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12-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #16
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There are a couple of nice inexpensive alternatives to macro flash - Gary Fong has a "Puffer" diffuser for the onboard flash which really does a good job. Also, look for LED bank lights.
The lens pairing you have isn't bad - use it until you find something you can't do. Macro, if you're interested, is probably the first shortcoming you'll find. I like my FA100 macro for insect work.

Amazon.com: NEEWER
Nice, simple, inexpensive.

Amazon.com: Polaroid PL-MRL16 Digital Macro 16 LED Ring Light for Canon EOS, Nikon, Sony Alpha, Olympus and Pentax Digital SLR Cameras: Electronics
Very useful for close macro.

Amazon.com: Puffer - Pop-Up Flash Diffuser: Electronics

12-11-2012, 02:07 PM   #17
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Wow, thanks everyone. I have been inspired to get out and shoot, have a much better idea of what I want and things to work on out in the field.
12-14-2012, 05:01 AM   #18
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I think my expertise is very far off the rest of you... however I would suggest a 400 prime for birds- you can pick up an old one pretty cheap from ebay. Mine is ancient, from an old film set up, and i have brilliant results with that on my K100 D. You have to get used to the manual focus but its really, really worth investing in, to my mind.
12-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #19
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You've got a lot of good advice here. Primes 300mm and up are expense and used are not always easy to find, your 55-300 will do you a nice job and be a workhorse. It has some limitations which you will find and figure out how to get around them. Since it is not weatherized, I use a cheap Optec rain sleeve in bad weather. As someone mentioned it's a good landscape lens, and I will certainly agree with that. I'll also echo to get to know what you are shooting. You can often get closer to birds when they are in places with a lot of people around.

55-300 at 300, the deer are probably 100-150 yards away:


55-300 at 300, around 30 yards away but cropped a lot:


55-300 at 300, around 3-5 yards away


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