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Author Topic: Nature Photography equip help  (Read 15415 times)

htony

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Nature Photography equip help
« on: November 20, 2007, 02:48:40 pm »

New poster here,

I really enjoy Landscape/wildlife photography and would like to devote some time to improving as an amateur.

My current setup is as follows:

Nikon D50
Nikon F100 (35mm)
Quantray 80-200mm 3.5 lens
Sigma EX 24-70mm 2.8 lens

I am looking into purchasing lens that work for macro work, and zoom work (mainly birds)


Do you guys like the Sigma EX series of lens?

I would really like a 80-200mm 2.8f but that is out of my price range right now?

Whats a good buy on an all around tripod that you could hike with?

any thoughts would be appreciated
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brianrpatterson

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Nature Photography equip help
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2007, 06:00:34 pm »

htony-
Without some money it's hard to get great results in any photography - especially nature work. A good/great tele is a must for wildlife - consider Nikkor AI primes as an economical alternative that will not subject you to disappointment over image quality. With a 1.5X conversion, 300's become 450's, 400's become 600's, etc. Nikkor AI's are faster and offer better wide open shooting than nearly any zoom other than the ones you and I can't readily afford.

Weird, unique opportunites alsp show up on eBay - like this one:

Nikkor 300/4.5 ED IF Telephoto

I shoot as much as possible with primes unless the action prevents them from being practica -  until I can afford a four-digit 2.8 zoom too.

Brian
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htony

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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2007, 08:56:49 pm »

Brian,

thanks for the reply,

Can you overcome not having a 2.8 or larger f-stop by using a tripod and longer exposure time?  Or will images still lack saturation?
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brianrpatterson

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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2007, 10:10:15 pm »

Fast maximum aperture lenses do more than just provide a bright viewfinder - they also provides a faster shutter speed at the lowest allowable ISO. Each smaller maximum f-stop must be compensated for with a slower shutter speed setting.

Do the math - even in bright sun, to shoot at 1/1000th at 100 ISO requires an f4 aperture setting. And an f2.8 lens would allow 1/2000th of a second. Lens speed matters.

And you don't need a high level of action to need those higher shutter speeds - long teles are a bear to shoot with at much less than 1/1000th - even faster is better to offset camera shake, wind, subject movement.

Which is why we are so sensitive about DSLR bodies that will produce little noise at 200-400 ISO 'cuz we are often forced to shoot at those sensor speeds to come home with any good images at all. That's why some people mortgage their car or home to score a $2-5000 deluxe tele - superb image quality and raw lens speed.

Start saving your pennies...

Brian
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telyt

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Nature Photography equip help
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 10:20:26 pm »

Quote
Can you overcome not having a 2.8 or larger f-stop by using a tripod and longer exposure time?  Or will images still lack saturation?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If wildlife is what you're interested in, consider carefully the drawbacks of a big fast lens before spending the big bucks.

For example:

) weight!  not just the lens, but also the tripod it requires.  Will your wildlife photography be limited to areas near parking lots, or do you want to hike or follow the animals with your camera?

) limited DOF.  I found that the DOF of a 400mm f/2.8 was much too shallow to be useful for small animals or birds, so the value of the f/2.8 maximum aperture was limited at best.

) small animals are frightened of the huge 'eye' of the 400mm f/2.8, much more so than the smaller lenses like 400mm f/5.6 or 560mm f/6.8

) big fast lenses will flare more readily than a slower lens (of comparable design technology).  I've also found that lenses with fewer air/glass interfaces consistently give me richer color saturation than lenses with more air/glass surfaces.  The big fast lenses and the zooms (especially those with VR or IS) have many more air/glass surfaces than a prime lens of more modest aperture.

I sold the 400mm f/2.8.  My 'fast' lens now is a 280mm f/4.  This and the 560mm f/6.8 (typically under $1000 used) are my most-used lenses.  I typically use a shoulder stock & monopod with my long lenses.  See  [a href=\"http://www.wildlightphoto.com]my website[/url] for lots of examples.  Also keep in mind that long lenses are not always the right answer.  Learning better approach technique costs a lot less and can be applied to any camera you have now or might use in the future.

Test your devotion to the craft and willingness to learn approach skills with something less expensive before buying the premium stuff.  An older Novoflex 400mm f/5.6 T-Noflexar will set you back less than $200 and with practice can produce excellent results:



« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 01:14:35 am by telyt »
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cricketer 1

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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 03:24:09 pm »

Quote from: htony,Nov 20 2007, 02:48 PM
New poster here,

I really enjoy Landscape/wildlife photography and would like to devote some time to improving as an amateur.

Weight, size and price are certainly major issues to consider when looking at fast f2.8 lenses for landscapes and wildlife.  Ideally, the faster the better, but F2.8 lenses in the 300 to 400mm range are beyond your stated budget even if purchased used.  Fortunately there are alternatives. As suggested by others see if you can locate a used prime lens such as the Nikon 300mm f4 AF ED lens.  AF is not as fast as the latest Nikkor AF-S primes, but adequate; so you may wish to practice manual focussing for flexibility.  After you have gained experience with lots of practice, purchase the Kenko Pro 300 x1.4 converter (Nikon does not offer a converter for their 300mm AF lenses).  300mm is not long enough for most bird shots.   You will lose 1 stop of light, but it's surprising what you can achieve with patience  , good panning technique and a higher ISO.  

Sigma EX lenses are their best quality offerings and well worth considering.  The Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX, DG, HSM, IF lens is a suitable choice, budget permitting.  They are well made and have HSM fast focussing, IF Internal focussing and decent glass.  

Purchase a sturdy carbon fibre tripod that will allow you to go almost to ground level when required.  Manfrotto and Gitzo are excellent for field work.  A sturdy ball-head or other type of tripod head that will permit rapid and flexible positioning can also be expensive but very necessary. Get one that requires a removable camera plate.  Lastly, Go to a decent camera store and try them out.
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