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Thread: Handheld Birding Captures

  1. #1
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    Default Handheld Birding Captures

    For some time now I have been toying with the Idear of moving up into the Dslr relam
    now Ive been looking at 300f4 with 1.4 400 or a 500 canon set up .I havent been using a tripod at all
    so thats a new learning adventure in its self. one question is would the 500 be too much to hand hold ??
    when I make the charge into Dslr a tripod will be in the kit. I havnt mentiond the camera yet but will be a canon
    but Im open to any suggestions as to como's for a good birding kit. be a while yet but its good to have goals,
    yep the missus says i can dream all I like . regards Rick
    Through the lens behold the glory of creation
    So much to see, So little time to behold
    Other captures located here :
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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Theres no question on my end Rick. Go for a Canon model DSLR (one of the **D models...40D, 50D, 60D...7D if you can afford it) and the 400mm f5.6 L series lens. Easily handholdable, feels great in the hands and fairly cheap as far as glass goes. Lack of IS never bothered me, looks like you will not be using it in rainforest etc in your part of the country anyway.

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Thanks Paul, any problems using a 1.4 with the 400??
    Through the lens behold the glory of creation
    So much to see, So little time to behold
    Other captures located here :
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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Only possible with a bit of DIY work (taping the pins inside the barrel, even then AF will not work). Sure focus's faster than the 300mm with the 1.4 attached though (and believe me, thats how you'd be using it most of the time for extra reach....have a look at most users shots with this lens on here.....1.4 TC attached 99% of the time I think ). Perfect beginners lens, I will never sell mine Great for flight shots especially and on a lower end DSLR you will get the x1.6 crop factor which means you'll be at an EFL of over 600mm. Thats more than what I have now with my 600mm prime on the full frame 5D. If you need any more convincing from me then check out any of my bird posts from pre July 2010.
    Heres a link to the search page

    http://www.feathersandphotos.com.au/...&submit=Search

    P.S. I can count the number of times I've had it on a tripod on one hand

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Playle
    Thanks Paul, any problems using a 1.4 with the 400??
    Yeah, the 1.4 will add a stop of aperture, so it will become a f8 lens. Only the 1D/1Ds series autofocus with a wide open f8, all others are f5.6. So there will be no autofocus, which would be a pretty big bummer

    If it were my choice, go for a second hand 40D or 50D, or if you can afford it, lash out and grab a 7D, as Paul said. Lens is personal, it would be good to get into a store if you can, to feel how the 400 5.6 and the 300 4 feel in the hand. 500 4 is a whole new ball game (about 4 times the price )

    Good luck with your choice

    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    I wouldn't suggest anyone new to DSLRs go for a 500mm straight away. You'll always need a shorter, handholdable lens anyway (like I said, I'll never sell mine) so go for something manageable to start with.

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    How much do you want to spend rick .. don't mean to be rude but budget is important
    personally I am an opportunist and don't have any problem buying second hand. we all know top shelf birding gear is expensive but we would all like to have it I started by flogging all my zooms and pooling enough money for a second hand 300 2.8 is and a tc then later the other tc. Still miss my 24-70 sometimes
    the new 200-400 is going to be nice and in all probability have a pleasant weight as well
    as far as cost goes who knows if its long and white with a red ring then bloody dear i would say

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    IMHO for hand holding style photography I would recommend the following:

    - For flight photography in good light the Canon EF 400/5.6L USM ROCKS!!! Most of the times you use fast shutter speeds so IS is not mandatory. Forget the taping pins; they are far to slow and unreliable (especially BIF) in comparison on a xxD or 7D body!!! On a 1D series body though, it's a different story, though still slower to AF.
    - For all around photography in good or poor light the Canon EF 300/4L IS USM and 1.4x ROCK! (I sometimes even use the 2x or stacked 1.4x and 2x) ! This combo is even great for BIF and is my only lens combo I usually use. For me this was the best compromise as I shoot mostly hand held and in low light so IS is a gift from heavens. I found the 400/5.6L unsuitable for MY style of photography. Though at a later stage would consider adding one for BIF alone!
    - Since you probably never used long lenses at all, I would urge you to steer away from a 500/4 at least until such time that you gain enough confidence in your skills and abilities to use smaller, easy to hand hold gear. Later it will be a good choice, but for now you'd probably find it too frustrating to even find the bird in the viewfinder to begin with!

    As for a camera body if you can, buy a used 1D MkIII and you will do well in time. Lots to learn, but will give you great performance.

    cheers mate and happy shooting.....

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    I've been using the 550D with the kit lens 55-250mm for all my bird shots so far, and as you can probably guess, in 99.999999% of instances, I'm zoomed right out at 250mm. :P I'm sure the 50D range or 7D range etc are a step above, but they weren't as much in my price range, and I've had no trouble with my 550D. As soon as I can afford it though, I am investing in the canon 400mm f/5.6, it's in my price range and it's just a good lens. Of course I would love the f/2.8 but that's automatically an extra several thousand $$$
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Quote Originally Posted by Bec Z
    Of course I would love the f/2.8 but that's automatically an extra several thousand $$$
    And un-handholdable too, at about 5.5 kilos. Even the new 400 II is 4kg, and it will have a significant pmium, probably a couple of grand.

    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS USM...... what happened here one on ebay but close to 5k
    I don't think so hellishly expensive and does'nt even have a red ring

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Toms
    Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS USM...... what happened here one on ebay but close to 5k
    I don't think so hellishly expensive and does'nt even have a red ring
    The point of the DO is that it is light, especially given the aperture. This is used as justification for the price. The lack of L status is because it has a DO status.

    Also, Rick, if you want versatility in the lens, to photograph people, or sports, or if you get very close to birds, consider the 100-400 IS USM f/4.5-5.6. Not that expensive (only a couple of hundred more than the 400 f/5.6). Although its an old model, and definitely one you'd want to try before buying, as it has a "trombone" push-pull zoom, which some people find very odd to handle.

    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    For anyone who doubts the quality of images obtainable with the 400/4L IS DO lens, check out my friend's website.

    http://www.marinascarrphotography.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Diffractive Optics does not seem to have made the cut. two lenses in how many years would suggest this
    some lovely images on Marina's site Akos but she does'nt mention her gear certainly is a lightweight Ashy but I really think they should have went for a normal 400 constant f/4 with red ring may have been heavier but certainly no more expensive. the original issue of this lens suffered from bad IQ I beleive if so not a good start.
    anyways sorry Rick hijacking again
    I'm sure whatever decision you make on new gear will be right for you. regards mike.

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    Default Re: Handheld Birding Captures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Toms
    I really think they should have went for a normal 400 constant f/4 with red ring
    Yeah, people have been calling for that lens for ages, along with an affordable and handholdable 500 f/5.6 or 600 f/5.6. Canon looks to half come halfway to the table (or jumped on it and started dancing, depending on your point of view) with this 200-400 f/4 + 1.4x. Will be very interesting to see the IQ coming from that lens, I'd be surprised (not that we can compare), if it would be as good as a 400 f/4 prime.

    Good luck Rick, hope this hasn't been too off topic

    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

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