What combo is better for birds in flight?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by PhotoXopher, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    D90 + Nikon 80-200 f/2.8
    Better lens.

    D300s + Sigma 18-250 f/3.5-6.3
    Better focus system.

    If you had to choose one of these combos to try and capture a pheasant in flight, which would you grab and why?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Glass - always glass!

    In flight I ahve even known some birders to use full manual focusing rather than auto focus - though in those cases they are generally shooting the bird flying side onto the lens - so the reletive change in distances over the flight is quite small - whilst if your trying for the bird flying away/towards you then you ar going to need AF and your going to need very good AF.

    Remember also that AF is not just in the camera but also the lens.
    In the end I would still go for the better glass - itgives you a better image quality to work from, better overall AF speed as well as a better set of working apertures to help keep the shutter speed up.
     
  3. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Overread...

    I currently have the first combo (D90/80-200) but still have the opportunity to exchange the lens for the D300s so I figured I'd ask now.
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can I mix them - d300s with 18-200 Nikon? :thumbup:
     
  5. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    :lol:

    No.

    :D
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I just went on a hunt - even my 400D and a sigma 70-300mm (certainly neither is going to win awards at AF speed) can handle some birds:
    IMG_0123 (2) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    IMG_0074 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    the 70-200mm though is far faster at focusing (very noticably so) and doesn't do a bad job either
    IMG_0148 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Now if only the darn monkey holding the setup can get some better shots ;) Honestly those are not hte best this setup can get - better is certainly possible - so keep at it
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'd go with the 12 gauge side by side double with a high-base load of #5 shot from the modified choke barrel to "capture a pheasant in flight". (I used to hunt pheasants a air bit.)

    Ideally, I would say the better AF system would be the best bet, using the 9-point out of 51 option on the D300, but then I am unfamiliar with how well the Sigma lens actually functions. Pheasants are big, odd-flying birds that tend to rise almost straight up, and only then begin to fly forward significantly.
    And they glide along with wings set for a long,long ways compared to other upland birds like quail or grouse. But the really odd thing is that pheasants prefer to run along the ground, very fast, to escape predators both human and animal.

    Good question though...what is your opinion?
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Either body will do, however your glass isn't long enough. I have a 300mm f/4 and it's not long enough. I can slap on the 1.7TC and get adequate images, but a 400mm lens is where you really want to be at for a minimum.
     
  9. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Great info here...

    For pheasant, the glass seems to be long enough... for other birds I may add a teleconverter. I had a bird take up my whole viewfinder this morning, beautiful... but the focus wouldn't lock on, as a result the shutter wouldn't release. After doing some more reading this afternoon it looks like 3D tracking might not have been my best choice and that Dynamic would have been better, that along with AF-C vs AF-A. Would I want the larger focal points (7) or the smaller focal points (11) with the D90?

    My thought on this is that I need to flip a coin.

    The reality is that I'll have both by next year, I'm just not sure which I'd benefit from the most right now.

    My gut says keep the glass for two reasons:

    1. The D300s will probably come down in price by next year.
    2. It's probably more operator error than camera error at this stage in the game.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Keep the glass - with the exchange rate being what it is glass prices might even go up by this time next year - whilst mass produced camera bodies appear to suffer less from the price rises. You'll kick yourself if you have to pay more next year for the lens you owned this year.

    The AF side someone from NIkon will have to talk about cause it don't make no sense to me in canon land ;)
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I keep mentioning that the D300/D300s AF module (15 cross-type focus points) is better than the D90 module (cross type focus point) particularly for action type focusing jobs.

    I also agree with kundalini that for birding, reach is desireable.
     
  12. Wolverinepwnes

    Wolverinepwnes TPF Noob!

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    I'd go for the D90 and the lens, you can always upgrade the camera, but its the lens that matters!
     

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