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09-04-2011, 05:56 AM   #16
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

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you have had some good recommendations so far.

The one thing you may need to consider, when looking at the long end of the wild life range is that LONG and FAST are mutually exclusive for your indicated price range in an AF lens.

you have seen some zooms quoted so far that are in teh 300mm range at F5.6 or perhaps a little slower. This can be limiting in wild life work where many people want at least F4 at 300mm and perhaps F2.8. I mention these two because a 300F4 AF lens or a combination of zoom and TC that gets you there will be about $1000, and a 300F2.8 will set you back about $3000. Just to let you see the sticker shot.

With these lenses you can do much better looking at the used market, and manual focus.

To show you how extreme it can be, I picked up a 200-500mmF5.6 zoom for $350. the only problems are, manual focus, and weight (at 5 pounds) but optically it is very good. You can usually pick up old SMC 300F4 lenses for about $300 as well.

my advice before purchasing anything, is think about what you want to photograph. to do this, start with a little math

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance.

If you start here it may help you determine what focal length you need. many people believe 300 is just not enough.

09-04-2011, 03:07 PM   #17
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It's pretty clear I have a lot of learning to do. This has probably been asked a hundred times on here - but can anybody point me to a good book/video tutorial for digital photog? Admittedly, the majority of my shots are done on Auto Scn mode. I'd like to start incorporating some more control over pictures. I have a basic understanding of aperature, shutter speed, etc but not enough to be comfortable with it. Thanks - George
09-04-2011, 03:35 PM   #18
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

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Location: Denver, CO
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Really, basic photographic concepts haven't changed for decades. Anything you can find in the library or bookstore will be fine for explaining things.

Also, regarding lenses - see the many existing reviews on this site (via the "Lenses" link in the menu above).

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