I was really fortunate to be able to get quite close to this Great Blue Heron yesterday afternoon. I was inside what I have come to understand is this bird's "circle of fear." For some reason it ignored me. Conditions at the Refuge were wonderful for photography, with no humidity, temperature about 70ºF (21ºC), a beautiful afternoon sun and a light breeze.
The stats are: Nikon D4, Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VRII, ISO-800, f/7, 1/3200 sec.
Sat 22-Sep-12 08:19 AM | edited Sat 22-Sep-12 08:20 AM by Ned_L
Thanks. I couldn't get the whole reflection. I was on a 350' (107m) long walkway over a pond and what you see is all I could get. What you don't see is also a great deal of spatterdock. Thinking back, I don't think the reflection was actually all there.
I don't think it's so much a better lens which would serve you well as much as a longer lens. You've got an AF 70-300 f/4-5.6D ED. Over time I found that 300mm wasn't enough to get sharp detail. That's why I went to the 500mm after much talk here at Nikonians, mostly in this Wildlife forum, but also in the Nikkor Autofocus Lenses forum. I discussed the Sigmas vs the Nikon and all kinds of parameters before settling on the Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VRII.
I had been using the Nikkor AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR prior to getting the 500mm, but I felt longer was necessary, especially for the smaller birds like the warblers. On my older D200 the 80-400mm got more reach, but its focusing was on the slow side and it wasn't fast enough. The 80-400mm is generally fine overall, but if I'm nitpicking which I do with lenses a lot, because to me it matters, it degrades from being really good once you pass about 300-320mm good, but no longer really good. On the D700, it was much better at focusing, but frankly the 500mm is in another ball park as far as overall sharpness and the ability to pull in contrast well, and other parameters too.
Of course another characteristic about the 500mm is that for many it's a budget buster.
You have a D700 and I love that DSLR for wildlife. I found I could shoot at ISO=800 with essentially no noise which enabled me to get high shutter speeds for wildlife and use f/stops as high as f/7.1 with little trouble.
BTW I retired June 30th, went out west went hiking and backpacking in Great Smokies, Colorado, Moab Utah, Yosemite and 6 weeks in Yellowstone including a work shop by John and Barbara Gerlach on horseback.
That sounds like great fun. I've hike and spent time in all those locales myself, but only 6 days in Yellowstone, not 6 weeks. I'm hoping to raft down the Colorado in 2014. Next summer is already booked up.