These darn bald eagles are going to cost me $1500!!

Started May 17, 2009 | Discussions
Adam Rogers
Regular MemberPosts: 315
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These darn bald eagles are going to cost me $1500!!
May 17, 2009

Ok, this bald eagle and his mate seem to enjoy hunting near my house.

First, this series:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1021&message=31803197

And then again tonight my wife said he was back (I wasn't home). This time gnawing on a fish he caught in the lake behind my house.

I only have a 70-200 f/2.8 + 1.4x TC. I need more. Especially if this bald eagle is going to camp out here for a few months. I'm thinking the next step is a 300mm f/4 with the 1.4x TC I already own.

I also ordered a Better Beamer flash extender.

What kind of settings should I set on the SB900 for use with the Better Beamer?

I'll be at around 50-100 feet away with 420mm (300+1.4x).

clknight
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,107
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Re: These darn bald eagles are going to cost me $1500!!
In reply to Adam Rogers, May 17, 2009

Adam Rogers wrote:

I'm thinking the next step is a 300mm f/4 with the 1.4x TC I already own.

I don't think 100mm is worth that. It's not much of a difference at all. You're probably better off spending some $$$ on a blind to get closer to the action. I don't know anything about the area you're shooting in, but you might want to consider that.

I recommend: http://www.naturescapes.net/store/product.php?productid=150

What kind of settings should I set on the SB900 for use with the
Better Beamer?

I'll be at around 50-100 feet away with 420mm (300+1.4x).

That's close. You're probably going to have to back off a good bit on the Flash Exposure Comp. Otherwise, you'll get overexposed shots and scare the eagles away. With my 580 EX II, the combo is VERY powerful. Very, very, powerful.

Also, the package will tell you to set the flash GN=50.

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rgolub
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Re: These darn bald eagles are going to cost me $1500!!
In reply to Adam Rogers, May 17, 2009

Focus speed with a 1.4 and the 300 f/4 is likely to be on the slow side unless the light is very good. My 300 f/4 is fairly soft wide open, I have to get to f 5.6 - f8 before it's really sharp. With the extender, you of course lose a stop.

I've had variable success with the Better Beamer and eagles. I don't know if it scares them off, but it at least annoys them. They are rather mobile so they tend to move somewhere else.

My best success has been with low angle light (typically near sunset) to show off the undersides of the wings and birds. So some time spent in a blind might do you more good than a new lens. Unless of course you can spring for a 400 2.8. I suppose you could leave the lens in the blind so your wife wouldn't know.

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 rgolub's gear list:rgolub's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +12 more
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allenelc
Regular MemberPosts: 174
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Maybe not a lens
In reply to Adam Rogers, May 17, 2009

I don't know as you didn't state otherwise but if you have only the D700/D3 FF camera you might consider a D300, used or new, which will be about the same money as the 300 f4 lens and it will make your 70-200 f2.8 an equivalent 105-300mm and STILL f2.8 and with the 1.4TC you're up to 420mm equivalent FF focal length with loss of only one stop. You'll have a very capable backup body to boot.

I have D300 and D700 and for wildlife my 200-400VR is almost always on the D300. The two camera sensor formats make any full frame lens in your kit "two" lenses.

Have fun. AC

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Adam Rogers
Regular MemberPosts: 315
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That is a great idea!
In reply to allenelc, May 18, 2009

allenelc wrote:

I don't know as you didn't state otherwise but if you have only the
D700/D3 FF camera you might consider a D300, used or new, which will
be about the same money as the 300 f4 lens and it will make your
70-200 f2.8 an equivalent 105-300mm and STILL f2.8 and with the 1.4TC
you're up to 420mm equivalent FF focal length with loss of only one
stop. You'll have a very capable backup body to boot.

I have D300 and D700 and for wildlife my 200-400VR is almost always
on the D300. The two camera sensor formats make any full frame lens
in your kit "two" lenses.

Have fun. AC

That's a great idea. Wish I hadn't sold my D300 body when I got the D700!!

What about a D90. It's a little less expensive and it appears that the only drawback of the D90 vs D300 is the 4.5fps vs 6fps. Any other reason to go for the D300 over a D90?

I also like that the D90 is smaller.

What about the battery grip I have.. is that compatible with the D90?

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mcq67
Regular MemberPosts: 382
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Don't feel bad, hummingbirds cost me
In reply to Adam Rogers, May 18, 2009

$4600 when I purchased my 300 2.8vr! Damn birds! It is like a virus!

Jay

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allenelc
Regular MemberPosts: 174
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Re: That is a great idea!
In reply to Adam Rogers, May 18, 2009

Well, the D300 was my first Nikon DSLR so I kept it when I got the D700. I like the similarity in controls, common battery and CF card but you could easily get use to using a D90 and a D700 I'm sure. For that matter the new D5000 with the same basic sensor as the D90 should make great images and make a light carry-around unit in addition. You will be restricted to 12-bit NEF files but for many this isn't an issue. I shoot 14-bit but many don't believe there is a discernible advantage. I'm seriously thinking of getting a D5000 once it's been out for awhile if it turns out to be as competent as it appears.

Glad you like the thought. Have fun. AC

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