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D500 and... (1 Viewer)

Andy1979

Well-known member
Hi all,

I will shortly be in a position to spend about £2000 on a new camera set up.
For the last 5/6 years I have been using a bridge camera to just grab record shots, but have been planning to move up to a DSLR whenever the money became available. The only purpose for buying the camera is for birding and so BIF capability is important. I have settled on a Nikon D500 over the Canon 7d Mkii mostly because it has WiFi, otherwise they seem comparable in their abilities and anything better is out of my price range. However, I am really struggling to decide on a lens. I will buy a new camera body but happy with a used lens (so long as it is in excellent/as new condition). The question is which lens?
I can probably only afford either:
Nikkor 200-500mm
Sigma 150-600mm sport
Tamron 150-600mm G2

But which would work best? Any thoughts?
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
Good choice of camera for bird photography. I briefly owned the Nikon 200-500 but the optical quality was not good enough so I paid the extra for the Sigma 150-600 Sport which was excellent. I test all my lenses on delivery because there are always good and bad examples. Maybe I got a bad example of the Nikon, I have seen excellent images from that lens. From what I remember the Sigma was consistently reviewed as being the best of the bunch. It is extremely heavy however. I wouldn’t like to carry it around for long. If you decide on the Sigma get the USB dock, this allows the fine tuning of the lens across the zoom focal length range.
 
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I_A_N

Active member
Germany
Hi Andy,
great choice, I have the D500 with the 200-500mm, my lens is just brilliant, you may need to fine AF the lens, but I can highly recommend it. The VR is top and with 5,6 all through the zoom it is great to hand hold.
 

jafritten

Well-known member
Hi Andy,
The D500 is a fantastic BIF camera. I am an amateur wildlife photographer and went for a D500 about a year ago. I have sold a lot of gear to fund the camera and a 500mm prime lens. And I don't feel the slightest tinge of regret.

There are two thoughts that I'd like to bring to your attention. A lens should have a very fast autofocus drive to keep up with the D500's autofocus module. That is important, if you want to make full use of the camera's abilities. Or if you want to shoot birds approaching you. The other thing that crossed my mind when I read your post is that you are likely to use the long end of the lens in almost every situation. You can never be close enough, no matter if you are shooting a wren or an eagle owl. As I said, I have a D500 crop camera and a 500mm prime lens. That's an equivalent of 750mm in full frame. I have taken thousands of shots (the D500 fires off 10fps) and I have not felt the need to zoom out a single time. Mind you, the largest animals I have photographed with this setup are stags and European bisons...

So, why not consider a 500mm prime rather than a zoom that will be rather soft at the long end anyway? There's a fairly affordable Sigma, the Sigma 500mm 1:4,5 APO EX DG HSM. I used to have one and it was great from f8 on. Wide open, however, sharpness was not acceptable. But mine might have been a bad copy; I've seen great pictures shot at f 5.6 and f6.3.

I have never used the lenses you mentioned, so I can't comment on them. I can recommend Steve Perry's reviews, though. He's done something on the Nikkor (probably in comparison to a prime). It goes without saying that the Nikkor primes are what a D500 user would like best, but they are very pricey.

Let us know about your decision.

Cheers
 

Tony c

Tone
The d500 is a fantastic camera, I also had the 7d2 with 500mm f4 but the d500 blows it away especially for bif which is my favourite style of shooting the Nikon 200-500 is a great lens if you get a good copy. I also use a Nikon 300mm pf plus a 1.4 converter which is light weight sharp and deadly for bif! You won’t go wrong with either of them. 👍
 

I_A_N

Active member
Germany
Hi Fritten,
I am in the middle of saving up for a 500mm prime, may I ask you which prime you use?
Grüße,
Ian
 

jafritten

Well-known member
Hi Fritten,
I am in the middle of saving up for a 500mm prime, may I ask you which prime you use?
Grüße,
Ian
I use a Nikon 500PF - pricey but worth every penny. Lightweight, fast autofocus drive, compact and awesome image quality. True, f 5.6 is not very fast. Then again, for BIF I don't really need a wider aperture. Not even at 1/3200th or 1/4000th of a second. Things are different with mammals, though. I have often wished for another stop more light. But the VR is very good, so if light is poor, you can try and reduce the shutter speed. Doesn't always work but you can always give it a go.

Grüße
 

The BulbMogul

Well-known member
I use a Nikon 500PF - pricey but worth every penny. Lightweight, fast autofocus drive, compact and awesome image quality. True, f 5.6 is not very fast. Then again, for BIF I don't really need a wider aperture. Not even at 1/3200th or 1/4000th of a second. Things are different with mammals, though. I have often wished for another stop more light. But the VR is very good, so if light is poor, you can try and reduce the shutter speed. Doesn't always work but you can always give it a go.

Grüße
I will also 2nd the 500PF as for its price, this lens is a steal.. I also have the 500 F/4 FLED but the PF is so so easy to carry around...
 

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Tony c

Tone
Just to point out that Andy 1979 stated that he had £2,000 to spend! A 500mm PF. new is over £3,000 grey and more U.K., even second hand they come in at around £2,700 ish, plus a D500 new at around £1,000 a good second hand one around £800. Total would be around £3,500 hence why I recommended a 200-500 or a 300 PF above. Tonyc
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
I‘ve tried the TC-1.4 III with the 500PF on my D850, Z6 and Z7 and don’t remember any issues with focusing. I’ve since sold the D850 and the TC-1.4 as I rarely used them because they were not needed.

In my opinion it’s better to have a solid tripod and fast shutter speeds to get a good image rather than hand holding and waving a higher magnification camera and lens and only getting blurry OOF shots. These days I often use ISO 5000 and as fast a shutter speed as the light will allow. In post processing I first run Topaz Denoise which removes the noise almost completely.

As the 500PF is way over Andy’s budget this is all a bit OT.
 

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