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Would like some input on lens/support upgrade for birds/wildlife

coolmom42

McEwen, US
3598 posts

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011
Sun 03-Feb-13 04:57 AM

This is kind of a combination question so I'm posting it here instead of over on the lens forum. Mods, please move if necessary.

I'm really wanting a longer lens to use with my D3100, for wildlife and birds. (At some point I will upgrade the body, primarily for better ISO & dynamic range, but right now I'm OK with the D3100.)

Given my amateur status & budget, the lens I've settled on is the Sigma 150-500.

Is there any reason not to use this lens with the D3100?

Obviously I will need a decent support for this lens. (Right now I have a cheap tripod that was gifted to me by someone who no longer uses it. I don't much care for it, LOL.)

If I go with a Gitzo, my choice would be the Mountaineer 3541. I will admit that price tag of $1000 for the legs alone seriously makes me flinch. However, I don't want to waste money on an inadequate tripod, only to have to upgrade later.

So I would like some direction on an adequate but more budget-friendly tripod. Some input from experienced users here would be very helpful. Used is definitely an option, and I will have time to keep looking.

I won't be doing any extensive hiking with this tripod, 2-3 miles is about my limit due to lower back issues, so weight is not the biggest issue. It's possible I would need to pack it in carry-on luggage, so size is a consideration. And of course it would need to serve general duty for landscape and possibly some macro work, besides birds/wildlife.

I really don't see myself going to a heavier lens than the Sigma 150-500, but at some point will likely have a heavier camera body.

I also know that a good ball head & likely the Wimberly Sidekick are must-haves with this lens, but selecting the tripod seems like a starting point.

All information and input appreciated!


working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
18-55 mm Nikkor VR
55-200 mm Nikkor VR
55-300 mm Nikkor VR
150-500 mm Sigma OS
Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead

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