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Old Nov 9, 2011, 7:29 PM   #11
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I don't have many bird pics from the 300 f4/TC14, but I did come up with this one. This is a 2317x1542 crop from the 4256x2832 frame.






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Old Nov 10, 2011, 6:16 PM   #12
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Ok, let me ask this question.

Would I be able to get better shots with the Sigma 150-500mm than I would with the Nikon 50-300mm that I have now?
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Old Nov 10, 2011, 9:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Ok, let me ask this question.

Would I be able to get better shots with the Sigma 150-500mm than I would with the Nikon 50-300mm that I have now?
Hi Bob,

That's a rather difficult question to answer as there are a lot of variable involved.

Are you wanting to shoot birds in flight, or stationary on a limb?
Are you going to be using a tripod or monopod with a gimbal head?
Are you only expecting to use the camera hand held?
Are you going to shoot in low low? (early morning or evening)?
How close can you get to the subject? (that really means; how hard are you willing to work to get really close to the subject).

On paper, the Sigma should give you better images. But, the 55-300mm, for a budget lens is pretty sharp all the way to the 300mm focal range. The Sigma its quite sharp unit 400mm where it starts to soften up.

The Sigma at 4.5 to 6.3 is not any faster than the 55-300 whose aperture range is 4.5-5.6. So both will have about the same issues with regards to needing light to focus properly.

The one big advantage the Sigma has is that the AF motor is a lot better built and is much faster to focus. The 55-300mm Nikkor is relatively slow to focus since Nikon did not use there AFS motor in that lens.

With flying birds, you'll have an advantage with the Sigma.

But, as far as getting better pictures is concerned, that will depend upon
how you use the lens. That is, at 500mm, you're definitely going to need a tripod-preferably with a gimbal head. The reason for the tripod is that any vibration or shake will show up in the photo as blur.

Now, I know that there will be people who claim they get wonderful shots without the use of a tripod. But, what is is that they are shooting? Are they shooting a human being 40ft away or are they shooting a parakeet flying 40ft away. There is a huge difference in size of the subject.

I use a Manfrotto tripod with the #393 Gimbal head. It works fine.

Regardless of the lens you use, shooting birds is difficult. You will have to get a good understanding of how your D7000 AF system works. Using the proper auto focus points, etc.

In the beginning, don't be surprised if you ratio of keeper shots to shots taken is abysmally small. Like 3 to 5 out of 100. It takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

Here's a link to a review of the Sigma 150-500mm lens by Thom Hogsan:

http://bythom.com/sigma-150-500mm-lens-review.htm

Here are a couple of articles on the subject of shooting birds that may help.

http://www.photomigrations.com/articles/0503100.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/birds.htm

Hope this helps.

Zig
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Old Nov 10, 2011, 10:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Bob,

That's a rather difficult question to answer as there are a lot of variable involved.

Are you wanting to shoot birds in flight, or stationary on a limb?
Are you going to be using a tripod or monopod with a gimbal head?
Are you only expecting to use the camera hand held?
Are you going to shoot in low low? (early morning or evening)?
How close can you get to the subject? (that really means; how hard are you willing to work to get really close to the subject).

On paper, the Sigma should give you better images. But, the 55-300mm, for a budget lens is pretty sharp all the way to the 300mm focal range. The Sigma its quite sharp unit 400mm where it starts to soften up.

The Sigma at 4.5 to 6.3 is not any faster than the 55-300 whose aperture range is 4.5-5.6. So both will have about the same issues with regards to needing light to focus properly.

The one big advantage the Sigma has is that the AF motor is a lot better built and is much faster to focus. The 55-300mm Nikkor is relatively slow to focus since Nikon did not use there AFS motor in that lens.

With flying birds, you'll have an advantage with the Sigma.

But, as far as getting better pictures is concerned, that will depend upon
how you use the lens. That is, at 500mm, you're definitely going to need a tripod-preferably with a gimbal head. The reason for the tripod is that any vibration or shake will show up in the photo as blur.

Now, I know that there will be people who claim they get wonderful shots without the use of a tripod. But, what is is that they are shooting? Are they shooting a human being 40ft away or are they shooting a parakeet flying 40ft away. There is a huge difference in size of the subject.

I use a Manfrotto tripod with the #393 Gimbal head. It works fine.

Regardless of the lens you use, shooting birds is difficult. You will have to get a good understanding of how your D7000 AF system works. Using the proper auto focus points, etc.

In the beginning, don't be surprised if you ratio of keeper shots to shots taken is abysmally small. Like 3 to 5 out of 100. It takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

Here's a link to a review of the Sigma 150-500mm lens by Thom Hogsan:

http://bythom.com/sigma-150-500mm-lens-review.htm

Here are a couple of articles on the subject of shooting birds that may help.

http://www.photomigrations.com/articles/0503100.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/birds.htm

Hope this helps.

Zig
Thanks for the very useful information.

My 55-300mm is an AF-S lense, so I'm assuming it has the AF-S motor. Right?

Also, how would the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II work with the AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III?

That would give me 140-400mm. Right?

And would get me a little closer to the birds by 100mm.

Would that combo give me better results than the Sigma?

And if so, how much?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 11, 2011, 6:21 AM   #15
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Be careful. The wildlife photography can be an expensive pursuit. I speak from personal experience.

As has been said before, most long zooms tend to degrade at the longer focal lengths. I've seen some excellent results from the 50-500 Bigma, but they were shot stopped down from the already dim f6.3 aperture. The lens at that focal length will require alot of light and still subjects, as well as a tripod.

I personally would look for a longer prime in f4 or f5.6 brightness. It astounds me how rare I would like to zoom in when shooting critters. With wildlife, longer is always better, but the longer the more difficult to keep stable for the shot.

As Zig said, getting close is very important. A close shot with a crappy lens is almost always better than a long shot with an expensive one. Finding wildlife that are used to human activity is the easiest. Shooting from blinds is another way.

Teleconverters cut IQ. The bigger the TC, the more it cuts IQ. How much is acceptable is a personal thing. Top shelf lenses shooting 1.7 converters is about as far as I'll go, but thats me. Even then I'd be more inclined to go with a 1.4x.

No easy answers. It is a tough form of photography.
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Old Nov 11, 2011, 6:55 AM   #16
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Greg pretty much hit it on the head. I've used both the 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters and would have to say-from a personal standpoint, images using a 2.0 T-Con just don't cut it. I've not tried a 1.7 T-Con.

If you do start thinking towards the use of a 70-200mm, The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 deserves some serious consideration- because the image quality is very very close to the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 and it is considerably less expensive.
The older non VR version is around $800 new.

Zig
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Old Nov 11, 2011, 6:32 PM   #17
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Well I certainly have a lot to think about, and a whole lot of research to do.

Thank you all for the GREAT information.
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