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Discussion in 'Help Team' started by David asher, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. David asher

    David asher New Member

    I have just retired and have a D80 with a 18-135 lens which I've had for years, I want to buy a new or used camera and a couple of lenses mainly for bird photography. I've been told about the Sigma 150-600 but it's to heavy would It be better to go down the route of a lens and converter to make it lighter, my budget is around £3000. Thanks
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Not really. The challenge is to get focal length and wider aperture than F8 for the AF to work which is what the sigma and tamron lenses just do (F6.3 I think). Once you add a converter you lose a stop for x1.4 and some quality so you look more to a prime than to a zoom as the starting point.

    Longer lenses need some technique to hand hold because they are heavier and because the effect of movements are multiplied. If you just try to hold a camera up it'll wobble all over the place. You have to learn to point aand shoot in a smooth action so you minimise the time the camera is held static. A monopod or tripod support can also take the weight. Longer lenses have a foot so that the support point is close to the centre of gravity. A gimbal head also helps. On this the camera+lens is balanced at the centre of gravity and is effectively "weightless" whilst able to be rotated and tilted.

    There are several sigma/tamron lenses not all equal so be careful which you look at if you go that route. I have never used one but the micro 4/3 cameras have a high crop factor so one with a 300 F4 may be lighter and take an extender but how good for birding I don't know.

    I started with a Canon 400 F5.6 (being a Canon user) which many bird photography sites recommended for birds in flight. It has no image stabilisation which makes it relatively light. Paired with a 7D mk ii it would be a good match. It will take a x1.4 converter but the AF takes a big hit.
    If I was buying today I'd look at a 7Dii with 100-400 mkii as the latter is reported to match the prime wide open at 400mm and the new Canon Image Stabilisation is wondrous. How heavy it is I don't know.

    I don't know the Nikon offferings.
    PhotoEcosse likes this.
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The problem with a converter is that they tend to work better with the heavier and faster zoom or with fast primes, neither of which are all that light in weight themselves. Adding a 2x converter onto a consumer 70-300 lens is not a good idea, assuming that the converter even supports the lens, as there can be physical constraints in this respect. You would probably be better with something like that mentioned above.
    PhotoEcosse likes this.
  4. David asher

    David asher New Member

    Thanks Pete & Nimbus for your comments it's seems to me that with the camera aspect you are a Nikon or Canon man, it's hard to move away from Nikon that i'am used to. So I have been looking at the D7200 D750 D300s for cameras and 300f4 vr or 200-500 plus something else not Nikon
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I had forgotten that Nikon had taken Sigma/Tamron on at their own game and brought out the 200-500 at a good price. AP reviewed it (top bar - equipment). When looking at a body to match the AF is probably the most important thing and it is worth checking how the body handles with focus control switched away from the shutter release to either a dedicated AF button or another button. If you are trying to get a shot of a bird in reeds or in a tree is is very annoying if the AF keeps jumping backwards and forwards when you push the shutter so it can be helpful to activate it independently. The benefit of a 300 F4 is that it should be very good quality but overall for birding it is rather short. I use one for the zoo and events when I want a longish lens. I carry a x1.4 teleconverter to go with it if needs must.
  6. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The D300s is afaik no longer current, but has been usurped by the apparently excellent D500, at a price. There are of course used D300s bodies around. Don't overlook the D610, FX camera with similar build to the D7200 at a lower price point that the D750, I use a D610 dome of the time and I am happy with it. A 300mm may be a bit short, especially on an FX camera, but it will perform okay with a 1.4x converter.
  7. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    For what it is worth, I use a Nikon D810 plus a Sigma 150-500 lens and can't fault that combination. There is no reason to suspect that the Sigma lens will be any less brilliant with any other Nikon camera.

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