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Old Dec 18, 2010, 1:16 AM   #1
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Default Wildlife and Bird Photography.

Hi.... Need some advice.

To take photographs of birds with pin sharpness I was planning to use my kit lens Canon 55mm-250mm F4.5-5.6 IS + 1.4x teleconverter. Dose a teleconverter work well with 55-250mm lens? Could anyone please advice.
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 3:19 AM   #2
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Most 1.4X and 1.5X teleconverters aren't bad, but anything you add to the light path will decrease image quality. And while the 55-250 isn't bad, it's not great either. Plus, a 1.4X teleconverter adds a stop to the maximum aperture of the lens it's used with. That would make a 55-250mm f/4-5.6 lens into a lens with a maximum aperture of f/5.6-8, and as the maximum aperture approaches f/8, the AF stops working. That might not be good for Wildlife and Bird Photography.

Is your Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X Pro D not doing it for you?
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 9:29 AM   #3
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I am not quite happy with the Tokina 80-400mm. It is quite heavy for hand held shots and secondly I do not get the pin sharp focus that is needed for getting the details of the bird, I think I shold show the lens to a pro to check if something is wrong with the lens... that is why I was looking for an alternative.
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Canon Digital EOS 60D D-SLR
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Canon Lens 18-55mm
Canon Lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS
Canon Lens EF500mm F4L IS USM
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide angle
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 9:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanalwala View Post
I am not quite happy with the Tokina 80-400mm. It is quite heavy for hand held shots and secondly I do not get the pin sharp focus that is needed for getting the details of the bird, I think I shold show the lens to a pro to check if something is wrong with the lens... that is why I was looking for an alternative.
Unless you have the hands of a neurosurgeon, you're not going to get tack-sharp images with any lens without a tripod.
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 2:10 PM   #5
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The rule of thumb for acceptable sharpness (hand held) is to have shutter speed 1/focal length. If you are trying to get very sharp photos, you need to at least double that. Shooting with your Tokina at maximum focal length, you would need 1/800s as your slowest shutter speed for hand-holding. As Gary implies, you really should be using a tripod for this.
A tripod doesn't have to be locked down to take the shots - I often use mine simply as a steady rest, with the friction locks free enough to allow me to track subjects but with the weight of the camera on the tripod. This allows longer exposures without the jitter of hand-holding.

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Old Dec 18, 2010, 2:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Unless you have the hands of a neurosurgeon, you're not going to get tack-sharp images with any lens without a tripod.
Using a tripod to shoot birds is tough, and a fast shutter speed can help as well as a tripod, possibly better.

I think the main problem is that the Tokina 80-400 isn't a very good lens for birding.
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Old Dec 19, 2010, 3:47 PM   #7
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I use my 70-400 for hand held birding often and it give me very satisfactory results. No need to add the 1.4x multiplier.
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Old Dec 21, 2010, 6:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
Using a tripod to shoot birds is tough, and a fast shutter speed can help as well as a tripod, possibly better.

I think the main problem is that the Tokina 80-400 isn't a very good lens for birding.
It is true using a tripod for bird photography is very tough. Anyway I will try. Can I buy a Benro C2570T tripod with Benro B-0 ball head ??....
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Canon Digital EOS 60D D-SLR
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Canon Lens 18-55mm
Canon Lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS
Canon Lens EF500mm F4L IS USM
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide angle
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Old Dec 21, 2010, 7:48 AM   #9
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A gimbal style head offers great stability while still offering the ability to track birds with a camera and lens. There are many good gimbal heads available. The ones made by Jobu Designs are good from a price to performance perspective.

Here is a link to a video that will give you an idea of how the gimbal head functions.
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeMW7alpki0

I have no personal affiliation with Jobu Designs- I just think it's an option you should evaluate. I personally use a Manfrotto 393 gimbal head for shooting birds.
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 9:24 AM   #10
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I use a nice sturdy Gitzo 3140 with a wimberly WH200 full gimbal head. Its far easier than handheld, very stable and the motion is very fluid. I tried the ball head and it falls short for this purpose as did the ball head with a wimberly sidekick. They were both stiff and not very easy to keep track on motion. The full gimbal design is very smooth and very easy. I can position the camera with light pressure and 1 finger. It enables you to shoot one handed if you want.
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