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The end result of a telephoto shot should be a clear image that is usable with Alamy and perhaps of a big enough file size to upload to my Saatchi Art pages for photo sales that have significant 'room size'. For this they are asking for around 36 meg.

 

However, I am being told by camera shops that the best replacement for my Sigma 150-500 which is soft at the 400-500 end and does not take kindly to a 2x doubler, is the new Sigma 150-600 sports which is £1250 or so. With my current telephoto lens and camera, a buzzard at 5,000 feet comes out at 167k.  Not 6 megapixels!

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wdsw4rwjp9q55aw/Cloud of birds.jpg?dl=0

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bhmzmtfxqk863je/Buzzard feather detail.jpg?dl=0

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ndt5382ghk0kjgy/Buzzard soaring.jpg?dl=0

 

Does anyone think that mounting a Nikon D800 on a Questar Cadiotropic telescope would be a better bet for far distance bird shots? 

 

Has anyone tried using a telescope rather than a big lens for wildlife?

 

cheers

 

David

Edited by Darkstar
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I have briefly tested both, the Sigma 150-600 sports and contemporary and to my taste there was only little, if any, upside for the sports version. 

Finally ended up buying the the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 and a 1.4x converter mainly for the speedy f2.8 (f4 with the 1.4x converter). 

 

Best might be to go to a camera shop which also rents out equipment. 

Get both or either of the lenses lenses for a weekend and check suitability.  

 

As for the telescope, these are made for stars and not for wildlife.

I would question if they get the sharpness 'that near' to an acceptable level. 

Years ago I also had a glimpse of that thought, but most - if not all - telescopes came as f8 and that was not suitable  in my view.


I believe Stockie is right, none of the pictures in the links would pass QC. Certainly I would not try uploading them. 

 

Also; Get some camouflage gear, think like the wildlife you want to shoot and get as close as possible.

(A tip that may come from the greatly missed Philippe of Arterra

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I would strongly advise against using a teleconverter on a D800/810 - this will cause further deterioration of the image. These cameras require very high quality lenses.

 

What you need to consider here is that it is not what you see through the viewfinder but what you can see on your computer afterwards. The D800/810 have the ability to capture amazing detail and you have a huge amount of cropping room when editing. I have never had the chance to check this but I'm willing to bet (theoretically that is) that you would get a better image (at the same pixel size) after cropping using a high quality 70-200 f2.8 ( Nikon preferably but Tamron have a new one out as well) than with the 150-600 you mention. If you really want to check this out, you could hire the lenses for a few days as somebody said above.

 

But forget teleconverters on these cameras.

Edited by MDM
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2 hours ago, MDM said:

I would strongly advise against using a teleconverter on a D800/810 - this will cause further deterioration of the image. These cameras require very high quality lenses.

 

What you need to consider here is that it is not what you see through the viewfinder but what you can see on your computer afterwards. The D800/810 have the ability to capture amazing detail and you have a huge amount of cropping room when editing. I have never had the chance to check this but I'm willing to bet (theoretically that is) that you would get a better image (at the same pixel size) after cropping using a high quality 70-200 f2.8 ( Nikon preferably but Tamron have a new one out as well) than with the 150-600 you mention. If you really want to check this out, you could hire the lenses for a few days as somebody said above.

 

But forget teleconverters on these cameras.

 

Fully agree on the capture of detail and additional cropping capabilities of a high MPix camera.

Also would underline your comment that these cameras do require using high quality lenses. 

 

When it comes to teleconverter's, my mileage with the Canon 5DSr (50MPIx) is different. 

I do use the Sigma 1.4x with the 120-300 f2.8, and the result is of enough quality to pass QC.

It is slightly softer compared to the lens without converter at f4 but the difference becomes less visible past f5.6. 

Would not use a 2x converter though, albeit admit to not have tested it. 

 

Example at 420mm f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400 (300 + 1.4 converter) - not too good light conditions

Eurasian nuthatch (sitta europaea), getting food from a red box hanging on a rope Stock Photo

 

(you can see a 100% preview on faa, best around the eyes / feet as it is shallow DOF )  

Edited by hdh
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Agree completely with previous comments. The downside of a lens with such a huge range at such a low price is always going to be a strong loss of quality, especially if you're then adding converter. It's worth hiring one of the higher spec 300/400mm f2.8 prime lenses and shooting with those for a day or two, you'll notice the difference immediately, or one of the higher spec f4.0 zooms. Hiring pricey glass is a great option if not needed all the time. If buying, then personally, I'd much rather compromise on the zoom range in return for a sharp image with less vignetting etc. even if, as MDM says, you go for a 70-200 f2.8 and crop it's likely to still get a better result.

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Hi thanks once more to all - I never had any intention of putting those up to Alamy - I was just trying to show you how a full shot of the sky with buzzards, sparrowhawks and kestrels looks when you blow up the image of one or two birds at that altitude. You have as usual made some interesting comments which I will study.  Hiring seems the best bet from the range of solutions you have put here.  The buzzards and other birds here do come down and I photographed a buzzard dragging prey through a cornfield. The other morning I went up to the lake at 06.30 in the dark and as the light levels rose a little there were 80 geese sailing away in a great flock. Then a squabble occurred and they all took off (which is how I counted them - but the light levels were so low that the shot is no use for Alamy. I do agree that a 1.4 or 2x converter just fudges the sharpness of the D800.

 

Nice to chat.

 

cheers

 

David

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I have a Sigma 150-500 and found it OK, until the VR and autofocus stopped working. 

There are some reasonably-priced secondhand Nikon 200-500s out there at the moment, which is what I would get if I could justify replacing the Sigma.

I don't do enough wildlife photography to warrant spending that sort of money, and for sport I prefer the good old 70-200 f2.8 which can be cropped easily to look like a 500mm.

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David,

 

When you are trying for very long shots of wildlife, you will find that mirage and haze become real problems.  It isn't just the lens that leads to soft images, it is often atmospheric effects.   I've taken many photos of sandhill cranes in a field with Canon telephoto lenses that looked great in the viewfinder, and were totally useless when viewed on the computer monitor.  I hadn't thought it was that hot a day, but the effect of mirage was incredible.

 

I've seen some surprisingly good photos on birding and / or hunting sites of digiscoped images.  They made good documentary photos, but would not have been useable as stock photos.

 

Robert

 

 

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I regularly use a Canon 1.4x extender with my 300 mm f4 lens, and a 2x extender with my 400 mm f2.8 lens.  The 300 mm + 1.4x combination is noticeably softer at wide open  (f5.6), so I always use at least an f8 setting for that combination.   With the 400 mm + 2x extender, I find that I need at least two stops -- f11 -- to keep the image sharp.  This isn't usually a big problem, since the smaller aperture is normally required to get sufficient depth of field anyway.

 

The few times I tried cropping rather than using the extenders, I decided that the extenders gave the better image.  And with most smaller birds, even with the extender significant cropping is required for an acceptable photo.

 

Robert

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Robert Shantz said:

David,

 

When you are trying for very long shots of wildlife, you will find that mirage and haze become real problems.  It isn't just the lens that leads to soft images, it is often atmospheric effects.   I've taken many photos of sandhill cranes in a field with Canon telephoto lenses that looked great in the viewfinder, and were totally useless when viewed on the computer monitor.  I hadn't thought it was that hot a day, but the effect of mirage was incredible.

 

I've seen some surprisingly good photos on birding and / or hunting sites of digiscoped images.  They made good documentary photos, but would not have been useable as stock photos.

 

Robert

 

 

 

Exactly ! but sometimes we love the image even with mirage effects. I shoot this one at 300 mm years ago, with a very strange light (stormy and rainy weather), light behind the horizon . The air was cold but the sea warm. The impact on the horizon is incredible.

old-sailboats-in-cannes-bay-during-les-r

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3 hours ago, Robert Shantz said:

When you are trying for very long shots of wildlife, you will find that mirage and haze become real problems.  It isn't just the lens that leads to soft images, it is often atmospheric effects.   I've taken many photos of sandhill cranes in a field with Canon telephoto lenses that looked great in the viewfinder, and were totally useless when viewed on the computer monitor.  I hadn't thought it was that hot a day, but the effect of mirage was incredible.

 

 

Agreed. I shoot aviation with a 100-400mm and I wouldn't go anywhere near full zoom when shooting large aircraft on warm days because the distance involved is sure to lead to loss of fine detail and distortion. With large aircraft you can get away with some lack of sharpness in the fine detail, but the smaller the subject the more that lack of sharpness becomes obvious. I wouldn't even try shooting a bird at 5000ft (that's 1.5km), no matter the temperature and no matter how good my lens.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I ,ve been using nikons 200-500 tele zoom for aviation and nature shots on a D810 and to be honest , i am very surprised by the results for a sub £1000 lens. No internal focus though so could be a problem in the long run.

its sharp , at least on the 810, the VR is superb as well. 

not tried a tc with it yet, the cropping factor on a 36mp sensor is huge

One major headache is you need to pay a lot for a good quality (95mm) filter if you value that front element in bad conditions.

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