Light lens for birding?

Started Jun 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
paulkienitz
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Re: Light lens for birding?
In reply to paulkienitz, Jun 16, 2013

paulkienitz wrote:

kipling wrote:

Hi,

I am looking for a lightweight combination that will give me reasonably good image quality for birding.

I have some Canon gear that gives great IQ but is now too heavy for me. I haven't tried Pentax before, but from what I read the 55-300 is pretty good and is 450mm on a crop body. All the primes are heavy.

I've done a lot of birding with the 55-300. I often wish I had something longer, but just as often I'm glad it's so light and hand-holdable. Because there's never enough length in birding, I often end up taking 100% crops from it, and it's sharp enough at the long end to make those crops entirely reasonable in quality.

Here's a 100% crop of an Anna's hummingbird... or it will be if you click to see full size.

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Q with 02 zoom and Nikkor 180/2.8 ED for birding
K10D, Sig 17-70, DA 55-300, FA 50/1.4 "billy bass"
discards: DA 50-200 "zipper", F 100-300, Sigma 135-400 "piglet", M 400/5.6 "the Great Truncheon"

The lens's biggest drawback for birding is focus hunting.  Just now, right after posting that hummy, I got called into the back yard because western tanagers had shown up.  I went out there with the 55-300, and got a few seconds glimpse of the bird, and could not get a single shot for failure to lock focus, because there was one frond of another plant in front, and the bird kept intermittently going behind it.

-- hide signature --

Q with 02 zoom and Nikkor 180/2.8 ED for birding
K10D, Sig 17-70, DA 55-300, FA 50/1.4 "billy bass"
discards: DA 50-200 "zipper", F 100-300, Sigma 135-400 "piglet", M 400/5.6 "the Great Truncheon"

 paulkienitz's gear list:paulkienitz's gear list
Pentax Q Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA* 300mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye +3 more
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