Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
Dr Bob
OP Dr Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
Re: Tricky comparison...

JimPearce wrote:

In my opinion the D7100 works out very well for BIF (buffer notwithstanding), but with the 300 f2.8 VR and not the 80-400. The simple reason being that you can't open the aperture far enough on the 80-400 to shoot at one stop lower ISOs (equivalence). And of course if you can reach the bird with 400mm and an FX camera you'll often be too close and crowding the viewfinder with a DX camera.

The tripod comparison is even trickier, but at the end of the day the reach with a D800 on a 600 f4 slightly trumps the reach with the D7100 on a 500 f4. You can simply crop deeper with the D800 and 600 f4. I think this is partly due to the camera and partly the lens - the 600mm f4 resolves a little more. With the 500 f4 I think you do gain some reach with the D7100, but in low light situations where you'd shoot nearly wide open with FX (especially with a TC) you can indeed run into difficulties shooting DX. Which is why I still think the best solution for you is the 600 f4.

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Jim, I understand what you are saying. I've recently bought an 800E to add to my D600 and am tending to shoot in 1.2 crop mode (to reduce file size - as I always crop anyway). I have found though I do have to keep a very close eye on framing as maybe 20% of the time I am having to swich back to FF (shooting a lot of gulls at the moment). That does put me off a 7100.

Overall I am leaning towards the 600mm. One option is to find a used one and then if I dont like the size and weight, I can always trade it in for a new 500mm.

Take care

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 Dr Bob's gear list:Dr Bob's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G +1 more
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