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 I have been frustrated in the last year with my 200 mm Nikon lens.  Wildlife photography is not my major focus, but the all the photos I have taken from boats of tiny bird in trees this past year are disocuraging.  So I am thinking up moving up to  a 300 or even 400 mm.  Money apart (and they are very expensive), I have worried that a larger lens might prove so heavy that I would have trouble using it.

That said, I have a 5 year old Nikon D50.  It is serviceable, but the 6 megapixels seem paltry to what is available in the newer models.  Should I hang on to my reliable old Nikon and buy a new lens, or buy the lens first?

Any advice appreciated.

Thanks,

Victoria

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
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In short, more megapixels allows you to crop more on the computer "post capture". Longer focal length lets you crop at the time of capture. Are you dissatisfied with the size the subject appears in the frame or with how large you can blow up your images for printing, or maybe both? A new camera will cost you much less than the 300mm or 400mm lens, especially if you are look at the f/2.8 model of each. And those are quite heavy. You will need a very steady tripod to hold them. Some do handhold the 300/f2.8 but I would not recommend that full-time. The D50 is pretty old in sensor technology terms. The 200mm lens is a pretty sharp lens, but probably quite a bit short for bird photos. A lot of bird shooters use either the 200-400 with teleconverter, or a 500mm or 600mm lens. You are talking about several thousands of dollars for the least expensive of any of these. A new camera body would cost much less, but you would still be limited to your 200mm focal length.

I own a 300/f4 lens. It works OK with a 1.4x teleconverter, but I don't think it would be effective for serious bird photography. You need reach and speed for bird photography. That means long, fast lenses ($$$). Even if you get a new camera body, you still may not be satisfied with the images you capture versus what you see from serious bird photographers. If you are looking to match the quality of work posted on NaturePhotographers.net or NatureScapes.net, you will have to spend the dollars on the lens and a very sturdy tripod.


Walter Rowe, Editor
Travel Photographers.net

   
Admin
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 185
Location: A Global Community
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 Thanks Walter, I think I will be satisfied with the incresed pixels on a new camera at this point.  That seems to make more sense, as bird photography is not my focus.

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
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Hi Victoria,

Now my philosophy is simple:   You live once so you buy both a camera and new lens!  :-)   To me though, I think it is hard in today's world to shot under 10-12 megapixels.  My backup is a 10mp Canon and my prime camera has 22mp.   I know when I work images from both, I can more easitly crop out elements with 22mp camera and blow up much better.  So, in my opinion is if you happy with the quality of your current lens, although they may not get you what you want all the time, I would go with the camera first.  My best purchase was the Canon 5D Mark II as I then realized the true advantages with editing and working my images.  My 2 cents as I am not certainly as advanced as Walter either.  BTW....I have two lens that I carry around always, although I have more stored here at home.  I shot most of the time with my 24-105mm lens adn 100-400mm lens.  I enjoy shooting wildlife and I do know that although the image may be a little better with a fixed prime lense, I really enjoy the flexibility of zooming in and out as needed with my 100-400mm.  I went with the L series from Canon to have the best lens and have not regreted.   


Richard Schoettger

   
Chatty
Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 57
Location: Singapore
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 Thanks, I wish I could do equipment and travel, but it's a balance.  To buy a new camera and a 400 mm. lense would mean giving up a trip!  

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
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Hi Victoria,

I appreciate your dilemma, and understand the frustration... my travel camera is an 18mp (Canon550D) and I find that is good enough for 96% of what I shoot, as it does allow me to crop a little and in my humble opinion is quite versatile (we all know that the most important factor is actually who is behind the camera), but for wildlife and birding, the lens is probably more important. I use a 70-200mm IS f2.8 with a 1.4x or 2x extender and they do the job pretty well...especially if I use a tripod 

I must admit, I would love a 100-400mm IS lens to go with my outfit so as to get even closer, however as you say cost.... and travel is never that cheap any more.... I have had to balance getting my lenses against what I need in terms of must haves for my favourite aspects of photography and travel. I had to forfeit a trip in order to buy my 70-200mm lens, but the more I use it and get to know it and it's (mine) limits and liabilities, the more I know I made the correct choice...

Given that you have a 10mp camera, my personal choice would be to possibly upgrade the camera, but decisions.... I don't envy you, once you have spoken to, and read enough, peoples opinions, follow your intuition. But never completely give up the travel, perhaps look at closer destinations which may not seem to be all that exciting to start with, and make them exciting with your photography...

regards

Andrew

    

 

 


AndrewRHB Photography

   
Junior
Registered: 03/29/11
Posts: 28
Location: Durban, South Africa
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