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

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  • 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"

  • #2
    Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

    Take a look at http://www.mikeatkinson.net
    "Who is watching the Watchers, watching the Watchers watching us"

    Its not what you see, it's the way that you see it"

    Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/photofxstudios

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    • #3

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      • #4
        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
        Thanks
        Tim

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

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        • #5
          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
          chris
          shetland

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          • #6
            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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            • #7
              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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              • #8
                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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                • #9
                  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.
                  It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it.

                  David M's Photoblog

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                  • #10
                    Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                    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....
                    chris
                    shetland

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                    • #11
                      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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                      • #12
                        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.
                        hearts at peace under an English heaven

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                        • #13
                          It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it.

                          David M's Photoblog

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                          • #14
                            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.

                            Regards.
                            Peter

                            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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                            • #15
                              Re: Do I need a Sigma 50-500 for bird photography?

                              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.
                              Ross
                              I fiddle with violins (when I'm not fiddling with a camera).
                              Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ross-the-fiddler/
                              Cameras: OM-D E-M1 & Mk II, Olympus Stylus 1, OM-D E-M5.
                              Lenses: M.ZD7-14mm f2.8 PRO Lens, M.ZD12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens, M.ZD40-150mm f2.8 PRO Lens, MC-14, MC-20, M.ZD45mm f1.8, M.ZD12-50, M.ZD60 Macro, M.ZD75-300 Mk II, MMF-3, ZD14-54 II, Sigma 150mm F2.8 APO Macro DG HSM.
                              Flashes: FL36R X2, FL50R, FL50.
                              Software: Capture One Pro 10 (& Olympus Viewer 3).

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