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Old Nov 4, 2007, 12:06 AM   #1
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Help Please (65th birthday present) for me from me

I decided I was going to buy myself a 65th birthday present and it will be a new camera and two lenses.

Right now I am using a Pentax K10D and a BIGMA (50 - 500) & a Sigma 10 - 20 lens. This set up works well in good light but I am not happy with the results in low light and I think I can do better with my BIF's with a different system.

I shoot free ranging wildlife 95% of the time. I need a set up that will do well in low light since that is when most of the opportunities are for elk, deer, bear and etc. I also like to shoot Birds in flight. Since the places I go are not friendly for tripods or even monopods I use a BushHawk so I need anti shake lenses.

I think that the choice is between the Nikon D3, Nikon D300 or the Canon Mark 111

I am going to get a 500 or 600 mm lens and also a wide angle lens for landscapes and interior photos. I have no idea which ones would be the best choices.

I am not going to make my decision on what anything costs. Remember you only get one 65th birthday and it is a important birthday cuz even the government now says you are old.

I am out in the woods with my camera at least 300 days a year so the wildlife set up will be used a lot and when you are dealing with wildlife you need to have a opportunity to get some keepers at low light conditions and then be able to move quickly for additional opportunities but still in the shade.

Any help with suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I am also posting this in the Nature and wildlife forum at Fred Miranda since that is what I am going to be using the set up for. I am probably going to make my decision based on what input I get.

thanks again

Officially OLD roger
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 12:42 AM   #2
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I think the key to low light photography is a lens with a fast f-stop...something like a 2.8 with a long telephoto. You may have to go to an expensive prime, not zoom to get an f stop like this.

Low light photography (dusk, early dawn) has always been difficult for me and I don't have any answers, just some ponderings, which follow.

I'm not an expert but I don't know if the Canon or the Nikon you mention would have much advantage over the K10D, except for the fact that there are more lenses available for a Nikon or Canon lens mount.

I think Canon may have more lens availability as I understand that they dominate the photo journalist and sports photographer fields at this time.


Your current setup, K10D , Bushmaster and Bigma seems to produce unbeatable, top notch pictures, albeit in good light. I've always been very impressed with your work...

I know you sell them professionally...will there be a big demand for low light wildlife pictures? Will you be able to freeze action and have the same, excellent clarity and detail, in low light , as well as you do now, during good light?

I guess I'm wondering...is it possible to get what you want with today's admittedly good technology ?

Can you improve on what you already have ? Remember that your K10D is weather sealed which is an advantage in the outdoors and has shake reduction which gives you some f stops to help with the clarity.

I'm sure that some knowledgeable pros will be able to steer you in the right direction.

BTW...Happy 65 th !




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Old Nov 4, 2007, 12:58 AM   #3
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Roger, for what you do Canon has better lenses available (although pricey), so that is my suggestion.

Tom
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 7:33 AM   #4
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Roger, have you tried handholding one of the 500 or 600mm lenses? I had the opportunity several years ago to try a Canon 600mm. The tripod I had at the time was not sturdy enough for the 600, so I tried hand holding it. I did get some decent shots, but it's hard to hold and wait for just the right moment. I don't know if it would be much better mounted on a bushhawk, but I know I'd not want to haul that weight around 300 days a year and also have to hold it in place for a minute or more waiting for the proper moment. I know you have your system down pat and get very good results, but my suggestion would be a monopod at the very least.
Ron

PS: I vote for Canon "L" lenses....
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 8:01 AM   #5
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Heres my take on it. Now Im only going on what i would get if money was not a problem (Im pretty much stuck with 30D and the 400 5.6 prime for wildlife at the moment)



anyway Id get the Canon mark 111 for sure and a canon EF 400 F2.8 IS lens along with the 500 or 600 F4 IS as well.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 8:03 AM   #6
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Since cost is no object........

Canon 1D MIII + 500mm F.4 IS

Nikon D3 + Nikkor 200-400 mm F.4 with VR

A combination I have been thinking about is the new Olympus E-3 with 2X crop and stabilization in the body. Coupled with one of these lens....

Zukio 300mm F2.8 or Zukio 90-250mm F2.8 That gives you 600mm or 180-500mm-- with the 2X crop factor --with IS and a fast lens for lower light. Either lens is pricey but so are Canon and Nikon. Just a thought.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 8:51 AM   #7
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Hi Roger just to throw my 2 cents worth in, with the vast inroads into noise reduction at higher ISO ratings (Nikon D3 is suppose to be the dogs dangles), a fast vr 300/400 2.8 + converter will keep size and weight down,(relatively speaking),but still give you the reach required. Kind regards Graham.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 10:06 AM   #8
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Hi Roger

I'm like some of the others. If money's no object, the Canon Mark 1d mark III for a body, and I might opt for the 300mm f/2.8 with a 1.4X and 2X extenders (Canon latest models). And for the long end, I'd get the 500 f/4 IS, or wait for the new 800 f/5.6 coming out. Thanks for the few moments of dreaming.....cheers....Don
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 11:02 AM   #9
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surfnron wrote:
Quote:
Roger, have you tried handholding one of the 500 or 600mm lenses? I had the opportunity several years ago to try a Canon 600mm. The tripod I had at the time was not sturdy enough for the 600, so I tried hand holding it. I did get some decent shots, but it's hard to hold and wait for just the right moment. I don't know if it would be much better mounted on a bushhawk, but I know I'd not want to haul that weight around 300 days a year and also have to hold it in place for a minute or more waiting for the proper moment. I know you have your system down pat and get very good results, but my suggestion would be a monopod at the very least.
Ron

PS: I vote for Canon "L" lenses....



**********

I agree. In order to get sharp picture with these heavyweights you got to be able to stabilize them.
I rented a Pentax 6 X 7 years ago. It was heavy. I put it on my small tripod and promptly broke the head. I bought a Leitz Tiltall...which was a HD tripod and used that. Pictures were crystall clear ans the tripod, especially in low light...kept the camera secure and solid without my body starting to shake after holding heavy equipment for awhile.

Roger, what I would do is rent some of that expensive equipment before you buy and take pictures in the low light situations. See if it's better, before you plunk down big bucks.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 11:59 AM   #10
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Roger,

You only go around once in life so why skimp?

Camera: Nikon D300.

Lens #1: Nkon AF-S 600MM 4.0 VR ED (mind you, it weighs 11 lbs but hasVR feature)

Lens # 2: Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF IF-ED

I shoot with Nikon equipment. Canon is also worthy of your talents.

Good luck choosing and Happy 65th Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dan



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