Advice on new lens for wildlife photography

Started Nov 8, 2018 | Questions thread
OP Erwin86 Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Alternate / 2-phase approach for you to consider...
1

dwa1 wrote:

Erwin86,

I was glad to see your reply here today. Welcome to the DPR forums.

Thanks!

I have an alternate / 2-phase approach for you to consider.

BG info...

Since reach is so important (especially with birds)... Know that MP density for cropping reach is more cost-effective than fast glass. This is provided that the lens being used is capable of great IQ / sharpness with accurate AF, fast SS and with good support when appropriate.

I hope I understand what you mean with MP density. I think you mean that having more MP means you can crop a bit more. For example the D7200 has around 14% more megapixels, which means 300mm on a D7200 equals around 345mm on a D7500 when you are cropping the D7200 image to D7500 size?

I went from a 12 MP D300 to a 24 MP D7100. Later, I then replaced my "no longer needed as a backup" D90 with a refurb 24 MP D7200 (for the AF Fine Tune and the much larger shot buffer). The cropping reach is amazing (given the above conditions / parameters). Now I shoot with 2 body lens combos: D7100 with a Sigma 150 f2.8 macro and the D7200 with the Nikon AF-P DX 70-300 VR.

Going from your 16 MP D7000 to a 20.9 MP D7500 is not much of a jump.

Nikon's new AF-P 70-300 lenses are far superior to their previous AF-S model - which you know is really like having a 70-220 lens (soft over 220 through 300). These new AF-P models are all sharp at 300mm, have very fast, smooth, quiet AF. The 2 DX models are feather-weights and (imho) are way under-priced.

So consider this 2-phase approach to getting more reach, great IQ in a light-weight rig...

Phase 1 - While you save up for Nikon's new 500 f5.6 PF light-weight lens, replace your D7000 with a refurb D7200 instead of a new D7500. Then get one of the new AF-P 70-300 lenses. I would recommend the FX version due to the slightly higher IQ, f5.6 at 300mm and for the physical VR switch. The DX VR model (which I have) does not have a physical VR switch - requires a Menu VR Switch - D7200 firmware update did not include this Menu VR Switch. D7500 and D500 have the Menu VR Switch. I would get the FX version or the DX (non-VR version).

Phase 2 - When you have the funds, buy Nikon's new (and quite impressive) light-weight 500 f5.6 PF lens.

Having a 70-300 lens that is sharp at 300mm wide open with a 24mp APS-C sensor will give you a great low-cost reach option as an interim solution until you can get the 500 f5.6 PF lens. Having 70mm at the wide end will also come in handy at times.

Make sure that you learn to use RAW files - not JPGs. Otherwise, you will be losing way too much detail in each capture. Feather / fur detail are much desired elements in wildlife images. Most photogs always try to get the eye / eyes in sharp focus. The extra cropping reach pixels also give you more flexibility for rule-of-thirds framing in the editing phase.

Just my thoughts and experiences based on the info that you have provided to us so far.

Good luck with your gear choices and I hope this helps in some way.

Wayne

This would definitely a good option for some people, but I’m afraid not for me. The 500mm PF is on sale in The Netherlands (where I live) for € 3.999 which for me is just way too much. My wildlife shootings aren’t that professional and that much that I want too spend that amount of money. The same actually also counts for the 80-400 which is around € 3.000.

Most of my photography will still be regular landscape, city and travel stuff. I want to do more wildlife photography as well, but it’s not something I do every week (maybe not even every month). Where I live there are a few national parks, but not with the amount of animals you find in US national parks like Yellowstone. I like to visit those parks in the US for holiday, so my gear also goes with me on an airplane. For that reason weight and size is important to me. Also where I live I need to walk mostly a few miles to get to the best spots.

For that reason the M4/3 seem like a great solution for me, because I can carry more and better gear with the same weight and size as my current gear. In my opinion the best camera and lenses are the ones you actually use every day. The weight and size of a DSLR with some big telezoom will in the end be a big con for me.

 Erwin86's gear list:Erwin86's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 OIS WR +2 more
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