For Greyser - handheld HB shots with single flash

Started Mar 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP SanMat Senior Member • Posts: 2,859
Re: For Greyser - handheld HB shots with single flash

Hi Greyser,

Thanks.  I did also see this review of the Sigma 500mm f/4.5 (nikon mount) where the guy talks about using it with the better beamer.

It's not really usable with my short distance setup, since it basically shoots right over the subject if it's attached to a shoe mount flash.  Haven't tested much but I think I need to be at least 15-20 feet away to get the focal point and beamer flash point in sync (or attach a bracket so I can adjust the flash downward a bit more).

I'm on the Bay side in the Bay Area so I don't get too much fog so I haven't felt the need to use flash that often either.  I do remember the sunshine of So Cal, but when I lived in Santa Monica I just didn't do a lot of nature/bird photography.

As for the switch, it's been a mixed blessing.  Glad that I have done a fair amount of work with separate systems.  The reason I switched was business-related (portraits, events etc.). Yes - I could have done most of what I do with Pentax, but I got tired of waiting for specific lenses and better flash system (for client assignments it's also helpful to know that any local store will have Nikon accessories if there is a need).  My two-camera system now is the d300s/d700.  In the Nikon universe I guess those are getting a bit old, but they're very good cameras.  The main compromise with the d300s is that the sensor is not in the same league as the K5.  I need to keep most shots at ISO 800 or lower.  IMO all other aspects of the camera are a bit better (AF accuracy, speed, etc.).  For ISO, the D700 is just the opposite - I've been able to stretch that to ISO 8000-10,000 and been able to print with those files.

If I decide to completely separate my nature setup, I am looking at the K5 IIs, plus (possibly) the Sigma 500mm 4.5 or something similar.  Right now my long lens for the Nikons is the 50-500 Sigma, which is good, but a bit of a pain to handle (and usually needs to be stopped down to f/7.1 or f/8). The new 560mm lens looks interesting but not interesting enough to me.  I'd rather wait for an updated version of the 500 f/4.5.


Greyser wrote:

Hi Peter. Thank you for posting this. I use flash very rarely. However, once, shooting a mourning dove on my fence almost in the dark, I noticed that birds do tolerate a flash blast very well. For some reason they are not scared at all.

I shoot now 500/4.5 almost exclusively. And there is a very common set up among the birders: Long tele (500-600mm) plus Better Beamer, which simply expands the reach of the flash. I noticed that the set up is quite common for the British shooters, most likely due to the often gloomy weather.

I'm still OK in bright Southern California, but some day, who knows, I may get into better beamer use myself.

Thanks again for sharing,


P.S. Now I know why I don't see much of your brilliant hummingbird shots anymore. How do you like your Nikon endeavor so far?

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