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i tried bif

Discussion in 'Birds' started by mrlimpet, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. mrlimpet


    May 12, 2006
    san francisco
    i've long admired the bif shots i've seen here (and elsewhere) and, after trying some myself, hold the belief they are amongst the most challenging shots to get successfully.

    one of the major reasons i acquired a 70-200mm 2.8VR lens was to improve my chances. i now realize i need even more reach, but instead of buying another lens, i plan on adding a 2.0 teleconverter to my bag when i can afford it.

    i promised timk (william) that i would post up some of my bif efforts so here they are...

    1. taken right after i got the new lens, program mode, 1/640, f6.3, red-tailed hawk...

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    2. couple weeks later, still using program mode, 1/1000, f9.0, gull...

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    3. more recent, finally comfortable trying manual mode, 1/800, f9.0, turkey vulture...

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    4. another red-tail using the same settings...

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    5. even more recent, manual mode, 1/800, f7.1, cormorant...

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    6. same timeframe, manual mode, 1/1600, f5.6, blue heron...

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    i have lots more but this pretty much illustrates my current skill level with the equipment i have. of course i'm open to all comments/suggestions and welcome them. my goal is to approach the quality of other bif shots i have seen here on the cafe.
    as i said earlier, i plan on adding a 2.0 teleconverter as soon as i can afford it but more lenses are probably not in my immediate future.

    thanks for looking (and hopefully) commenting! :smile:
  2. Hi Robert.. very good shooting... you have done well with this lens.. I would suggest you try the 70-300 mm VR rather then a 2x converter, but I am no expert., just an idea.
  3. mrlimpet


    May 12, 2006
    san francisco
    thanks for the kind words of encouragement raymond. :smile:

    i visited your website and your photos are impressive to say the least! my rationale for planning on adding the 2x converter instead of a new lens is twofold...

    1) even with the loss of 2 f/stops with the converter, i will still have a 3.5 140-400mm lens, which i believe is 2 stops faster than the 70-300mm VR.

    2) i can't afford another long lens at this time but i can afford (justify) the converter.

    when i don't need the longer reach, i can revert back to the 70-200mm 2.8 configuration.

    that's my thinking anyway. if i've overlooked something, please let me know.
  4. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    You're calculating using 1/3 stop increments.

    The 2X converter will cost you two full stops which results in an f5.6 lens.
  5. genera


    Oct 6, 2005

    The gull and Great Blue Heron turned out really nice. Good going on those. The 1st Red-railed Hawk shot is beautifully framed but blurry and might have benefited from a higher shutter speed. You probably already know this but since the 70-200VR is fairly new to you I'll mention it anyway. Be sure to give VR some time to stabilize, about a half second or so, before pressing the shutter button all the way.

    You might want to rent or, if possible, borrow a 2x TC before purchasing one. Some people report good results with them but it seems to me that even more people aren't particularly happy with them.
  6. The TC14 and TC17 both work well with the 70-200, but the TC20 is quite bad. While saving for longer glass, you can get much closer by practicing as much stealth as you can - avoid bright clothing - choosing instead colors that will blend you with the background (from the bird's perspective); use all available cover at all times, then move out very slowly to take the picture and slowly go back; setup your shot after studying the local bird's habits (favorite or popular branch or rock). Read about the bird's general habits, either here or in books like Sibley' guides, National Geographic Guide to NA Birds and many others.

    For first BIF's, these are great! Keep practicing, even on sparrows - whatever is in your environment daily.
  7. Like Nick said, TC 1.4 and 1.7 will do you fine. Better to have a higher image quality that you can crop afterwards rather than sacrifice that much light before you even start. The 300 f/4 will make you very happy!
  8. i found the 1.4 to work very poorly w/ the 70-200 (just so you get a 2nd opinion)...in fact I never use a TC on any zoom or any prime over f4 except the 300/4

    I like the 2nd shot alot, the last shot is ok
    the others are lacking in detail
  9. mrlimpet


    May 12, 2006
    san francisco
    :eek:  thanks for pointing that out. obviously, i didn't realize that. it definitely changes my thinking on this.

    i would like a bit more reach but another long lens just isn't in my budget. perhaps the 1.7 tc would be a better choice, or i better practice my stealth techniques!:rolleyes: 

    many thanks to all for your comments and encouragement!

    i'd like to explain how i got here so that everyone understands my knowledge and skill level, or lack thereof, and can 'dummy down' their comments if they feel it's necessary.

    my father was an avid amateur photographer. he started with film and graduated to digital. i inherited all his equipment when he passed away 3 years ago. all my experience was with point-and-shoot cams to that point. i've slowly been learning how to use the dslr since then.

    initially, i concentrated on my first hobby, tropical fish, using mainly the 60mm macro lens. my first posts here on the cafe were of my fish.
    now i want to experiment with the other lenses as well and look at any free time as an opportunity to practice photography! i added the 50mm and 70-200mm lenses listed in my sig in the last year or so.

    i know my d100 body is old but i don't feel i've outgrown it. my only criticism is that the lcd is rather small and my eyesight isn't getting any better.:redface:

    thanks again for all your comments. i'm soaking it all in like a sponge.
  10. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    Hey Robert,

    I've not used the 70-200/2.8 with a TC but there have been numerous relevant discussions over the years on all the popular photography fora and the general consensus is usually in favour of the 1.7 TC as opposed to the 2X. The 1.7 seems to maintain a fairly high level of image quality which changes noticeably when going to the more powerful TC.

    BIF is a demanding aspect of photography, both in terms of equipment and shooter skill. You've done very well for a newcomer to the discipline. Looking forward to seeing more of your work as you progress.
  11. Notice how the last shot is the best shot?? Your shutter speed was up. It's no coincidence. :smile:
    Just say NO to the 2x. A 1.4 or perhaps 1.7 would be the limit for the zoom if you're expecting a
    fair amount of keepers.
  12. Raymond is right. For the price of a convertor you could get the NIkon 70-300VR. It has the lastest AFSII VRII and is around $450.00. I use this all the time for BIF and has a very fast AF. You want at least 1/1000 shutter speed, but when you are learning maybe even 1/2000. Also maybe start learning to shoot in Aperture priority mode. You will get to have more control over how you isolate your subject, DOF, etc.

  13. mrlimpet


    May 12, 2006
    san francisco
    holmes, will, and nancy, thanks for the encouragement and advice. :smile:

    much appreciated!
  14. wingspar


    Mar 16, 2008
    I just posted a couple of hummers taken with a 70-200 VR and the TC 14E, which I picked up used recently for about $225. The distance to the birds was around 20 to 25 feet. I don’t have any experience with any other TC’s, but I’ve rarely heard positive comments on IQ with the 2.0. The 1.4 and 1.7 deliver good results. I’ve used my 70-200 VR with 1.4 TC for a football camp recently, and was pleased with the results.

    Your photos all seem soft, except for 2 and 6, but that might be focusing technique. Birds in flight are very hard to do, and I have the same problems. Lots of practice will help. The cost of new D200's is very cheap now, and would be well worth the upgrade. I was tickled pink with my D200 over the D100, which I sold right away. Color and resolution are much improved.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  15. I'm afraid it will be costly either way.

    Adorama sells the Nikon TC-17E II 1.7x Teleconverter for $419, and the Nikon 70-300VR for $479.
  16. mrlimpet


    May 12, 2006
    san francisco

    now that holmes has corrected me on the loss of full fstops, let me see if i have this right...

    if i opt for the 1.7tc, i lose 1.5 stops and i'll end up with 120-340mm 4.8 lens vs. a 70-300mm 4.5 lens?

    i wish i was rich! :frown:

    thanks for all the comments and opinions everyone. this kind of insight from other photographers is what i need to hear.
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