Wildlife photography

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
Dave7878 Forum Member • Posts: 94
Wildlife photography

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife.  I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C.  A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach.  I will most likely be cropping most of my shots.  Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

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Nikon D7500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3
Nikon D7500
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jazja Regular Member • Posts: 450
Re: Wildlife photography
1

The most important thing when photographing birds is patience.

Regarding the lenses.

I would choose a nikon 200-500?

Why?A little better aperture.

Easier to carry and hold in your hand.

And I trust Nikon more than sigma

AlbertTheLazy
AlbertTheLazy Veteran Member • Posts: 7,971
Re: Wildlife photography
4

Personally I would consider the 'reach' difference between 500 and 600 mm to be fairly insignificant.

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PhotoTeach2 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,598
Re: Wildlife photography
1

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

How much money do you have ???

A cheaper way to get (really-long) wildlife is a smaller sensor camera.

Nikon P900-1000 has 2000-3000mm-EFL.

OP Dave7878 Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: Wildlife photography
1

I had thought about a P900 but I thought that I read the image quality is not as good as a DSLR.

 Dave7878's gear list:Dave7878's gear list
Nikon D7500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3
Mark_A
Mark_A Forum Pro • Posts: 14,959
Getting close is the secret imo
2

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

People seem to rate the Nikon 200-400

But I think the key issue for wildlife photography is having a strategy for getting close to animals so you can get decent images.

If you look in the wildlife forum here you will see people taking various strategies for this.

Mark_A

robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 6,075
Re: Getting close is the secret imo

I'd ask in the wildlife and Nikon specific forums.

I also think Tony Northrup may have had a video on lenses for the D7500, so you might check there. Although maybe it was only the really $$$$ ones.

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 10,951
Re: Wildlife photography

have you considered the weight and size difference ?

For example , your Sigma 100-400mm is 1160g, the Nikon 200-500mm without the tripod collar is 2090g.

I find , walking about, my 1200g or so Tamron 200-500mm to be already a bit of a pain and that is why I did not bother looking at the 2kg something lenses.

This is a size comparison between the 100-400mm and the 150-600mm Sigma

I am not discouraging you from looking at the longer lenses but pointing out something that may not have been considered.

( yesterday I met a birder using one of the Sony RX10. He also has a Pana 230 (bridge camera) as well as a Nikon with a 200-500mm. To him they all have some limitations , it just happens that yesterday he opted for the Sony)

David5833 Senior Member • Posts: 1,112
Re: Wildlife photography

There is typically never enough focal length for birds, so most other things being equal, 500 is better than 400 and 600 is better than 500.

I have a D7500 and a Nikon 200-500. The Nikon is an excellent and relatively affordable lens, but, all things considered (size, cost, quality), I'd probably go for a Tamron 150-600 if I wanted the longest decent lens I could get without mortgaging the house.

However, 400mm is very usable and if you go to where the birds are or if you get them to come to you, you should get some good photos. Something will always be farther away than you would wish.

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PhotoTeach2 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,598
Re: Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I had thought about a P900 but I thought that I read the image quality is not as good as a DSLR.

It is only a 1/2.3" sensor so it is indeed not as good, (especially in lower light), and its AF is slower.

But it cost a lot of money to even get to 400-500mm with FF/DX/APS-C.

And it is impossible to get to 2000-3000mm (w/out severe cropping in time-consuming PP).

So considering you can GET a 2000-3000mm-EFL image, I suggest its iQ is better than higher IQ on an impossible image.

Go to the Nikon Coolpix forum and get other opinions.  It is indeed NOT a "great" camera, but it is "unique" at what it does.

A compromise could also be the RX10-IV, it has a 600mm-EFL @ f/4 and VERY FAST AF, ("C"-AF @ 25fps).  Its 1"-type sensor is 4X larger than the 1/2.3".

For the best "value" ... there is the FZ-1000 w/ 25-400mm-EFL @ f/2.8-4.  It can have digital-zoom to 3200mm, (but much lower resolution) .... BUT ... the best VALUE @ < $500.

lokatz
lokatz Senior Member • Posts: 1,456
Re: Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

I've been in your place for quite some time. Had a Sigma 100-400, which is a great lens but as you say, too short. Extensively researched and tested several longer lenses. Bought a Nikon 200-500. Loved it for its extremely good sharpness in the center, which gave me better cropped shots than a Sigma 150-600C or a Tamron 150-600 (G1 or G2) did. Hated the Nikon's weight since hand-holding it for any extensive period is tough. Sold it and bought a Nikon 500 PF, which I love but is another level of commitment financially.

I assume you don't want to spend that much. In that case, the Sigma 150-600 Sport (not Contemporary!), Nikon 200-500, and Sigma 60-600, and Tamron 150-600 G2 are the only lenses I would consider. The order listed reflects the image sharpness as I see it. The first three are heavy, with the Nikon being the lightest in this group. The Tamron is easier to carry and not too bad IQ-wise, though not quite in the same league.

600mm vs 500mm matters quite a bit, but the Nikon's center sharpness is so good that it makes up for that. As I see it, your choice therefore comes down to how frequently you move the lens around. If you shoot a lot from a tripod/gimbal, or if you love weight lifting, go for one of the heavier lenses. If you hike a lot, get the Tamron.

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John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 22,171
Re: Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I had thought about a P900 but I thought that I read the image quality is not as good as a DSLR.

When you zoom out, this is mostly true; you will have more noise and less background isolation (deeper depth of field) than the potential with a DSLR with a much larger sensor and larger entrance pupils at wider angles of view.  If you really need the long end, though, especially with the P1000, you are pretty much getting what would be a 16MP crop from the center of a good 520mm FF sensor with a good 539/8 lens.  You might be using a lens with a larger entrance pupil on a DSLR to crop from it, but you won't be resolving it like that.

Cavig1 Regular Member • Posts: 490
Re: Wildlife photography
1

lokatz wrote:

600mm vs 500mm matters quite a bit, but the Nikon's center sharpness is so good that it makes up for that. As I see it, your choice therefore comes down to how frequently you move the lens around. If you shoot a lot from a tripod/gimbal, or if you love weight lifting, go for one of the heavier lenses. If you hike a lot, get the Tamron.

I agree with everything the previous poster wrote, including the above. With the exception of the last sentence. The Sigma C will also give really good results and save almost 2 pounds over the S versions. And the price is hard to beat!

Good luck and good light 👍

Cavig

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NikonNature Veteran Member • Posts: 3,873
Re: Wildlife photography
1

First off, 400mm isn't bad, so there is no harm in shooting with that for a while. Work on your skills at tracking birds and getting sharp images. If your passions grows, then look at upgrades.

All of the best options have been listed. If you can handle the price, the 500mm PF is light and sharp. Otherwise, I would consider the 200-500mm, or any of the 150-600mm's from Sigma or Tamron.

I have the 1st generation Tamron 150-600mm, which would likely be considered weaker than any of the other offerings, yet I have had good success with it over the last four years. I nearly always shoot hand held and the weight is not an issue. The Sigma Sport is noticeably heavier and is probably better suited for tripod use.

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beagle1 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
_________________ Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

I use a sigma 150-600 'C' on a Canon mirrorless for wildlife and birds

www.flickr.com/photos/mmirrorless

G Rothwell Regular Member • Posts: 338
Re: Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

I have both the Nikon 200-500 and the Sigma 150-600 C, my partner and I both enjoy wildlife photography.

There really isn't much difference between them.  If I could afford to by a significantly better lens e.g. 500mm f/4 it would be the Nikon that I would sell.

The Sigma is noticeably lighter and easier to hand-hold, but do get the docking station and take the time to get your lens calibrated.

Also 400mm v 500mm (once cropped to the same final image size) might just about be noticeable, 400 v 600 would be a clearer (but still only small) difference.

regards

Graham

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Monster Photography New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Wildlife photography

nikon d7500 Build and optical quality are better than the price would indicate. It is small and lightweight with impressive sharpness and contrast through most of the zoom range and apertures. However, I returned the lens to Adorama because the sharpness and contrast were noticeably lower at 400mm. Unlike other reviewers that saw the softer edges and corners at 400mm, I found the center, edges, and corners to be softer at 400mm. The lens appeared to be well centered with all corners looking the same. The IQ was not good enough at 400mm and I would use 400mm most of the time for wildlife shots. The stabilizer and focus worked well. I want to be able to print large in the quest for that special shot so I do pixel peep.

John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 22,171
Re: Wildlife photography

Monster Photography wrote:

nikon d7500 Build and optical quality are better than the price would indicate. It is small and lightweight with impressive sharpness and contrast through most of the zoom range and apertures. However, I returned the lens to Adorama because the sharpness and contrast were noticeably lower at 400mm. Unlike other reviewers that saw the softer edges and corners at 400mm, I found the center, edges, and corners to be softer at 400mm. The lens appeared to be well centered with all corners looking the same. The IQ was not good enough at 400mm and I would use 400mm most of the time for wildlife shots. The stabilizer and focus worked well. I want to be able to print large in the quest for that special shot so I do pixel peep.

If you are talking about the Sigma 100-400/6.3, then you must have had a defective copy.

Mine was surprisingly sharp on an APS-C camera (haven't checked the corners or edges of FF).

lokatz
lokatz Senior Member • Posts: 1,456
Re: Wildlife photography

John Sheehy wrote:

If you are talking about the Sigma 100-400/6.3, then you must have had a defective copy.

Mine was surprisingly sharp on an APS-C camera (haven't checked the corners or edges of FF).

Same here: my Sigma was very sharp in the center and still above average in the (DX) corners.  Didn't test it on FX.

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khunpapa
khunpapa Senior Member • Posts: 2,638
Re: Wildlife photography

Dave7878 wrote:

I have mostly taken pictures of landscapes and my kids playing sports, but would like to get into wildlife. I am using a D7500 and the longest lens I have is the Sigma 100-400C. A lot of the wildlife around me are smaller birds so I was considering purchasing a Nikon 200-500 or a Sigma 150-600 for the extra reach. I will most likely be cropping most of my shots. Do you think it makes sense to purchase a longer lens for wildlife and if so, which lens do you think would be better.

If I were you, I'd try the second hand Nikon 1 (& adapter) first. With it your (100-)400 would behave like the 1000mm. Better image quality than Pxxx.

You'll have the AF problem. The Nik1 & F lens quarrel to each other since Nik1 is born til the day it dies. The 1000mm EFL also has a lot of AF problem in itself too, same as the other ultra-long telephotos. The unperceptable movement may cause the lens aiming point move 2-3 inches away.

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