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Beginners set up?

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Old Friday 13th December 2002, 21:20   #1
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Beginners set up?

I have a minolta af camera with a small lens, and can get hold of a sigma 75-300 lens for under 50. Is this a sensible purchase for a beginners birding lens? I think I would be taking most pictures from the hide at my local reserve.

How badly would the quality suffer if, in the future, i bought a 1.4x or 2x teleconvertor?

Hope you can help an keen amateur,


p.s. the lens pick is below
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Old Friday 13th December 2002, 21:44   #2
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Depends what teleconverter you purchase and how slow the lens is to start with (f#?), go for the 1.4x rather than the tempting probably won't need to use faster film.

Hopefully Sigma's own tc will allow all the features of the lens to work with the camera, check out compatibility..... zooms lenses don't always get on with tc's.
Some of the best bird photographers have used nothing other than 300mm, just need a bit of guile and ingenuity.

Andy B
also, if you're particularly bored, try - mediocre aviation photography
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Old Sunday 15th December 2002, 03:39   #3
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Hi Boznia,

It really depends. With that type of lens you are going to have to devote the time to learn it. A lot of this comes just with experimenting with it. If you have the time, then it is worth it.
If you are going to use it once a month, it may not be worth it.

Second, have you done a search on this lens. dpreview is known as one of the better critiquers of cameras and accessories, so I would try them first (if you haven't). I believe that the webstite is I have read about the sigma, but do not recall if it was good or bad news. If you can, take some test shots of it first before you buy it. If this is an Internet transaction, then go to a camera store which carries the same lens. Camera stores will let you try it in the shop.

Third, you do not mention if you are going to use a tripod with either this lens or the teleconvertor. Your images WILL suffer without the use of a tripod. Mind you, it is possible to get a clean shot off, but the tripod will make it less frustrating. If you are talking about using the lens + a teleconvertor, then a tripod is almost a must.

Finally, I would tend to agree with Andy's advise to go for the 1.4X, but it would depend on how proficient you become between now and then.
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Old Sunday 15th December 2002, 05:29   #4
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I'd agree with what everyone else has said, though if you are wanting the lens primarily for birding, I'd plum for a fixed 300 mm lens rather than go for the zoom. I used to use a 70-300 mm lens with a 2x converter and whilst I got shots, I would never call them top quality. I believe the fixed lenses perform better with teleconverters too, assuming both are of decent quality.

To me 50 may be worth taking a chance with, but really you could do with running a test film with your own camera and the lens before deciding to purchase.

I'm not familiar with that particular lens. What is the aperture range on it, especially at the 300 mm range ? Personally I wouldn't go for anything less than F5,6 as we have such dull conditions in this country so you need to try to maintain best shutters speeds as possible.
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