New lens, good for taking long-distance photos / wildlife?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by matthew4544, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. matthew4544

    matthew4544 TPF Noob!

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    So i recently bought the Nikon D3400 because i want to get into photography. The 18-55mm kitlens i got seems to be pretty decent, but not at any range.

    I would like some suggestions for a lens under 500AUD, that is good for taking wildlife photography. Also, i have heard that using a full-frame lens won't be very sharp on a cropped sensor, so any suggestions for lenses that suit the cropped sensor on my camera would be much appreciated.


     
  2. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You heard wrong. Full frame lenses can be sharper on crop sensor cameras because the smaller sensor only uses the center of the lens's image circle, and the center portion is typically sharper.

    Depending on the type of "Wildlife" anything from 300mm up. I use a 150mm-500mm lens for birds and wildlife and sometimes wish it were longer. 300mm is sufficient for larger animals at relatively close distances (think in a zoo) but typically not in the wild where they are shy.
     
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  3. matthew4544

    matthew4544 TPF Noob!

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    Ok thank-you for clearing that up. I don't have a lot of money, so do you think a 70-300mm lens would be a good start? And is there any particular lens under 400usd that would work for me?
     
  4. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    Look at used lenses, that will help keep the cost down. Unfortunately, long glass is expensive and most of it retains it's value pretty well.
     
  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes. This is the one to get:

    It must be the VR G version. Lightning fast auto focus. You should be able to find one in Oz, because they're available all over the world. Used Mint condition for only $250. USD.

    Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 8.36.34 AM.png

    Or a new one:


    Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 8.37.37 AM.png

    These are AF-S, so they will auto focus on your camera. Not the longest lens, but quite useful. Would not be the first choice to take on safari, for instance, but for the local zoo, very good.
     
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  6. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper The camera takes the Pic. I just point the way. Supporting Member

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    Best advice I could ever give someone looking to get into wildlife photography is wait and save. I know it's not what you want to hear but it's true. Follow below.

    Option A. Buy a cheaper lens now that isn't quite up to the task, to short and quality just isn't quite there. Sure you can upgrade later but only top glass holds it's value. You'll take a hit on the resale.

    Option B. Wait and save a little more. The difference between a 70-300 and say a Tamron 150-600 G2 is worth the price. In the interim, join a photo club. You may be able to borrow/rent longer lenses when you need to.

    I meet people weekly that ask why they can't get that crisp sharp image. Most of the time they have the skill but they are pushing their lens beyond it's limits. The 70-300 is a decent lens but do know it's limits and try not to expect to shoot small birds at any distance.

    The second piece of advice has been covered but it's buy used if at all possible. It can save you thousands of dollars.
     
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  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You can, to some degree, mitigate the need for a long focal length with field craft skills.
    If you can know in advance where your subject will be you can set up a blind so the wildlife can't see you.

    Used Sigma 150-500mm F/5-6.3 APO DG HSM OS lenses are selling here in the US for $450 to $600 - depending on condition.
     
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  8. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the 70-300 and it is a good lens. My only complaint with it is that the autofocus is somewhat slow. It will work fine for relatively close "Wildlife", depending on your definition of "Wildlife". For normal sized birds you will need to be close, say 3 to 4 meters max.

    The shot of a Cocatoo below was taken with my 70-300 at 116mm and a focus distance of 3.16 meters.
    [​IMG]

    This shot of an Eurasian Lynx was also taken with my 70-300 at 230mm focal length and 5.6 meters focus distance
    [​IMG]

    And this Red Kangaroo was taken at 116mm focal length and 6.5 meters focus distance
    [​IMG]

    Not the greatest photos but I was trying to find something similar to what I guess you would find there. All of these were taken at the Nashville Zoo so I was close to the animals.
     
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Which Nikon 70-300 do you have? I think Nikon makes 4 zoom lenses in that focal length.
     
  10. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Mine is the "G" lens (AFS Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G). I've had it since '09.
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You NEED to define what you mean by "long distance" and "good for taking wildlife photography."
    Specifically how far and what kind of wildlife and what environment.
    • Shooting a small bird at 100 feet can be as difficult as shooting a horse size animal at several hundred yards. The bird is small and moves fast.
    • Is the wildlife fast moving or slow?
    • Whales, from shore, on a boat or zodiac?
    A 70-300 on a D3400 makes for a decently long 450mm FX equivalent.
    AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR | Interchangeable Lens from Nikon
    But depending on what and where you are shooting, you may need longer reach.
     
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  12. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wildlife covers a multitude of sins. I use a 70-300 lens for insects and small reptiles/snakes and a 150-600 lens for birds. My 90 mm macro lens is good for slow insects.
     

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