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Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

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  • #16
    Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

    Originally posted by PeterBirder View Post
    I now have a "frozen" left shoulder as a result of using mine hand held too much
    Me too - keep doing the exercises! My frozen shoulder took more than 12 months to get to the point where it didn't bother me much. Although I still get twinges, I now have full movement in it... I sold my Bigma a couple of years ago.
    Brian

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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    • #17
      Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

      The 70-300 is a very good beginner lens and you can get some nice shots with it. But my god can it be frustrating, the AF isn't very good (its also a 1:2 macro without a focus limiter switch), its not bright wide open which makes you use some pretty grainy ISOs or more likely, you end up with motion blur.

      That said, the Bigma isn't that much of an improvement. Soft from 400-500mm, IQ is about the same as the 70-300 and apertures are really low.

      None of this stops you from getting a bunch of really nice shots, but you're also gonna miss A LOT of shots.

      As for getting closer, you need to develop better birding technique. Most of those NatGeo pictures are taken with full frame cameras that have a joke for a range (how much was that Canon 600mm f/4?). We already have a lot of advantages with the 2x crop sensor and deeper depth of field.

      The 70-300 doing what it does best:



      E-M1 mk II
      12mm f/2 | 17mm f/1.2 | 17mm f/1.8 | 25mm f1.8 | 45mm f1.8 | 9-18mm | 14-150mm

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      • #18
        Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

        The 70-300 is sharp (although some feel the sharpness falls off a bit at 300mm) but I have found that you need to be careful of ghosting in very bright conditions, which is probably a consequence of less exotic anti-reflection coatings in what is, after all, a budget lens.

        Personally, I would be cautious about using an EC-14 on the 70-300 as it pushes the brightness down into diffraction softening territory, especially at the long end, but as has been demonstrated here it can work

        The 70-300's other weakness is slow (and noisy) focusing but if focus is near correct the slowness isn't a great problem. If it starts to hunt though the long focus travel is frustrating thanks to the lens being a macro as well.

        Ian
        Last edited by Ian; 18th September 2013, 08:59 AM. Reason: Meant 70-300 and not 75-300
        Founder and editor of:
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        • #19
          Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

          I once owned a Bigma and used it with an E30 and E5, then I changed to a 300mm f2.8 and the difference in IQ was, as expected, remarkable. I have since owned a 50-200mm which I used with the EC14 and was very pleased with the performance of this combination as I missed fewer shots due to it's lighter weight and mobility. I now use the m4/3 75-300 and it gives amazing results considering it's size and weight. I would never go back to a Bigma as it feels quite unwieldy and the extra reach it gives is to a certain extent nullified by the lower IQ compared with other options IMO.

          Maybe my bias but I don't reckon any of the above give images up to the standard I can get with the 20 year old design Canon EF 400mm f5.6 using MF on the E-M5.

          David
          PBase Galleries:-http://www.pbase.com/davidmorisonimages

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          • #20
            Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

            Peter Drury (local to me) has great success with BIGMA

            http://www.imageinuk.com/Test-Images...14738585_TaEJP

            He also posts details of his chosen settings

            I found the BIGMA too heavy and sold it on to our Keith

            I can recommend hire of the big lenses from Ian - after all why would you want £4,ooo sitting on a shelf in your Den for 36 weeks a year ?

            IF the new m4/3 75-300 is any good with the OM-D EM-1 it will knock spots off these heavy lenses and £'s too I suspect In more than just the £cash but also 1/3rd of the weight Lb's

            Personally, I find a tripod or monopod too restricting - but then I am *rap at Bif and probably using a 'pod too
            .
            .
            [I].
            .
            I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
            Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...


            http://www.flickr.com/photos/photomagicf1_chevvy/sets/

            the ONE photo album

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            • #21
              Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

              Originally posted by David Morison View Post

              Maybe my bias but I don't reckon any of the above give images up to the standard I can get with the 20 year old design Canon EF 400mm f5.6 using MF on the E-M5.

              David
              .
              .
              [I].
              .
              I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
              Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...


              http://www.flickr.com/photos/photomagicf1_chevvy/sets/

              the ONE photo album

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              • #22
                Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                Originally posted by Ian View Post

                The 75-300's other weakness is slow (and noisy) focusing but if focus is near correct the slowness isn't a great problem. If it starts to hunt though the long focus travel is frustrating thanks to the lens being a macro as well.

                Ian

                Ian, did you mean 75-300 ??? or 70-300
                .
                .
                [I].
                .
                I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
                Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...


                http://www.flickr.com/photos/photomagicf1_chevvy/sets/

                the ONE photo album

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                • #23
                  Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                  Originally posted by Chevvyf1 View Post
                  Ian, did you mean 75-300 ??? or 70-300
                  Sorry - we're discussing the 70-300

                  Ian
                  Founder and editor of:
                  Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                  Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                  Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                  Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)

                  Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
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                  • #24
                    Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                    An interesting thread developing.

                    I pretty much eradicated the focus hunt at 300mm by focusing at the lower end first and then half pressing the shutter button as I increased the range steadily.

                    Slower but quieter and more effective.
                    Thanks
                    Tim

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33153464@N07/

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                    • #25
                      Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                      There are two things here.
                      • The quality of the kit
                      • The ability of the photographer


                      I think that's probably wide enough to catch everything

                      This guy has both in spades:
                      http://marcopesaresi.com/

                      I think I could source his equipment for about £8,000. But his talent? I don't think so.
                      Brian

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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                      • #26
                        Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                        Originally posted by Ian View Post
                        The 70-300 is sharp (although some feel the sharpness falls off a bit at 300mm).

                        Ian
                        Agreed, an example below; For this shot I was rock solid leaning against a tree and the lens was against the side of the tree too so no movement. Its a nice record shot but it hasn't got the wow factor regarding detail or sharpness. Its nearly there but not quite.

                        Jay Dothill by Tim J Preston, on Flickr

                        I have had some success at full stretch but limited. My very best results have come 15-20ft from the subjects at around 200mm with a crop. This usually results in nice feather detail.

                        It also struggles (might be me) with white birds such as Swans and Herons. It has a tendency to blow whites. This is something I never fathomed out. I even practiced on a white football I put at the bottom of the garden with no joy

                        What impact would the EC14 have on the 50-500 has that been tried/shown?
                        Thanks
                        Tim

                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/33153464@N07/

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                        • #27
                          Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                          Originally posted by timmypreston View Post
                          It has a tendency to blow whites. This is something I never fathomed out. I even practiced on a white football I put at the bottom of the garden with no joy
                          Do you use exposure compensation?
                          Brian

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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                          • #28
                            Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                            Originally posted by Ian View Post
                            Sorry - we're discussing the 70-300

                            Ian


                            PHEW ! Thanks for this the 75-300 is one of the lenses I order with the EM-1
                            .
                            .
                            [I].
                            .
                            I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
                            Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...


                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/photomagicf1_chevvy/sets/

                            the ONE photo album

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                            • #29
                              Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                              Originally posted by bilbo View Post
                              There are two things here.
                              • The quality of the kit
                              • The ability of the photographer


                              I think that's probably wide enough to catch everything

                              This guy has both in spades:
                              http://marcopesaresi.com/
                              Ability includes talent, but that's not all. IMO, wildlife pictures are less about the talent, and more about simply putting in the work.

                              A lot of the work in wildlife pictures means sitting out there on the field at 5:30AM waiting for something to happen. Or tracking animals for hours, until you get close enough or they do something interesting. Often in cold and rain. Or building a hide and playing the waiting game. And sometimes you come back with nothing to show for.
                              E-M1 mk II
                              12mm f/2 | 17mm f/1.2 | 17mm f/1.8 | 25mm f1.8 | 45mm f1.8 | 9-18mm | 14-150mm

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                              • #30
                                Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                                Originally posted by Edman View Post
                                Ability includes talent, but that's not all. IMO, wildlife pictures are less about the talent, and more about simply putting in the work.

                                A lot of the work in wildlife pictures means sitting out there on the field at 5:30AM waiting for something to happen. Or tracking animals for hours, until you get close enough or they do something interesting. Often in cold and rain. Or building a hide and playing the waiting game. And sometimes you come back with nothing to show for.
                                Agreed.
                                Brian

                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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