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03-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #1
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Either or?

Ok folks,
I have a decision to make and need some help, I am due to go on a birding trip in early May, I have a DA 55 - 300, I am wondering if I should invest in a Rokinon 500 6.3 or a Vivitar 1.4 A teleconverter. Which do you think give the better results for birding/wildlife photography.

Steve

03-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #2
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Teleconverters require more light to get the same picture (you lose one or two stops) so can be very frustrating to use and make low light focusing (manual or auto) even worse because you normally focus with the lens wide open, but now it will be like focusing with the lens closed down one or two stops. I think the DA55-300 is WAY too slow a lens to handle that, your shutter speeds would be horrible and make the twitchy birds blur.
Also if you get a teleconverter make sure it has the contacts for aperture control (all the pins on it) or it will be more of a hassle to deal with than you want. Some really nice (expensive uncommon) ones even do AF though that's not for me.

Umm, so to directly answer your question get the super zoom which will still be faster for you.
03-10-2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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Neither. Save yer money or buy a great pair of binocs. TCs don't work well with most zooms, especially a consumer-grade one like you have. The cheap mirror 500mm is pretty iffy.
Generally you need a pair of good binocs to fix on the birds anyway. It is my key tool for bird photography.

M
03-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Neither. Save yer money or buy a great pair of binocs. TCs don't work well with most zooms, especially a consumer-grade one like you have. The cheap mirror 500mm is pretty iffy.
Generally you need a pair of good binocs to fix on the birds anyway. It is my key tool for bird photography.

M
Thanks folks

03-10-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Birds are challenging. If you can get really close, you might be able to make just the zoom work. You may have to crop the shots way down, but if everything else is good, it isn't that bad.

The TC will make the zoom something like f9.7 wide open at the long end, which is unlikely to work with autofocus and be pretty dark for manual too. I sometimes get reasonable results with a TC. If I had to pick one I'd go with this one.

The mirror lens is a bit longer and faster and looks OK on paper, but is manual focus. The depth of field can be narrow when you finally get close enough to start filling the viewfinder. Mirror lenses have unusual rendering of out of focus areas that can look really bad on branches. I've used a slightly better mirror lens than the Rokinon and if everything goes exactly right, it does work. The mirror lens has few useful adjustments or features to help out - you can't stop down for more DOF.

If you are shooting on a bright day, it helps everything. Really big, uncautious birds help too.
03-10-2013, 06:55 PM   #6
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More often than not, you will lose no more image quality by cropping than you will by using a teleconverter.
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