New to bird photography, need advice with D600 and Tamron 70-300mm

Started Jan 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
Phil Bishop
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Re: New to bird photography, need advice with D600 and Tamron 70-300mm
In reply to KingSpence, Jan 13, 2013

Having taken many thousands of images like yours I can understand your frustration.

Small birds a long way away never produce good images even if you have the best lenses available for several reasons. Firstly as mentioned, the more pixels you can get on the subject the better. That means either getting closer, or using longer lenses. Secondly the further away you are, the more air you are shooting through, and haze and air stability start to cause problems. Thirdly the af point may be somewhat larger than the subject, so you could end up focussing on something else in the same area.

Generally speaking, I like to keep the shutter speeds as high as possible, if necessary by increasing the iso and I prefer to stop down the lens as well. This increases the depth of field and helps to compensate for any inaccuracy in focussing.

70-300mm lenses ar ok, but not great particularly at the longer end (my old Nikkor is pretty soft and suffers from chromatic abberations, though the newer versions are somewhat better-cant comment on the Tamron though as it not a lens I have encountered before).

Usually the best cheap recommendation for birding is the afs Nikkor 300mm F4 with a TC14 converter. Other than that there are various long zooms going up to 500mm or so, which many use with great success though others do not rate them at all-a Pentax shooting friend started off with a 50-500 Sigma but switched to a Pentax 300mm F4 and 1.7 converter with significantly better results with his cameras (currently a K5).

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