Telephoto lenses -- Question

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#1
Northern California
7,053 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
I have a Nikon D7200 with a 55 to 300 zoom lens. which I have been using to shoot wildlife (whales, bears, etc. and calving at glaciers) I am toying with the idea of getting either a Nikon 200-500 or a Tamron 150-600 mm lens. My question is, is getting the new lens really worth the expense, and am I going to get more spectacular type of shots? Also, If you have examples of taking pictures with the more powerful lenses, I would like to see them.
thank you
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Karen

http://www.shutterfly.com/lightbox/v...#1367718572321 (Mis. Alaska photos -2008, 2011)

http://s657.photobucket.com/albums/u...railingspouse/ (Alaska 2012)

https://millenniumalaska2014.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2014, 2010, 2009)

https://millenniumalaska2015.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2015)

https://radiancealaska2016.shutterfl...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2016)

https://alaska2017princessandhal.shutterfly.com/ (Alaska 2017)




#2
835 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
The top link below your signature takes me to a sign in page, and since I don't have a Shutterfly account, I cannot see your photos. I could not get to the second link either.

I have a Nikon D500 (recently upgraded from D7000) and I love photographing wildlife. My go to lens for wildlife is the Tamron 150-600. I love how close it brings me to wildlife. But then again, I'm shooting on land (with tripod and gimbal head) and not in a boat photographing whales or calving glaciers.

There is one major drawback to the lenses you mention. They are difficult to handhold (especially for long periods of time) and you may need to invest in a sturdy tripod and head. Using a tripod or even a monopod on a boat for photographing whales would be near impossible with the way whale action happens all around. If I took a trip to Alaska I would leave my 150-600 home and take my 18-300 instead.

Although I know a couple of photographers (both women) that use a 200-500 and a 150-600 and only handhold them, a better option for you might be a teleconverter. I have no experience using them, but I know you will loose a couple stops of light. If possible, you might rent one for a few days and see if it works for you.

Hopefully, others on this board can offer better advise.
#3
Northern California
7,053 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Thank you. I was also looking at the 18-300 and I think I am leaning towards that lens. Your comments have been very helpful.
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Karen

http://www.shutterfly.com/lightbox/v...#1367718572321 (Mis. Alaska photos -2008, 2011)

http://s657.photobucket.com/albums/u...railingspouse/ (Alaska 2012)

https://millenniumalaska2014.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2014, 2010, 2009)

https://millenniumalaska2015.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2015)

https://radiancealaska2016.shutterfl...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2016)

https://alaska2017princessandhal.shutterfly.com/ (Alaska 2017)




#4
Ireland
74 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
If you want to get the longer lens you could get a monopod rather than a tripod to help support it. I do a lot of sports photography and everyone pitchside uses monopods to support their longer/heavier lenses. A monopod allows far more mobility than a tripod, and if you're doing any hiking it can double as a walking stick. Just make sure to get a decently sturdy one. The only time I use a tripod is when I'm using my longest lens in high winds on the coast or if I'm doing video.
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#5
10,474 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
I have the exact same configuration and agree with everything said here..

The question of value is more complicated. How often are you going to shoot? What do you shoot in what environment? If you are going to do a lot of bird photography perhaps at a wildlife reserve? Then you want a longer lens, a 300 will probably find you short.. Shooting at the local zoo/wildlife park? 300mm is probably ok on a crop sensor. Doing a lot of dusk/night shooting? The Tamron's aperture is not really great for that...

This image does a good job of showing the strengths and weaknesses of a long lens like the Tamron. It was shot at about 450mm on a crop sensor, of a very small bird approximately 20 yards away, so you can see the range and detail you can get at that range. However, lighting was crap that day and you can also see the grain from the high ISO needed to compensate for the aperture ISO 20,000, was shooting shutter priority that day to capture movement at 1600, probably should have done 1250 or 800 in retrospect...


Originally posted by Oviedo32765
The top link below your signature takes me to a sign in page, and since I don't have a Shutterfly account, I cannot see your photos. I could not get to the second link either.

I have a Nikon D500 (recently upgraded from D7000) and I love photographing wildlife. My go to lens for wildlife is the Tamron 150-600. I love how close it brings me to wildlife. But then again, I'm shooting on land (with tripod and gimbal head) and not in a boat photographing whales or calving glaciers.

There is one major drawback to the lenses you mention. They are difficult to handhold (especially for long periods of time) and you may need to invest in a sturdy tripod and head. Using a tripod or even a monopod on a boat for photographing whales would be near impossible with the way whale action happens all around. If I took a trip to Alaska I would leave my 150-600 home and take my 18-300 instead.

Although I know a couple of photographers (both women) that use a 200-500 and a 150-600 and only handhold them, a better option for you might be a teleconverter. I have no experience using them, but I know you will loose a couple stops of light. If possible, you might rent one for a few days and see if it works for you.

Hopefully, others on this board can offer better advise.
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#6
West Sussex, England
318 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
This is hand held with Nikon 200-500mm


1/500 f8 500mm iso450


and the other end of the scale.


1/400 f10 500mm iso400

It is a bit of weight and I have used also with a mono pod a godsend.

Taking it on our Alaskan cruise, so hopefully get some good shots.

Hope this helps

Dickie
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#7
Charleston SC
2,158 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Don't leave out the Sigma 150-600's either.

Only you can decide if it is worth it. You can always rent one for a few days and see if you like it first. No need to drop $1500 (+-) on a lens and not like or need it after you get it.
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#8
Boca Raton, Florida
2,326 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
For me, the big lenses like the 150-600mm's are worth it, because probably my primary favorite type of photography when I'm not traveling is birds and wildlife...so I always get plenty of use out of such lenses. The decision for you I would think would come down to whether you'd only use such a lens on a trip once or twice a year, or if you'd be into wildlife or birds around home or most other days too. If only for the trip, I don't think it would be worth it - folks who don't regularly shoot wildlife would probably get really tired very quickly of the size and bulk of these lenses. Those who shoot wildlife and birds often accept the size and weight and become accustomed to it.

I have the Tamron 150-600mm which I use a lot for birding - I also shoot with many other longer lenses and have over the past 15 years - 200-500mm lenses, 300mm F4 lenses with TCs, 400mm F4.5 lens, and so on. I pretty much go birding every weekend when I'm at home, and also incorporate it into most of my vacations too at some point. I strictly use these lenses handheld - I like to maintain the flexibility and quick reaction time since much of my shooting involves quickly moving and fleeting subjects and flying birds. I use a pistol grip attached to the lens collar to help with stability when handholding. I am not shooting with Nikon equipment, but the lens is the same, so still can give an idea of the performance of a big lens like this at the longer end - most of these are light crops, just resized a bit - but will give an idea of the potential detail and clarity the very good Tamron lens can deliver - all of the following were taken with an APS-C crop-sensor body:

A small pig frog, about 15 feet away, at max 600mm:


Eastern screech owl on guard in her nest hole, in poor light and at 600mm, about 30 feet away:


Red-shouldered hawk in flight, about 50 feet out, cropped at 420mm:


Belted kingfisher, about 120 feet away, heavily cropped and taken at 600mm:



Yellow-rumped warbler, taken in the shade at ISO2000 at 500mm:
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#9
Southeast PA
2,886 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I rented the Tamaron, Sigma and Nikon, as a try before buying. I liked the extra reach of the Tamaron and Sigma (100mm or 150 with crop sensor), but ended up with the Nikon. It felt more "comfortable' to me, a tad sharper, and I felt it focused just a bit faster. Very happy with the decision, and with the D500 camera, I can use a 1.4x nikon teleconverter, which knocks it down to f/8, and loses a bit of sharpness (not much). The VR on the Nikon seems to work quite well, maybe not the 5 stops advertised, but very good nonetheless.

I use a sturdy monopod most of the time when hiking, using it as a handle to sling over my shoulder. Without the monopod and tripod collar, I find it very hand hold-able, as long as I keep my shutter speed up.

My $.02

#10
Northern California
7,053 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions and for sharing your beautiful pictures. We carefully read all of your posts and took into consideration your comments and our needs. We decided that the "pod" factor wouldn't suit our needs in Alaska (we are usually on a lot of small boat excursions) and that fact that the larger lens would be a little bit too heavy. So, we decided that we would go with the Nikon 18-300 lens. We leave in a couple of weeks for our 3 weeks in Alaska journey (this time all cruising and no land portion).

Again, thank you for your kindness in helping us make a decision.
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Karen

http://www.shutterfly.com/lightbox/v...#1367718572321 (Mis. Alaska photos -2008, 2011)

http://s657.photobucket.com/albums/u...railingspouse/ (Alaska 2012)

https://millenniumalaska2014.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2014, 2010, 2009)

https://millenniumalaska2015.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2015)

https://radiancealaska2016.shutterfl...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2016)

https://alaska2017princessandhal.shutterfly.com/ (Alaska 2017)




#11
Southeast PA
2,886 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I have the Nikon 55-300, and although it is a "kit" lens, I really like it. With the 18 - 300 you will cover quite a large range.

Good Luck.

Ken
#12
Northern California
7,053 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Originally posted by kenevenpar
I have the Nikon 55-300, and although it is a "kit" lens, I really like it. With the 18 - 300 you will cover quite a large range.

Good Luck.

Ken
We have the Nikon 18-55 and the 55-300; the 18-300 will allow us to bring only one lens instead of both. Looking forward to the perk of not having to change out lenses and missing a shot (as I have in the pass). Thanks for your post.
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Karen

http://www.shutterfly.com/lightbox/v...#1367718572321 (Mis. Alaska photos -2008, 2011)

http://s657.photobucket.com/albums/u...railingspouse/ (Alaska 2012)

https://millenniumalaska2014.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2014, 2010, 2009)

https://millenniumalaska2015.shutter...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2015)

https://radiancealaska2016.shutterfl...%3dSHARE3SXXXX (Alaska 2016)

https://alaska2017princessandhal.shutterfly.com/ (Alaska 2017)




#13
10,474 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
It makes sense. I am renting an 18-300 for a Europe trip to reduce my lens count, just taking that and a 24-105 art lens plus a 12-18.

Originally posted by Italy52
We have the Nikon 18-55 and the 55-300; the 18-300 will allow us to bring only one lens instead of both. Looking forward to the perk of not having to change out lenses and missing a shot (as I have in the pass). Thanks for your post.
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Just Land trips booked for now.... I KNOW!