I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
Monica727
Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

I recently bought a Nikon d3400, and have been having a wonderful time photographing wildlife.  Mostly birds.  I then decided to invest in a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens, since I was frustrated that I couldn't get closer to my subjects.  I am also really enjoying the lens.  I still would like a little extra zoom, but am wondering if I will lose anything in image quality with the 1.4x teleconverter.

I'm pretty new at this.  I just really enjoy photographing wildlife.  I am an artist, and have a good eye, but not quite enough experience yet.  I am shooting mostly in Shutter priority, since my subjects are often moving.  I'm still working the kinks out of getting nice sharp images.  I just ordered a monopod to help with stabilization.  Any advice is appreciated.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
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Nikon D3400
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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,659
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Monica727 wrote:

I recently bought a Nikon d3400, and have been having a wonderful time photographing wildlife. Mostly birds. I then decided to invest in a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens, since I was frustrated that I couldn't get closer to my subjects. I am also really enjoying the lens. I still would like a little extra zoom, but am wondering if I will lose anything in image quality with the 1.4x teleconverter.

In general a TC is only worth using on a good lens , which yours is. However, a 1.4X TC reduces the effective f-stop by 1 stop, so at the longest focal length (where you want the extra reach) your maximum f-number will be about f/9. Many cameras have difficulty with auto focus at small maximum f- numbers and, while your D3400 is s decent enough camera it is at the low end of capability as far as auto focus is concerned.

I'm pretty new at this. I just really enjoy photographing wildlife. I am an artist, and have a good eye, but not quite enough experience yet. I am shooting mostly in Shutter priority, since my subjects are often moving. I'm still working the kinks out of getting nice sharp images. I just ordered a monopod to help with stabilization. Any advice is appreciated.

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Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 19,319
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?
7

In general with wildlife photography, and especially bird photography, the benefits of using longer and longer lenses decrease because of atmospheric haze which reduces image quality at distances over 50 yards or so.  Really serious wildlife photographers will always try to get as close as possible by shooting from hides or cars or by using their fieldcraft.  The very best shots will often be taken from surprisingly short distances.

If you want to shoot small birds at longer distances for identification purposes, consider getting a small sensor bridge camera like a Nikon P900 or shoot through a telescope (called "digiscoping").

So I would suggest that you forget about the 1.4x TC, enjoy your lens and find places where you can get closer to the animals.

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Chris R

 Chris R-UK's gear list:Chris R-UK's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +4 more
Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Thank you...that is helpful.  If I were to consider upgrading the camera, what model would you suggest?  I do like Nikon.  I have been happy with the d3400, and I don't have a huge budget (the lens pretty much maxed me out on what I had planned on spending), but if I find I really want that extra reach, and want to be sure the AF works well, can you make a suggestion?

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
beagle1 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,760
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary.. 1.4x teleconverter

Monica727 wrote:

I recently bought a Nikon d3400, and have been having a wonderful time photographing wildlife. Mostly birds. I then decided to invest in a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens, since I was frustrated that I couldn't get closer to my subjects. I am also really enjoying the lens. I still would like a little extra zoom, but am wondering if I will lose anything in image quality with the 1.4x teleconverter.

I'm pretty new at this. I just really enjoy photographing wildlife. I am an artist, and have a good eye, but not quite enough experience yet. I am shooting mostly in Shutter priority, since my subjects are often moving. I'm still working the kinks out of getting nice sharp images. I just ordered a monopod to help with stabilization. Any advice is appreciated.

I photograph birds with a Canon mirrorless and the Sigma 150-600 "C" (and other lenses.    I would suggest buying a teleconverter from one of the large NY camera retailers - they have a 30 day return policy so you can see if using a teleconverter / extender significantly degrades image quality

www.flickr.com/photos/mmirrorless

Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?
1

Thank you for your input.  I have been watching and photographing a bald eagle pair nesting in the next county over from mine, and I can't get closer than, say, 200 yards.  I've been a little frustrated with the image sharpness.  I've been shooting at shutter speed 1/1000, with my camera choosing the aperture.  I haven't been sure if my "soft" images are due to lack of knowledge, slight camera shake when I press the shutter, the AF getting "confused" due to very nearby branches, or if it's just all I can expect from the setup I am using.  I did read online that my Sigma 150-600 can get "soft" when fully extended at the 600 range, so I backed it off a bit.  The images are nice, and not by any means "blurry"...they just don't show the really close detail I was hoping to get.

In the case of the eagles, getting closer might disturb their nesting, so I wouldn't want to try to approach.  I have gotten decent shots in the Delaware Water Gap area in a kayak when I was able to get closer to perched eagles there.

I think you are right...I need to just enjoy the "hunt" of finding places to get closer to the animals.  I live in an area where the opportunity is pretty abundant.  If I had endless money to spend on camera equipment, I'd probably go full-out on a more professional "rig", but alas, that is not my life!

I just want to know that I'm doing the best I can with what equipment I have.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,659
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Monica727 wrote:

Thank you...that is helpful. If I were to consider upgrading the camera, what model would you suggest?

I wouldn't. The sorts of upgrade available to you are:

1 Move to full frame. Apart from the expense this immediately reduces the reach of your lenses so it's obviously a non runner.

2 Move to a higher spec APS-C camera. Again, pretty expensive and the higher specs are more about convenience of control than other things. Yes a, a D500 will focus better in all kinds of conditions; but at (FF focal length) 1260/9 it's unlikely to be much good.

The fact is that unless you spend a fortune on lenses that are natively longer than 600mm you've reached your limit.

I do like Nikon. I have been happy with the d3400, and I don't have a huge budget (the lens pretty much maxed me out on what I had planned on spending), but if I find I really want that extra reach, and want to be sure the AF works well, can you make a suggestion?

You've already read and replied to Chris's post so you are aware of the problems inherent in shooting at very long distances. I find it hard to believe that anything longer than (in FF terms) 900mm will be of any value.

But if you are determined to try anything longer I think your best approach is to buy a small sensor superzoom camera. In most circumstances they are a long way behind bigger-sensor cameras but this is the one situation where they can offer advantage.

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Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 19,319
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Monica727 wrote:

Thank you for your input. I have been watching and photographing a bald eagle pair nesting in the next county over from mine, and I can't get closer than, say, 200 yards. I've been a little frustrated with the image sharpness. I've been shooting at shutter speed 1/1000, with my camera choosing the aperture. I haven't been sure if my "soft" images are due to lack of knowledge, slight camera shake when I press the shutter, the AF getting "confused" due to very nearby branches, or if it's just all I can expect from the setup I am using. I did read online that my Sigma 150-600 can get "soft" when fully extended at the 600 range, so I backed it off a bit. The images are nice, and not by any means "blurry"...they just don't show the really close detail I was hoping to get.

In the case of the eagles, getting closer might disturb their nesting, so I wouldn't want to try to approach. I have gotten decent shots in the Delaware Water Gap area in a kayak when I was able to get closer to perched eagles there.

I think you are right...I need to just enjoy the "hunt" of finding places to get closer to the animals. I live in an area where the opportunity is pretty abundant. If I had endless money to spend on camera equipment, I'd probably go full-out on a more professional "rig", but alas, that is not my life!

I just want to know that I'm doing the best I can with what equipment I have.

You might want to post one of your shots of the nesting bald eagles on the Nature and Wildlife forum.  Say that you are shooting from about 200 yards and ask if that is the best that you are going to get from that distance.

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Chris R

 Chris R-UK's gear list:Chris R-UK's gear list
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Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?
1

Thanks....I think I got the answers I needed to hear.  I think my expectations just exceed my budget in this regard.  I can't expect "National Geographic quality" images unless I am going to spend way more, and those kinds of images are obtained by long hours of waiting and strategy of where to place yourself.  I am just going to enjoy what I have and try to find places where I can get closer to animals.  I do love the outdoors, so it's a win-win.  I may get a photography blind.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
baloo_buc Forum Pro • Posts: 10,130
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?
2

Your body already struggles at f/6.3. With that teleconventer at 600 mm the aperture would be f/9. Only high end bodies can use f/8 for AF in anything than full sunlight.

So a bad idea.

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Victor
Bucuresti, Romania

 baloo_buc's gear list:baloo_buc's gear list
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Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Thank you.  I appreciate the help.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
davecac Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Would like to see a sample of your photos. CAC

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Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

I will post some tonight.  I am at work right now....later

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 10,387
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Chris R-UK wrote:

In general with wildlife photography, and especially bird photography, the benefits of using longer and longer lenses decrease because of atmospheric haze which reduces image quality at distances over 50 yards or so. Really serious wildlife photographers will always try to get as close as possible by shooting from hides or cars or by using their fieldcraft. The very best shots will often be taken from surprisingly short distances.

If you want to shoot small birds at longer distances for identification purposes, consider getting a small sensor bridge camera like a Nikon P900 or shoot through a telescope (called "digiscoping").

So I would suggest that you forget about the 1.4x TC, enjoy your lens and find places where you can get closer to the animals.

I had a hard time taking decent bird shots on my country property. The wild life there was really ...wild so with several of those I could never get close enough to get some good detail.

Now back to civilisation, I can get to about 6-7 meters away from this kestrel because he can see people going by all day long. (it's only 30cm long)

Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

I started photographing wildlife at the end of last summer.  I only have a few months under my belt.  I'm hoping to improve my results this spring and summer.  I have been practicing on birds that don't move so fast!

I was about 100 feet away from these swans.  The bald eagles are challenging.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 10,387
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

funny looking swans you have there...

the other day I caught them practising for Swan Lake

Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Here is an example of the shots I took of the nesting eagles .  It's hard to estimate the distance correctly.  Maybe 150 yards.  I'm just not getting the detail I was hoping for, but maybe it's the best I can aspire to under the conditions.  The swans were only about 100 feet away, and of course, much easier subjects.  I'm sure I have a long way to go!

The day I took these swan pictures, it was overcast.

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
Monica727
OP Monica727 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Its hard to pass by swans and not photograph them!  They are incredibly beautiful creatures!  I'm just enjoying myself, but I'd like to get good results too!  I'm more about the photography experience than the results though.  I get a buzz off of happening upon wildlife and grabbing some photos

 Monica727's gear list:Monica727's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 10,387
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Monica727 wrote:

Its hard to pass by swans and not photograph them! They are incredibly beautiful creatures! I'm just enjoying myself, but I'd like to get good results too! I'm more about the photography experience than the results though. I get a buzz off of happening upon wildlife and grabbing some photos

I took the photo of the pair only because those two have had that spot for themselves for the last few weeks. They are very much in love.

Those black swans are very common here so I don't even try to take some better shots (cause they are always there...) , one day I counted 330 .

But I do shoot some very common birds too...

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,659
Re: I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary..is the 1.4x teleconverter worth getting?

Monica727 wrote:

Here is an example of the shots I took of the nesting eagles . It's hard to estimate the distance correctly. Maybe 150 yards. I'm just not getting the detail I was hoping for, but maybe it's the best I can aspire to under the conditions.

It won't make a lot of difference but using the full 600mm of your lens would help a bit.

The main problem I see in this picture is that focus is on the twigs in front of the bird. That's not surprising if you used auto focus because AF will pick out the highest contrast in the are area covered by the AF sensor. And the sensors on your camera are crosses that are significantly bigger than the dot that shows in the viewfinder.

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Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

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