Newbie - telephoto lens for wildlife

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by devinwagner, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. devinwagner

    devinwagner TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I had a Nikon D60 fo a year and am looking for my first telephoto lens for wildlife photography. I do a lot of hiking and want to get photos mainly of large mammals in the Alberta Rockies. I have a 18mm - 55mm lens and got tiny photos of a grizzly I saw last year.

    Anyone have suggestions on lens? I have a budget that would top a bit over $1000 for a really good lens. Less is always better though. I would be willing to take a second lens for wider angle photos.

    I've been reading about problems with speed, focus and vibration. It would be great if I could pull out a camera and take a few pics of an animal without a tripod. Is that even possible?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Large animal wildlife needs long glass. Long glass is generally not cheap. Wildlife lenses usually start in the 400 mm range. The basic rule of thumb is if you are filling your frame with a bear with anything less than a 400mm lens you are known as DINNER!:lol:

    The only Nikon lens near this and close to what you want to spend would be the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED

    When you start getting bigger, you start getting quite expensive.

    As for zooms, here is a list of Nikkor lenses. Perhaps a Nikon user will reply and advise what in the way of high power zooms are worth the money.
     
  3. D-B-J

    D-B-J Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, you could always get a nikon 80-200 used for about 850 from adorama, and then grab a nikon 2x teleconverter. I'm not sure if the new ones work with it, but i know you could get a nikon tc201 or tc301 for a little over 100 bucks. That would put you at 160-400, and with that cropped sensor, it would be 240-600mm. I am almost 100% sure that the crop is 1.5x. Someone correct me if i am wrong.
     
  4. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    First, I am really, really, truly sorry, but....... :biglaugh:



    Ok, now that is out of the way... Welcome to TPF.

    If you are in any way halfway serious about wildlife photography, it takes some pretty serious cheddar for even a used lens that is going to get you good wildlife shots.
    And for just "pulling pull out a camera and take a few pics of an animal without a tripod"... these aren't lenses that you carry in your jacket pocket. They are big & fairly heavy, so... even at faster shutter speeds, the "shakes" from handholding will usually result in blurry pics. A tripod is usually your best bet for good looking shots. There is always the option of using a monopod, which I use as a walking stick while hiking, and when I put the camera on, I will try to brace it against a tree, stump, rock, or whatever happens to be nearby.
     
  5. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    Yes, you can get decent results with a zoom & TC, but the quality usually goes downhill.... fast. The TC's primarily give their best results when place on high-quality primes. I have used a 1.4TC on an 80-200 f/2.8D & 70-200 f/2.8 with very acceptable results, but a 1.7TC or 2TC was noticeably poorer quality, and that was on top-shelf glass.
     
  6. D-B-J

    D-B-J Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well there ya go, grab the lens and a 1.4, and you should have plenty of length with the crop sensor. But grab a monopod atleast, because it won't be lightweight at all.
     
  7. jbnhl

    jbnhl TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't go as far to say that you wont get good photo's without spending tons of cheddar on a lens, but i agree on using a tripod. It's all going to depend on how well you want your photos to turn out.

    I like the teleconverter idea, D-B-J mentioned as well.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The AF 80-200 mm f/2.8D lens will add just short of 3 pounds to your pack.

    It does not have VR but could be handheld at 200 mm if you're skilled at handholding a camera.

    Once a 1.4x teleconverter is put on the lens handholding will be difficult to pull off but a braced monopod with a good ballhead could work.

    Trouble is a good monopod and ballhead will eat up over half your lens budget.

    Keep saving.
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not to hijack the thread here since I am a Canon user. Does anyone know a reason that Nikon does not offer a wider selection of longer glass in the medium speed range. {f4-f5.6} In Canon glass they make a good compromise on speed vs cost in both their 300 & 400 mm range.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I held back from this at first because I don't know the nikon range of lenses that well -however for what you are after I think you might find that you need to head to the 3rd party groups for your price range and requirements. A 70-200mm or any 200mm capped zoom lens with a 2*TC is not going to be ideal (I know I've tried) and a 1.4TC is not going to give you enough range unless your fieldcraft is very good (which is the other big side to wildlife photography and the much harder to learn).

    You might want to look at one of the sigma superzooms or cheaper telephoto lenses for your starting point. Once you want to hit higher qualities the costs really do ramp up very fast with this sort of stuff.
    The review here: Juza Nature Photography

    measures 3 sigma superzooms against the canon superzoom - the 100-400mm L - and should give you a starting point. There is also a new sigma 50-500mm with OS reviewed here:
    Juza Nature Photography

    however a few are suspecting (hoping) that Juza's copy of the 50-500mm that he got to test might have been suffering from some quality control problems on the OS which is resulting in his less than favourable view of it.
     
  11. chuckinsocal

    chuckinsocal TPF Noob!

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    You might want to consider the Nikon 70-300 VR or VR II. They run about $750.00. I use mine mostly for surfers but also some wild life. Sometimes I have to zoom and crop in post, but it still does a very good job. Not the fastest lens in the world though.

    Some examples are here.

    Chuck Cannova
    www.socalimages.com
     
  12. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Keep your eye open on the used market. I got my Sigma 100-300mm f/4 on e-bay for just over $500. It's a wonderful lens (although it's not as long as I'd like for bird photography -- I'm thinking of buying something longer this year if I can scrape together the $$) and reasonably fast. It's a good length for larger wildlife and larger birds (herons, etc.).
     

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