Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions
rogerstpierre
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to phil_t, May 29, 2013

phil_t wrote:

I purchased a shoe-mounted red dot sight from brando.com.  Once sighted in, it works well in getting my Q1 + DA 60-260mm aligned (1200+mm equivalent at the long end).

Wildlife Photography with Tactical Four Reticle Sight Product Code: GGMIS001900

Very interesting gadget.  I'm thinking though, is that a good idea to point a laser at a bird's eye, which is where you'd want to focus ?  What is the laser rating ?  Does the instruction manual warnings stipulates not to point at eyes ?

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Tan68
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to rogerstpierre, May 29, 2013

I also thought it was a laser sight... I had the same concerns plus one that the photographer may be arrested if he is near an airport.

In a thread a few months ago, I learned it is just like gun sights.  With a shorter barrel.  I suppose you align it like you would the lower magnification sight alongside an astronomical telescope.

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Barry Pearson
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to Tan68, May 29, 2013

Tan68 wrote:

I also thought it was a laser sight... I had the same concerns plus one that the photographer may be arrested if he is near an airport.

In a thread a few months ago, I learned it is just like gun sights.  With a shorter barrel.  I suppose you align it like you would the lower magnification sight alongside an astronomical telescope.

See my photo of one on a K-5IIs just above at:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51543869

It uses an LED, not a laser! See Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dot_sight

The light isn't projected forward towards the subject. It is reflected back towards the photographer's eyes, and gives the appearance of a red dot (or green or various other reticles) in the scene, and that is where the camera+lens is pointed. (Or perhaps 4 inches higher than where they are pointed).

I've only used it indoors so far, but it appears to have merit.

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Tan68
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to Barry Pearson, May 29, 2013

ok.  i still had a misunderstanding.  i didn't realize light was involved.  i thought it was a painted sight.

has it been difficult to sight in ?

(i figure the alignment can be adjusted with little set screws...  or do you just get a feel for the position of the light versus actual point lens covers..?)

((when i had an old meade or tasco or whatever telescope, it was nearly impossible for me to properly adjust the little sight on the side.  there were 6 set screws.  3 in front and 3 toward the back))

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JohnXLondon
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to Barry Pearson, May 29, 2013

Try taking a look at this article. The author is a soldier and uses techniques used to steady weapons;

http://wwwDOTpentaxforumsDOTcom/reviews/long-exposure-handhelds/introduction.html

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JohnXLondon
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to JohnXLondon, May 29, 2013
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Barry Pearson
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to JohnXLondon, May 29, 2013

JohnXLondon wrote:

Try taking a look at this article. The author is a soldier and uses techniques used to steady weapons;

http://wwwDOTpentaxforumsDOTcom/reviews/long-exposure-handhelds/introduction.html

See my original post. My main problem is acquiring and tracking the subject with a lens with a narrow field of view. (The Sigma 500mm is equivalent to a 750mm lens in 35mm terms).

I find it very hard to point the camera+lens at a bird in flight so that the bird is in the field of view. Then I find it very hard to keep it within the field of view while I fire 10 or more shots.

The weight of the lens is another problem. Long experience tells me that my limit for sustained hand-holding is a one kilogram lens, but the Sigma is a three kilogram lens.

The above article is about hand-holding for long exposures. That is a different problem. Also, the lens in the articles looks rather like my (one kilogram) 60-250mm f/4, which I have little trouble with. The Sigma lens is physically about twice as long as the 60-250mm when the latter is at the 60mm position. Some of the hand positions in the article appear impossible with the Sigma lens.

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Barry Pearson
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to JohnXLondon, May 29, 2013

JohnXLondon wrote:

There's also this;

http://www.photographyblog.com/articles/how_to_hand-hold_a_telephoto_lens/

How do you hold a camera + three kilogram lens in your right hand while you bring your left hand across your chest? (I can't do it by holding the camera!)

Once I managed to get my arm across my chest, (while having to also use use that arm to help support the lens), I found that too much of the lens was forward of my left arm to be stable, because it is far longer than the lens in the photo.

The article talks of a "450mm equivalent" lens. The Sigma is a 750mm equivalent lens.

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Barry Pearson
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Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens
In reply to Tan68, May 29, 2013

Tan68 wrote:

has it been difficult to sight in ?

(i figure the alignment can be adjusted with little set screws...  or do you just get a feel for the position of the light versus actual point lens covers..?)

I haven't sighted it in properly yet. It appears to converge too close, so I will have to raise the sight to be about parallel. I think I will only have to do this once. I will be happy if the center of the sensor always points about 4" below the dot. I don't think I will need to take into account different distances.

There are screws that are adjusted by Allen keys. But the fitting into the hot shoe has sideways slack in it before it is tightened up, and I think it will have to be re-sighted horizontally each time it is fitted to the camera.

I'll give more information when I've had some field experience.

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