How long is long enough?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Uncle Frank, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Hanging around with you guys can be dangerous. I've been looking at your wonderful pictures of small birds, and getting the itch to try my hand. Problem is, my longest lens is the 80-200AFD hung on a 1.4x teleconverter, and I find myself having to make deep crops, with a resultant loss of quality :-(. Here's my best of the day.

    39256121.
    View attachment 4766
    View attachment 4767
    View attachment 4768

    Think I'm going to have to hit the lottery, or wait till the Snowy Egrets come back to town.
     
  2. Hey, UF, I think this is becoming the Question of the Year :wink: . Strangely, I have run into a couple of situations lately where my 500 is too long and my 80-200 is too short, go figure, no rest for the wicked. My solution will be the 120-300 f2.8 HSM from Sigma. I know, it ain't a Nikon, but for my needs I think it will serve me well. If I could my collection would be:

    1. 70-200 f2.8 AFS VR
    2. 120-300 f2.8 HSM Sigma
    3. 200-400 f4 AFS VR
    4. 500mm f4 AFS-II
    5. 600mm f4 AFS-II
    6. 800mm f5.6 HSM Sigma

    Anybody have $20,000 I can use? I'll pay it back, I promise, eventually ... :wink: . With all of that and a couple of Sherpas, the question becomes moot. Hmmm, then I would need a body for each one so I wouldn't have to do lens changes.....

    To specifically answer your question, "it depends", I don't think there really is one. I can't find it now, but have you seen the picture of the guy shoting Airplanes with a bank of bodies layed out on a single tripod? I think he had one of every Nikon long lens on that puppy.
     

  3. Honnestly Bill, dump the Sigma 800mm and add a TC 1.4 on the Nikon 600mm, it will be as bright, sharper and better for focus.
     
  4.  
  5. You are quite correct, Yves, what a surprise, but that 800mm just looks like such a monster :) . Too be honest with you, I have tried the 600mm as well and I find that son-of-a-gun a real beast to handle. Not sure I'd do any better with that either. For the time being I'm 500 + 1.4 and soon-to-be-1.7 happy :wink: .

    This is such a dilemma for us all, isn't it?

    By the way, I do agree with you on the sharpness issue as well. While I really like my Sigma 500, especially for the cost, I still think, very subjectively, that the Nikon 500 is still a bit better. My own subjective and meaningless observation is that the Sigma is 90% or a bit better, of the Nikon.
     


  6. For the 500mm it is quite good, the 800mm on the other hand is not even close to the 500mm quality in terms of sharpness. I have had those 2 for months last year as a trial from Sigma. I supplied them with 500 shots but was still asked to return the lenses. I wanted to keep the 500mm more than the 800mm.
     
  7. Thanks for the responses and suggestions!

    After reading them, I'm convinced that specializing in small birds in the wild is a road that leads to two destinations...
    bankruptcy or insanity. My two part solution will be to...

    1. Take pictures of medium/large birds in the wild, and ignore the little ones.

    2. Put up a wild bird feeder in my backyard, and shoot the small birds from close range, like I do with my hummingbirds.



    39081561.
     
  8. Very interesting, thanks for the info. I have not had a chance to see any images from the 800mm, so I really was just "talking from my hat" on that one. Sigma does make a interesting set of long glass though, with the 300-800 and the 800. Hate to think what the price-tag would be for those from Nikon :lol: .
     
  9. Re: Thanks for the responses and suggestions!

    You, my friend, are in a complet no-win situation so just give in and realize that no matter which way to go you will annoy yourself, one way or the other :lol: . I think that the real key to a lot of this is "placement", having the ability to get closer to the subject. This is one area where I have to get much better.

    Thanks for the thread, it has been informative.
     
  10. Re: Thanks for the responses and suggestions!

    [quote="Retief]I think that the real key to a lot of this is "placement", having the ability to get closer to the subject. [/quote]

    I agree. Better light helps, too. I gave it a try this morning...

    39289243.
     
  11. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Frank These are

    [really great birdie shots. Hey it is more you than equip. You do a fine job.

    Cheers
    Gale
     
  12. Hey UF, may I recommend the 80-400VR. It does great with little birds. Seriously! And used ones can be found for under $1000.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Beautiful janet!!

    We have got so many *great* photog's on the nikoncafe that I can't believe it. :D

    This is just wonderful. Great shot Janet. :!: :!: I'm seriously considering this lens.

    Regards,

    Frank
     
  14. Tepmtress: An alluring, bewitching woman
    Examples:
    Eve offering Adam a bite of her apple.
    The Sirens tempting Ulysses to crash his ship on their rocky shore.
    Janet showing small bird shots from her 80-400.



    Janet, that's an awesome shot, but I'll bet you could produce eyecandy with the bottom of a coke bottle :).

    Seriously, how would you rate the 80-400 versus the 300 f/4 AF-S with a 1.4x teleconverter? [/i]
     
  15. Absolutely beautiful shot Janet. You certainly know how to make a guy feel inadequate. I have got to get with the flash program on small birds.

    Gordon
     
  16. Janet... you just blow me away.... That's it "I quit"....
     
  17. You ain't seen nothing yet, Doug. She just pulled out that finch shot so I could compare it to my finch shot.
    Wait till she starts posting her good stuff. It's enough to make me take up a different hobby :-/.
     
  18. I really did not need to hear that frank.... i'm already depressed enough
     
  19. All the girls I met have told me ....

    8 inches is just about to be too long ... (sorry ladies, this is a guy's joke)
     
  20. Awwww UF, please....your hummers are just as sweet as this shot, so don't sell yourself short. You are the master of the hummers for sure! You know what they say...its not the equipment...(uh, sorry, that was for Boobie...I mean Yves) :twisted:

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand...I honestly can't compare in terms of quality because i've never shot with the 300 F/4. That seems to be an excellent lens. But, I can compare in terms of utility. Personally what I love about the 80-400VR is its size and the ability to walk around with it. That's how you get small wild, non-feeder birds...NOT by sitting with a tripod (unless you have a blind, and a lot of patience...neither of which I have) but by stalking them in their habitat. I can't maneuver in the woods with a tripod. The key to getting small birds is to learn how to bird. Learn their habits, learn when they are approachable. Go out with binoculars without a camera (gasp!) and learn about the birds and their behavior first. That's how all the best bird photographers started.

    I'd love the 200-400VR (if I could afford it!) but even if I could, I don't see how it would replace my 80-400VR. Its not something I could walk through the woods with or carry hiking. I'd be one ecstatic camper if Nikon would just re-do the 80-400VR with AFS.

    Also, at this point I just would not buy any long lens without VR. Period. Maybe I'm just spoiled, but I don't think I could be happy without it.

    BTW, the bird in the photo is actually not a finch. Its a Prairie Warbler...same bird, actually, as in my avatar. Here's that shot, in full size:

    [​IMG]
     
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