Lenses for wildlife shooting

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  • RaphyRaphy RAPHNOGAL.COM Registered Users Posts: 431 Major grins
    edited October 15, 2008
    Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5.6-6.3 Di LD (IF)
    I'm new to attempting to photograph birds, but if u are on a budge (like me rolleyes1.gif)... you may have "good" results from a Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5.6-6.3 Di LD (IF). It's prett good at f/8, but u do need lots of light for this lens.

    Here is what i was able to get with this lens:

    2894261410_47c77314b7_o.jpg

    2893478753_83294e206e_o.jpg


    2893445721_4399a255c3_o.jpg


    ...this last one is not "that great"

    2940251602_b8b493ba13_o.jpg
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 22,708 Major grins
    edited October 16, 2008
    Excellent results Raphy. thumb.gif The higher priced glass has some advantages but you can get outstanding results with the lower priced glass too. I had to wait a good while before ai could afford the "better" glass and got some good captures with Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma glass.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • RKnechtRKnecht Major grins Registered Users Posts: 366 Major grins
    edited November 2, 2008
    I've been using my 300 2.8 AF-S on my D2x and D3 with the TC14EII and TC20EII with excellent results. IQ with the 2.0 is pretty impressive, even at 100% crops. Here are a few examples:

    D3, 300 2.8, TC20EII:
    407577170_WwvJn-XL

    D2x, 300 2,8, TC20EII:
    238072240_ocJ2w-XL

    100% crop of above shot:
    238072286_kJ7k6-XL.jpg

    Even though the above combo works well, I am still looking for a 500 F4 AF-S or a 600 AF-S.
    A few Nikon bodies and some fast Nikon glass

    www.richknechtphotography.com
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 22,708 Major grins
    edited November 3, 2008
    The 300 2.8 is a marvelous piece of glass. I was considering it and wnet for the 300 f/4 and 500 f/4 instead. With the 500mm I didn't want naotehr piece of heavy glss to tote around.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • RTYRTY RTY Photography Registered Users Posts: 5 Beginner grinner
    edited November 10, 2008
    I loved my Canon 300mm F4. I have since gone to Nikon and am waiting for their 300mm F4 version. Only no IS/VR with Nikon ... Ray.
  • iamprof40iamprof40 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 249 Major grins
    edited November 18, 2008
    As an aircraft photographer (mainly) I must have a long zoom, as long primes can't frame the aircraft correctly.
    The 100-400L works wonderfully well, and has great resolution for a long zoom.
    I would highly recommend it, unless you can live with one focal length. I can't.
    I occasionally put a Canon 1.4x on it, but this is not a good combination in my view.
    One frequently looses the AF, which is a real pain. The TC on a long prime, would, I assume, work much better.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,585 moderator
    edited November 21, 2008
    iamprof40 wrote:
    One frequently looses the AF, which is a real pain. The TC on a long prime, would, I assume, work much better.

    I haven't had any better AF results with the 400 F5.6 prime using the TC than I have with the 100-400 zoom. In fact, the zoom actually works better for me. The AF on the Canon crop body cameras only work at F5.6 or faster. Once you put a TC on a F5.6 lens, you end up with F8 which is outside of the AF range. You can tape up the TC so that it doesn't report and try to fool the AF, but in my experience it's a losing proposition. Plus, the resultant focus hunting seems to beat the heck out of the AF motor. I can't imagine it's good for it.

    Regards,
    -joel
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Registered Users Posts: 10,980 Major grins
    edited January 12, 2009
    Haven't updated in awhile, well I had nothing to add

    But

    Since finally getting my hand on a D300, I think I found my Valhalla (at least for now):ivar

    See I'm an ex hunter/hiker/sniper type.
    I like to go in the wilds and walk, hide, listen, sit and watch and walk some more etc. etc.

    the combo of the D300 (mostly for low noise issues) I can now leave my home
    with the above and :

    1 300 AFS V11 F2.8 + 1 TC 1.7 + Monopod + Think Tank belt bag manily the "BumBag"

    I can walk and hide and stalk and crawl (only if really necessary:D) all day long and
    not feel weighted down

    I started this senario last year with the D2Hs but the D300 sealed the deal.
    Nikons 300 F2.8 is so versatile (read not just for wildlife) and yes light (to me anyway) and to my eye is almost perfect FOV for what I love to shoot.
    On the DX format the 300 = 450
    with TC = 730mm approx.
    No I don't feel undergunned and yes I do miss some shots, So !headscratch.gif

    I of course still need the VR version and I leave this open ended in case technology and of $$$
    changes my plans :D

    In closing ISO2800 mwink.gif
    452383841_M3Wf5-X3.jpg
  • ky1ky1 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited January 28, 2009
    re nikkor 70-300 lens
    Icebear wrote:
    No one seems to like my new lens enough to post their results. I haven't had opportunity to use it for wildlife yet. Bought a Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED with the VRII (supposedly good for a four-stop improvement in hand-holdability).

    So far I've used it for shooting motorcycles on twisties, so it's hard for me to judge its sharpness. I'm still getting used to handling it. If anybody's on here who has the lens, what can I expect?

    I use the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED vr lens and have found it to be ok having just switched to nikon am still learning my way round the camera settings
    458522247_Ygem5-L.jpg]
  • DclickerDclicker Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 2 Beginner grinner
    edited January 28, 2009
    Canon 100-400
    I just registered a beginner grinner and a long time Canon user. My 2 main lens are the 24-105 IS and 100-400 IS. I settled on these two lens to give me a good range of quality glass for traveling without breaking my back. The 100-400 has been a great lens but with certain limitations. I have some amazing pics from travels in the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Australia, etc. that are very sharp, but I have to be sure I also have decent light as it's not as fast as I would like (f4) and I shoot mainly at 100 ISO. As a lens for capturing wildlife and nature, it's fantastic, but at 300-400 FL it's difficult to hold it steady enough to get sharp images of birds in flight and animals on the move, etc.; the best shots are still with a tripod, especially with a TC.

    Dclicker
  • bimmerz_vnbimmerz_vn Banned User Banned Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited March 10, 2009
    But a recommendation for anyone not taking 2 bodies on Safari... get a Zoom if you can; or buy another body for the wide-angle. There were too many instances for me to count where I was too close to the animals and could only get a part of the head, or no horns, or part of the animal but no legs, in the frame. I'd gladly sell/swap the 300mm f/2.8 Sigma prime for a 100-300mm f/2.8 zoom but alas it's not availble for the Pentax mount... -- slight loss in sharpness be damned ... I'm "unsharp @ any speed" as I've read here in someone's sig, anyway <<img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/Laughing.gif" border="0" alt="" >>.
  • dlplumerdlplumer Major grins Registered Users Posts: 8,049 Major grins
    edited March 10, 2009
    Hawkman wrote:
    I use mainly the 500/4L and 400/5.6L. I haven't used the 400/5.6L for a while mainly because I would feel guilt after spending the big bucks on the 500/4L :D I often use the 500 in conjunction with extension tubes to get closeups of small birds or other small subjects. I use a tripod with either whenever possible - a tripod will almost always give superior results.

    The 400/5.6L is a super nice lens for the money and especially shines for flight shots but is not, as some would claim, a "specialty" lens for just flight IMO. I have used it quite often for stills and I believe my hand-held/tripod use of this lens is 80%/20% on stills. It is as sharp or sharper wide open than any other aperature.

    The 500/4L is difficult to hand-hold for flight except for short periods. For longer durations, like when shooting eagles all day, it gets mounted on a gitzo 1325+AS-b1+sidkick - i.e. is gimbal mounted.

    I try to avoid using teleconverters to maintain a high image quality. I'd rather try to get closer to the subject and use extension tubes if necessary.

    Barnswallow fledgling. 500/4L @ f4.5 with 68mm of extension tubes:

    67050837-O-1.jpg

    Adult Barnswallow: 500/4L with 68mm extenstion tubes, f8 1/90s:

    67050892-O-1.jpg

    Black-capped Chickadee 500/4L, extension tubes, f8 1/500s

    67050935-O.jpg

    Snowey Egret, 400/5.6L f6.7 1/3000s

    67067772-O.jpg


    Black-crowned Night Heron, 400/5.6L f5.6, 1/200s

    67067466-O.jpg
    bowdown.gifbowdown.gifbowdown.gif
  • luckydogluckydog Pelican stalker Registered Users Posts: 396 Major grins
    edited April 30, 2009
    I am in a state of confusion over the infamous two lenses (400 5.6 and 300 f/4)

    I want a lens primarily for birding but not soley BIF. I want to be able to shoot little birds in and around trees as well as bigger stuff on tripod. I currently have the Sigma 135-400 and always take most shots at 400mm and never shoot below f/8 due to softness at 400mm.

    Some bird photogs are telling me "go the IS and a 1.4x" while other say "go the 400"

    How much slower is the AF on the 300 with 1.4x compared to the 400?

    Does the 400 handle lower light i.e early morning light, as this is when I do most of my work with waders and water birds.

    I can't see the need to spend an extra $500 (AUS) for a 1.4x to get an extra 20mm at 5.6 compared to the 400 5.6 on its own (unless anything I have mentioned screams "GO THE IS USM!" I have been searching forums for months on these lenses with the usual differing results in images and comments.

    I value the experience here and maybe someone canshed a little more light for me.

    Thanks
    http://darrylluckphotography.smugmug.com

    40D
    18-55mm, 28-105mm USM II, 50mm f/1.8, 400mm f/5.6
  • GOTJGOTJ Walk the wilderness Registered Users Posts: 18 Big grins
    edited May 13, 2009
    Nikon 300mm f2.8 (without VR) + 2X TC
    I use the Nikon 300mm f2.8 (old one without VR) for mammal photography (mostly handheld) and mounted with the 2X teleconvetor, its excellent for bird photography (mostly using whatever available support, rarely use the tripod)

    I have been using this combination for over a year and I m happy with the results.

    You can see my blog http://walkthewilderness.net where I share my experiences in the Indian forests with images.

    Cheers,
    Thomas (http://walkthewilderness.net)
    Thomas
    Walk the wilderness(A blog showcasing our experiences through photographs of wildlife found in India)
  • davevdavev Getting older by the day Registered Users Posts: 3,116 Major grins
    edited July 20, 2009
    I haven't added to this thread in a long while, so I thought I would tonight.

    My nature camera of choice is now a Canon 5DMKII, with a Canon 300 f2,8is lens, with a 2X tc on it.

    These are some huge crops of some eagle shots taken last winter.
    (all shots handheld)

    465855197_vvNuX-XL.jpg

    465467289_uF9Sz-XL.jpg

    468853990_vaJm8-XL.jpg

    468854347_xEF7Y-XL.jpg

    and a couple from the spring/summer.

    547881514_boCKA-XL.jpg

    544706662_PEe7R-XL.jpg

    546337969_sy53i-XL.jpg

    Thanks for looking.
    dave.

    Basking in the shadows of yesterday's triumphs'.
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,168 Major grins
    edited July 20, 2009
    Dave, your images are really really nice. :Dthumb.gif
    They are terribly sharp. The 300 f/2,8 IS is a very good lens but we can't say the same of it's price...:cry

    Apparently, we can also see that the 5D MK II is not a sports camera.
    The time lapse from the first photo to the second is very large, that is if there isn't one in between...

    Thank you for sharing these great images.
    thumb.gif:Dbowdown.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • davevdavev Getting older by the day Registered Users Posts: 3,116 Major grins
    edited July 20, 2009
    Apparently, we can also see that the 5D MK II is not a sports camera.
    The time lapse from the first photo to the second is very large, that is if there isn't one in between...

    thumb.gif:Dbowdown.gif


    Ok, that's just funny.:D
    I took 1100 pictures that day. (eagle shots)
    I'm sure I didn't post 2 that I took in a row.

    For it's sports abilities, how about this.
    These were taken with the 5DMKII, 300 f2.8is, and the 2X tc.
    What do you think now?

    579515447_QFnuN-M.jpg

    579515480_QhRev-M.jpg

    579515454_583F2-M.jpg

    579515469_ZvyYQ-M.jpg

    579515490_q4dER-M.jpg
    dave.

    Basking in the shadows of yesterday's triumphs'.
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,168 Major grins
    edited July 21, 2009
    Amazing, just amazing Dave. thumb.gif
    They are not only nice pictures but I can also see that it is fast indeed.
    Thank you for posting. bowdown.gifthumb.gif:D

    What I appreciate in the images with the 300 with the 2x converter (you were with a 600 mm) is how they look flat, smashed, compressed.:D
    Very nice.
    bowdown.gif:Dthumb.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • Adrian OwerkoAdrian Owerko Pentaxian Registered Users Posts: 6 Beginner grinner
    edited August 15, 2009
    While Reading this thread... Someone asked about the PENTAX DA* 300mm f\4
    2 samples taken with the K10D.. Great lens for wildlife.. Weather sealed.. silent SDM focus..

    3159443216_16913db984_b.jpg



    3139854453_6eced13553_b.jpg
  • largelylivinlargelylivin Blue-Dog Registered Users Posts: 561 Major grins
    edited September 22, 2009
    I just happen to have a couple of those myself. Pentax K20D with DA*300 and Tamron 1.4TC, a really nice lens for birding but a bit short.

    A little Brown Pelican Ballet

    649652652_bui48-L.jpg


    Picnicing Black Skimmers

    657935353_ZeqTX-L-1.jpg
    Brad Newby

    http://blue-dog.smugmug.com
    http://smile-123.smugmug.com
    http://vintage-photos.blogspot.com/

    Canon 7D, 100-400L, Mongoose 3.5, hoping for a 500L real soon.
  • boneywhitefootboneywhitefoot www.lightchasers-nz Registered Users Posts: 23 Big grins
    edited October 22, 2009
    I dont need a big lens ,I get them to come to me:D

    robin-camera.jpg
    God made two great lights; the sun to rule by day and the moon to rule by night. He also made the stars.
    And He set them all in the heavens to give light upon the earth; And God saw that it was good.

    Ive seen the light and it is indeed very good

    http://www.lightchasers-nz.com/
  • ClikkerClikker Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited November 10, 2009
    Tamron 200-500
    A Great Blue Heron @ Lake Lanier Georgia on Nov 6, 2009.
    Shoot with a Nikon D200, f 6.3, 1/2000 sec, ISO 1600
  • RichSwannerRichSwanner Big grins Registered Users Posts: 56 Big grins
    edited November 22, 2009
    "Queenie The Hummingbird" 1DMkII N 400mm f/5.6L+1.4X TC
    This is why I like the 400mm f/5.6L over a 300mm f/4L IS or the 100-400mmL. It is very sharp....YCL_9343_edited-22copy.jpg
    1Ds MkII + 1DMkII N + L's ....I can't Paint ..so I do this
  • danglesdangles Big grins Registered Users Posts: 90 Big grins
    edited December 8, 2009
    1D Mark IIN and 7D with 500mm f/4 or 300mm f/4.
    Duane
    anglesimages.com
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 22,708 Major grins
    edited December 8, 2009
    Hi Y'all,

    The purpose of this thread is for user's to share their experiences with different lenses that they use for wildlife photography.

    Posting pics taken with a lens is cool but let us know how its IQ stacks up against other lenses you have used. How does it AF? How's the construcion of the lens? How does it do when used wide open or do you have to step down the aperture to get decent results? Do you need support or can it be used handheld?
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • keith breazealkeith breazeal Big grins Registered Users Posts: 39 Big grins
    edited March 7, 2010
    Burrowing Owl. Canon 300L f2.8 IS f5 @ 1/1000th 200% crop. Yes, it's a handfull to handhold all day. Still, this lens is awesome for it's fast autofocus and excellent stabilizer. I was shooting an airshow in Sacramento and came across this owl by the flight line. Can you tell it was really happy to watch me slowly approach for the shot?

    BurrowingOwl.jpg
    Gear: Canon Stuff
    The Whole Enchilada: http://www.kbvp.com
    Best Enchiladas: http://keithbreazeal.smugmug.com
  • B-gregsB-gregs Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 8 Beginner grinner
    edited April 14, 2010
    Harryb wrote:
    Nikon VR 70-200mm F/2.8 G-AFS ED-IF
    IMHO the best Nikon zoom around but its reach is extremely limited for wildlife shooting. It does work well with a 1.4 TC giving you 280mm which can work in some situations.

    Hello there, I'm really into my wildlife photography, but I've got a budget. I've got a Nikon D300, a fantastic wide angle lens but for zoom work, a really poor 70-300mm lens which would fetch no more than about £150 on ebay. I'm wandering what's the best zoom lens for me, to accompany my wide-angle lens for wildlife photography?

    I quoted the above as I've heard the 80-200mm are amazing, i wouldn't go for the VR version as they're just too expensive. So would the Nikkor 80-200mm 1:2.8 D AF Zoom Lens f2.8 with a 2x TC be the way to go? and if so, which TC?

    Thanks very much

    Bertie
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Viera, FloridaRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 22,708 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2010
    B-gregs wrote:
    Hello there, I'm really into my wildlife photography, but I've got a budget. I've got a Nikon D300, a fantastic wide angle lens but for zoom work, a really poor 70-300mm lens which would fetch no more than about £150 on ebay. I'm wandering what's the best zoom lens for me, to accompany my wide-angle lens for wildlife photography?

    I quoted the above as I've heard the 80-200mm are amazing, i wouldn't go for the VR version as they're just too expensive. So would the Nikkor 80-200mm 1:2.8 D AF Zoom Lens f2.8 with a 2x TC be the way to go? and if so, which TC?

    Thanks very much

    Bertie

    Welcome to Dgrin Bertie. wave.gif

    The best Nikon zoom (that won't break the bank) for wildlife shooting is the 80-400. Its price would be the same as the 80-200 with a TC. I've used the 70-200 2.8 with TCs but I live in Florida and I can get closer to my subjects here than in most other parts of the world.

    If you're looking for a zoom to be used primarily for wildlife I would consider the 80-400. If you want a mutli-purpose lens then I would consider the 80-200.

    You might also take a gander at the Sigma zooms like the 50-500, 120-400, and the 150-500.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • B-gregsB-gregs Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 8 Beginner grinner
    edited April 15, 2010
    Harryb wrote:
    Welcome to Dgrin Bertie. wave.gif

    The best Nikon zoom (that won't break the bank) for wildlife shooting is the 80-400. Its price would be the same as the 80-200 with a TC. I've used the 70-200 2.8 with TCs but I live in Florida and I can get closer to my subjects here than in most other parts of the world.

    If you're looking for a zoom to be used primarily for wildlife I would consider the 80-400. If you want a mutli-purpose lens then I would consider the 80-200.

    Thanks for the advice, which would i get better pictures with? (80-200 with TC or 80-400)
  • B-gregsB-gregs Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 8 Beginner grinner
    edited April 15, 2010
    and to add to my question above, I'm looking at some nikon 80-200mm f2.8 lenses on ebay. I realise there are 3 versions available on ebay; an old model (pushpull mechanism), at standard model (the one im interested in), and a VR model.
    Two lenses on ebay that fall into the middle model, both claim they are in perfect optical condition, yet there's a £200 price difference. Is this just poor pricing or are they different in models?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140396721280&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1182

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320514456273&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1182

    Cheers

    Bertie
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