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Old Feb 10, 2013, 12:34 PM   #1
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Default Birding lenses for Nikon FF vs. cropped sensor camera

Greetings from southwestern Illinois, where the St. Louis Cardinals rule!
This forum looks like a great resource to help me with a big decision that I'm about to make.
I've recently retired and wish to spend more time with with one of my favorite hobbies. Just sold Nikon D80, 18-200 combination and am considering an upgrade to either the D7000 or the D600. In either case, I also want to invest in better glass this time.
My main photography interests are landscape (travel a lot), family, and a desire to get into nature (primarily birding). And it's the birding side of things that is making this decision most difficult.
It is my understanding that one generally needs at least 600mm for birding. However, I have no desire to carry/invest in the very expensive and heavy lenses that many serious birding photographers have. I think a 80-400 or 70-200 with doubler is likely good enough for me.
So, to my questions....
These lenses reach to 600mm on the cropped-sensor cameras. But, will they work equally well (produce equal or better images) on the full-frame D600, by cropping the image?
Your initial advice is greatly appreciated!

Last edited by Fruckman; Feb 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM. Reason: For more descriptive subject line
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 8:07 AM   #2
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Hey Fruckman

Welcome to Steve's

I'll move this thread down to our Nikon Lenses Forum, where other Nikon shooters may see it and give you some tips.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 9:55 AM   #3
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'Full Frame' bodies like the D600 have a wider angle of view than 'APS-C' bodies like the D7000, if if there weren't some excellent ultrawide angle 'APS-C Only' lenses (Nikon's and Tokina's 'DX', Sigma's 'DC', and Tamron's 'Di-II'), 'Full Frame' bodies would have a distinct advantage for landscape photography. But there are some excellent APS-C only ultrawide angle 'APS-C Only' lenses that are smaller, lighter and elss expensive than equivalent lenses for a 'Full Frame' body.

Also the narrrower angle of view of an APS-C body lends itself well to the bird photography you want to do. Plus, the narrower angle of view means that an APS-C body uses only the center of the image projected by a lens, so the images have less vignetting, distortion, and chromatic aberration. And since you travel a lot and don't want to buy and carry expensive, heavy gear, I'll mention that APS-C bodies are smaller, lighter and less expensive than 'Full Frame' bodies, and lenses on an APS-C body are smaller, lighter and less expensive than equivalent lenses for a 'Full Frame' body.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 6:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fruckman View Post
Greetings from southwestern Illinois, where the St. Louis Cardinals rule!
This forum looks like a great resource to help me with a big decision that I'm about to make.
I've recently retired and wish to spend more time with with one of my favorite hobbies. Just sold Nikon D80, 18-200 combination and am considering an upgrade to either the D7000 or the D600. In either case, I also want to invest in better glass this time.
My main photography interests are landscape (travel a lot), family, and a desire to get into nature (primarily birding). And it's the birding side of things that is making this decision most difficult.
It is my understanding that one generally needs at least 600mm for birding. However, I have no desire to carry/invest in the very expensive and heavy lenses that many serious birding photographers have. I think a 80-400 or 70-200 with doubler is likely good enough for me.
So, to my questions....
These lenses reach to 600mm on the cropped-sensor cameras. But, will they work equally well (produce equal or better images) on the full-frame D600, by cropping the image?
Your initial advice is greatly appreciated!
Hi,

I've been a user of the D7000 for well over a year now and have been considering going full frame. Like so many other forum members here, I too shoot landscapes and birds. So, I'll give you what are the important points for those two specific aspects of photography.
The main argument for going full frame is the better low light performance, when shooting birds, wildlife, etc. as well as the slightly wider angle of view for landscapes.
But as TCav already pointed out, there are valid reasons for going with a cropped sensor. Most notably is the significant increase in focal length when shooting wildlife.

I use the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR AF-S for most of my birds photography.
The cropped sensor of the D7000 turns that lens effectively into a 320mm f2.8 lens. Add a TC-14E converter and it turns into a 420mm F4 lens. I also use a Nikkor 300mm AF-S F4 lens, which when used with the D7000 gives you a focal length 450mm @ F4 aperture wide open. Add the TC14E teleconverter and you
end up with 630mm F5.7 lens. By the way, As far as teleconverters go, my personal experience is that you really don't want to go beyond a TC-1.7E teleconverter. With the 2x TC I find I lose too much image clarity -sharpness.



The second significant point to consider is cost. You can pick up a new D7000 body for around $890.00 (B&H Photo.com). While the D600 I think sells for $1996.00 for the body alone. The difference in bodys will give you about $1000 towards a new or used lens.


As for landscapes, I use the Tokina 11-6mm f2.8 or Tamron 17.50mm f2.8 lens
And, while both of these are great lenses, you really don't need a fast lens for landscapes because you should be shooting using a tripod to get the best results anyways.

The D7000 is actually a great low light High/ISO performer and will be more important to you in wildlife shooting as opposed to landscapes

One other point to consider, Nikon is due to come out with the D7000 replacement soon. Like all new Nikon releases, the replacement should have significant jump in performance features over the D7000.
You may want to hold off making a decision until the newer model is released.

Zig
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