I am finally getting involved in wildlife photography and would like some recommendations on lenses yes I have a budject and can't afford $1,000 plus lenses although one day I will.
I have been looking at the nikon 70-300mm ED lense. or should I get a 70-200is lens and a 200-400ish lense.
I have heard the 70-300 can produce good picture up to about 200mm range but gets soft at 300 length.
any way any info or recommendation would be great.
I have an N80 and a 28-70 f/2.8 lense currently so I am looking for good advice for zoom lenses up to 400mm and tripods to support the system.
thanks in advance.
#1. "RE: zoom lense help" | In response to Reply # 0dankeny Nikonian since 29th May 2006Wed 24-Nov-04 03:52 AM
Hey Mike, welcome to Nikonians.
Of course, it depends on the critter, but most people who do this seriously, have the big guns. To get anything that compares favorably to your 28-70, expect to pay dearly. The December Outdoor Photography (or was it Shutterbug? look at the cover) has an article about long lenses for wildlife.
#4. "RE: zoom lense help" | In response to Reply # 0
I know your pain. Unfortunately, if you really get serious about wildlife photography, I strongly advise getting a 2nd job to support the lens purchases! I was where you are now 1 1/2 years ago, so I think I can give you a recent voice of experience. I started off with an old Pentax K1000 and a Pentax 500mm manual focus lens. I made the mistake of buying an F100 and was hooked on Nikon. About $9000 later, I'm about where I want to be with my wildlife setup!!!
This is my recommended starting point for someone on a budget who is entering wildlife photography. You do need a reasonably decent tripod and head, plus a zoom lens that gets you "out there" with acceptably sharp images. The proposed budget setup has limitations that I will describe, but it will get you a good taste of what wildlife photography can be like and can give you good results. If you get hooked, you'll need to start saving money because the truly good stuff costs a lot of money........unless your eyesight is good and you can take advantage of the incredible manual focus lens bargains that are currently happening.
OK, here is my proposed low-budget setup:
1. A Bogen/Manfrotto 3221 tripod (under $200)
2. A Bogen 3030 pan and tilt head or the Manfrotto 469RC ballhead (under $200)
3. A Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 (under $1000 used)
4. If you can afford it, instead of the Sigma lens, stretch your budget for the lens and get a used Nikon 80-400 VR lens.
The Bogen 3221 is actually a nice tripod for a low-cost setup. It provides better stability than many more expensive tripods and fits the budget. The 3030 pan and tilt head is a very nice head for anything but a fast moving animal. You will eventually want a good ballhead, but can still use the 3030 for macro photography or landscapes. Another choice for a head is the Manfrotto 469RC. It is a heavy and large ballhead that provides good support for a beginning setup.
Now, here is where things get stickier. Lenses are really the heart and soul of your camera gear. The 2 lenses I mentioned above both have strengths and weaknesses. The Sigma 50-500 is a slow lens but has pretty good autofocus for a lens in this price range. The optics are good, but not superb like a much more expensive large lens. Yet, it gets you out to 500mm and is capable of good detail. The negatives of this lens are that it is very slow in aperature and you really can't use it in low light conditions. On a reasonably sunny day, you can get enough shutter speed to get good images of animals that are standing still or walking slowly. For just a bit more money, I really advise considering the Nikon 80-400 VR lens. It gets you sharper images, can be handheld in the right conditions, and the difference between 400mm and 500mm isn't as much as you might think. The problems with the 80-400 are that it is a slow lens (though not as slow as the Sigma when fully extended), and that the autofocus will be slow on your camera. However, it is a worthy lens.
Like I said, the recommendations I've made will get you into basic wildlife photography. With good technique and some patience, you can certainly end up with good images. If the wildlife "bug" bites you, I promise that you will quickly want to get better and better lenses and cameras! Your next step up, if you have good eyesight, would be to buy a used Nikon AIS lens. I think that the best choice there would be the Nikon 500mm AIS lens. It is one of the manual focus lenses that happens to have a chip in it that lets your camera use its metering system. It is a truly sharp lens and will cost you between $1300 and $2200 used, depending on condition. I have one that I will be selling soon because I just purchased a Nikon 500mm AFS lens (used, of course!). I hope that this helps! It is just my opinion on beginning gear and you will hopefully get some tips from other people.
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#5. "RE: zoom lense help" | In response to Reply # 4Mark V Registered since 18th Jun 2004Thu 25-Nov-04 03:49 PM
Here's my idea of a bargain basement rig:
Nikkor 75-210 f4/5.6 Cheap used, $125, light, sharp and slow.
Nikkor 300mm f4 AF ED, $450 used, fairly light, very well built, very sharp and very slow. Remember that with the D70 300mm is 450 equivelent.
There are faster versions of these lenses, they cost twice as much.
Play with these until you can step up.
There's probably cheaper stuff with the off brands. Try that forum.
For a tripod look for a used Gitzo Reporter, with somesort of head. Avoid their "offset" ball head - its useless for wildlife. Or use a monopod (You want a heavy duty one.) Read the intoduction in the tripod forum. A tripod can cost as much as a good lens.
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#6. "RE: zoom lense help" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 26-Nov-04 02:38 AM
Thanks everyone for your info especially Brian it helps to talk to people who remembered how it is to start out on a budget. I plan to save the money I need for good glass so until then I will learn and enjoy the outdoors and the wildlife.