Best Place to Rent Lenses for Wildlife Photography

MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 61 Big grins

Hi, I've been shooting with the Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens on a Nikon D500 for quite some time now, but am considering upgrading. I want an F4 or maybe even an F2.8 if I can get a lens for the right price, but I want to try one out before committing to glass that's so expensive. Does anyone have any insight on my thoughts here? Was it worth compromising focal length for maximum aperture? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Also please jot down some places that I could rent a lens for a good price if you know em'....thanks!

Kyle C. Moon
Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

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  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,695 moderator

    The time of day you intend to use the lens, as well as environmental circumstances like cloud conditions, etc., all factor in to your need for a larger aperture.
    The smaller your subject, the more you may need a longer focal length. Long focal length and a large aperture always means more weight, so tracking in difficult terrain can be brutal.
    Large apertures can be tricky to focus quickly, with little room for focus error.
    Will you use a tripod and gimbal head, or some other configuration requiring lens/body stabilization?

    It would help if you explain in some detail with regard to the above comments. Your intended use will factor greatly into practical recommendations.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 61 Big grins

    @ziggy53 said:
    The time of day you intend to use the lens, as well as environmental circumstances like cloud conditions, etc., all factor in to your need for a larger aperture.
    The smaller your subject, the more you may need a longer focal length. Long focal length and a large aperture always means more weight, so tracking in difficult terrain can be brutal.
    Large apertures can be tricky to focus quickly, with little room for focus error.
    Will you use a tripod and gimbal head, or some other configuration requiring lens/body stabilization?

    It would help if you explain in some detail with regard to the above comments. Your intended use will factor greatly into practical recommendations.

    So I'm looking into getting the larger aperture to be able to shoot in low-light situations. I'd like to maximize my ability to capture more behavioral traits in wildlife which means dusk/dawn. I also want to take in the account that I live in Montana and do a lot of winter wildlife photography where sunlight isn't always available. I was not aware that it is difficult to focus quickly with larger apertures; in fact, I was told it was easier because your camera has more light to work—can you elaborate on this matter? As far as stabilization goes I shoot freehand, but I do have a tripod and gimbal head in the sense that I will be staking out my subject.

    Kyle C. Moon
    Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,695 moderator

    @MoonMan04 said:

    ... I was not aware that it is difficult to focus quickly with larger apertures; in fact, I was told it was easier because your camera has more light to work—can you elaborate on this matter? ...

    To elaborate that comment, autofocus in general "does" improve in acquisition and locking speed with a large aperture. I am most familiar with Canon where the center AF dot is often able to leverage an f2.8 aperture with high-precision AF and using dual cross-type sensor.

    If I understand correctly, the Nikon D500 has a rather excellent 3D-Tracking capability with 99 cross-type AF dots. Still, in low light the AF will be challenged as the AF sensor is CMOS based, just like your capture imager CMOS sensor, so AF acquisition will slow somewhat over good light with high-contrast conditions. Still, you are correct that a large aperture lens, like the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR will give you a boost in acquisition and lock speeds over your current lens in low-light conditions. Just expect that the AF may still be slower than in perfect light. Unfortunately, the DOF is so slim at f2.8 you may still have difficulty with critical focus for BIF, as an example.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,695 moderator

    For rental suggestions, you might start with our Cameras forum. At the top of the forum there is an old thread called, "Where to Buy and Where to Rent, Thread Index".

    It's a pretty dated thread of suggestions but still might offer a good starting point. Frankly, if you are looking to rent a 5-digit valued lens you may have to wait if you decide to only rent from a single site, so you might keep your options open.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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