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Old May 14, 2011, 5:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
For birds in flight, 300mm is going to be frustratingly short (assuming subject is more advanced than pigeons or seagulls). The lens that jumps to mind is the Bigma (sigma 50-500) but not a good close-focusing lens. Those two requirements (close focusing but take pictures of birds far away) are kind of contradictory.

By the way, you need to understand you can't shoot birds from as far away as you think. I have a 100-400L. For small birds - sparrows and such - about 20 feet away is the max distance - you really want to be about 10 or closer. Something as large as a Heron, maybe 30-40 yards. But if you're going to be doing a lot of birding, I think you're wasting your money buying anything less than 400mm. Bigma might be the best option around that $1000 price point.
This is definitely true. Here are some shots of a sparrow (not sure what kind yet) that has made a nest in a pouch of my bad boy buggy (4x4 golf cart). These are anywhere from 15-25 feet away with a 300mm lens. I would have needed 500mm minimum to get good shots.
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Last edited by jdnan; May 15, 2011 at 5:58 AM.
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Old May 14, 2011, 10:10 PM   #12
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Don't forget that people were using long lenses to capture birds in flight long before AF was dreamt up. With a smallish aperture you'll have a considerable DoF, so you can pre-focus your lens manually and probably get the bird in focus. IS for this sort of application is a bit pointless, and on my 100-400 I'd have it turned off anyway.
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