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01-09-2010, 05:14 PM   #1
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Wildlife photography

Good morning from Australia...I am VERY new to digital photography...please be patient with me!!!...I am travelling to Africa, and am very keen to get into wildlife photography there: especially bird photography....I have seen threads on the SIGMA 50-500mm lens here: is it possible to use a 2x converter, or possibly a 1.4x converter with the lens on my K200D body?...I would really appreciate any help!!...Cheers, Paul

01-09-2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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I'm sure the they can be used together, as far as image quality, ill let others input
01-09-2010, 06:01 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums skebenga!
While you can use the 2x it would be best to use the lesser multiplier like the 1.5x as the multiplier also doubles the f-stop.
The 50-500mm has an f-stop of f:4-6.3.
With the 2x tele-converter, you are looking at f:12.6 at 1000mm.
If you use the 1.5x then it would be around f:10 at 750mm.
Tele-converters also somehow degrade the optics of the lens in particular as you are adding more glass not in the original design of the lens you will be using plus the degradation of light as well that goes with that.
So, the lesser the multiplier factor the better.
01-10-2010, 06:57 AM   #4
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Welcome Skebenga,

What you would need depends upon the type of safari you are going to make.
If you do a safari by driving in a safari vehicle, supposedly with other people in the car as well, stability is the main issue. With very long lenses you will have a lot of problems with 300mm+, the engine may be running, people move in the car etc.
You'd be supprised how well 300mm works in Africa.
We've met some professional wildlife photographers there and they all work with less than 500mm (some even work with 200mm).

If you are travelling privately, you can take your time, wait etc. A bean bag is handy for resting the camera on the vehicle. Basically you can encounter 3 types of safari vehicles:
1. Normal 4x4, you need to shoot out of the window, so, handheld shooting.
2. vehicles of which the roof can be moved up (you'd be shooting standing in the car, under the roof which is moved up, beanbags, sometimes a monopod works well here,
3. (Semi) Open vehciles, a 4x4 pickup with seats made over the back of the car. Most of the shooting here is handheld again.

You can also go on foot in some areas, however you'd never have time to put up a tripod and be ready before the action is gone.

To come short, very long lenses seldom work well on safari.
Fortunatly, in some areas wildlife is very acustomed to people and it can be approached with some ease.
Some plains in southern African countries (Zambia, Botswana) have a lot of birds, if you go there, take time, wait and be silent. You will make wonderfull shots with 300mm and even less.
In fact I recommend to take a zoom with you (60-250 or 55-300) since a lot of the wildlife may be so close that 200mm or 300mm is way to long. And the action is gone before you will have changed your lens. Also, because of the dust around, refrain from lens changes when possible.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Bert

01-10-2010, 11:38 PM   #5
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Gentlemen...many thanks for your resposes: it would seem as though I am more or less on the right track with what I have in mind: I am acutely aware of the necessity to manouvre the lens, and this makes the SIGMA 150-500mm lens rather attractive: it would fall withing the "realistic" realms, as indicated in your responses....the beanbag is a great idea too!!...I will post some photos here (is this possible) once I have something to show!...Once again: many thanks.......Paul
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