Advice about BIF combination D500

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
lokatz Senior Member • Posts: 1,456
Re: Advice about BIF combination D500

htimm1948 wrote:

What would you advice for handheld Birds in Flight in combination with the D500.

D500 with Tamron 150-600 G2 (well balanced combi)

D500 with Sigma 150-600 C (also well balanced)

D500 with Sigma 150-600 Sports

D500 with Nikon 200-500

I like the extra reach of the above three combinations.

I don't mean to be overly negative, but to me, the image shot with the Tammy G2 another poster shared only illustrates the issue with this lens: it is pretty decent overall, but not that great at 500mm and above. In 100% view, nothing is really sharp in that example pic.

Of these lenses, I have owned the 200-500 (also on a D500), extensively tested the Tammy G1 and G2, and studied numerous reviews of the remaining ones published by others. Almost all my bird pics are shot handheld, by the way.

From a performance standpoint, which for BIF I define as the combination of center sharpness and AF speed/accuracy, I see the ranking as follows (best-to-worst): Sigma Sports, Nikon, Tamron G2, Sigma C, Tamron G1. I upscaled images from the Nikon to 600mm in Photoshop so as to compare apples to apples, and they were still sharper than the Tamron G2's.

I would actually add the Sigma 60-600 to the list in second place, just ahead of the Nikon, though I don't yet have a complete enough picture of that lens. Example pics I saw were pretty amazing.

Problem is that this ranking also reflects almost the exact order of weight and price. The Sigma 150-600 S and 60-600 are HEAVY and fairly expensive. I could not see myself using either of them handheld for any extended period of time.

The Nikon is not exactly lightweight but lighter, which IMO is what makes it so popular. To me, the Nikon is the best compromise in this group. Others will feel differently, I'm sure. I would not use the older Tamron or the Sigma Contemporary - they're just not as good.

My personal choice, with which I am extremely happy, was to buy the Nikon 500 PF, a lens that is both light and high performing, but that's an investment not everyone is prepared to make.

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