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Old 7th July 2013, 13:11   #11926
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Default Re: Wildlife shooting

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
My initial statement - a personal comment, not a post asking for advice - wasn't meant to trigger such a discussion in the first place. I am pretty clear about what I want and what suits me. Whichever company satisfies my need, will get my money. And I would do my thorough research and will rent out or borrow the competitors before putting my money.



BUT statements like this make me react strongly. These are very superficial comments based on limited or one time experience. If you had taken tens of thousands of wildlife photos, or were actively using so called 'pro' gear in the field, I could understand. But your statement comes out as a motherhood statement that contradicts the thousands of great wildlife photos taken with these lenses (just visit 500px or Flickr or Pbase, the evidence is there).

Let me respond this last time:

1. Amateurs can be serious about wildlife without buying super expensive fast primes.

2. Some of us try to squeeze the most out of our gear. So that when we do upgrade, we know exactly what we want based on our unique needs and style. And based on where we fall in the "crawl - walk - run - sprint" continuum of our skills and budget. And sometimes we accept that the gear is not capable of handling a situation and then simply enjoy what is happening in front of our eyes . And no, we won't sit at home twiddling our thumbs because we don't have the 'right gear' yet - we would rather be out shooting. Yes, shooting seriously and passionately.

3. For folks who are wondering whether the 'budget' Nikon or Canon zooms are adequate for wildlife, here are a few shots with a poorer cousin of those XX - 400mm lenses. And advise for newbies - the person behind the gear is as important (sometimes more) as the gear.
Well I am a serious amateur have been shooting wild life and birds for the last 7 or so years and when I say that if you are going to be serious about wild life, you cannot base a system only on a slow F5.6 400 lens, this is from personal experience. The example I quoted was just 1 of the many experiences I have had with a slow 400 lens.


Agree I too do not have the privilege of shooting extensively with pro equipment but I have done it a lot of times. The wild life group I shoot with gives me access to a 500 4 , 600 4 and 300 2.8.


So I know these can surely take my photography to another level, no matter how good a shot I get with my gear of limited abilities. Trust me I am as passionate about my wild life photography as anybody on this forum and I make do with some pretty poor equipment most of the time.


Of course like you, this does not discourage me from shooting with my same old slow lens coz that's the only thing I have at this moment. But the point is that there are options to mitigate this problem and some day I hope to do it as have many others. At least we agree on this part

But I do wish that I was a satisfied customer like you and could just become a passive spectator of the scene just gone by that I could not capture with my equipment of limited abilities.

About getting good photos from not such great equipment, good photographers have been doing that ever since the beginning of photography.
I too can point out to a lot of brilliant images taken with not so great equipment, but whats the point. There is no doubt that better equipment can improve my photography as it has done for countless other people. By pointing to a few great images from a lesser lens does that make that lens brilliant and a panacea for all your wild life photography limitations.


Bottom line is if you are serious about wild life, I don't think one single lens or a camera will make me choose a particular system and that too a slow enthusiast zoom with all other factors being almost neck to neck. This by the way is my personal opinion and its not targeted at you.


About giving 'unsolicited opinion', you have voiced your opinion on a public forum, where someone like me has reacted to a comment made by you that he thinks is irrelevant or debatable. So lets leave it at that, coz you are free to choose your equipment and where you spend your money. But there will be others like me who will give 'unsolicited' comments if they disagree with some thing they see posted on these forums.

With this I rest my case.

One from my recent trip to Bandhavgarh. Shot at around 6:30 AM when I sorely missed a faster lens.
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Old 7th July 2013, 14:49   #11927
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SPARKled, very nice shot.

We are talking past each other. I know the benefits of those long fast primes or a 200-400mm very well, and have an ongoing iterative step-up plan for getting to my ideal kit. It is just that I refuse to be constrained in my mind while/ till that happens. And I do know that a heavy kit sometimes has its disadvantages e.g. when you need to handhold or have 2 secs to turn around and take the shot.

I have read this from great photogs (see below) a few times, and feel it is true, even though in wildlife shooting the right kit makes a big impact ( compared to other photography types e.g. street):

"Best way to improve your photos, in this hierarchical order:

1. Become a better photographer
2. Improve post processing skills
3. Better lenses
4. Better camera"

Let's just agree to disagree.

Good luck with sightings and happy shooting.
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Old 7th July 2013, 17:05   #11928
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Default Re: Wildlife shooting

Thankfully, by the time I came back & logged on, the 'intense' discussion had ended. However that gave an insight.

Sparkled, this is an awesome dream shot. Why did you need a faster lens anyway for this? What else or better would you have liked to capture with a faster lens?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SPARKled View Post

One from my recent trip to Bandhavgarh. Shot at around 6:30 AM when I sorely missed a faster lens.
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Old 7th July 2013, 18:17   #11929
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Default Re: Wildlife shooting

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Thankfully, by the time I came back & logged on, the 'intense' discussion had ended. However that gave an insight.

Sparkled, this is an awesome dream shot. Why did you need a faster lens anyway for this? What else or better would you have liked to capture with a faster lens?
Thank you Nilanjan and GD saab for your kind comments

I could have shot at a faster shutter speed. This was shot at 300mm at 1/320 which is about the minimum shutter speed needed to ensure that there is no camera shake. Also a lower ISO which would have made the image a lot crisper. I took many shots and lost a few due to camera shake. If I had a 300 2.8, I could have shot at 1/500 and even wide open or just stopped down a bit and somewhere around ISO 200-400. In fact when I saw the exif this was shot at around 6:15 or 6:20 AM with the sun just coming up on the horizon behind a heavy canopy and wooded area. So even though this was a successful shot, the chances of it getting spoilt were very high. And as you know, these tigers don't give such photo ops very regularly and you have to take even that half an opportunity.

I have lost just too many shots in the past as I had a slow lens due to which I did not have enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake. Taking a tripod everywhere is out of the question.

Last edited by SPARKled : 7th July 2013 at 18:34.
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Old 8th July 2013, 09:19   #11930
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Default Re: The DSLR Thread

Finally after a year long research, got myself Nikon D5200 with 18-55 mm Kit. As i am new to DSLR its great fun in exploring the features.
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Old 8th July 2013, 11:38   #11931
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Another advantage of the faster lense is faster AF on lower end bodies, as the Metering and AF is done with lense wide open.

That said, if time permits just bracket the shots around the suggested ISO varying speed. Some cameras have auto bracketing and some do not, in which case you can manage it manually if you have a couple of seconds for manual bracketing. See tip 5 http://www.nphotomag.com/2012/02/13/...rom-your-dslr/

Some bracketing tips
http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And...ce-policy.html

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41617507

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...ikon-dslr.html
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Old 8th July 2013, 12:27   #11932
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Default Re: Wildlife shooting

I too have a 300 f/4 and mostly shoot handheld since I've an old generation tripod where you have to screw in the camera on to the plate. I wanted to go for the 300 f/2.8 but the prohibitive cost prevented me.

To compensate for low-light situations, I use a bean-bag or various portions of the jeep such as the B pillar or the head-rest etc., as a prop. Well a fast lens surely is an added benefit but faster the lens the heavier it is.

I've also shot at ISO 500 without a loss in the crispness. Absolute crispness is required when you intend to print big blow-ups. We seldom do that. In all these years of my wildlifing, I've only printed twice my prints to size 24 x 36 and 48 x 72.

And the way this Cat is sitting on the ledge near the water, I guess he would be sitting there for long...

My two & half cents

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPARKled View Post

Thank you Nilanjan and GD saab for your kind comments

I could have shot at a faster shutter speed. This was shot at 300mm at 1/320 which is about the minimum shutter speed needed to ensure that there is no camera shake. Also a lower ISO which would have made the image a lot crisper. I took many shots and lost a few due to camera shake. If I had a 300 2.8, I could have shot at 1/500 and even wide open or just stopped down a bit and somewhere around ISO 200-400. In fact when I saw the exif this was shot at around 6:15 or 6:20 AM with the sun just coming up on the horizon behind a heavy canopy and wooded area. So even though this was a successful shot, the chances of it getting spoilt were very high. And as you know, these tigers don't give such photo ops very regularly and you have to take even that half an opportunity.

I have lost just too many shots in the past as I had a slow lens due to which I did not have enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake. Taking a tripod everywhere is out of the question.
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Old 8th July 2013, 19:25   #11933
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
I too have a 300 f/4 and mostly shoot handheld since I've an old generation tripod where you have to screw in the camera on to the plate. I wanted to go for the 300 f/2.8 but the prohibitive cost prevented me.

To compensate for low-light situations, I use a bean-bag or various portions of the jeep such as the B pillar or the head-rest etc., as a prop. Well a fast lens surely is an added benefit but faster the lens the heavier it is.

I've also shot at ISO 500 without a loss in the crispness. Absolute crispness is required when you intend to print big blow-ups. We seldom do that. In all these years of my wildlifing, I've only printed twice my prints to size 24 x 36 and 48 x 72.

And the way this Cat is sitting on the ledge near the water, I guess he would be sitting there for long...

My two & half cents
The action started at around 545 when bamera was there in place of these sub adults but at that time the light was so poor that only folks with a 2.8 lens were shooting at the time. The folks with 100-400s and 300 f4s came into the picture only by 6 - 615. Before this only iso 3200 and above pictures were taken by these folks.

Yes I got some brilliant shots of the sub adults (there was another male sub adult) but I could have got some brilliant ones of bamera if I had a faster lens.

Last edited by SPARKled : 8th July 2013 at 19:26.
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Old 8th July 2013, 19:29   #11934
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My Nikon D300 bought with bill in August 2009 with 8000+ actuations is up for sale and is listed in the classifieds section pending approval.

Reason for sale: Upgrading to full frame.

PM me if interested.
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Old 8th July 2013, 20:41   #11935
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My wildlife shots are taken handheld. All of them, some of them at less than 1/50 secs at 300mm (450mm). The light weight and VR helps tremendously - one of the reasons I want to go for the 80-400mm af-s or the 70- 200mm f/2.8 + 2x TC. This is one of the tradeoffs I was referring to earlier. Fast = heavy and big = reliance on tripod/ beanbag and reduced ability to react fast. The number of keepers would decrease, but the keepers you get would be bloody fantastic. A tradeoff.

SPARKled: were you using a lens with good IS? That makes a huge huge difference from what I have seen. 1/300s is actually a lot for Indian dawn and dusk conditions, one is lucky to get that. I had to shoot at 1/40 secs in Kanha to capture the Barasinghas at dawn. Unfortunately the d90 sucks beyond ISO 800 in bad light imo, with the latest DX Nikons one can shoot at ISO 3200 for same iq I would reckon.

In fact, the ideal combo would be two bodies - one with a long fast prime + Wimberley/Markins head + tripod, and one with a light weight zoom for flexibility and shooting handheld. Someday...
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Old 8th July 2013, 22:01   #11936
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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
My wildlife shots are taken handheld. All of them, some of them at less than 1/50 secs at 300mm (450mm). The light weight and VR helps tremendously - one of the reasons I want to go for the 80-400mm af-s or the 70- 200mm f/2.8 + 2x TC. This is one of the tradeoffs I was referring to earlier. Fast = heavy and big = reliance on tripod/ beanbag and reduced ability to react fast. The number of keepers would decrease, but the keepers you get would be bloody fantastic. A tradeoff.

SPARKled: were you using a lens with good IS? That makes a huge huge difference from what I have seen. 1/300s is actually a lot for Indian dawn and dusk conditions, one is lucky to get that. I had to shoot at 1/40 secs in Kanha to capture the Barasinghas at dawn. Unfortunately the d90 sucks beyond ISO 800 in bad light imo, with the latest DX Nikons one can shoot at ISO 3200 for same iq I would reckon.

In fact, the ideal combo would be two bodies - one with a long fast prime + Wimberley/Markins head + tripod, and one with a light weight zoom for flexibility and shooting handheld. Someday...
Very true IS is god sent for these precise moments, but anything less than 1/170 at 400 and the ratio of keepers become abysmally low (You can blame the first generation IS for it). Yes an occasional shot or two at 1/40 or 1/50 could turn up sharp, but this is not very reliable IMHO and it will more than anything a lucky shot. You wouldn't want to risk it if its a splendid fleeting moment that absolutely needs to be captured. F5.6 early in the morning or late evening is cutting it too fine. The 100-400 like all zooms is at its weakest at 400 and needs to be stopped down a bit to achieve optimum sharpness.
If you have to have a zoom, save up and get the 200-400, that is optimized to be excellent at 400 wide open.
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Old 8th July 2013, 22:08   #11937
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There are two reasons for blurred, shaky photos..

1. CAMERA SHAKE - Many will tell you that 1/effective focal lenght is the minimum shutter speed you need to avoid camera shake. But, this is more a guideline. Your armour against this form of shake is Image Stabilization ( VR , IS) and camera supports ( tripod, monopod, bean bags, etc) However, with practice and luck, I've seen sharp shots at 1/80 on a 640mm effective focal length without any form of image stabilization or camera support. With time, one can gradually learn techniques to better the keeper ratio at slower shutter speeds.

2. SUBJECT MOVEMENT : All the above equipment and techniques will help you get sharp shots at slow shutter speeds ONLY when your subject is still! To get sharp shots on moving subjects in low light ( birds in flight, predator chase, etc) what we need is a FAST shutter speed to freeze the action.... and there's only two way to get there - large aperture and clean high ISO - and both of these cost big money

Last edited by vikash49 : 8th July 2013 at 22:14.
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Old 9th July 2013, 11:03   #11938
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There are two reasons for blurred, shaky photos..

1. CAMERA SHAKE - Many will tell you that 1/effective focal lenght is the minimum shutter speed you need to avoid camera shake. But, this is more a guideline. Your armour against this form of shake is Image Stabilization ( VR , IS) and camera supports ( tripod, monopod, bean bags, etc) However, with practice and luck, I've seen sharp shots at 1/80 on a 640mm effective focal length without any form of image stabilization or camera support. With time, one can gradually learn techniques to better the keeper ratio at slower shutter speeds.

2. SUBJECT MOVEMENT : All the above equipment and techniques will help you get sharp shots at slow shutter speeds ONLY when your subject is still! To get sharp shots on moving subjects in low light ( birds in flight, predator chase, etc) what we need is a FAST shutter speed to freeze the action.... and there's only two way to get there - large aperture and clean high ISO - and both of these cost big money
There is a third method. Use Rifle/Gun grip for the camera. This is what I have (bought in 1990), http://www.cryptomuseum.com/covert/sniper/ thought it is custom made for the Zenit film camera, it gave me a rock solid platform for my tele shots.

Here are some other refences to gun grips
http://www.peterpeterpeter.com/pages/bushhawk.htm
http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/chestp...lens-ring.html
http://bushhawk.com/bushhawk/bushhawk-shoulder-mounts
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Old 9th July 2013, 12:09   #11939
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There is a third method. Use Rifle/Gun grip for the camera. This is what I have (bought in 1990), http://www.cryptomuseum.com/covert/sniper/ thought it is custom made for the Zenit film camera, it gave me a rock solid platform for my tele shots.
Have you considered the chance of getting arrested or getting shot by the cops while using this?

It looks like a small rifle with a giant scope. Not a safe tripod to use in today's war-on-terror environment.
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Old 9th July 2013, 12:25   #11940
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^^ My same thoughts. Expression of security personal when scanning of cabin baggage will be priceless.
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