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Thread: Bird photography

  1. #1

    Default Bird photography

    Hi all, am really keen in taking up bird photography... Can I check what type of gears do I need?
    Am thinking of the following setup not sure is it long enough.
    A cropped body.... D7k/7d with 300mm f2.8 and a 2x tc... Effective reach will be around 900mm...

    An e5 with oly 300 and 2x tc also strikes my mind..

    Do I really need 500mm and above and FF?

    Thanks...

  2. #2

    Default

    Your suggested equipment is a very good start.

    My wildlife photography mentor uses a Canon 1D Mk IV and a Canon 500mm f/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter.

    Equipment aside, you'd also need excellent field craft and knowledge of wildlife.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Blur Shadow View Post
    Your suggested equipment is a very good start.

    My wildlife photography mentor uses a Canon 1D Mk IV and a Canon 500mm f/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter.

    Equipment aside, you'd also need excellent field craft and knowledge of wildlife.
    thanks for the reply!!!... another qn is it a must to use an external flash for birding??

  4. #4
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by blurboiboi View Post
    thanks for the reply!!!... another qn is it a must to use an external flash for birding??
    I am a newbie when it came to birding, so this is my newbie point of view... I use a 300mm f4 lens for birding and so far it is quite alright. What you need is a tripod because for tele-range, it is very difficult to get reduce vibration and any slight movement will give you pretty bad motion blur.

    As for external flashes, I would say, it is a very important item, if you are shooting your subject nearer, but it is really difficult to throw your flash far enough, unless you are using a flash extender which is also pretty difficult to use, and can be pretty harsh on some of your subjects.

    I normally use flash to fill in if my subject is nearer to me and when the sun is behind the subject... and thats it.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  5. #5

    Default

    The use of flash is dependent on situation. A flash extender is definitely required.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bird photography

    ic... wow... guess there are lots of things i need to get... must break the bank liaoz.. heee
    so i believe a cropped body will be better than a FF body then??

  7. #7
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by blurboiboi View Post
    ic... wow... guess there are lots of things i need to get... must break the bank liaoz.. heee
    so i believe a cropped body will be better than a FF body then??
    Not necessary. For crop sensor, you got the crop factor that you would have to multiply to your focal length of the lens.

    What you need for bird photography is,

    1) your camera (obviously)
    2) lens (at least a 300mm and with a x1.4 TC or x2 TC)
    3) sturdy tripod + ballhead (if using very heavy lens - then you would need a gimbal head)
    4) external flash + flash extender (optional but very good to have item).
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123
    3) sturdy tripod + ballhead (if using very heavy lens - then you would need a gimbal head)
    I won't recommend a ball head.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by blurboiboi View Post
    A cropped body.... D7k/7d with 300mm f2.8 and a 2x tc... Effective reach will be around 900mm...

    An e5 with oly 300 and 2x tc also strikes my mind..

    Do I really need 500mm and above and FF?

    Thanks...
    Crop is better as you want more reach so FF should be out.
    4/3 is good for birding but there is undertainty with Olympus regarding its continuation with DSLR since they are focusing on m4/3.
    While I have birded with a 300 2.8 I feel that it is not ideal. Firstly the focal length is too short, and secondly, with it being f2.8 it makes the lens very heavy. You will always be needing a 2x tc which degrade you image quality.
    A 500 f4 is definitely better. 300f4 is also a good choice as it is light.
    For the lack of choice, a 200-400 f4 might be a better choice than 300 f2.8.
    You can also consider Sigma lenses.

    Also you can search the internet for recommendations as this topic has been discussed to death already.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by An drew View Post
    Crop is better as you want more reach so FF should be out.
    4/3 is good for birding but there is undertainty with Olympus regarding its continuation with DSLR since they are focusing on m4/3.
    While I have birded with a 300 2.8 I feel that it is not ideal. Firstly the focal length is too short, and secondly, with it being f2.8 it makes the lens very heavy. You will always be needing a 2x tc which degrade you image quality.
    A 500 f4 is definitely better. 300f4 is also a good choice as it is light.
    For the lack of choice, a 200-400 f4 might be a better choice than 300 f2.8.
    You can also consider Sigma lenses.

    Also you can search the internet for recommendations as this topic has been discussed to death already.
    So... Nikon V1 + FT1 + TC-14E + 500mm f/4? 2.7 x 1.4 x 500 and you get 1890mm to play with!
    Fujifilm X-Pro2 Graphite, X-Pro1
    XF 14/2.8, 18/2, 23/2, 35/1.4, 56/1.2, 60/2.4, 55-200/3.5-4.8

  11. #11
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    So... Nikon V1 + FT1 + TC-14E + 500mm f/4? 2.7 x 1.4 x 500 and you get 1890mm to play with!
    Then Pentax Q would be even more amazing. Get a Pentax Q to K mount adapter, then attach a SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5 to it... and you have a 2810mm (5.62 x 500) range. If you add a 1.4x TC to it... the range will be mind bloggering, 3934mm (can take the pic of aliens on the moon)!
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  12. #12

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    So... Nikon V1 + FT1 + TC-14E + 500mm f/4? 2.7 x 1.4 x 500 and you get 1890mm to play with!
    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123 View Post
    Then Pentax Q would be even more amazing. Get a Pentax Q to K mount adapter, then attach a SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5 to it... and you have a 2810mm (5.62 x 500) range. If you add a 1.4x TC to it... the range will be mind bloggering, 3934mm (can take the pic of aliens on the moon)!
    Don't be so excited yet lah. Digiscoping is actually maximising on having a small sensor and this comes with the cost of having a small sensor, the results just cannot be compared to using a 500/600/800mm on a DSLR. You can easily get 2000mm with digiscoping.

    If you were to use the V1 on the 500 f4, you will merely be using about 13.5% of the FF image captured by the FF lens, so the results will not be excellent. But in bird pics you are likely to crop away the sides, so a crop camera would give you more bang for the MP.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by blurboiboi View Post
    Hi all, am really keen in taking up bird photography... Can I check what type of gears do I need?
    Am thinking of the following setup not sure is it long enough.
    A cropped body.... D7k/7d with 300mm f2.8 and a 2x tc... Effective reach will be around 900mm...

    An e5 with oly 300 and 2x tc also strikes my mind..

    Do I really need 500mm and above and FF?

    Thanks...
    you might want to check out this discussion
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/nikon...f4-500-f4.html
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by An drew View Post
    If you were to use the V1 on the 500 f4, you will merely be using about 13.5% of the FF image captured by the FF lens, so the results will not be excellent.
    Oh, and if you use a 1.4 tc your image utilization drops by half to less than 7%. If 2x tc then again drop by half to 3.5%. So if you pay $10000 for that lens, you are getting $300 - $700 worth of the lens.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by blurboiboi View Post
    Hi all, am really keen in taking up bird photography... Can I check what type of gears do I need?
    Am thinking of the following setup not sure is it long enough.
    A cropped body.... D7k/7d with 300mm f2.8 and a 2x tc... Effective reach will be around 900mm...

    An e5 with oly 300 and 2x tc also strikes my mind..

    Do I really need 500mm and above and FF?

    Thanks...

    Hi There

    Welcome to Bird Photography.

    I am currently using the following setup:

    D7000, 300 vr2 2.8, Nikon 2x III TC, Gitzo 3541ls and Jobu Jr 2 Gimbal.

    At times I do wish for a longer reach but I am currently happy with the current combo as it is good enough for me taking bird photography in the local context. If you can afford the 500/600 and don't mind carrying it around, then I suggest you go with that.

    Although the 300 with 2x will give you 600 f5.6 but the quality of the 500/600 will beat the my combo flat. Hopefully when my photo skills are better and getting used to carry the 300, I might explore for the 600; but it's too early to tell. I think the advantage of having the 300 2.8 is that you can use it for sports/F1. I just owned the 300 a few weeks back so my feedback is rather limited I guess.

    Hope this help.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bird photography

    Sorry typo error

    Jobu Jr 3 Gimbal instead of 2

  17. #17
    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Default

    Related question: a friend suggested "just use a compact super zoom lah. Light and good reach." anyone tried? How's the IQ?

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai
    Related question: a friend suggested "just use a compact super zoom lah. Light and good reach." anyone tried? How's the IQ?
    The focusing is probably not fast enough. And then after that, the shutter response.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  19. #19
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bird photography

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai View Post
    Related question: a friend suggested "just use a compact super zoom lah. Light and good reach." anyone tried? How's the IQ?
    Bird Photography - using a superzoom camera

    It is possible... but a look at the IQ... I don't really think it is good enough... plus many of the birds will be somewhere in darker area, so small sensor might have a bit of problem with noise control as you bump up the ISO of your cam (at least for the subject that are too far away for your flash and even with a flash extender).
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

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