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Subject: "Lens Question for Birds in Flight" Previous topic | Next topic
Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Wed 23-Jan-13 11:48 PM
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"Lens Question for Birds in Flight"


Nampa, US
          

Not sure if the mods will want to move this, but I am trying to decide upon a lens that will allow for shooting birds in flight (birds of prey, mostly) on my D700 that will not break the bank but will also not disappoint in regards to image quality. It would be nice for it to be handheld, but obviously I would use it with my tripod when the subject or circumstances dictated.

I am not a full-time birder, but living here in southwest Idaho, there are a lot of opportunities to catch many type of large birds in flight.

It would also be nice if the lens could also double as a landscape lens as well as an occasional capture of the moon.

I have looked at a few Sigma zooms online, but would rather talk to those of you here not only with field experience at capturing birds, but also the gear to do so.

Thanks in advance!
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Reply message RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight
dm1dave Administrator
24th Jan 2013
1
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Blufox Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
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treadwl Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
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dm1dave Administrator
24th Jan 2013
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Blufox Silver Member
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Blufox Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
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Garen T Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
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Blufox Silver Member
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Garen T Silver Member
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Bump57 Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
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26th Jan 2013
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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Thu 24-Jan-13 01:26 AM
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#1. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 0
Thu 24-Jan-13 01:29 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

This can be an expensive question. So, not knowing how big the bank is...

The sigma zooms are a pretty good option and the price is good. The 150-500 will give you nice reach and very good image quality. The downside is the small max aperture at the long end – it can be harder to keep your shutter speed up.

The Nikon 300/f4 with a TC14E is usually a highly recommended lens in this forum. Image quality is outstanding. It could be a bit short on an FX body but should work quite well with the TC17E.

If you could spend more – the Sigma 120-300/f2.8 with the Sigma 1.4TC is an outstanding lens. You can save some money by looking for the older non OS version. It is a bit difficult to handhold. The newer OS version should be better for handholding. This is a very good alternative to the Nikon 200-400 at about half the price.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Thu 24-Jan-13 06:17 PM
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#2. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 1


Nampa, US
          

Thanks, Dave.

Any thoughts on the Sigma 120-400, or is f/5.6 still a no-go for occasional handheld due to the inability to shoot with a fast enough shutter speed? The longest f/2.8 lens that I ever shot with was the 70-200 Nikon with the 1.4TC, which worked good for minor league baseball (on the field of play) but doubt that the reach would be enough for birds in flight?

The 120-300/f2.8 OS Sigma might be stretching my bank a little on the thin side, unless I shed some other toys. Quick question about it, though: any thoughts on how it would do for landscape?

Thansk again,
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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treadwl Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Thu 24-Jan-13 08:52 PM
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#3. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 2


Sunrise, US
          

While I prefer to shoot my 200-400 f vr (it is a bank breaker) I will highly recommend the 300 f prime and second the idea that it works really well with the tc 1.4 and pretty darn good with the tc1.7

Larry

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Thu 24-Jan-13 10:35 PM
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#4. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 2


Lowden, US
          

I haven’t heard much about the 120-400 – most people seem be prefer one of the 500mm zooms.

The 120-300/2.8 does pretty well as a telephoto landscape and focus is close enough to get some nice close-up work. The OS version is getting an update so you may look for a used one. When I got mine I had found a good deal on Amazon that was about $700 below other retail prices. It can be worth searching around for a good deal. If you find a great deal and are not sure about the retailer come here to Nikonians and ask about them before making a commitment.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
"My most important photographic investment, after the camera"

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Showcase your best work in any of our 7 Monthly Nikonians Photo contests.


Wildlife | Landscape | Macro | Sports | Travel | Online Assignments | Best of Nikonians 2014

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Thu 24-Jan-13 11:23 PM
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#5. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 4


Nampa, US
          

Thanks, Dave and Larry; I will keep my eyes open for a good deal on a used lens or continue saving pennies in order to buy something new (B&H knows me well ...
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 01:46 AM
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#6. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 5


Nampa, US
          

Upon further review, it seems that I mixed the 300mm f/4 with the f/2.8 in terms of price, as I did not realize how relatively affordable the f/4 is until I looked at it on B&H's site. This is well within my reach, once I decide upon what to sell, of course.

Question: What do you 'lose' if using a 1.7TC over the 1.4? Looking over my images from when I shot minor league baseball, I realized that I actually was using the 1.7 with the 70-200, as some of my images were '340mm'. At any rate, both of those were sold a while back when I decided to not continue my affiliation with the team.

Thanks,
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Garen T Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jan 2013Fri 25-Jan-13 02:10 AM
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#7. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 6


Hawthorn Woods IL, US
          

1/2 a stop more for the 1.7X, so, wide open with the 300 f/4 and 1.7TC you would be at F/6.7, But depending on the size of the bird you might be in this range anyway to get whole bird in focus.

I have your old setup, the 70-200/2.8 and 1.7X TC, and it is still sharp and focuses pretty fast. Without the TC it achieves focus faster though since the camera uses the widest aperture for focusing before stopping down at moment of capture(if your stopped down)

Garen
www.garentphotography.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/garent/

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16 AM
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#8. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 7


Nampa, US
          

Thanks, Garen. I am just thinking that if I had the 1.4, there might be times when I would wish that I had the extra reach of the 1.7

Decisions, decisions ...
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Garen T Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jan 2013Fri 25-Jan-13 02:00 PM
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#10. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 8


Hawthorn Woods IL, US
          

I went through the same questions and felt the 1.4 just didn't add enough reach. It seemed like I could get that by cropping. The only issue with the 1.7x on a f/4 is that you may lose AF depending on your body. I dont have similar equipment so You may want to ask around, or get a D4 which has AF up to f/8!!

Garen
www.garentphotography.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/garent/

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 06:28 PM
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#12. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 10


Nampa, US
          

>or get a D4 which has AF up to f/8!!

haha, if I could afford a D4, we wouldn't be having this conversation ...
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Bump57 Silver Member Awarded for his high skill level in Landscape and Nature Photography and willingness to share his learning experiences to help others. Nikonian since 01st Apr 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 01:37 PM
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#9. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Larry,

I shoot with a D800 and the Sigma 150-500. In terms of image quality & high ISO performance from what I read there is not much difference from the D700 to the D800 in this regard. I can't confirm this I have never shot with a D700. I am very pleased with the combo I am now using, I came from a D300 & 200-400 combo. Here is a thread I posted a few weeks ago with some images from the new combo. IMO the most important thing in capturing excellent images of birds in flight is enough light & being close enough to fill at least 1/3 of the frame.

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=161&topic_id=149973&mesg_id=149973&page=

.
.



Scott Martin Sternberg

Scotts Fine Art

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 06:26 PM
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#11. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 9


Nampa, US
          

Thanks, Scott. Great images, by the way!

I plan on spending the weekend thinking about my options and what I would like my bag to consist of. If only money wasn't a factor ...
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Lunastar Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Jan 2010Sat 26-Jan-13 04:44 PM
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#13. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 11
Sat 26-Jan-13 04:45 PM by Lunastar

Mankato, US
          

What species of birds will you be photographing? If it's larger birds like raptors, herons, etc the 300/4 w/14TC will be excellent. However, it's a bit slow for small fast birds like teal or terns. I'm not sure how quickly the Sigma 150-500 focuses but I'd opt for that as you are using a full frame body.

Mark


www.mercuryoutdoorcommunications.com

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Sat 26-Jan-13 05:08 PM
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#14. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 13


Nampa, US
          

>What species of birds will you be photographing? If it's
>larger birds like raptors, herons, etc the 300/4 w/14TC will
>be excellent.

Raptors, Prairie Falcons, Red-Tailed Hawks, and Golden Eagles, to name a few. It sounds like the 300/4 with the 1.4TC would do me well.

Does anyone have sample images of the 300/4 and the D700 combo for shooting landscape? I am interested in seeing how versatile it is.

Thanks,
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Tue 29-Jan-13 02:43 AM
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#15. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 0


Nampa, US
          

I just thought that I would post an update: I ordered the 300 f/4 tonight along with the TC-14E. It should arrive here on Thursday. I thought about ordering the replacement collar, as well, but thought that I would give the Nikon version a try first.

Looking forward to the Big Brown Truck ...
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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Lunastar Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Jan 2010Tue 29-Jan-13 03:30 AM
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#16. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 15


Mankato, US
          

The lens collar on the 300/4 works well but does not rotate to vertical anywhere near as smoothly as the Kirk replacement. Otherwise, the lens is a bargain for it's legendary sharpness and image quality which is barely degraded when adding the 14TC!

Mark


www.mercuryoutdoorcommunications.com

  

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backpacker24 Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2003Tue 29-Jan-13 04:20 AM
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#17. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 15


Nevada, US
          

I agree that the Kirk collar is definitely an improvement. I've used the 300/f4 with the 1.4 TC a lot, and I think you'll be pleased with that combination. I think that 300/f4 is a real "sleeper" in the Nikon lineup.

Enjoy your new gear,
Craig

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Garen T Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jan 2013Tue 29-Jan-13 04:34 AM
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#18. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 15


Hawthorn Woods IL, US
          

Congrats Larry! Looking at this setup myself, so I am anxious to see Your work!

Garen
www.garentphotography.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/garent/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Blufox Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2007Tue 29-Jan-13 11:09 AM
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#19. "RE: Lens Question for Birds in Flight"
In response to Reply # 18


Nampa, US
          

Thanks Mark, Garen and Craig! I have thought about this combo for several days now, and was trying to see if I could come up for a reason NOT to buy it, but was unable to; I was missing a quality lens on the long end, and this should fill the void nicely!
Larry

"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."

  

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