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Wildlife and Birding Lens

jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1479 posts

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jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Sat 20-Apr-13 10:31 PM

Hi

Having some trouble deciding on a new lens for wildlife. I have had the old Nikon 80-400VR for some years but have always wanted something that offers quicker focus, potential for longer focal length (for birding) and better image quality if possible.

Obviously the big long lenses are also heavy so less possibility of handheld shooting which has been my main method to date. the new lens would be used for wildlife photography (all types of animals) in southern african regions and birding with a split of about 50/50.

Choices I have been considering are :
- 300 f2.8 VR with 1.4TC and 2.0TC
-Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS with 1.4 and 2.0 TC
- 200-400 f4 VR with 1.4 TC
- 500 f4 VR with 1.4 TC

Now, a 500 f4 VRII in excellent condition is available for sale secondhand and I need to make a decision. I am a little worried that the 500, although great for birding, will be too long for genral wildlife photography and the fixed focal length will be frustrating. If I buy this lens I will likely keep the 80-400VR for the Zoom flexibility but this lens has some serious wellknown drawbacks.

If I went for the Sigma zoom I would probably sell the 80-400. the Sigma is also the least expensive of all the options. the others are the kind of thing I can only justify once in my life so I don't want to make a mistake here.....

Your thoughts and advice would be welcome, particularly if you have actual shooting experience of any of these lenses and how they would suit the spread of duties that I outlined above.

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