Wildlife photography

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 4,320
Re: Wildlife photography

It's not an easy choice, which is both good and bad. For awhile, there will be that nagging question, "Is the other one better?" That's the bad. The good is that we really do have several good quality long consumer zooms available at affordable prices. Whichever lens you choose will be capable of being used to make some very fine photos. There may be a better choice - a lens that's a better fit for your needs - but there is no wrong choice.

Personally, I chose the 200-500 over the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary and gen 1 Tamron 150-600. The Sports version of the Sigma was tempting, but I didn't want the extra weight or slower maximum aperture...or the extra cost. The Contemporary and the Tammy offered a bit more reach but the f/5.6 maximum aperture and optical quality advantage of the 200-500 won out. It's also a Nikkor and, as a Nikon shooter, that was appealing.

I was upgrading from a 70-300mm so, the 67% increase in maximum focal length was a huge boost. I opted for the faster aperture because I'm frequently out before sunrise and, again, late in the day until after sunset. The more light I put on the sensor, the better the image quality will be. This assumes I'm filling the frame and not having to crop, much.

Since getting the 200-500, the top issues I've worked on are knowing my subjects, improving my choice of locations and developing my field craft. I do this with the dual goals of being nearer my subjects and having them in consistently good light.

Typically, I'm at the 500mm end of the zoom. However, there are times when I'm not. It's not my norm but is definitely nice to be in the 250-400mm range, on occasion. That often translates as the subject being near, filling the frame and making a good quality image.

So, what time of day will you be out shooting? If typically from midmorning to midafternoon, the f/5.6 aperture of the 200-500 may not be that big an advantage.

Will you be using a blind to conceal your presence, or water or feeders to attract birds to your yard? If so, the additional 20% reach of a 150-600 may not be that big an advantage.

I might suggest you think about the various features of the lenses you're considering and prioritize them according to your sense of your needs. Then, pick the lens that seems the best fit. None of these are bad lenses. You can't make a wrong decision.

Best of luck to you.

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

 Bill Ferris's gear list:Bill Ferris's gear list
Nikon D610 Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD +3 more
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