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What lens for backyard visitors

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by taurus, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. About 30 minutes ago this groundhog popped up in my back yard for the first time. I grabbed the D300 with the 18-200 and was able to get this at 200mm through a closed window with a screen. He heard the shutter and was off in a flash. This is cropped from the much larger picture and has some reflections from the window.


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    A couple weeks ago this was another vistor, who was also photographed thru the kitchen window.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I am starting my lens collection. What lens do you think would be best for this purpose? Thanks
  2. pforsell


    Jan 15, 2008
    Hi Steve,
    the first critter was shot at 1/30s shutter speed at ISO 200 using a 200mm focal length. You would very likely eneded up with higher image quality by upping the ISO to 400 or even 800 and taking the image with double or quadruple shutter speed. The lens is not at its best wide open (f/5.6) and stopping it just a 0.3 or 0.7 stops down (to 6.3 or 7.1) might have given better results. The shot seems to be a heavy crop still, which means that you'd propably need a focal length of 300mm or more.

    The second image does not contain EXIF data but the animal is much bigger meaning that much shorter focal length is needed.

    My suggestion is Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300/5.6 lens. It has nice image quality, is inexpensive and has the reach you'll looking after.

    Higher cost alternatives from "moderate" to "expensive" are:
    • Nikkor AF 80-400/5.6 VR
    • Nikkor AF-S 70-200/2.8 VR + 1.4x TC
    • Nikkor AF-S 300/4
    • Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 VR
    • Nikkor AF-S 200-400/4 VR

    But before any of these purchases, you need to set up your gear in such a way that there are no screens or windows in between, and probably use a tripod. These suggestions will make the biggest improvements and cost less.
  3. You are correct that the settings were not the best. I took one shot without taking time to set it up right just to get the shot, planning to reset thereafter, but he was gone. I am still at the stage of unlearning the Olympus as to which way the dials turn and am not very quick yet.

  4. Peter, the Nikkor AF-S 70-200/2.8 VR + 1.4x TC provides the speed I need for the forrest shade. With the 1.4x TC will it be long enough for these shots, generally at a minimum of 50 feet and as mucn as 150 feet? Have you heard anything about Nikon replacing this lens with one with the N coating to bring it in line with the 14-24 and 24-70?
  5. To Joe, I changed the word "shot" to photographed just to be PC.
  6. This was the uncropped largely unedited shot. At 200mm he is smallish.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Your suggestion for the 300mm is the right one.
  7. As for using a tripod. When I shoot ruins, I use a tripod, remote release and MU, but these guys are quick. Two spotted fawns stop by the window with their mother, take take a chomp or two of our bushes and are gone. A raccoon ambles by in the early evening, eats a mushroom and ambles on. A red tailed hawk nails a squirrel, sits on a branch takes a few bites and flies away.
  8. That is fantastic shot. Thanks for sharing it. The 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 was Peter's first suggested lens also. I indeed will give it a try and just maybe I will finally nail that Red-tailed hawk that taunts me.
  9. great pic Edward! I hope to be taking pics like that in the near future.
  10. This really made me laugh - thanks.

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