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Need a Bigger lens!

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by cajun angel, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Well, I was afraid this day would come - luckily I'm gonna rent whatever is decided! I have an opportunity to go with some volunteers to photograph critters/birds while they document them. I'm thinking I need a longer lens but don't know what! Should it be a zoom lens with a fixed aperture? Or should it be something like a 600mm or bigger? I have both a 1.4 and a 1.7 TC but hope to not use one or any of them because I hope to get my best photos ever! As of now, my longest lens is the 300mm afs f4. I'm open to suggestions!

    I'm thinking about getting a bean bag for shooting from the van. I don't know if my tripod will be enough for a big lens!
  2. If you're going to rent something, and you are shooting birds, I would go with a 600 f4 AFS-II. I was in the Everglades a couple weeks ago and my 600mm f5.6 was my lens of choice from 15ft on out.

  3. Thanks Jeremy! That may be what I rent! I have a few days to prepare for it, so hopefully by the time I hit the road I'll have the right gear for the job!
  4. I don't know about the 600, but I do not like to use a 1.7 on my 500. Soft look. However, the 1.4 is very good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2007
  5. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    How far do you have to carry the lens? Remember with the very big lenses you need a good tripod and a Wimberley or something like that. So that's lots to carry.

    I'd put a 1.4TC on the 200VR or use the 2.0 TC.. that would make it long and you could handhold it...just brace yourself up against a tree. The 1.7TC doesn't work well on the 200VR but the others are fine. I use the 1.4TC on my 200VR and like that lots.. but for the length you could use the 2.0 and it works well I've read.

    I agree with Allan about the 500. works fine with the 1.4. Not good for me with the 1.7. I tried it.

    Lots of luck. Post those good pictures that you'll get.

  6. If I use a TC at all it will be the 1.4. I really want to do my best when I go up there!

    Hey Gaye! I'm thinking I may actually be able to shoot from the van or truck. I'm planning on buying a beanbag for window support. I have the 300mm afs f4. I don't have a 2X TC. I'll be carefully planning my choices between now and the time I hit the road. No matter what, it's gonna be a fun time getting to go where the public doesn't go! Who knows what I'll see!
  7. You should take a look at thr 200-400 F4 VR. I just got mine -- It is a magnificent piece of glass, hand holdable (for a while) and the VR is especially helpful as its widest aperature id f4.

  8. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Dianne, I'm not sure that you realize just how big a 600mm lens is. If you think that you will be able to shoot from inside a car or van and shoot out the window, I think that you will be very disappointed. I'm not sure what you plan on shooting with this group, but in most cases, you would do just fine with a 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4x TC on your tripod. What are the others shooting with? Go to the images that were taken at Guntersville and the UAH duck pond to view Larry's 600mm lens, I think this lens is too big for you to handle if it is not securely placed on a strudy tripod. Additionally, when you rent a lens (no matter it's age or condition), the company will require a deposit for the full price of what the lense costs to replace. In the case of a 600mm lens....that's over $8000.00.
  9. Thanks for the info Frank! Right now, I'm looking at either the 200-400 VR or the 500 you mentioned. I need to get in touch with the people that I'll be going out with and get more info. If I'm doing a bunch of walking, I definitely won't go with a huge lens like the 600, in fact, I may just stay with my 300. I'll be looking at the lenses and talking I hope later this week.
  10. I just talked to a really good friend and teacher (photography) about lenses and renting. He suggested I rent the 80-400 VR and with either of my TC's I should be quite okay! Rent is $35 and all they do is have me sign a paper stating I pay for it if it's damaged or broken. Well, that sounds fair to me! He said my bogen 3021 should be okay or even my velbon. I have a panning head on the velbon and the bogen has my jubo on it. My next step will be to get in touch with the people I'll be going out with and get the rest of the details.
  11. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    For me I'd stick with your 300 and the 1.7 over the 80-400 and a 1.4. I've worked a lot recently with my 300 and the 1.7 and found that really good long lens technique, a good pod, and just a half stop down works very well.

    My site is down as the change DNS servers or I'd point you to some of the recent duck shots done with the 300/1.7/monopod in the wildlife forum.

    Good luck on your choice. I've only had the chance once to image for a very short period of time in the glades....you will have fun:) 
  12. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I would also urge you to take your 300 f4 and both tc's with you
    You have the 400 range with what you have
    I use the 80-400 VR with a kenko pro 300 1.4 t.c when needed. You can not use Nikon tc's with it
  13. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    The 80-400 isn't a great birding lens due to it's slow AF, especially on a D50 which has a slower AF motor than a D80 or D200. I'd just use your 300 f/4 with the 1.4x TC, you should get good results with that and still fast AF.
  14. after a lot of careful consideration - that's exactly what I"m going to do! I don't want to spend what it would cost me to buy a new head for my bogen and at this point, I'm afraid getting a 500mm would be a disaster due to not having a tripod strong enough to support it. I know the bogen would but I don't have the proper head for it. So, it's gonna be my 300mm and both TC's to go with me. Thanks!
  15. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    I agree with Jeff, Gale and Weiran.
    Have you thought of using the 70-300VR? I have been pleasantly surprised with the results I've gotten.

    My 70-300vr pictures are HERE

    and these were all handheld .
  16. Well I have th 70-300 ED without the VR. I thought about getting the vr but don't think I could get enough $$ for the ED to pay for the VR.
  17. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    I think you underestimated the quality of the Nikkor 300mm f/4 optic, it's a superb piece of glass and works well even with a TC.
  18. Dianne, I shoot almost all of my birds shots with my Nikon 500mm F4 with and without the TC1.4 with what I'd consider very good results. If it were me I'd give a 400mm f2.8 some serious consideration. This lens is tack sharp wide open and takes up to the TC2.0 very nicely. Ask Frank Wilson he and Andreas get superb results from this lens. Although it too is heavier than the 500mm. And finally, I would agree that the 600mm is a beast and it wouldn't be my first choice.

  19. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I will still say the 300 f4 with your tc will be fine
  20. Actually, I know my lens is fantastic and I love it! That's why I named it "bazooka jr" BUT because some of my subject may be far off and I may not be able to get closer, that was my reasoning behind renting a longer lens. Today, when I printed out the photos of my 2 birds for the Refuge, I could only go with 4x6 due to cropping.

    Louis, I don't have the proper head on my bogen to handle a lens of that size. I'm just not wanting to spend another $200 to get a panning head. My jubo isn't strong enough either, and I haven't any experience with it yet. I don't want to come home without nice shots. The TC's I have are the 1.4 and the 1.7. Anyway, thanks for your input!

    Gale, that's what I've decided on. I'll just have to be careful about what goes on my wishlist for the next year. Thanks!
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