Confused - For Wildlife, what's the rational for the 400 f/4.5

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
EricK214 Senior Member • Posts: 1,378
Re: Confused - For Wildlife, what's the rational for the 400 f/4.5

michaeladawson wrote:

Jeff Klofft wrote:

I can see the utility of the 400 f/4.5 for sports, but for wildlife it seems like for larger mammals the 100-400 would be better as you need the flexibility and for smaller things (like birds) 400 seems too short. At least that's been my experience, but I curious how other see things.

I sort of see the point of your question. But what I don't quite get is why you see a distinction between sports and wildlife. I get the point about flexibility of a zoom. But I don't see why sports somehow doesn't benefit from the flexibility of a zoom. Or why wildlife shooters can't make use of the extra 2/3 stop and shallower DOF of the fixed 400.

There is a pretty large distinction between sports and wildlife photography for camera and lenses. Choosing a lens for sports, you generally setup your position in relation to where you know where your subjects will be. NFL, Baseball, motorsports and Olympics. in this manner you will be shooting at a known distance in most cases. You can choose the lens focal length that will fill the frame or fill it to the point you want. This is also why sports cameras are usually lower MP FF sensors (lower pixel density), smaller files sizes for uploading on the fly, better low light performance and no cropping needed. This is why I would never shoot with a low MP (20-24) on a FF camera, just no real croppability, at 20-24mp, it would have to be an APS-C for the pixel density or a FF 45MP+ sensor.

Wildlife on the other hand you need a lot of reach most of the time and your subjects are the absolute LEAST predictable. Your location/Distance is rarely ever predetermined. Getting close enough is harder and harder the shorter the focal length without a blind. With bird photography, even large raptors can be difficult to get close enough even with 500mm, nevermind 400mm or less.

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Wildlife/BIF Hunter: Nikon Z9 is my weapon of choice, the 500mm f5.6 PF is my ammo.

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