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Old 17th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Originally Posted by Hemlockwood View Post
I have learned so much from members on this forum. I have purchased a number of lenses!! I am at last seeing improvement in technique and quality. I have been very impressed with TimmyPreston and his macro work and others too numerous to mention. I have also noted the splendid bird shots by members. I would like to try bird photography and wondered what lenses members would recommend. If anyone has a bigma 50-500mm for sale I would be very interested in purchasing. I have missed one opportunity already. Perhaps members will persuade me that I do not need the "beast"
I would offer the following thoughts.

Firstly you say you "would like to try bird photography". This suggests to me (perhaps wrongly) that at this stage you don't yet know too much about birds. As well as the purely photographic knowledge and skills needed for this type of photography you will need to develop knowledge of birds, their habitats and behavior. In particular you will also need to learn some fieldcraft and have plenty of patience.

You may note from Tim's post that he has spent two years developing his skills and has only now invested in a "Bigma". If you have not previously used "long" telephoto lenses you will find this in itself is something that needs practice to be able to get the best results. I came back into photography after a long break as a result of my bird watching interest and eventually bought a "Bigma" after, like Tim using the 70-300 and used it successfully with an E-510 and E-600 but it took time and practice to get the results I wanted.Another factor to consider, I found (the hard way) is that the "Bigma" is a heavy beast. I now have a "frozen" left shoulder as a result of using mine hand held too much and have moved to micro four thirds. This is, in my case no doubt partly an "age thing" but worth bearing in mind.

My advice FWIW would be to start with the 70-300 then add the 1.4 TC and then move on to the "Bigma" when you have gained the necessary skills/experience. The 70-300 is IMHO an excellent lens for wildlife in general with the ability to close focus giving "near macro" close up opportunities.

This may sound a bit negative but is based on my personal experience and of course I may be totally wrong in my assumptions about you and your experience.

I would be delighted if you are able to enjoy bird photography and the enjoyment of birds as I do but saddened if you were to "jump in at the deep end" as it were and be put off by initial lack of success.


she looked at me and said "It's official. I hate your camera. It's just so amazing and perfect I want one!"

E-M10 MK II, E-M5, E-PL1, E-PM2, mZ 12-50, mZ 14-42mm EZ, mZ 17mm f 1.8, mZ 25mm f1.8, mZ 45mm f1.8, mZ 75-300mm II.
OM1n, OM 50mm f1.8.
Oly Viewer3, Dxo Pro 11. FastStone.
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The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to PeterBirder For This Useful Post:
dogsbody (20th September 2013), Hemlockwood (18th September 2013), Pierre L (18th September 2013), timmypreston (18th September 2013)