Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

My first telephoto - quick sense check before I splash the cash!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 09:45   #1
paulandbecs
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oxford
Posts: 5
My first telephoto - quick sense check before I splash the cash!

Hi all

Have been researching options for my first telephoto lens. I have a D90 with the standard 18-105mm lens. Also have a Panasonic FZ50 with a 1.7 tc that I have previously used for wildlife photography with some good results (see eg http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauland...7604361984351/).

Will be shooting in Namibia this April, then back in the UK in the usual mixed conditions we have. "Static" birds mainly (as opposed to in flight) but also wildlife in general (especially in Namibia!). Use a Manfrotto 190xb tripod with their 222 joystick head. Unlikely to be doing handheld, but have done handheld with the FZ50/1.7tc with acceptable results.

So, I've distilled the "sensible" options to:

Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VRII + Nikkor AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III
1400 + 450

Nikon 300mm f/4.0D ED-IF AF-S + Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x AF-S TC
750 + 300

Sigma 150-500mm
750

Tamron 200-500mm
800

I feel that the Nikons are just too expensive for me at the moment, so I'm pretty sure that I'll be getting the Sigma. The F4/300mm + 1.4tc might just be possible in terms of budget.

The reviews/comments on here and elsewhere aren't ecstatic when compared to the Nikons but it seems like it does an OK job for the price, and would be a sensible first telephoto. Namibia is going to be bright, so I don't need a desperately fast lens.

Would be good if someone can provide some reassurance that this is a sensible decision before I purchase!

Cheers
Paul.

PS have read about the QC issues with the Sigmas, so am thinking of purchasing new so I have warranty, rather than risking 2nd hand.
paulandbecs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 11:52   #2
CactusD
ἀρχός οἰωνῶν
 
CactusD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Ideally, half way up a mountain in Greece. Otherwise, Banbury
Posts: 1,207
I've seen this kind of question posted elsewhere, and it seems that flexibility is key for safari shooting, so you'd probably want a zoom (if you were with Canon this would be easy: 100-400, if affordable). The Sigma and Tamron lenses can produce some good results in good light (best below 400mm).
__________________
My Bird Photo Life-list
My Macro Favourites
My Nature Photography Blog
Latest bird lifer: 332 (Dalmatian Pelican)
CactusD is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 12:28   #3
Duke Leto
Without habitat, there is no wildlife. It's that simple.
 
Duke Leto's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Suffolk
Posts: 8,728
Nikon 80-400vr is a worthy contender, it may be getting a little long in the tooth but can be picked up at a reasonable price. Mifsuds have one that would come with a warranty for 800.00, would prefer that to a Sigma or Tamron. I know that a few people on the forum have the Sigma version of the 80-400 with os so again another worth a look at. new from @ 700.00.
I have a Nikon 300/4 and a 1.4 and its a sharp setup but if its flexibility you're after a zoom will be hard to beat and it will save you from changing lenses all the time.

If it was me I would get the Nikon 80-400vr as it may be easier to sell or px in the future.
__________________
have a break have a look at my website http://www.ukwildlife.me.uk
Steve
Duke Leto is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 14:15   #4
Keith Reeder
Watch the birdie...
 
Keith Reeder's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Blyth, Northumberland, NE England
Posts: 11,038
I really liked my Sigma 80-400mm OS on my Nikon bodies - just as sharp as the Nikon equivalent, and faster focusing than the Nikon because it has its own AF motor - the Nikon has no in-lens AF motor, and relies on the AF drive from the camera body.

I still have the Sigma as a matter of fact - never got round to selling it.
__________________
Keith Reeder

Canon 7D, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS, TCs.
www.capture-the-moment.co.uk
Keith Reeder is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2006 2007 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 15:45   #5
Dave Williams
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,602
Having owned and sold the Nikon 80-400 VR I very much regretted not having it on a wildlife safari in India as most of the animals were too close for using my 300mm. I would suggest a zoom of this range is perfect.
The 80-400 is very sharp and I found excellent in bright light but slow and noisy to AF in typical British weather. For birds it was nearly always at 400mm. The VR is useful and I am sure you will be hand holding more than you think. You can't set a tripod up in a jeep and even if you could the engine vibration would be intolerable.
I can't speak for the non Nikon lenses but for birds the 70-200 is too short for birds and if you add the 2.0TC you are then looking at an expensive option of 140-400 f5.6 although the lens without the TC would probably be good for early morning and sunset safaris.
Have you considered Grays of Westminster as an option for buying second hand ? That way you get a guarantee too.
You can always resell the lens after your trip too, or consider renting a lens.The latter option always seems very expensive to me and besides, I think you need to spend time practising with it before you go. Good luck in your choice , cheers Dave
Dave Williams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 18:14   #6
gvca1
Registered User
 
gvca1's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Grass Valley, Calif., USA
Posts: 205
I have no experience with the Sigma or Tamron, but between the Nikkors I vote for the Nikkor 300 f/4 + 1.4TCE. I think it's a stellar lens, and you'll not regret it. Flexibility in Namibia for non-bird subjects might tilt the balance more towards the zooms, but I think for birds, the Nikkor is the way to go. You'll find, for birding, you'll have the zooms racked all the way out most of the time, anyway.

There are perennial rumors of the VR version of the 300 f/4 coming along, but that hardly matters for tripod use. If a VR version does show up, it will be significantly more expensive, I'm sure.

Jim
gvca1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 18:55   #7
fugl
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 14,991
Quote:
Originally Posted by gvca1 View Post
I have no experience with the Sigma or Tamron, but between the Nikkors I vote for the Nikkor 300 f/4 + 1.4TCE. I think it's a stellar lens, and you'll not regret it. Flexibility in Namibia for non-bird subjects might tilt the balance more towards the zooms, but I think for birds, the Nikkor is the way to go. You'll find, for birding, you'll have the zooms racked all the way out most of the time, anyway.

There are perennial rumors of the VR version of the 300 f/4 coming along, but that hardly matters for tripod use. If a VR version does show up, it will be significantly more expensive, I'm sure.
I agree. If it were me, I'd go for the Nikon 300mm f4 before any zoom. In my experience it's an excellent hand-held lens and optically first-rate, even wide open.
fugl is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 21:26   #8
paulandbecs
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oxford
Posts: 5
Many thanks for all the useful replies.

I'm now erring towards the 80-400 VR, mainly because of the flexibility. Slow AF not a major worry as I tend to manual focus anyway where possible. I've just emailed Grays so thanks for the tip there - I'd not heard of them and visit London with work fairly regularly.

Btw, with the vehicles we have the tripod can poke out of the roof, and we're driving ourselves (!) so easy enough to kill the engine. We did this in Kenya and it worked a treat - animals (even birds) tend to ignore the vehicles so you're up close and with a tripod.

Cheers
Paul.
paulandbecs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 22:13   #9
RJM
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
 
RJM's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 2,455
I had the Sigma 150-500 on the D90 and found it to be a nice lens with excellent contrast. In your case, I would look at the new Sigma 50-500 OS HSM. I would not bother with the older Nikon 80-400. Unlike the pro bodies, the motor drive in the D90 cannot focus this lens fast enough.
RJM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th May 2011, 20:57   #10
paulandbecs
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oxford
Posts: 5
Hi all

Thanks again for all the replies.

Ended up getting the Sigma 50-500 os, and we've really enjoyed using it.

Here's a link to bird photos we took using it in Namibia, most using it handheld
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauland...amibiabirding/

although it was also great for flowers, insects, and even a few scenery shots at 50mm (have a look at the general Namibia set if interested) - although switched to the 18-105mm for most of those.

Cheers
Paul.

Last edited by paulandbecs : Wednesday 4th May 2011 at 21:10.
paulandbecs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A splash at the Gravel Pit! cheersm8 Birds & Birding 10 Thursday 8th April 2010 19:59
A quick check on Pintail eclipse plumage colonelboris Bird Identification Q&A 0 Monday 5th January 2009 20:00
Quick check needed Duck_Pond Butterflies and Moths ID 4 Saturday 1st December 2007 09:23
A Sense of Smell PeterK Birds & Birding 15 Tuesday 21st February 2006 08:15

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.18680096 seconds with 22 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 13:34.