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Old 17th September 2013
Hemlockwood Hemlockwood is offline
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Smile Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

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

Take a look at http://www.mikeatkinson.net I know the guy is a canon user but he has a lot of useful info on his site regarding lens quality and techniques.

If you are really serious about high quality bird photos, Olympus has some top quality Super High Grade lenses in their line up for Birders ie 300mm F2.8 5,689.00 expensive I know, but it delivers superb results, plus the 90-250mm F2.8 4,485.00. These lenses are available for hire from Ian at a reasonable price might be worth trying out a lens for a week it might be an eye opener for you

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

Tom
Thanks for the link. I will certainly spend some time on this site. I am not sure my wife will allow me to purchase a lens for 5000 though The results with quality equipment certainly shows.
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Old 17th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I have used the 70-300 on its own for birding but I used to get frustrated, quickly, because it never seemed to be quite long enough.

Then I bought an EC14 and coupled them together, this brought me great results and when you get it right the images are sharp, very sharp. You do have to get fairly close though and it gets a little frustrating sometimes when the AF hunts. It is also a very competent macro lens. This combination you should be able to get for £360 used and I would highly recommend it for its versatility.

I have only had the Sigma for two days and have yet to use it in anger properly. I have spent two years working with my 35mm and I think I've mastered it now. Thanks for the compliments.

I have bought the 50-500 as the next part of my photography journey, a new challenge. My main use for it is going to be birds and so far I am very impressed with the results in poor light, it's been raining since I got it so I can't wait for a bit of sunshine.

These are images taken with my 70-300mm and EC14

Robin Portrait Dothill 08092013 close by Tim J Preston, on Flickr


Stonechat Female by Tim J Preston, on Flickr


Robin Dothill by Tim J Preston, on Flickr


Wheatear by Tim J Preston, on Flickr

I would say you can get great results within 40-50ft with this combination. I'm not really in a positin to say too much about the Sigma apart from I feel a bit more of a grown up photographer
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Old 17th September 2013
crimbo crimbo is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I agree that for hand held ( with a tripod is better) that 70-300 and the EC-14 is a good combo. At the long end the 70-300 is a little soft and there is not much range to stop down before diffraction softening sets in.
But Timmy shows what can be done with a little application and patience...
.... and ' t'wife' might not object too much to the cost
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Old 17th September 2013
Hemlockwood Hemlockwood is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Thanks Tim. Nice shots. Really like the Wheatear. The combination you describe may be the answer for shorter distances and I intend getting a 70-300mm. I live near an estuary - lots of sea birds. I have been watching a couple of Little Egrets. They are very difficult to get within 40-50 ft. I really want to take a shot with the wow factor. The Sigma 50-500 is within my price range.
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Old 17th September 2013
Hemlockwood Hemlockwood is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Crimbo
I am impressed with the quality of Tim's shots because I was aware of the problems you describe. You are indeed correct justifying the cost of a lens with my wife can be problematic.
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Old 17th September 2013
Chrisspencer Chrisspencer is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I have a 70-300 going cheep.... open to offers :-)

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

There's a lot of manual focus primes I'd look for before a Sigma.
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Old 17th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
There's a lot of manual focus primes I'd look for before a Sigma.
Yes, if you are happy with manual focusing
also I have found that the older manual primes have a lot of chromatic aberration.
Different strokes for different folks....
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Old 17th September 2013
Hemlockwood Hemlockwood is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

David
Can you suggest any lenses that may be suitable? Price will be a factor. I note crimbo's comments.

ChrisS

I will send you a PM. Thanks
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Old 17th September 2013
sponner sponner is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I'm not coming at this from a birding pov. I had a 70-300 then a 50-200 than a 1.4 tc. As soon as I got the 50-200 I got rid of the 70-300, there is just no comparison and i didn't notice a hit when using it with the 1.4 tc (albeit for a short time)

Whether this is long enough for birding I have no idea.
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Old 17th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I'm using my OM 300mm f/4.5 for handheld/BIF, purchased new in '85. I used to have an EBC Fujinon 600mm f/5.6 purchased used for 300. I sold it for 700 after showing the buyer a selection of photos in field guides and magazines taken with it. There's also several variations of the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5, some with IF and ED glass.
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Old 17th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Quote:
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.

Regards.
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Old 18th September 2013
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Ross the fiddler Ross the fiddler is offline
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterBirder View Post
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.

Regards.
I can personally testify to having a lack of success, feeling the frustration of it, but locations & opportunities become apparent with certain birds together with the lighting being right, so sometimes I can get some nice shots. Of course we are spoilt here with the bird life around us but there are other skittish birds I haven't really got great (or any) photos of yet & that just takes patience, perseverance & learning to use the equipment in hand for the conditions presented.
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