 18 out of 429 is a >really good day.. > >Edit to add: Today I shoot 629 images. I have kept 10 to >further work on. What I am trying to get across here Betty is >don't feel bad you only got 1/3 keepers, that pretty darn >good.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm just used to having nearly all of my images sharp enough, and then it's just choosing the best poses and deleting the rest. Most of what I deleted were severely OOF. It's my husband's lens, as I said, not mine, so it is good to be able to test the lens before thinking of purchasing one of my own. I doubt he will give his to me, even though he's only used it once or twice this past year. Sorry, I don't know how to link to my previous post. Maybe you didn't post on there after all! There is no doubt the lens works wonderfully for you. These are amazing images!
Just checked my thread, and no, you didn't post! Your brain is still alive and functioning, but mine is in serious trouble. It was someone else. The post is in the lens autofocus section titled "Which Lens?" Betty
Were you at Lock & Dam. I am going to visit my son in IL and want to drive there and try my luck. it will take me 3 hours and would like to know what time is the best time to get there and how late in the afternoon is considered to be time to leave? I love your shots and hope to get at least 1 keeper. I have the Sigma 150-500 with the D90.
We are looking at an unusual warm-up for a few days at the end of this week. It could get up close to 50 during the day Friday and Saturday. That is generally bad for shooting as the eagles could be more dispersed looking for easy meals in the farm fields. The colder the weather the better the shooting conditions, also, good snow cover helps drive the eagles to the dam. To check forecasts at L&D-14 look up weather for the town of Le Claire, IA.
Our shooting position has us facing south-east. People will be out shooting all day but the sunlight can be challenging from early morning until just afternoon. The light is usually pretty good from 1 or 2 oclock in the afternoon until just after 4pm when the sun drops behind the tree line. If there is light cloud cover the light can be beautiful most of the afternoon.
Thanks for the follow up Betty and the kind words. I didn't think I posted anywhere about the combo as this has only been my second outing with this combo. When you get a chance put some images up I would enjoy seeing them.
Hi Betty, Sounds like the OS is misbehaving, try a few shots with the OS off. The chattering should stop and focusing will become possible once again! If you keep the shutter speed responsible (above 1/500) you should have no trouble obtaining keepers. The OS on my 150-500 has started doing similar and now I shoot with the OS off all the time, the only real solution is to send the lens back to Sigma for an OS repair. (This will be second OS repair for my copy!) All the time I can get good pictures with the OS off I will put off the day of reckoning! I too have found I get better pictures with my full-frame (D700) than I did with my crop-frame (D300s) I thought it was because of the camera but maybe some of the improvement could be because of the lens? Particularly if it is optimised for full frame. Whatever the reason I hardly ever use my D300s now. All the best Brian
If in doubt shoot it! There will never be a second chance.
If the weather is good probably get to go 1-16 or 17. I also have my Sigma in for a check up and hope to get it back before then or I will have to rent a lens. Any suggestions. The 600mm is to expensive and it would be short term.
Any chance you could make it out on the 19th? The reason being is sometimes there are few people who will bring fish to throw out for them to feed on. Usually on the weekends though. This can really better your chances of bringing them in a little closer. If you have to rent a lens that is manageable the 300 2.8 would be a good choice with your D90. If you had a 1.4 TC to go with it that would be a plus.
Hi Scott. Great series. The eagles are on the river up by Lake Pepin in Southern Minnesota also but they are usually too far away to get any good shots. I'm thinking it might be worth a trip to Iowa. Let me know when you are planning on returning and I'll see if I can make it work out to go down there.
Thanks Larry. Them being too far is usually the case but not so at L&D 14 if they are active. They can sometimes fish as close as 50' in front of you but usually between 100-150 feet. Right now I plan on going back up weekend after next depending on weather and how cold it has been. They are supposed to be near 50* this weekend, not good for photographing Eagles. It would be great to have you shoot with us, keep us posted.
Very nice images Scott, we were there on Sunday all day. My husband loves the D800 and is not missing the fps either. He prefers the 36 megapixels with the clarity of detail. We should be there this weekend as well. Hope to see everybody.
I was there all day as well, shame we didn't meet. Maybe next time! I was the only person sitting on a tall black bar stool. Sorry, I think most of us will not be there this weekend. It's going to be very busy there as it is Eagle days. We will most likely be there the weekend after though.