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09-18-2018, 10:06 AM   #106
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I went through this a few years ago. I compared those lenses for sharpness, there is a site where you can compare sharpness of those lenses with various cameras (here:Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S VR Lens Image Quality) . Then for AF I compared the lenses in real use, the Canon is fastest, the Nikon is second fastest, the Pentax DFSA150-450 isn't far behind the Nikon 200-500 in terms of AF/motoring speed, you can search and find AF speed comparison vids online. The Sigma 150-600 C and Tamron 150-600 SP AF speeds are about like the Pentax DFA150-450, at 150mm, the DFA50-450 maintain it's focus speed from 150mm to 450mm, however the Sigma and Tamron 150-600 get slower to focus as the FL increases, at 600mm the Tamron 150-600 is very slow to AF (significantly slower than the Pentax). Both Canon 100-400 II and Nikon 200-500 AF don't slow down with increasing FL.
Very helpful.
Would you say the Canon package performed better than the Nikon as a whole? or are there just too many factors to compare on a level playing field?

09-18-2018, 10:13 AM   #107
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Would you say the Canon package performed better than the Nikon as a whole?
Not sure which one between Nikon and Canon would perform better, but the Canon would be a better value IMO (D500 is expensive for a crop camera). We all have different opinions, mine is to favor lens sharpness and aperture for when using a crop sensor. The Canon 100-400 II is the sharpest zoom, and Canon 1.6x crop give a little extra reach. I use a Pentax K1 with the DFA150-450, I can switch on crop mode or use full frame when distance is not limiting, AF isn't top but it works good enough for me. I often considered other options, selling my DFA150-450 for example. But, I didn't do it. The reason is, if I want to get more serious with wildlife photography, I won't get another zoom, I'll select the lens first and stick a body at the back of it. I'd either put all my savings into a Sigma 500 f4 and stick a D7500 on it, simply because D7500 is cheaper than D500, Nikon AF 51 points is good enough for me, and the D7500 has the same dual gain BSI sensor as the D500, given an extra stop of SNR improvement at high ISO. Or. I would get a 7DII used and rent a Canon prime at the parks I go, they have a choice of Canon primes for rent a something like $100 to $200 a day. Generally, for wildlife, it good to fill the frame to get high res. images , and the light is often less than good, that is why I give prior to the lens aperture and sharpness and then mount a corresponding camera body on it, but that's just me.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-18-2018 at 10:23 AM.
09-18-2018, 10:13 AM   #108
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The Canon option such as 7DII and 300 f4 is cheaper, and pretty good for AF as well. The 7DII now is cheap in comparison to the D500.
Yes, it is. But since the OP mentioned Nikon and Pentax, I didn't wanted to confuse him by adding 7D Mark II in equation.
09-18-2018, 10:42 AM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Rentea Quote
Yes, it is. But since the OP mentioned Nikon and Pentax, I didn't wanted to confuse him by adding 7D Mark II in equation.
A good birding kit is rather expensive, better analyze and make the right choice. In our region we have also the advantage of Canon being available for rent, not sure if that is the same in the US.

09-18-2018, 10:45 AM   #110
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I'm not sure if this is a concern, but do Canon crop sensors deal with low light as well as the D500, or the K3/D7200?

If I read the requirements, the longest and sharpest lens available is going to get the best results.
09-18-2018, 10:49 AM   #111
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
If I read the requirements, the longest and sharpest lens available is going to get the best results.
Generally true, although there is an addition constrain for birds in flight: maneuverability. Larger lenses can be mounted on a gimbal, but it's not as easy to track in the sky compared to hand holding the kit.
09-18-2018, 11:29 AM - 3 Likes   #112
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
A good birding kit is rather expensive, better analyze and make the right choice. In our region we have also the advantage of Canon being available for rent, not sure if that is the same in the US.
We have a military shop in Bucharest and I get from them used camouflage things that I need (tent, camouflage net, ghillie suit, etc.). A tent is 150$, a gillie suit is 90$.

Also renting lenses is quite cheap. A Canon 300mm f2.8L lens is 60$ for 2 days (offer available on weekends). A Canon 100-400mm is 20$/day. A Sigma 150-600mm C is 17$/day.

I have images with birds, taken from hides, with 70-200mm lenses on a full frame camera. But as I said earlier, I go on location at least an hour before sunrise so that the birds can familiarise with the hide as soon as they wake up.

There are lots of techniques for wildlife. The "problem" with BIF is the addiction. Once you start to like it, it becomes an expensive hobby and you will want more and more, not only in terms of gear, but also in terms challenging subjects. This winter I hope to get the chance to shoot wolfs and eurasian lynxs in their natural habitat.

And if you want me to be fair, I rather use a full frame for BIF instead of a crop camera. High ISO early in the morning or late in the afternoon is more important to me than the reach of a crop camera. But this is me and this approach (a good hide and a full frame camera on a tripod) works for me. Others have different approaches when comes to gear and shooting style. With practice we learn what works best for us.

Another thing to the OP. I go out on my balcony at least once a week and I follow pigeons in flight simulating a tele lens with a small plastic pipe. When comes to fast birds like bee eaters or kingfishers, keeping them in the frame at 500 or 600mm is one of the toughest part. That's why I practice this on pigeons. It may sound silly, but for me this helps me to be in shape.
09-18-2018, 11:35 AM   #113
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Rentea Quote
I go out on my balcony at least once a week and I follow pigeons in flight simulating a tele lens with a small plastic pipe. When comes to fast birds like bee eaters or kingfishers, keeping them in the frame at 500 or 600mm is one of the toughest part. That's why I practice this on pigeons. It may sound silly, but for me this helps me to be in shape.
That's a great idea. With the small amount of BIF photography I've tried, my single biggest issue is tracking to keep the bird(s) in frame - even, to some extent, with larger birds such as seagulls.

Can I ask, when you're shooting BIF, how much of the frame do you try to fill - i.e. how much space do you leave around the bird to allow for movement while tracking?

Apologies to the OP for slightly side-tracking the thread

09-18-2018, 11:53 AM   #114
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
That's a great idea. With the small amount of BIF photography I've tried, my single biggest issue is tracking to keep the bird(s) in frame - even, to some extent, with larger birds such as seagulls.

Can I ask, when you're shooting BIF, how much of the frame do you try to fill - i.e. how much space do you leave around the bird to allow for movement while tracking?

Apologies to the OP for slightly side-tracking the thread


All good!
I'm curious to this answer as well..
And the PVC pipe is a great idea for BIF practice!
09-18-2018, 12:08 PM   #115
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Rentea Quote
And if you want me to be fair, I rather use a full frame for BIF instead of a crop camera. High ISO early in the morning or late in the afternoon is more important to me than the reach of a crop camera.
If I had the choice between a crop and 1 stop faster lens, or full frame with same equ. FL but one stop slower lens, I pick the crop system. Sounds counter intuitive... but the color tone coding range for each pixel shrinks by 1bit for every 1 stop of increased ISO, that means you hit false colors earlier with the longer and slower lens on full frame as opposed to using a faster lens on aspc.
09-18-2018, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #116
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
That's a great idea. With the small amount of BIF photography I've tried, my single biggest issue is tracking to keep the bird(s) in frame - even, to some extent, with larger birds such as seagulls.

Can I ask, when you're shooting BIF, how much of the frame do you try to fill - i.e. how much space do you leave around the bird to allow for movement while tracking?

Apologies to the OP for slightly side-tracking the thread
Depends...

The advantage in filling the frame with the bird is that you will get lots of details in your images and also it will be easier for the af system to track because it will not be distracted by the background. This is valid for big birds, like seaguls, egrets, eagles. These birds usually have a predictable flight.

The "downsize" of this approach, at least when comes to BIF, is DOF. To fill the frame and also to have all the bird in focus at 600mm you will have to use an aperture like f7- f9 which means you need a capable camera when comes to ISO.

For small birds that fly chaotic, I tend to live them a little more room. It's easier to follow them longer. My camera has 30mp. I try not to crop the images to get an image with a resolution below 24-25mp.

Depends also on the lens used. With a prime lens I start shooting when the birds is occupying 30-35% from the frame. This happens when the birds is flying in my direction. With a prime lens you have a shorter burst than when you use a zoom lens (again, this is valid when you shoot big birds; with small birds you don't have time to zoom in or out if you use a zoom lens).

---------- Post added 09-18-18 at 07:59 PM ----------

Below are 3 examples.
In the first one is a big bird for which I didn't needed to give it space. It's easy to catch it in focus due to size and slow take off.
In the second image is a small bird (has the size of a pigeon) with a chaotic and also a fast flight. For this type of birds I start to shoot when the birds is this big in viewfinder. If the bird is flying diagonally, I may have enough time to take a few shots. If she is hunting bees or dragonfly, the flight becomes chaotic and I may have a chance to take a burst of 3-5 images at 600mm if I give to the bird a little room.
In the third image you can see what happens when you have a very good hide, but you have a prime lens.

I do have better examples, but my images end up on my hard drives and I'm lazy.






Last edited by Dan Rentea; 09-18-2018 at 01:01 PM.
09-18-2018, 03:22 PM - 1 Like   #117
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Can you find any wildlife photography clubs and maybe take a day borrowing something off and on or rent?


This article is more about mirrorless but they do put the D500 at the top of the DSLR pile with respect to BIF and they like the 200-500 - perhaps because they then compare to some lenses that are pretty strong in their own way in mirrorless land. But this quote also bears thinking about: "To give you a few numbers, more than 24 telephoto lenses (300mm or longer) are available for the D500 and that is without counting kit lenses, all-purpose lenses and teleconverter options. " That's should not be discounted when thinking about this. There is an upgrade path from the 200-500 glass that you lack in Pentax.

Personally if it was me - I would try to find a D500 and 200-500 to try. Failing that rent one. I would also try to find a K1 mk II and a 150-450 to try, failing that rent one.
Ultimately you have to do what makes the most sense.
09-18-2018, 03:42 PM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
"To give you a few numbers, more than 24 telephoto lenses (300mm or longer) are available for the D500 and that is without counting kit lenses, all-purpose lenses and teleconverter options. "
And how many are affordable for a non-pro enthusiast. If you can find what you want in K-mount, then the superior number of lenses is meaningless. There are no Nikon or Canon lenses would buy right now, even if they were released in K-mount. They could have a million more types of lenses and it doesn't matter unless i want one of them. I have 4 telephoto options, A DA*55-300 for it's fast focus and light weight, a DA* 60-250 for excellent landscape and some wildlife, a DA*200 2.8 for low light situations and use with TCs, a Tamron 300 2.8 ditto . I don't have DA 560, an DFA 150-450, a DFA 70-200. I have lots of stuff to buy if my rich uncle dies. Why do i need more? They just have to satisfy my imagination, not any real needs.

I'm not looking for an upgrade path, not everyone is. Many of us are looking for a downgrade path. We just want to sell some of what we have and don't use, not acquire new stuff.

That is the one argument that has never made sense to me.
Nikon and Canon have more stuff that I don't want to buy than Pentax has. duh

Tilt shift on FF,? Naw i don't want that. $4,000 plus lenses, naw, I don't want those.
You aren't suffering at all because there's a lot of stuff out there in the world you don't want, as long as you own the stuff you do want.

Then people say well, you might want it some day. Sure buy into a camera system because you might want it some day. I tend to live in the present. If i want something else someday I'll deal with that then, I can't make daily life purchases based on every imagined someday "want" you might come up with.

Ya, you might want to go with Nikon or Canon because someday you might want to go with what they offer. And you might want to go with Pentax for what they offer right now this very second. In what warped mind is what I might want in the future ( but probably won't) put ahead of what i do want now?

Last edited by normhead; 09-18-2018 at 03:58 PM.
09-18-2018, 03:57 PM   #119
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Can you find any wildlife photography clubs and maybe take a day borrowing something off and on or rent?


This article is more about mirrorless but they do put the D500 at the top of the DSLR pile with respect to BIF and they like the 200-500 - perhaps because they then compare to some lenses that are pretty strong in their own way in mirrorless land. But this quote also bears thinking about: "To give you a few numbers, more than 24 telephoto lenses (300mm or longer) are available for the D500 and that is without counting kit lenses, all-purpose lenses and teleconverter options. " That's should not be discounted when thinking about this. There is an upgrade path from the 200-500 glass that you lack in Pentax.

Personally if it was me - I would try to find a D500 and 200-500 to try. Failing that rent one. I would also try to find a K1 mk II and a 150-450 to try, failing that rent one.
Ultimately you have to do what makes the most sense.
I suppose it is an issue of cost versus performance. The OP has made it clear that he can deal with lenses in the 1500-ish price range, but doesn't really want to go much above that. That really cuts a big chunk of telephotos out. In the Pentax arena there are basically the DFA 150-450, DA *300 with converter and maybe some Sigma options. There are certainly more in the F mount, but I don't know that there is actually a huge difference in performance between similarly priced options in this focal length. Many of the "24 telephoto" lenses in F mount are going to be pretty pricey.
09-18-2018, 04:04 PM   #120
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I suppose it is an issue of cost versus performance. The OP has made it clear that he can deal with lenses in the 1500-ish price range, but doesn't really want to go much above that. T
Ya, that's part of the silliness. A D500 is $2400, add a $1600 lens and that's $4000 to go Nikon. He can go to $4000 for a Nikon system but can't spend $1900 to upgrade his Pentax gear. What folks say doesn't have to make any sense, and frequency it doesn't.

But if he is buying the camera just for AF and BiFs, then it's still the right thing to do. The camera as an action camera is drool worthy. For most of what I do it's not significantly better than a K-3ii.

Its all personal preference. When you think about only $1000 above the next Pentax APS_c flagship price for top flight AF.c, it is cheap, if that's what you need. I rely heavily on AF.s and quick focus confirm, so really, not of interest at all for me. There's more than one way to skin cat. But for some shots AF.c tracking is absolutely necessary and Pentax is not that good at it.

Last edited by normhead; 09-18-2018 at 04:17 PM.
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