Beginning Birder lens

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by mike367, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. mike367

    mike367

    457
    Mar 22, 2008
    NY
    Hi all, While doing a ton of good reading on the Cafe and being a new photographer, Im becoming very interested in birds. My shooting conditions will be wooded areas and some open fields. The 2 lenses that are in my budget are the 200-400/f4 zoom or the 300/ 2.8 VR and 1 tc converter. I know from my reading that the zoom is better for beginners. The trouble Im having is that the wooded locations I shoot are low light. The f4 would be great for the open areas but once I get under the canopy of trees? I forgot to mention that I like to keep moving a little vs a blind. Also my bird in flight skills are poor so I will start with stationary or very slow moving birds first. So the real question is what lens should I start with ? I hope to add a nikon 500/ f4 VR within a year and a half . Thanks, Mike
     
  2. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    If you really need the extra speed, I would go with the 300 2.8, but like you said, a prime lens is a little hard for a beginner...however, it sounds like you are going to get pretty serious.
    One thing to try would be to rent the lenses and try them out for a weekend.
     
  3. That's a pretty significant beginner's budget ... perhaps you could tell us a bit about how the 18-200 is and isn't working for you. I use it for birds, among others, and while I am looking for more reach, I'm feeling that I need to go to at least 400, preferably 500 in order to make a meaningful leap on what I have. I can't say that I have tried shooting in the woods, but what kind of shutter speed and f/stop combinations are you ending up with now with the 18-200mm? That should tell you something about what you need in a longer lens.
     
  4. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Maybe you should save and get that 600mm f/4. There is a thread on here with a lot of awesome bird shots...
     
  5. Get a 300mm 2.8 first. I always say if you can have only one telephoto it would be the 300 2.8. It mates well with the 1.4 and the 1.7 tc. It's fast and versatile, and any version of the 300 works great. It also compliments the 500 f/4 well. This is what I think are ideal match ups:

    70-200 VR, 300 2.8, 500 f/4

    or

    70-200 VR, 200-400 VR, 600 f/4

    or

    200 f/2, 400 2.8, 600 f/4

    Mix and match for your personal preference!
     
  6. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Alberta
    I would go for a Nikkor 500 F4 P or maby a Nikkor 800 5.6 ED-IF AIS. I noticed that www.keh.com has a couple for sale right now. I know many folks have good luck with shorter glass but out in the sticks where I live I usually need all the reach I can get for birds. Another great choice would be a Nikkor 600 F4 ED-IF AIS matched with a TC-14b. Both of these Nikkor Super Telephoto's have amazing IQ and compression and bokeh to die for.:smile:. For the price of a new Nikkor (600f4AF.500 f4 AF) you could get a couple of Used Nikkor's (800 5.6 , 500 F4P) a wimberly head , a large tripod and some converter's. Plus a bag two to haul all the glass around.

    Gregory
     
  7. Hi, Mike! I'd consider the 300mm f/4 to be a beginner birder lens. You're looking at some pretty advanced gear in the 300/2.8VR and 200-400VR. It seems like you've thought it through, and the fast 300/2.8 would serve you better in the wooded areas you visit.

    I'd suggest you spend some time on the bird forum, and see how the kinds of results the specialists are getting from their lenses. They put some great samples of the 300/2.8 on this thread.

    https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=181358
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. mike367

    mike367

    457
    Mar 22, 2008
    NY
    Thanks all, I like Jonathan's 1st choice. Im just now figuring out my D300:eek: The 300/ 2.8 will afford me better low light opportunities in the brush and woods were I like to stalk and shoot. My composition may suffer alittle at first until I learn technique with the prime. I will be getting the 70-200 VR next month, so that lens will be figured in as well. Keep the thoughts coming and thanks. Mike