Bird photography


blurboiboi

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Jan 8, 2003
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#1
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...
 

Blur Shadow

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Sep 17, 2005
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#2
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.
 

blurboiboi

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Jan 8, 2003
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#3
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??
 

rhino123

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#4
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.
 

Blur Shadow

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Sep 17, 2005
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#5
The use of flash is dependent on situation. A flash extender is definitely required.
 

rhino123

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#7
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).
 

Blur Shadow

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Sep 17, 2005
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#8
rhino123 said:
3) sturdy tripod + ballhead (if using very heavy lens - then you would need a gimbal head)
I won't recommend a ball head.
 

An drew

Senior Member
May 27, 2005
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#9
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.
 

yrh0413

New Member
Oct 21, 2004
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#10
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! ;p
 

rhino123

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#11
So... Nikon V1 + FT1 + TC-14E + 500mm f/4? 2.7 x 1.4 x 500 and you get 1890mm to play with! ;p
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)!
 

An drew

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May 27, 2005
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#12
So... Nikon V1 + FT1 + TC-14E + 500mm f/4? 2.7 x 1.4 x 500 and you get 1890mm to play with! ;p
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.
 

coolthought

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2008
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#13
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/1021448-should-i-get-300-f4-500-f4.html
 

An drew

Senior Member
May 27, 2005
3,920
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#14
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.
 

Jan 2, 2011
122
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16
#15
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.
 

UncleFai

Senior Member
Mar 10, 2010
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#17
Related question: a friend suggested "just use a compact super zoom lah. Light and good reach." anyone tried? How's the IQ?
 

Blur Shadow

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2005
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#18
UncleFai said:
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.
 

rhino123

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Sep 1, 2006
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#19
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).
 

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