Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-25-2014, 06:56 PM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Questions for bird and wildlife photographers

I am travelling to Mexico on Friday and will be taking the 645z and am torn on lens choices as I'm used to zooms so it becomes an easy decision. For 3 days I'll be in a spot rich in birds and even though the 645z appears not ideally suited to birds I can't bring myself to carry another set up.

I have a 200, 300 and 400FA as well as the 2x TC. I tried the 2x TC for a couple of poorly lit test shots and was distinctly under awed when coupled with the 400. I figured I should try to find the set up that would be tortured the most so everything else should be better.........I hope. All on a tripod with a cable release but high iso.

I have the little problem of actually carrying all this but was thinking the 300 and 400 and 2xTC but add a camera, a 35 and 80-160 zoom and it starts getting heavy.

Tomorrow I'm thinking of testing some different scenarios such as the 400 without a TC and then just cropping but I hate to lose the pixels. From past experience 600mm for a dslr is ideal so that leaves me needing the 400 x 2 on the 645Z.

What would you bring?

Would you consider cropping as an alternative and leaving the 300 behind?

Would you leave the TC behind?

How big an issue is mirror slap?

On the issue of MLU can somebody explain why sometimes it beeps and sometimes it doesn't when it is locked up.

If I'm looking to steady the camera perfectly with a long lens what is the technique? MLU and then weight the tripod further (shouldn't be an issue, I'll just hook the camera bag over it!!!) and/or hand on the top of the camera?

All this for 3 days but I was there in the summer and took a slew of flamingo photos with an EM-1 and was horrified at the image quality. I won't see them this time but will see many more species.

11-25-2014, 07:41 PM   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
dadipentak's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,473
QuoteOriginally posted by GarethC7 Quote
even though the 645z appears not ideally suited to birds I can't bring myself to carry another set up.
So you're going to schlep monster 645 lenses and still come up short? I don't get it.
11-25-2014, 09:35 PM   #3
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
3 days photographing birds, 6 days for landscapes. I could always bring a 5D Mk2 and 100-400 zoom and a TC for the birds. Hopefully this helps to explain it for you.
11-26-2014, 12:40 AM   #4
672
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: santa monica
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 419
300mm

i found the 300mm a little short even for captive birds.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
11-26-2014, 03:35 AM   #5
New Member




Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 8
Bring the 5D Mk2 and 100-400 zoom and a TC for the birds. I run Photo Safari in Africa, that what I recommend my clients



11-26-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
Junior Member




Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
I tested the FA 150, FA 200 and FA 400 on a 645Z for wildlife photography at a marmots den ( I go on a long trip to the Falklands, therefore I wanted to understand the capabilities). I do not own a 300. But I own lots of Canon gear dedicated for my wildlife work.

The 645 Z worked quite well, in fact better as expected especially with the 150 and 200 all handheld.

The 400 is a bit more tricky, even on a heavy tripod you see differences between 1000/sec, 1500/sec and 2000/sec. Using MLU is no option, it is to slow for wildlife, live view is an option, but the AF is very slow and I think not as accurate.

With a TC you will obviously loose AF. Unless you have very static situations it will, I guess, not work.

My own conclusion for my wildlife trips is not very surprising.

645 Z with FA 150, FA 200 excellent results for animals you can approach, hand held is no problem, just rise the shutter speed (high degree of color fringing wide open, hard to correct as it is also visible in blurred picture areas)
645 Z with FA 400 can give very good results, but with tripod and very fast shuttespeeds. the lens starts to get quite good at 7,1.

(some of the shots can be seen in my blog: NATURBILDPORTAL: Summer and Autumn 2014)

For real dynamic sitatuation and longer reach, I will use my canon gear, you will losse to many pictures with the 645Z
I would never use a TC unless you have really a frozen animal.

I hope this helps

Martin
11-26-2014, 09:27 AM   #7
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
Hi Martin

Great insights thank you very much. Manual focus is not an issue and is actually preferred for me. Do you crop the 400mm to compensate for lack of reach or do you find it adequate. FF equivalent of 320mm may be a bit short based on previous experience and despite the comments of other posters I won't be bringing two systems. If I bring Canon and Pentax then I should have room in my luggage for maybe one clean t shirt for the trip
11-26-2014, 09:56 AM   #8
Junior Member




Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Hi,
sometimes I crop, but if I need more reach I reach for my Canon....

Why do you use MF not AF? Any reasons, I would be interested to understand it.

If the lenses are adjusted to the body, AF is quite reliable and much, much quicker. I use MF for landscape work and to get it right with my FA 200 I need about 5 sec. The animal will have moved....

For the 400 the dof is measured in few mm not cm. I slight movement of the animal (or of you) and it will be not perfectly sharp and you loose the high MP advantage compared to a Canon FF or APSC

If you cannot take both systems, go with the 645 and crop, you may try a TC, but I am not convinced.

In which setting you will do the bird photography? Hides?

Martin

11-26-2014, 11:16 AM   #9
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Washington DC, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 553
Based on your description, is it safe to assume the 200 and 300 are both the A (manual focus only) versions? If not, which 300mm do you have?

Are you bringing the 80-160 with you? If so, consider leaving that behind and concentrating on the differences between the 300 and 400 options.

FA 400mm f/5.6 - 1260 g

FA 300mm f/4 - 1480 g

A* 300mm f/4 - 1360 g (nicely designed, with the lens hood being built in, so less bulky than the above two options).

FA 300mm f/5.6 - 775 g

The older design (just announced a replacement) Canon 100-400 is well known to be rather soft at the long end, so perhaps a comparison of your Canon rig at 400mm against the longer glass on the 645Z is in order. Given that you said manual focusing is preferred, have you considered an adapter for your 645 lenses onto your Canon DSLR? You could, in a pinch, use the long 645 glass with adapter on your Canon for a tighter field of view.

QuoteOriginally posted by GarethC7 Quote
I have a 200, 300 and 400FA as well as the 2x TC.
11-26-2014, 12:28 PM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
Right now I'm leaning towards taking the 400, 80-160 and 35 with me. I have the 400 FA, 300 and 200A. I have yet to set up to take some shots but to reiterate, The Canon won't be coming with me. I can't get a 1.4TC in time to leave it seems so I may well be cropping those 51MP down to about 25-30 if I don't have the reach. I haven't been to this part of Mexico at this time of year so I'm not entirely certain what I'm going to find to shoot.
11-26-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
OK, this is a no brainer. Went out to test the 400 plus 2x TC, camera and lens mounted to the tripod. In short, the 2x TC is my newest paperweight, it introduced a tonne of purple fringing and the added weight meant that I just didn't feel comfortable anything less than 1/500 and still there was a deep breath when I took the shot as I thought it wouldn't turn out. Had to shoot at higher iso's too so noise was introduced.

Then the 400 FA, camera mounted, cropped in post and an infinitely better file.
11-26-2014, 04:24 PM   #12
Senior Member




Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 117
I heard that the 1.4X was better. I think thst 1/500th is too slow, you should probably consider 1/800th or faster, the ISO rsnge of the Z should make it a very reasonable proposition unless it is a very low light situation. I used the FA400 5.6 with my D to shoot the Blue Angels and it did a reasonable job without a TC.

Last edited by robertchow999; 11-26-2014 at 04:31 PM.
11-27-2014, 06:11 AM   #13
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by robertchow999 Quote
I heard that the 1.4X was better. I think thst 1/500th is too slow, you should probably consider 1/800th or faster, the ISO rsnge of the Z should make it a very reasonable proposition unless it is a very low light situation. I used the FA400 5.6 with my D to shoot the Blue Angels and it did a reasonable job without a TC.
It definitely is too slow if I'm going ot shoot birds I think but nothing like a grey day in Toronto to restrict you I wanted to keep the iso as low as possible so as not to introduce noise.
11-27-2014, 06:37 AM   #14
Junior Member




Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
QuoteOriginally posted by GarethC7 Quote
It definitely is too slow if I'm going ot shoot birds I think but nothing like a grey day in Toronto to restrict you I wanted to keep the iso as low as possible so as not to introduce noise.

Hi,
some more results from my tests including some I already noted, I hope it helps in Mexico

shutter speed with FA400 on a big tripod: results get better up 1600/sec sometimes 2000/sec, faster did not have any significant result. That was very surprising, I did not expect to need such fast shutter speeds! I used no MLU and the animals where not moving

tradeoff sharpness through shutter speed versus noise: thats is something you have to decide,however guessing you work in raw, you can treat noise easily in postprocessing, but you cannot treat blur introduced by camera shake or vibrations. My choice is now to keep shutter speed at at least 1600/sec until I reach 3200 iso.

best aperture with FA400: sharpness is good, not excellent wide open, but microcontrast is definitly missing. Microcontrast for detailed feather patterns starts to be good at 7.1 even better at 8.0

have fun in Mexico

Martin
11-27-2014, 08:57 AM   #15
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 139
Original Poster
Thanks Martin, let's see if the birds comply for some nice shots Valuable information and I printed it and put it in the camera bag in the slot for the 400 so that I remember to work faster than 1/1600, f7.1 and don't worry about the noise. The light is generally very good in Mexico but there's the chance of an overcast day as we get to the end of the hurricane season but it's still infinitely better than what I was dealing with for my tests.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
1.4x, 2x, 645d, 645z, bird and wildlife, birds, camera, fa, file, issue, job, medium format, mlu, noise, post, questions for bird, shot, tc, tripod
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For you nature and bird photographers... wildman Photographic Industry and Professionals 8 03-12-2014 06:45 AM
Wildlife photographers, would you buy a Q sensor... barondla Pentax Q 5 05-01-2012 02:07 PM
Who are those wildlife photographers? RonHendriks1966 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 49 07-01-2011 12:56 AM
Pentax system for wildlife/bird photography.. Reportage Photographic Technique 59 01-18-2010 08:59 PM
Lens for bird and wildlife animal photography Nitrok Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 42 11-29-2009 08:45 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:20 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top