Advice on new lens for wildlife photography

Started Nov 8, 2018 | Questions thread
Morris0
Morris0 Forum Pro • Posts: 16,292
Re: Advice on new lens for wildlife photography
1

Erwin86 wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm quite new to this forum (although I've been reading it longer than I'm registered as user), but I hope you guys can help with some advice.

I'm currently shooting with a Nikon D7000 plus an AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED as telezoom. This combination has been fine for years for me, but since I visited some national parks in Canada and USA I'm getting more and more attracted to wildlife photography. The 70-300 is a bit short on focal length plus image quality drops quite badly above 200mm. That's why I'm looking for a new lens.

I mostly shoot larger animals like deer, elk, bears etc, and sometimes also birds (not really birds in flight though).

I already did a lot of research on which lens to choose, but there are just so many pro's and cons for each that I really can use some help from more experienced users. However, I reduce my selection to the following options now:

- Sigma 150-600 Contemporary (or the Tamron 150-600 G2)
Pro: a lot more focal length, not that pricey, good quality according to reviews ; cons: heavy, not really fast)

- Tamron 100-400 (or the Sigma version, but Tamron seems to be a bit better)

Pro: Light in weight (only a bit heavier than my 70-300), easier to carry in a camera bag, good quality ; Cons: in terms of focal length not a big improvement (although in quality it is a lot better I think), not really fast.

- Tamron 70-200 G2 with TC-X20

Pro: Great quality, fast without TC and still F/5.6 with TC (which is better than the other two at 400/600mm), dual purpose since it can replace the 70-300 as well for shorter focal lengths ; Cons: IQ gets worse with TC, a lot heavier than my 70-300, perhaps too short for wildlife.

I also considered the Nikon 200-500 and Sigma 150-600 Sport, but those become just to heavy for me. I think I won't take them out that much just because of the weight. The Nikon 70-200 F/2.8 also crossed my mind, but is way too expensive for me.

The best option for me would be the Tamron 70-200, because I can use that as normal telezoom (without TC) as well. My 70-300 isn't really fast and that 70-200 would be a big step forward. I also use the range of 70-200 very often, for example when shooting at a zoo or something like that. However, I really doubt if the 70-200 with TC can match the IQ of the other 2 options at 400mm.

Do you guys have any advice on this or perhaps other suggestions? Thanks in advance!

There is no substitute for reach.  The Tamron 70-200 is a great portrait lens and the fast constant f2.8 aperture is a delight.  In the national parks there will be times when it's enough yet there will be plenty when it's not enough.  Adding a 1.4x TC should provide great results though focus will likely show a bit. 2x TC's frequently result in lower that desirable IQ.  Have you seen samples and read trusted reviews of this combination?  It is also only 400mm so the reach problem comes into play.

If you can go to a camera store with your camera and try your final choices out.  The low light in the store will show you how the lens will operate at dusk and dawn.  Do not purchase on the spot.  Look at the sample photos you take at home on your computer monitor and then decide.

Morris

 Morris0's gear list:Morris0's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Samyang 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C XF 90mm +11 more
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