Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 14,088
The V1 killed my lust for a 500F4

While trying to improve birding shots, I went through various lenses, including 80-400af-d, 300F4+1.4tc, and 80-400g.  I was working up to a 500f4, but could never justify the price. (I'm not even a birder).   The 500F4 would still not be long enough for small birds, but looked like it was the maximum lens size that was still vaguely portable in a reasonable manner.

And then I bought a V1 and FT-1 adapter.   Note that at the time I had two 12mp cameras (D300 and D700).

The V1 suddenly made my 300F4 an 810F4.   Adding the 1.4TC made it 1134mm equivalent.   Suddenly I had *REACH*!

Plus it was extremely affordable and easy to carry.

On the other hand.... 1134mm still wasn't enough reach for all the small birds, and frequently when it was enough reach, by the time I actually found them in the viewfinder, a difficult process with such a small field of view, the bird often took off.   Putting the combo on a tripod (Gitzo 3550) helped, but any bit of wind on the legs instantly caused massive blurring, obvious in the LCD.

Consequently I tend not to use the 1.4tc as it's just so much more difficult to shoot at that focal length.  If 810mm isn't enough, then I need to get closer, or give up on that shot.

I'd still like to put a 500vr on the end of my D800e, and also my V1 and V2.   I just don't feel like spending $8000 for one.   The V1 and V2 are quirky, limited cameras in the field, but at least I can get certain type of shots at long ranges with them, without the effort of carrying a monster lens around.

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