Light lens for birding?

Started Jun 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
paulkienitz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,289
Re: Light lens for birding?

paulkienitz wrote:

kipling wrote:


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.

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.

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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"

 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 +4 more
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