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#1 Hawk Henries

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:50 AM

I would love to purchase a 500mm zoom someday when I can afford it. Until such time I am thinking about using a teleconverter on my 200mm (sigma).

Any reccomendations??

#2 Joejr14

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:16 PM

Using a tc on a mid length zoom is not going to work well at all. The optics aren't good enough to handle a tc nor is the lens bright enough. Save your money up for a longer zoom.

#3 Joejr14

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:32 AM

I would love to purchase a 500mm zoom someday when I can afford it. Until such time I am thinking about using a teleconverter on my 200mm (sigma).

Any reccomendations??


I posted earlier at work from my phone. I couldn't go into a ton of detail here.

There are some options to get you to 500mm (or there abouts) for relatively cheap (at least as far as optics are concerned).

Tamron 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di- $949 new at Adorama, as cheap at $525 used at Keh.com
Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 OS. $1659 new at Adorama
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 OS. $1069 " "
Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OS. $695 used at Keh.com
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR. $1679

Alternatively, if you're willing to take a risk on some of the slightly older off-brand stuff, there are some fantastic deals out there.

Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6. $325 used at Keh.com
Sigma 170-500mm f.5-6.3. $364 used at Keh.com

So cool thing about Keh.com is that they have a fantastic return policy (I've bought a lot of stuff from them) and you have 2 weeks with any used item. So, you could always get something and then return it if you're not impressed with it.

As far as the top list, the only lens from that list I've used was the 200-500mm Tamron, which I found to be too soft. Jodie uses the lens and will disagree with me on the softness, but I just wasn't overly impressed when I rented it for a week. I had much better luck with my 300mm f/4 with a TC attached. I could have had a soft copy, or it could have been user error. Shrugs.

#4 cabirds

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:43 AM

it's soft wide open, but most super teles are. Tack-sharp at f/7.1. Maybe a micro-adjust was needed?

Make SURE you're looking at the Di/LD and not the first gen if considering it.
--- Jodie in Sacramento

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#5 Hawk Henries

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:20 AM

What does "soft" mean? Not clear crisp??

#6 Joejr14

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:13 AM

What does "soft" mean? Not clear crisp??


Exactly.

#7 Doug Herr

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:42 PM

There are some options to get you to 500mm (or there abouts) for relatively cheap (at least as far as optics are concerned).



If you don't mind manual focus the Leica 560mm f/6.8 is usually under $1000 and it's sharp at full aperture. Can be adapted to just about any camera.


So cool thing about Keh.com is that they have a fantastic return policy (I've bought a lot of stuff from them) and you have 2 weeks with any used item. So, you could always get something and then return it if you're not impressed with it.


Agreed, their return policy is excellent and truly no-hassle. Recommended dealer.

#8 Hawk Henries

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. Doug I typically prefer manual focus ~ seems faster than auto-focus. Here's a question: When using auto focus are other settings adjusted automatically also?
I changed some settings following Joejr14 and cabirds advice in another thread but the pictures looked the same as before the adjustments. Been trying to post something but my time is really short...

Heading to Louisiana soon. Should get some nice birding during the road trip!

Again thanks to all~

#9 Joejr14

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:54 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. Doug I typically prefer manual focus ~ seems faster than auto-focus. Here's a question: When using auto focus are other settings adjusted automatically also?
I changed some settings following Joejr14 and cabirds advice in another thread but the pictures looked the same as before the adjustments. Been trying to post something but my time is really short...

Heading to Louisiana soon. Should get some nice birding during the road trip!

Again thanks to all~


Autofocus now is almost always faster and MUCH more accurate than manual focus. Not saying you can't get spectacular images with a manual focus lens, but your 'keeper' rates are going to be way higher with autofocus.

And no, autofocus has nothing to do with 'auto' settings when it comes to exposure. When I suggested using Aperture priority I failed to mention that the camera will let you select the aperture, and then automatically set other settings based on what it 'sees'. As an example, on your eagle pics if you set the aperture on f/5.6, it would select the shutter speed and ISO automatically. When it comes to tweaking those other settings, you either need to tell the camera NOT to auto adjust the ISO, or you need to delve into Exposure Compensation (EC....that funky button on the top of the camera by the shutter button that has the "+ -" sign on it.

If you have time post some of your recent pics and we can walk you through it.

#10 Doug Herr

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:10 AM

Autofocus now is almost always faster and MUCH more accurate than manual focus. Not saying you can't get spectacular images with a manual focus lens, but your 'keeper' rates are going to be way higher with autofocus.


I don't know about AF keeper rates but when the lens is designed for quick handling the keeper rate is quite good:

Posted Image
280mm lens, keeper rate about 50%

Posted Image
280mm lens + 2x TC, manual focus, keeper rate 100%

Posted Image
560mm lens, keeper rate 100%

Posted Image
280mm lens + 1.4x TC, keeper rate about 50%

As I figure it, if I can't afford to buy the latest and greatest I have a few choices:

buy nothing until I can afford the best. Meanwhile I get no pictures.

buy second-tier, new or used, with second-tier optics and features. Used is a little more risky because of second-tier construction. I can get pictures, might not be optimum but it's much better than no pictures at all.

buy old first-tier equipment, lacking in convenience features. I might miss some photos that the convenience features enable, but the ones I get are made by first-tier optics.


It's good to have these choices.

#11 cabirds

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

>> and ISO automatically

The Nikon selects ISO automagically when set to Ap Priority? Wow - that's just evil. Any way to kill that?

Canon DSLRs treat the camera just like a film camera. Whatever ISO film you put in the body is what you have in the body. If I set it for 400ISO, it's going to stay there no matter what, even in Program mode.

In Ap, it changes Tv for metered neutral exposure (depending upon the metering type). In Tv it changes Ap for metered neutral exposure. That makes a transition from film SLR to digital SLR a whole heck of a lot easier because the camera isn't doing silly unexpected evil things.
--- Jodie in Sacramento

Visit my Photo Gallery of California Birds at: Temporarily Unavailable

#12 Joejr14

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:17 AM

>> and ISO automatically

The Nikon selects ISO automagically when set to Ap Priority? Wow - that's just evil. Any way to kill that?

Canon DSLRs treat the camera just like a film camera. Whatever ISO film you put in the body is what you have in the body. If I set it for 400ISO, it's going to stay there no matter what, even in Program mode.

In Ap, it changes Tv for metered neutral exposure (depending upon the metering type). In Tv it changes Ap for metered neutral exposure. That makes a transition from film SLR to digital SLR a whole heck of a lot easier because the camera isn't doing silly unexpected evil things.


Yes, you can set a particular ISO and the camera wont change that. However, I believe the default is auto ISO. It can be evil at times, but having a set ISO can also be equally evil when you don't have time to change the settings. At least with the auto ISO you have the option of limiting it to a set level.

#13 cabirds

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:15 AM

I don't know if my camera even has an "auto ISO". Not something I'd get near with the proverbial ten foot pole. For me, press the button one in from the shutter release, rotate the wheel below the shutter release. I don't take my eye off the viewfinder.

As you know, it's a delicate balancing act to keep the triangle a triangle. I'd be afraid the camera would do something stupid. I'd rather have 1/100th shutter than 6400 ISO as a general rule. Does the camera agree?
--- Jodie in Sacramento

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#14 Joejr14

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:52 PM

I don't know if my camera even has an "auto ISO". Not something I'd get near with the proverbial ten foot pole. For me, press the button one in from the shutter release, rotate the wheel below the shutter release. I don't take my eye off the viewfinder.


I'm sure your camera has an auto ISO function. Most digital SLR's do. I'd rather deal with auto ISO in some situations instead of pressing a button and rotating a wheel---sometimes you only have a fraction of a second to press that shutter button before that bird is gone. But, I suppose that it depends on the purpose of your outing is.

As you know, it's a delicate balancing act to keep the triangle a triangle. I'd be afraid the camera would do something stupid. I'd rather have 1/100th shutter than 6400 ISO as a general rule. Does the camera agree?


The camera actually disagrees. When shooting 500mm-1000mm I'd much rather have the camera jack up the ISO for the shot rather than drop it down to 1/100th of a second. There chances of keeper shots at 1000mm at that slow of a shutter speed is tiny. But again, it depends on why you're out there. Are you looking to just get some shots of lifers, or are you looking for the perfect shot of a particular species to hang on a wall? The answer to that question probably determines if you're willing to jack up the ISO or drop the shutter speed.

#15 lonestranger

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

The camera actually disagrees. When shooting 500mm-1000mm I'd much rather have the camera jack up the ISO for the shot rather than drop it down to 1/100th of a second.


I quickly moved away from auto ISO when I started using Aperture priority because it would unexpectedly do just the opposite of what I wanted. I found that it would often sacrifice the faster shutter speed in favour of the lower/slower ISO setting. With ISO on auto and me selecting the aperture, the camera can choose to adjust either the ISO or the shutter speed to achieve the right exposure, or a combination of both. My problem with auto ISO is that the camera doesn't always choose a high enough ISO to give me the minimum shutter speed I am after. By selecting both my aperture and my ISO, the camera is left with only one variable to adjust for proper exposure, the shutter speed. ISO 200 seldom gives me a fast enough shutter speed even when the aperture is wide open, sometimes ISO 400 isn't fast enough and I'll find myself upping the ISO to 800 or even 1600 to get the shutter speed I want. The camera has no way of knowing that I don't want a slower shutter speed and with auto ISO, it just might do that to achieve proper exposure. My point is, in aperture priority, there is no control which way the camera will adjust the two remaining variables when it has both ISO and shutter speed to play with. The camera with auto ISO can too easily slow down the shutter speed to achieve the proper exposure, but I remove that possibility by selecting my own ISO and leaving only the shutter speed as the remaining variable.

Recently(July 5/14)added some new photos to my Picasa Web Album.

http://picasaweb.goo...Ai6G4wenXZD7ClQ


#16 Joejr14

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:37 PM

The camera with auto ISO can too easily slow down the shutter speed to achieve the proper exposure, but I remove that possibility by selecting my own ISO and leaving only the shutter speed as the remaining variable.


Which can be great, or not so much. If you're in the woods or a shaded area trying to get pictures of warblers and one happens to jump out into a sunny opening, are you really going to have time to change your ISO down, or are you going to get a shot at ISO 1600 and a shutter speed of something like 1/2000th of a second? While you'll more than likely get a properly exposed image, you're adding in unnecessary noise at ISO 1600.

I'm not saying there's a 'right' answer here, and again, I think it depends if you're after a 'wall hanging shot' or just a capture of a bird you haven't seen before.

I normally leave auto ISO on, limit it to something like ISO 1600 (which my D300 handles fairly well), go manual for shutter speed and f/stop, and then hit EC for changes in lighting off whatever I've based my settings on.

Now obviously, if you've got a fantastic subject you can sit there all day and play with settings (my recent snow bunting pair comes to mind), but how many birds are that cooperative?? :)

#17 JimBob

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

Wow. . . lots of good info. And that's only the half I understand! ;)

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#18 ChickoftheSea

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:04 PM

I've had tremendous success putting a Nikkor 1.7 TC on the wonderful Nikkor 300mm f/4, which is about $1,300 new. In strong light, this combo on my Nikon D7000 has delivered unbelievable results and gets me to 500mm. Good luck!




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