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  #31  
Old 18th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

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Originally Posted by timmypreston View Post
What impact would the EC14 have on the 50-500 has that been tried/shown?
You need good light and I was using a monopod with this one.Total focal length of 708mm.



Also it's at f10 so in diffraction territory,wide open I think it's f9.1.
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  #32  
Old 18th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?



Not a bird but from my gallery. Either monopod or car roof - which explains the silly 1/80th speed. But my first UK black squirrel and I was more focussed on that than settings which had been OK for the deer a few minutes earlier.

And this one hand held but with the 1.4 teleconverter at a more reasonable 1/100th ??! when I saw the plane I just shot a few and got this. I called it 'fly me to the moon'.



This is a lens I look forward to using on the EM1 as my first try out wasn't conclusive but it did hit focus. And I don't find it heavy.

And occasionally I do shoot birds at more sensible speeds this at 1/640. And both the kestrel and I was ...cold



But it is once again like the sigma macros ...not an easy lens to find...

regards

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  #33  
Old 18th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Thanks to everyone for posting. I have found this thread most helpful. Lots of good advice with excellent examples of lenses in action. Well written post by PeterBirder -very grateful. I cannot agree more Bilbo it is about technique and quality equipment with patience being a key element. Having always been interested in birds recognition is not really a problem however, taking photographs of them is a different matter!! I had decided to purchase a 70-300 lens but the 50-200 is now also a possibility. The Bigma is still of interest but I do not really want a frozen shoulder.
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  #34  
Old 18th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?



50-200 SWD plus EC14. One of a handful of bird photos I used AF for. I was testing the EC14.
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  #35  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I am wondering if there is somebody who had the chance to compare 70-300 with 75-300 II on the same body (E-M5 or PEN).

Acording to DXO, 75-300 II has better sharpness than 75-300 I or even 100-300. So 75-300 II looks like a very good choice for an m4/3 user, but still wondering how it is compared with 70-300.

To comment a bit to this topic, at low budget probably the best choice is 50-200 + EC-14. It will produce good pictures even at 100% and the focal length is long enough for wildlife.
70-300 is sharp but only when the subject is close. This means, pictures sharp at 100% you can get only if the subject is a few meters away.

Never used Bigma but even soft at 400-500, probably it is interesting because it produces very blurred backgrounds (good separation of the background).

On amazon.com there is still available a new Sigma 300-800mm for Olympus. I think the focal length is exagerated for an 2x crop, but the lens itself is not bad at all.
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  #36  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

I have just come to this thread a bit late but would endorse whats being said. Using long lenses is not easy. There are two further issues that need to be considered if you get a bigma.

The first is you will need a very sturdy tripod and head (read £300 plus).

The second is you will need to understand depth of field DOF.

A bird such as a finch taken at 4m and 500mm f6.4 will give a DOF
Depth of field
Near limit 399.5 cm
Far limit 400.5 cm
Total 1.07 cm

A bird such as a finch taken at 4m and 500mm f8 will give a DOF
Depth of field
Near limit 399.3 cm
Far limit 400.7 cm
Total 1.34 cm

This is what a finch looks like at circa 4m with a bigma and at 500mm 1/400s f9 ISO640



A bird such as a finch taken at 4m and 200mm f6.4 will give a DOF
Depth of field
Near limit 396.4 cm
Far limit 403.7 cm
Total 7.24 cm

Source http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Clearly focusing will be very very challenging with the 500mm so you can see that sometimes it may be better to take wider pictures and crop.

The question asked was do you need a bigma for birds and the answer is no, but if you like challenges and can afford it then go for it.

My personal recommendation is if money is tight then the 70-300mm is really good and will help you hone yours skills. I would not recommend teleconverters you can get as good results stopping down and cropping.
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  #37  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

With all the talk about BIF on another thread I thought you may like to see this image of a Marsh Harrier (much cropped) taken four years ago with a Bigma on the E30. Shows that even a discontinued camera with the lens at full reach can still do it AF wise.



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  #38  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

@David Morison
Great capture but a bit blury. Need to know if is 100%, wich focal lenght was and wich aperture.

I caught same bird at much better quality with 70-300. For me, 70-300 works for BIF only If I keep the zoom less than 200mm. If I go to 300mm, 90% pictures are soft (maybe because of a combination of small DOF and slow AF).

Maybe the same rule applies to BIGMA (zoom out for BIF).

@Birdboy
It's impossible to use Bigma at 500mm + F/5.6, because the maximum aperture is only F/6.3 and the lens is sharp from F/8.0 only.

Same problems with tiny DOF even when using 50-200 if the bird is very close. I shot birds even from 1.5 meters. No problem with AF, but a problem with not having everything in focus.
In practice, I did not found F/4.0 usable on my 50-200 because of the small DOF. I prefered to use F/5.6 for static subjects and F/7.0 for BIF.

Ussually who wants BIGMA, wants it for birds to wich you cannot get close. So it will shoot from minimum 10 meters away (or probably 20-30 m) and will stop down to F/8.0.
I did not shoot with BIGMA, but shot with 50-200+EC-20. DOF was small in deed but never had problems with it because I stoped down to F/9.0.
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  #39  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katran View Post
@Birdboy
It's impossible to use Bigma at 500mm + F/5.6, because the maximum aperture is only F/6.3 and the lens is sharp from F/8.0 only.
Thanks for spotting that katran. One of todays senior moments. I have now corrected the figures but the principle still applies. Its the focal length, aperture and subject distance that determines the DOF. I have come to prefer using my 50-200mmswd at f3.5 for this type of shot than the bigma.

The finch at 4m 200mmFL and f3.6 gives
Depth of field
Near limit 398 cm
Far limit 402 cm
Total 4.06 cm

So using a wider focal length and stopping down (if the lens supports it) will give a working DOF.
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  #40  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

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Originally Posted by katran View Post
@David Morison
Great capture but a bit blury. Need to know if is 100%, wich focal lenght was and wich aperture.
Around 70% crop, 500mm, f6.3, 1/1000th. You'll not get anything sharper from a Bigma.

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  #41  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

@birdboy
I also prefere 50-200, eventualy EC-14. I do not have problems to get close.


Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morison View Post
Around 70% crop, 500mm, f6.3, 1/1000th. You'll not get anything sharper from a Bigma.
David
If you stay at 300mm-350mm and F/8.0-9.0, I tempted to think that you would get much sharper BIFS.

Did not used BIGMA, but with 50-200+EC-20 at F/9.0 and 300-350mm I got better BIF than you with Bigma. This is a crop at 100%:
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1552/EC-20-F_04.jpg

And I believe that Bigma is sharper than 50-200+EC-20.
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  #42  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

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Originally Posted by katran View Post
@birdboy
I also prefere 50-200, eventualy EC-14. I do not have problems to get close.



If you stay at 300mm-350mm and F/8.0-9.0, I tempted to think that you would get much sharper BIFS.

Did not used BIGMA, but with 50-200+EC-20 at F/9.0 and 300-350mm I got better BIF than you with Bigma. This is a crop at 100%:
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1552/EC-20-F_04.jpg

And I believe that Bigma is sharper than 50-200+EC-20.
I posted the image of the Marsh Harrier taken on the Bigma to demonstrate the results that can be had.

I do agree that the 50-200mm plus EC14 will give much sharper results than the Sigma at 500mm but then the image needs to be cropped for the same magnification and at this point the IQ difference is considerably reduced.

I see no reason to encumber oneself with a large heavy 50-500mm zoom lens only to restrict the use to no more than 350mm, if you are doing this then obviously the 50-200mm plus EC14 is the better option. I sold the Bigma some time ago as I was only using it at 500mm and there were other options which would give me better results.

The 70-300mm that has been mentioned earlier is an excellent lens but with limitations, I have had two different copies and found the AF difficult for faster moving subjects so they were mainly used manually for macro.

Your Buzzard certainly shows quite a lot of softness and CA as may be expected with this combination, but I am surprised at the limited DOF considering it was taken at f9, my 40 year old Pentax 500mm plus 1.4x can give a good image without that degree of softness and CA - this 100% crop was taken from 120 metres at f11:



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  #43  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Really helpful information from members yet again. I visited your link DavidMorison - quality work. Well worth a visit. Thanks Katran and Birdboy a wealth of information. I am becoming more interested in the 50-200 mm. How superior is the 50-200 SWD over the non SWD?
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  #44  
Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlockwood View Post
Really helpful information from members yet again. I visited your link DavidMorison - quality work. Well worth a visit. Thanks Katran and Birdboy a wealth of information. I am becoming more interested in the 50-200 mm. How superior is the 50-200 SWD over the non SWD?
Only had the SWD but I think it is just a matter of AF speed. If I bought another one to go with the E-M1 it would probably be the non-SWD version.

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Old 19th September 2013
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Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

This is as good as it gets with Bigma+EC-14 at full stretch:

E-30, Monopod, close to minimal focus, almost full frame

I use the Bigma quite often with EC-14, usually set to F10. As has been pointed out many times, IQ has it's limitations, but what else can get you the reach, if you want it?!
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