Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
Roy Kikuta Senior Member • Posts: 1,597
Re: Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Eric88Nikon wrote:

there are however 2 caveats to this:

  1. the 500mm focuses closer and this means something when the bird starts to get super friendly and wanders towards you. At times like these, birders using 600mm can sometimes find that they have too much glass and simply can't take the shot if there is no room to back up...

Yes - It really happens! This friendly fella decided to check me out and walked steadily closer until he was well inside my 500/f4 minimum focus distance. Excuse the poor quality of the photo - I was too rattled to maintain any semblance of cool.   Next time, I'll have a second body with a zoom.

I'm not saying this is practical, but..... I know a dedicated bird photographer who uses a 600/f4 + close-up ring on a gymbal/tripod system in a camouflaged blind to get frame-filling photos of small songbirds at less than minimum focus distance (i.e., 10~15 feet).  Essentially, he's pre-focused on a flower bloom and then patiently waits for a bird to land on that flower to feed on its nectar.

There'll be situations where neither 500 nor 600 is optimum - it's good to have a backup plan

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