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Bird photography with a broken arm. (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi everyone. I know I'm mad but I would like to find a good solution to my current condition. I broke my arm 5 weeks ago and apart from misery and agony I am trying to recover from boredom. I have been going for walks the last couple of weeks but most of my camera gear is too heavy with one arm. Last year I asked for advice at this forum and was happy to get the Nikkor 200-500, but now it is impossible to use it and I think it will be a challenge in the future. My arm is pretty bad and it may take a long time to recover. I also have the Nikkor AF-S 80-400 VR, the Non-AF-S 80-400, the Nikkor AF-S 300 f4 non-VR and I have been using my Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm G VR. The latter seems most usable on the D800 with one hand although it is not easy and results are not as nice as with the bigger lenses. My question is, what do you think about getting the 300 f4 PF? I went into a store and picked up the display model and was excited by the light weight but I don't know if it would really be that different to what I have. 2 grand is a lot. I have the teleconverter 1.4ii, (not the iii) but I'm not sure whether it'd be worth using with the PF. I guess I need to be patient but I have plates in my arm for another six months. I have rehab once a week but I'm not to pick up heavy weights. However, I know when I'm down birding is the best remedy. I look forward to your thoughts. My Nikon bodies are D800, D7100, D300. I like the bigger bodies to grip with one hand. I was gonna get the D500 but I'd still be struggling with heavy lenses.
Couple of years ago, I got tennis elbow and my D3s 300f2.8 couldn't be used for a few weeks. It kind of cleared up but I still get a lot of pain at times. Also have arthritis which doesn't help. This year Ive been using a Panasonic GX8 and 100-400 zoom a lot, much much lighter compared to my Nikon gear and the results are pretty good. Handles pretty well too, with a nice grip. Just need to stock up on batteries.

Could be be worth having a look at the m/43 system, the current Panasonic and Olympus bodies are very good, or perhaps one of the longer zooming bridge cameras-I know a couple of guys who have switched from dslrs to things like the P900 and the Rx10 recently.
Hey sorry to hear about your arm! I shoot with a Nikon Coolpix P600! its very lightweight with good grip, also its a fixed lens with amazing zoom. the camera is very affordable! Check out The Bird Bros on youtube and check out the quality it shoots in, or just click the link below! if you have instagram mine is @johnradamss and all the pics were shot with that aswell


happy birding!
Thank you. I realise there is so much to choose from now. I also like the look of the Olympus 300 f4 in the review section. I got the V1 with FT1 when they first came out and tried it with the 70-300 G but didn't like the display blackout when shooting a series of shots and also found the focussing more difficult than DSLRs. I guess that is 5 years ago now so think things might be better now.
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Maybe heresy for real photographers, but while waiting for your arm to recover,
would not a superzoom such as the Nikon P900 or the Panasonic FZ82 be a viable option?
They have great reach, are relatively lightweight, offer RAW and are comparatively cheap.
Thank you. I agree with your advice. A superzoom may be the handiest option. I will study about them. Thanks for everyone's advice. Some good ideas here. I'm glad I asked.
Try the Nikon 1 system. 300mm lens becomes 800mm and the focus is snappy - much more so than m43 systems. Super lightweight.

Sorry but would disagree with that statement, it may be more snappy than some m4/3 but m4/3 covers such a wide band of ability with different camera bodies.

I have just moved from m4/3 nothing to do with its ability, the G80 and 100-400 will give a lot of DSLRs a run for their money.

I still have the Nikon V2 and use it with the FT-1 and Sigma 100-400 its ok on static shots as the Pigeon picture below shows.

The Coot and the Swallow images shows what a G80 and 100-400 can do.

My biggest problem with the Nikon V2 is outdated sensor technology the DR is just not up to it most of the time.


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Thank you for your advice, Nikonmike. I really like the swallow picture. It is truly special. There seems to be a choice of systems. I listened to everyone's advice and went to a camera shop. I had a good look at bridge cameras. They have really improved recently. I was amazed by the big zooms on some of them but thought I'd have to carry a tripod if I wanted the best results. I really liked a Lumix TZ-300. Only zooms to 600mm but has a constant 2.8 Leica lens. It seemed very responsive too. The larger zooms seemed a bit slower at zooming and focussing and I was having trouble getting them focussed and steady with one hand. They all seem the best ergonomically for what I currently need. Thanks for helping me think out of the box everyone.
I have a 300mmPF and a D7200, and a partner who broke her shoulder skiing earlier this year. Her arm was only in a sling for a short period, but rehabilitation has been slower in terms of being able to lift any weight.
She has coped fine with her Panasonic FZ200 superzoom, but struggled a bit with her M4/3 setup - a G80 and 100-300 mkII lens- even though it is lightweight, it does require two -handed use. And although lightweight in a relative sense, there is no way she could use the DSLR setup with one hand - I would struggle myself to hold it steady one-handed.
So I guess I would say even a M4/3 system may be a big ask, although there are many other reasons to commend the 300mm F4 PF as part of a lightweight but high quality system (with your D7100) you'll be able to use before you are comfortable with the heavy zoom lenses - and will, I suggest, still want to keep thereafter.
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Thank you, kb57. I like the look of the superzooms, but I agree I may get more long-term use with the 300PF. Sorry, I took so long to respond. I appreciate you advice. Still thinking.
Have you considered using a monopod to help to bear the load when shooting?

Not as flexible as handheld but a lot more flexible than shooting from a tripod.

I use a Gimbal on mine for years that allows for a lot of responsive panning and tilting ...
Thanks for the idea, but I imagine I'd have to hold the monopod with one hand. I think the less to hold and the less weight, the better. I tried going out with my D800 and 80-400afs but I worried carrying the lens unsupported. I could nurse them on a seat-bench and take shots with the end of the lens hood resting on my splint but it was very awkward and difficult to pan. I think walking around with a monopod would be extra weight, but thanks for the idea.
Thanks for the help everyone. I ended up getting the Nikon 300 PF and find it great on the D800 with 1.4ii. Thank you for your ideas.
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