Seriously looking at super primes 600/800mm

amadeusamadeus Major grinsPosts: 2,038Registered Users Major grins

For my D4. Can someone tell me why a Nikon 800mm is $3300 more than a Canon 800mm???

:(

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Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 18,588Super Moderators moderator
    edited January 8, 2017

    'Cause the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM won't fit a Nikon body. There is no serious competition for that lens in a Nikon F mount, so they get to charge whatever they want to charge.

    Seriously, why quibble? If you need the Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR, then that's what you should get. $16,300 vs $13,000 isn't really all that much different.

    My serious recommendation is to rent the lens to be sure it will meet your needs.

    Another recommendation might be to use a Nikon D810 with a AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and do some cropping in post to achieve a similar result. Granted, the D810 will probably not achieve the same keeper rate as the D4, but the options available with 2 bodies improves your overall capabilities.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • amadeusamadeus Major grins Posts: 2,038Registered Users Major grins

    Is there competition for the Canon 800mm? Seems odd such a disparity in the cost of the 2 lenses. Having worked my way up the Nikon product line beginning in 2008 from entry level to now using top of the line level gear it is disappointing to see that if I now want to go as big as possible (currently using the 300 prime with a 1.7 TC) that I'd be paying $3300 more than if I had come up the Canon ladder instead of Nikon.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 18,588Super Moderators moderator

    Sigma is the only additional manufacturer to offer anything in the 800mm (AFAIK), fast aperture prime category. At $6600USD it's not cheap, and I'm not sure many professional, full-time photographers are willing to gamble purchasing one.

    The Sigma 800mm f/5.6 EX DG APO HSM isn't a bad lens (no VR/IS), but I don't think that it's a 1:1 comparison to the major manufacturers' offerings on their own equipment. Additionally, the Sigma corporate support just cannot compete with Canon and Nikon and if anything happens; breakage, calibration, theft replacement, etc., I don't think that Sigma has the worldwide system in place to provide rapid response.

    Like I said, rent the Nikkor 800mm mentioned to see if you really need it. Rental really makes a lot of sense for this kind of exotic equipment.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins

    I wondered what you intended shooting with something like an 800, so checked your profile and realised that our paths had crossed before, nearly a year ago :)

    Renting / borrowing? - as Ziggy suggests - is a good idea when considering this sort of gear - I still don't really know what you intend using such a beast for, but I'd add a 600 + 1.4tc to the mix, as regards something to check out.

    pp

  • amadeusamadeus Major grins Posts: 2,038Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 9, 2017

    I shoot mainly (when possible) dirt bikes and birds/eagles if I can find them and they ain't hard to find these days...I'm currently using a 300 prime with the 1.7 TC = 500mm and often look at the 600 mm. And then the 800 as how can you not look? Was very surprised to see the Canon 800 $3300 less. I shot this at 500mm and am somewhat convinced that the 800 wouldn't be too much lens. The dollars are another subject, when I can buy the Canon 800 and the Canon flagship body for only $3000 more than the Nikon lens alone it's somewhat disappointing that's all. What attracts me to the long lens besides being what I believe to be a better image when you're the right distance, just like the 300 is a better image than the 70-200 dust collector, is that I can cover multiple spots from one location where yes you could do that with the 300 I just think the 600/800 would open the possibilities even more. Still cheaper than most Harleys and much safer and no I'm not rich or foolish...

    And this was only an afterthought shot but the hill was really steep and I was just watching out of curiosity to see if I could get anything..I actually have a whole 5-6 frame sequence of this mishap...

    I'm not looking to come back from a race with 100 good shots, or 500, I'm looking to come back with 5 drop your jaw shots, and I think the 600 gives me a better chance than the 300 w or wo the TC. And if you're going to go to 600, might as well at least ponder the 800.

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Local-Motocross/High-Point-2016-small-lens/i-HXsGQFq/0/X2/hp26-X2.jpg

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Local-Motocross/High-Point-2016-small-lens/i-t9PSXx7/0/X2/hp30-X2.jpg

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,951Super Moderators moderator
    edited January 10, 2017

    Amadeus - Sigma makes a 300-800 zoom that might fit your needs for 800mm, and the zoom range might be actually be more useful than a prime at the track. And it is a _lot less moula _than the OEM 800mm primes. Probably not quite as sharp as the primes, but still quite useful if used properly.

    B&H lists a Nikon version of the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG APO IF HSM Autofocus Lens for $7999.00 The Canon version if you're interested is only $6799. Neither are VR, but you will need a tripod and a Wimberly style head anyway as they are rather heavy - almost 13 pounds. The tripod and Wimberly head will add another 15 pounds or so. Not something one walks about with usually.

    I happen to own a Canon version of the Sigma 300-800 and find it useful from time to time. I might even consider parting with it if someone really wanted it. It works reasonably well with a Canon 1.4 TC too. I have some full moon shots with that combo as well.

    Long lenses require good long glass technique. The lack of VR probably wouldn't affect your usage much as you probably are going to be shooting at fairly brief shutter speeds at trackside anyways.

    I have a couple slightly cropped frames here, shot with various Canon bodies, several years ago

    https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Animals/Two-legged-and-Four-Legged/i-5fJxNWk/A - 800mm with a 50D, at the near focus point

    https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/i-694JNWx/A --- 466mm with 20D

    https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/i-QX3gLDm/A -- 800mm with Canon 1D MKII

    I am still hoping to see the rumored Canon 600mm f4 DO that I keep hearing about, but not really seeing yet.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins

    @amadeus said:

    What attracts me to the long lens besides being what I believe to be a better image when you're the right distance, just like the 300 is a better image than the 70-200 dust collector, is that I can cover multiple spots from one location where yes you could do that with the 300 I just think the 600/800 would open the possibilities even more.

    This is, in essence how I shoot wildlife (mainly waterfowl) ... pick a location and hope something will happen in front of a decent background.
    Obviously, many of my subjects are much smaller than dirt bikes (altho swans / geese / herons etc with wings out, not so much) ... but one of the issues (imo) of using a long prime in such situations is that you can very quickly run out of space for compositional purposes when the action gets much closer.

    DoF rapidly decreases as subjects get closer and you have to make v. quick decisions about what bit you want to fill the frame with -I some cases, to an absurd degree ... like having moorhen chicks pecking the end of the lens hood of my 500 :)

    I now see /hear this on a regular basis from a fellow snapper who also frequents the same venue as myself - he's recently changed from using a 100 / 400 to a 600 and regularly laments the fact that he's 'running out of space'

    Btw, I'd be happy with 5 'jaw droppers' a year ... let alone an outing ... I doubt that I saw double figures of those last year ...

    pp

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator

    Super-telephotos lenses are great. But if there's any doubt as to the possibility of being over-lensed, then having a second body with a zoom lens is definitely the way to go. .

  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,405Administrators moderator
    edited January 10, 2017

    I know you mentioned a TC above, but I'd reconsider it as a real alternative.
    If money is an issue, or weight, or camera bag pack size, or over-lensing, then you might consider a real decent 400 and add a 2x tele extender when needed. The extender could do extra duty on other lenses, I'd bet.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,951Super Moderators moderator
    edited January 10, 2017

    To use a 2x TC on a 400mm lens, you most likely will need a 400mm f2.8 if you wish to retain autofocus with most camera bodies.

    A 400 f5.6 will drop to f11 with a 2x TC and no AF.

    A 400 f4.0 will drop to f8 with a 2x TC, and SOME Canon 1 series bodies will retain some slow AF. Not sure if Nikon really does much better at f8.

    A 400mm f2.8 IS L will drop to f5.6 with a 2x and will retain AF with most all modern camera bodies.

    A 400mm f2.8 IS L II Canon lens sells for about 10K and is back ordered at B&H right now - DAMHIK

    The Sigma 300-800 is f5.6 at 800mm and will AF......and is available as well, for several thousand less than the 400 f2.8 IS L II.

    The Nikon 400mm f2.8 is listed at B&H for $11,196.95. For a Nikon 2X TC add another $496.95.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins

    @kdog said:
    Super-telephotos lenses are great. But if there's any doubt as to the possibility of being over-lensed, then having a second body with a zoom lens is definitely the way to go. .

    Certainly 'a' way ... unsure whether it's 'the' way to go, imo, all likely factors considered - especially at this end of the kit cost spectrum - for normal mortals, anyway :)

    and yes, I've tried a 2 rig setup a few times ... 500 + 1Dm3 / 10-400 + 7Dm2.
    Others can make up their own mind about a 2 rig approach, but having to keep eyes (and ears) keen for the presence of dogs (off leads) wanting to relieve themselves on the gear not being used is a fact of life at some venues I frequent ...

    pp

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator
    edited January 11, 2017

    @puzzledpaul said:

    and yes, I've tried a 2 rig setup a few times ... 500 + 1Dm3 / 10-400 + 7Dm2.

    You did it wrong. Your 500 + 1Dm3 (with its 1.3x crop factor) gives you a FF equivalency of 650mm, while your 100-400 + 7Dm2 is already covering the range of 160mm to 640. You're lugging your 500 around for an extra 10mm of reach which is nothing.

    Now put the 500 on the 7Dm2 and the 100-400 on your 1Dm3, and now you're covering a range of 130mm through 800mm, a massive increase in coverage. That's my wildlife set up (except I use a FF body instead of the 1Dm3), plus I bring along a TC1.4x.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,951Super Moderators moderator

    One thing I have noticed in my files with long lenses is that the backgrounds tend to look better when shot at larger apertures ( duh!! ) - one reason I have really begun lusting for the 400 f2.8,

    My files from the 100-400 V2 at 400mm ( f5.6 ) are sharp and crisp, but the bokeh in the background is definitely not in the same league as with a full f4 or f2.8 long optic.

    I pointed this out in some images shot in my background yard of cardinals in the snow - https://dgrin.com/discussion/257118/cardinals-in-the-snow.

    I also became aware of this issue shooting grizzlies along the Alcan Highway in British Columbia.

    Slower lenses are lighter and easier to handle and to purchase, but the larger apertures really do offer a different image quality. Darn it!!

    Like kdog I usually use the longer, fixed prime lens on my 7D Mk2 and the shorter, wider zoom on my FF body so that I can be as wide as possible if needed, if a critter decides to come closer than expected.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins

    @kdog said:

    @puzzledpaul said:

    You did it wrong

    Yes, I did ... assuming I was looking for max reach ... but I was looking for focal length equivalence between the two (test) rigs + another important (to me, anyway) factor ... physical height difference.

    A 7D + 100 /400 gives a lower pov than any rig using a 500 f4 because of the difference in lens diameters (as a 100/400 +1D rig's pov is limited by cam body size)
    Since I am mainly shooting waterfowl, and want to get as close as possible to water level, using a 7D on a 500 won't produce any gain - but it (the 7D) will, when used on the zoom.

    The test period using two rigs - including the configuration you suggested, was fairly short lived as I got fed up with lugging all the kit - and just accepted the compromises of using the 500 + 7D.

    I would have to build another turntable rig to have two complete (low level) systems available to even begin to contemplate switching between the two in dynamic shot situations - for the sort of shot that I'm after, anyway.
    Not an impossible ask ... but life's too short :)

    pp.

  • amadeusamadeus Major grins Posts: 2,038Registered Users Major grins

    what the heck happened to the quote feature? with regards to running out of room etc, I mean doesn't distance come into play with every lens made? too far too close etc etc etc. But shooting something like dirt bike racing, you know where you want to shoot, a jump, a turn, a big mudhole, etc. You find the right spot with the right light on it and go find the right place to stand and shoot whatever moves. Yes once they get closer you can't shoot them with a big lens but there isn't a lens made that you can shoot close and far with the image a big prime will deliver. Like I said I don't want to come back from an outing with 500 good shots I want to come back with a few epics. If possible. When I first got my 70-200 I thought I had reached the big time. Now its an afterthought, when would I ever need it? I'm going get me one of those big hammers and bang some nails.

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator
    edited January 13, 2017

    @puzzledpaul said:
    Yes, I did ... assuming I was looking for max reach ... but I was looking for focal length equivalence between the two (test) rigs + another important (to me, anyway) factor ... physical height difference.

    A 7D + 100 /400 gives a lower pov than any rig using a 500 f4 because of the difference in lens diameters (as a 100/400 +1D rig's pov is limited by cam body size)
    Since I am mainly shooting waterfowl, and want to get as close as possible to water level, using a 7D on a 500 won't produce any gain - but it (the 7D) will, when used on the zoom.

    The test period using two rigs - including the configuration you suggested, was fairly short lived as I got fed up with lugging all the kit - and just accepted the compromises of using the 500 + 7D.

    I would have to build another turntable rig to have two complete (low level) systems available to even begin to contemplate switching between the two in dynamic shot situations - for the sort of shot that I'm after, anyway.
    Not an impossible ask ... but life's too short :)

    I salute your experimentation in overlapping focal lengths. However, this really has little to do with my original point:

    @kdog said:
    Super-telephotos lenses are great. But if there's any doubt as to the possibility of being over-lensed, then having a second body with a zoom lens is definitely the way to go.

    I stand behind that and we can just agree to disagree I guess.

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator

    @amadeus said:
    what the heck happened to the quote feature? with regards to running out of room etc, I mean doesn't distance come into play with every lens made? too far too close etc etc etc. But shooting something like dirt bike racing, you know where you want to shoot, a jump, a turn, a big mudhole, etc. You find the right spot with the right light on it and go find the right place to stand and shoot whatever moves. Yes once they get closer you can't shoot them with a big lens but there isn't a lens made that you can shoot close and far with the image a big prime will deliver. Like I said I don't want to come back from an outing with 500 good shots I want to come back with a few epics. If possible. When I first got my 70-200 I thought I had reached the big time. Now its an afterthought, when would I ever need it? I'm going get me one of those big hammers and bang some nails.

    The quote is the blue "chat" icon, second from the left in the row of icons under the message viewing window.

    So yeah, the case you describe of setting up a shot at a fixed distance is perfect for a prime. However, the newer breed of tele zooms would surprise you. I know that Nikon has a 200-400 f/4 that's very good. And Canon recently released their 200-400 f/4 that has an internal TC1.4x that engages with a button push. I'm not sure about the Nikon, but the Canon version is extremely popular by the pros at the Olympics. So if you're sticking with an f/4 lens, I don't think you could tell the difference between the prime or an f/4 zoom. However, an f/2.8 prime would be a different matter -- either 300mm or 400mm. Those are really the ultimate sports lenses and both take a TC very well if you decide you need more reach.

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 13, 2017

    @kdog said:

    I salute your experimentation in overlapping focal lengths. However, this really has little to do with my original point:

    @kdog said:
    Super-telephotos lenses are great. But if there's any doubt as to the possibility of being over-lensed, then having a second body with a zoom lens is definitely the way to go.

    I stand behind that and we can just agree to disagree I guess.

    Well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on both topics then ... since I was aware of the FF / crop reach of all combinations of both systems at the time of trying them ... and was part of the reason for buying the 7Dm2 in the first place over the existing 1D based rig.

    Yes, I can see - and agree that using a dual rig system can work for some - and be useful in some circumstances ... but until I see some results of such a setup in a dynamic scenario of the type I'm talking about, I'll reserve judgement on the matter.

    I see few enough waterfowl shots as it is, that've been taken from water level* - let alone a sequence where the 'tog has switched systems as the subject has become too close for the longer prime setup.

    Nearest I've seen have been shots taken with zooms - such as the 200 - 400 mentioned - and these have invariably been too high a pov (for what I'm after)

    pp

    *
    ie less than 1in of daylight between underside of lens hood and water surface.

    Edit
    An example of the type of situation (and timing) is here
    https://dgrin.com/discussion/257416/mute-swan-scooting-sprinting-2
    .
    Note that the 8 frames I took were taken over a 2 sec. period - there's no way an 'ol codger like me could've swapped systems, found subject in frame, dialled in the required focal length, re-acquired AF on an appropriate point etc ... and got a half decent shot ... maybe I should eat more spinach and do a few more pushups / day? .:)

    (pic itself has gone with forum change, but is currently the 2nd on my flickr page / site)

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator

    Lovely image, Paul. Not sure what you're trying to demonstrate here though. You had a fixed focal length and lucked out that you had a bird position itself at just the right distance to cover the action. That's your world. Now let an elephant pass between you and the water, and then what? Get an eyeball macro? Me, I'll grab my second body with the zoom because I was prepared not to be over-lensed. That's my world. There's room for both of us I think.

  • MitchellMitchell Major grins Posts: 3,481Registered Users Major grins

    I think you'd be very dissatisfied shooting MX with a 600mm or 800mm lens. Just too large and unwieldy for that application. I could see the appeal if you need that length for shooting eagles, but that's a lot of coin to spend for something that will not return cash to you like when you sell your MX photos.

    You should consider the new 500mm, f4 if you feel you need more length. This new lens is fantastic and much lighter than it's predecessor. It can also take a TC very well.

    I would also suggest you consider the addition of a D500. The AF is superb (it blows away the AF in your D4) and the DX crop factor will work to your advantage. 10fps also helps for fast moving targets. Many Nikon shooters I know have added the D500 to their stable of FX bodies just for birding. It's very impressive.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 1,960Registered Users Major grins

    @kdog said:
    Super-telephotos lenses are great. But if there's any doubt as to the possibility of being over-lensed, then having a second body with a zoom lens is definitely the way to go. .

    That is the tried and true method for sure.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2017

    @kdog said:

    There's room for both of us I think.

    Totally agree.

    However, if I was trying to 'demonstrate' anything (and obviously failing) - it would be that - imo - using a 2 rig setup in the particular scenario I've described (water level shooting of dynamic subjects) isn't necessarily the solution it may well be in other situations.

    As previously mentioned, I'll reserve judgement about a 'gear switch' until I see (half reasonable, preferably :)) results of either (or both) of these situations ...

    Same subject, moving towards 'tog - pics before and after switch ...all taken at water level.
    Different subjects (as per your ele. ex) - pics of first subject with long prime, gear switch for nearby subject ...again all, pics at water level.

    And, as a reminder, by 'water level' - I mean an inch or less between lens hood and water surface . not sitting in a canoe with cam at eye level, or sitting on the bank with lens resting on your knee etc.

    I obviously accept that not everyone is interested in this, and also accept that just because a shot has been taken from this viewpoint it automatically becomes a good shot ... but I happen to prefer the results when all the planets are aligned.

    Floating hides are another way to approach getting pics whilst in the water - but the vast majority (if not all?) of ones that I've seen, together with ex of pics taken from them, have had too high a viewpoint (imo) - often associated with the aspect of how the 'tog needs to breathe, if viewing directly thro the VF.
    Also, the council don't want bods going on the lakes in 'boats' / craft etc.

    pp

    -

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator

    Paul, I love your water-level bird photography. Keep doing what you're doing!

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 1,960Registered Users Major grins

    @puzzledpaul said:

    However, if I was trying to 'demonstrate' anything (and obviously failing) - it would be that - imo - using a 2 rig setup in the particular scenario I've described (water level shooting of dynamic subjects) isn't necessarily the solution it may well be in other situations.

    So what do you do when the subject is too big/close for the big prime? Do you hope that the subject moves? Do you move? Do you just miss the shot?

    I agree that it might be difficult for some photographers in the field to carry multiple rigs in every possible situation, and maybe not worth the effort for everyone.

    In your particular scenerio it sounds like it would be tough for 2 or more rigs, but that is a very niche type of shot. The vast majority of photographers are not in that situation and find it far easier to have multiple rigs. Swapping cameras is far faster than swapping lenses.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 17, 2017

    @kdog said:
    Paul, I love your water-level bird photography. Keep doing what you're doing!

    Thanks, Joel, glad you like some of the daubs ... I intend to.

    @Cygnus Studios said:

    So what do you do when the subject is too big/close for the big prime? Do you hope that the subject moves? Do you move? Do you just miss the shot?

    I agree that it might be difficult for some photographers in the field to carry multiple rigs in every possible situation, and maybe not worth the effort for everyone.

    In your particular scenerio it sounds like it would be tough for 2 or more rigs, but that is a very niche type of shot. The vast majority of photographers are not in that situation and find it far easier to have multiple rigs. Swapping cameras is far faster than swapping lenses.

    If subject comes within the 500's mfd, then I generally just stop shooting ... but start looking around the venue for other shots. Since one location has a path running between two lakes, I'll move over to the other lakeside if more potential is present there.
    So yes, you could say that the bottom line for the subject I've been following / tracking as it gets too close, is that I 'miss the shot'
    However, there are several factors to consider
    I'm not a pro, so no clients agendas to satisfy - only myself
    I frequent locations at the same venue many times (visits are well into 3 figures / yr) - so I can have another go another time.
    I'm not in the slightest bit interested in taking these pics as a record of my visit - unlike someone who's paid mega ££$$ to trot off around the world to get pics of whatever - and - from what I see from results, often be forced into situations where ideal (imo) povs aren't allowed because of H & S reasons (eg shooting from tops of 4x4s when ground level would be better)
    Switching to a shorter focal length rig to capture a nearer scene also creates its own issues (for me, in said venue) because of the greater amount of background that becomes present in the frame - since it's not a 'wild' environment, I have to take into account many unwanted factors ... which are far easier to control with the 500's narrow angle of view. Even when I do succeed in getting such pics, they are - imo - invariably less satisfactory because of the dof differences.
    I have shot with all manner of different rigs over the years, but invariably come back to the 500.

    From a practical aspect, having 2 (or more) rigs would be easier for me than most, since I access (and move around inside) the venue by pedal bike - so typically carry 25K + but could easily carry / pull more - unlike bods on foot. (no motorised vehicles allowed inside.)

    A niche type of shot - Yes ... and No :)
    Waterfowl shots are obviously just a part of Bird photography, which in turn is part of wildlife ... which is certainly not a niche.

    Low level / water level shooting is something you'll find in any selection of tips re improving ones W/life pics -it's obviously not something I've thought of.
    My only (possible?) unique contribution is the gear I've made to more easily allow me to carry on this task ... and invariably am interested In seeing how others go about taking pics from a similar viewpoint.

    Yes, swapping rigs is far quicker than swapping lenses - but if you consider that ..
    The support system for the 500 invariably needs adjusting for the 2nd rig to take advantage of height differences
    You're in extremely close proximity to water, so care has to be taken re where gear is placed
    Difficulties of re-acquiring AF etc (as shooting thro' an angle finder
    etc.

    pp

    Edit
    If part of this lark is to place one's individual 'stamp' on a scene, then the last thing Iwant to do is stand at the water's edge, gear on a tripod and end up with pics that not only look less than ideal (imo) but look like everyone else's?
    And, please don't get me on how adding a TC will affect one's pov to such an extent that there's no need to get low ...

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 1,960Registered Users Major grins

    @puzzledpaul said:

    A niche type of shot - Yes ... and No :)
    Waterfowl shots are obviously just a part of Bird photography, which in turn is part of wildlife ... which is certainly not a niche.

    >

    How about not as common as other forms of photography :D Keep in mind that I am always thinking of the business side, I am often guilty of forgetting that most people who take pictures do it for other reasons, and more often than not enjoy it more.

    Your work is spectacular and would serve anyone interested in water fowl photography.

    I wish that we had more conversations about specific gear choices and how it affects the type of photography we do. I personally loved this thread because it has been quite a while since I've broken out one of my long lenses. So my first thought automatically jumped to what happens when you get too close. In my brain, you miss the shot, you don't get paid. So I am always leaping to the conclusion that you pack like you're never coming home just in case something unexpected pops up.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 18, 2017

    @Cygnus Studios said:

    I wish that we had more conversations about specific gear choices and how it affects the type of photography we do.

    A sort of 'chicken and egg' situation (for many) I suspect?

    As a retired 'ol codger, I'm lucky that the 'earning a crust' aspect of taking pics isn't an issue - and, as someone who's been self employed in other areas, I can appreciate the situation.
    For me, this lark of pointing a cam at something and hoping to get a hrp (half reasonable pic) is generally a win win scenario.
    If I don't get any decent pics, I've still had a bit of exercise (on the bike), been out in the fresh air rather than gawping at some sort of screen (like typing this) meet other people ... and, so the medics tell us, keeping the grey matter active via trying to think up different / better ways of doing what I do ... and then actually making such items / rigs.

    All of which costs nothing (once kit bought, of course) ... gotta be better than staring at daytime soaps or whatever on the haunted fish tank all day, methinks ? :)

    Thanks for your comments re my pics, btw - appreciated.

    Returning to the OP's original Q, I think I'd be tempted to try the two rig approach (if he's got 2 bodies?) with a rented 200/400 f4 on the second, to give him some idea of reach differences and whether the IQ is indeed unsatisfactory (for him) after actually trying said gear?

    Btw, returning to waterfowl shots - try googling (image search) any sort of waterfowl ... and see just how rare water level shots are ...

    pp

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,962Administrators moderator

    Paul, do you get in the water for your shots?

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 19, 2017

    @kdog said:
    Paul, do you get in the water for your shots?

    Short answer - these days, no.
    I've no objections to doing so - and used to do so in the earlier days - but if there's no advantage to be gained (for me, anyway) I won't bother.

    Since daubs are supposed t be worth a good few words, I thought I'd add these pix - if OP / whoever considers them excessive for this thread, please remove same - nay probs from me :)
    (It'll also give me a chance to try the pic upload on the new site)

    This shows the rig I currently use - but in an earlier 'state' ... no side bars, which serve a couple of functions.
    The water underneath the outboard part of the rig is about 1ft deep, at this location iirc.
    I have pics taken from this location (or a few yards away, but I'd have to dig)
    Whilst the bank is relatively flat, you should be able to get some idea of the issues associated with using 2 rigs - if I want pics from both to be at water level.
    Cam is pointing in a particularly good direction (for me) since birds often fly round the blind corner at top right and land towards me or herons (when nesting) fly towards me, over my head then off to right of pic where nests are.
    As such, being right handed, the logistics of where I'd put the 2nd rig (safely and conveniently) so that they could be swapped and aligned etc in a second or two.

    Rig as used yesterday
    Very shallow water /extremely slow bank / shoreline gradient
    Rig is basically built around an outer frame (black tube) of 1in dia tube, with assorted other bits and pieces - all either obtained from skips (dumpsters?) or a scrapyard that sells Alu section ... altho the 2 bits of shiney square section Alu tube have been removed from a discarded baby buggy I found somewhere (have come across these with just a single bolt or rivet missing, but still been discarded)
    A 12in dia pizza dish (£1 shop) is bolted to the cross bars (discarded metal office table).and the guts of the rig ... a 9in dia 'Lazy Susan' bearing (US made :) ) - £6 is next, plastic plate to support the beanbag (£1shop again)
    So, as you can see, no expense has been spared in this endeavour ...

    The 3rd point of contact (unfortunately out of pic, but under the lens hood) with terra firma is at the outboard end of the rig, attached to the 1in black tube via a very sexy 'Opto Triclamp'
    These are a very elegant (imo) Swedish design for the shop fitting / retail display market - two identical die cast Alu 'halves' held together by a single 8mm cap head bolt. They're designed to hold 3 tubes at 90 deg to each other along XYZ axes.

    This allows me to not only alter the angle of this third leg, but also remove it completely (in the field) and attach another leg of different length / shape to cope with different settings / locations.

    The two bits of white (plastic) are part of the rain cover frame - bendy plastic hoops go over the whole cam / lens to support the cover (seat/ back from a discarded folding director's chair... actually found at the venue ... and being green, just the right colour ... )
    Covers the whole rig, and just have to 'peel' back a bit to uncover eyepiece of angle finder when actually shooting in rain / snow etc.

    Crop from a pic I took yesterday, looking in similar direction to the rig pic above.
    Nowt particularly special about this - too far away really for a decent frame filler, but nice soft light (v light drizzle at the time) - but gives an idea of what am after.
    Interaction with water is just great imo, and beats plain blue sky with BIFs any day of the week ... but I'm biased.

    There are all manner of issues associated with getting in the water imo - and some are related to getting down to the right level, not just health / safety.
    The easiest / most convenient - imo - is in fairly shallow water, so one can kneel ( as I do on the bank) wear suitable waders, use an angle finder.

    If viewing direct thro the viewfinder, then, to keep mouth / nose clear of water the rig's not going to be as low as ideal (unless use some sort of breathing gear ... and if being done in a standing position - very dodgy (imo)

    If of a depth where need to use chest waders, with gear on tripod, using angle finder, its possible for water to splash over top of waders ... or maybe one I used weren't partic good.
    Then you start getting into realms of dry / wet? suits etc ... which aren't really a practical proposition for me at a public venue ... someone'd start selling tickets to 'come and watch this silly tosser posing as a wildlife snapper ... just to get some pics of the ducks.
    Said people would then stand and show me how to do it, using their phone or tablet ... as they've done in the past.

    Hope this provides a bit more info, but if any Qs, just holler.

    pp

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,473Registered Users Major grins

    @kdog said:
    Paul, do you get in the water for your shots?

    I occasionally google terms relevant to my 'niche' interest :) to check for new ideas etc ... and came across this site.
    In view of your question, I couldn't help but smile when I saw the last 3 pics on the tour gallery section - although the examples shown had already given the game away.

    wildsidenaturetours.com/workshops/winter-waterfowl/

    pp

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