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  1. #11
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning, Steve;

    Normally I am using something in the range of 300 mm to 500 mm on a 35 mm camera. If I go longer than that, usually it is with a fixed setup when I know where the bird will be, such as a nest hole in the tree trunk, or something similar. Trying to just find something even sitting still with the longer lenses while looking through the viewfinder can be frustrating. It takes a while. The Wimberley tripod head does make a difference in your tracking.

    A Townshend's Warbler has been my most surprising so far. He was in a group of Siskins. That female Pileated Woodpecker has proven remarkably elusive so far. I have almost caught her three times now at the suet feeder. If anything moves, she is gone.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  2. #12
    keithwms's Avatar
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    The Nikon 300/4 is a very good performer. It is well built and travels well. Also has a drop-in filter compartment which I like.

    I see why others are suggesting longer lenses but... that is an argument that can be taken to endless extremes. Use your imagination and your patience and a good prime like a 300mm (maybe with a 1.4 tc) and you will get results that you like. If you later decide that you must have a zoom then go on and get a 200-400 VR, but for now, I'd say get something you can use to get your feet wet, will have other uses (like maybe sports or wildlife) and be confident that the lens will stay in your arsenal even if you do later decide you want something longer.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the link. I've had a look, but alas nothing suitable ATM. I'll keep an eye on them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
    A third option would be to consider digital. I know you say you've already tried that but issues regarding misfocusing and poor exposure are nothing whatsoever to do with whether the camera is digital or analogue.
    Absolutely, it is to do with manual versus fully automatic. However, whilst a film camera can be either fully manual or automatic or something in between, a digital camera is obligued to be electronic and is therefore invariably designed to be fully automatic
    The DSLR I used (E-510) is suppossed to have manual functions, but only to impress when reading the specification, I reckon. They are far too fiddly and difficult to access to be used seriously. It may be different with a 'pro' DSLR, but I'm not keen to go down that route.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
    That's down to how well you know how to use the kit you have. Shutter lag on DSLRs is a thing of the past as well.
    I have been in computer engineering for my whole working life (a few decades) so I'm sure I could get the better of a digital camera if I sat down with the manual and studied it - then practiced for a while.
    But I don't want to!
    I spend all my working day messing about with technology, reading manuals and squinting at a computer screen - the very last thing I want to do when I have some leisure time is fight with another blasted electronic gadget! As for shutter lag, I reckon the DSLR I've used still wouldn't touch a decent leaf shutter for response - but I was thinking more of the occassions when the thing decides to hunt around a bit because you've lost the focus lock, beeps some error message at you and then flags up a 'flat battery' icon before the screen goes blank

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
    I'm not being disrespectful to analogue gear as I have more of it than digital equipment, but I bet Eric Hosking would be using digital equipment to shoot birds if he were still alive and Heather Angel and Andy Rouse (two of the best bird / wildlife photographers alive today) use digital gear.

    Analogue equipment is wonderful for most photography but there are times when the ability to see what you've just shot and re-shoot, if necessary, is a distinct advantage as it takes an awful lot of the guesswork out of the process.

    Ultimately, it's your choice.
    Yes, it's true that digital can be a great tool in the right hands and obviously it has many advantages, but I don't actually need pictures of birds.
    I only take pics for fun, for my pleasure and amusement... and for me digital just isn't fun. I have many years experience of taking pics in a particular way. I'm not saying I'm any good - I think artistically I am a damp squib, just as you'd expect from nerdy technician come hobby photographer, but I am quite competent when it comes to handling a manual camera.

    I want to be in control and I want to think in stops and metres and fractions of a second (and hyperfocal distances and depth of field and, and...)

    Digital cameras infuriate me and make me stressed. They offer you automation which isn't intelligent, so you have to learn ways of fooling the automatic functions to do what you really want them to do. Madness! I want the camera to fit the skills I already have, not have to become a novice again and re-learn a whole new way of doing things.

    My wife bought an Audi TT last year. Mid life crisis, I think. She test drove the Quattro 'sensitronic' version and I had a go in it, too. Since I was 17 I've driven a car with a clutch and gear stick. Suddenly I have only two pedals, buttons for 'sports mode', 'automatic mode', 'sensitronic mode' and 'flippers' on the steering column to change gear(!) It was exactly the same feeling - a very impressive bit of engineering, I'm sure - but I couldn't get out of the infernal contraption quick enough!!! :o

    No, I think a nice manual focus lens on my film camera and I'll be happy, thanks, whether my pictures are any good or not
    Steve

  4. #14

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    Steve, I'm surprised to hear that you didn't enjoy using an E-510 in manual mode. Frankly, I really enjoy using Olympus DSLRs for birding because of the 2X crop factor, and they make really nice manual cameras when a legacy manual lens is used on them. I use my Nikon 300mm f2.8 and my Tokina 100-300 AIS mount lens on my Olympus E-300 and E-1 bodies quite often. Actually, they are quite nice, just set the aperture, set the focus, and leave the camera on Aperture priority automation and let it set the shutter speed - they work quite nicely. This first shot was taken with my E-300 and my Nikon-mt. Tokina 100-300mm lens:

    http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m...AS-6-small.jpg

    This was shot with my Olympus E-1 and the 300mm f2.8 Nikkor with a 2X teleconverter:

    http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m...s/Humbird1.jpg

  5. #15
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    If I were a serious birder, I would use a 400mm f/2.8 on a Wimberley tripod head.

    Since I am not that serious, I shoot birds with a 400mm f/5.6 on a Wimberley tripod head.

  6. #16
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Ooogh I honestly cannot take the oly dslr viewfinders.

    Anyway here is a test snap with a Nikon D200 + mamiya 500mm, manual everything, handheld. Warning/disclaimer, this was a digital product. In my defense, I got rid of the D200 in about 2 weeks. It was a good 1.5 x tc for my lenses, but then I tried a full-frame digital and that was that, for my digital needs.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougjgreen View Post
    Steve, I'm surprised to hear that you didn't enjoy using an E-510 in manual mode... and they make really nice manual cameras when a legacy manual lens is used on them.
    I've only ever used the E-510 with it's own 40-150mm digital zoom.
    I've never tried it on a long manual lens. If I did, I might change my mind - we still have the E-510 so I have that option in the future.

    No, I really didn't like trying to set the shutter and aperture manually - I found it fiddly and awkward and I didn't like the F number sequence being in 1/3 of a stop or whatever that bizarre sequence is or the arbitary shutter speeds.

    F10 at 1/60 second? is that more or less exposure than F7.1 at 1/80? Or F5 at 1/50? It's a struggle for me to deal with these unfamiliar numbers in my head. The camera really needs sticking into a suitable 'mode' - as you say stick it in aperture priority and let it get on with it (then just delete all the underexposed images where it was fooled by the bright back light!)

    I just didn't gel with it... just my personal preference.

    But anyway, let us not make this a digital vs film debate, else we all get banned!

    I'm hoping for advice to choose a nice long(ish) lens for a Nikon F3!

    PS. Nice pics, I like aircraft, too. Another great use for a 300mm hand holdable lens. The 300mm F4.5 is still looking favourite
    Steve

  8. #18

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    ***But anyway, let us not make this a digital vs film debate, else we all get banned!***

    Well I'm a film user and I find your view very interesting.....how do many of the digital guys think how millions of photographers coped, before digital was invented.

  9. #19
    eddym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_e007 View Post
    No, I really didn't like trying to set the shutter and aperture manually - I found it fiddly and awkward and I didn't like the F number sequence being in 1/3 of a stop or whatever that bizarre sequence is or the arbitary shutter speeds.

    F10 at 1/60 second? is that more or less exposure than F7.1 at 1/80? Or F5 at 1/50? It's a struggle for me to deal with these unfamiliar numbers in my head.
    Steve, no offense intended, but I don't think the problem is with your camera. If you're not willing to take the time to learn whether "is that more or less exposure than F7.1 at 1/80? Or F5 at 1/50?", then you're not going to be happy using any camera on a manual setting. And a film camera -much as I love 'em- is not going to solve your problem.

    Regards,
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddym View Post
    Steve, no offense intended, but I don't think the problem is with your camera. If you're not willing to take the time to learn whether "is that more or less exposure than F7.1 at 1/80? Or F5 at 1/50?", then you're not going to be happy using any camera on a manual setting. And a film camera -much as I love 'em- is not going to solve your problem.

    Regards,
    I have to agree with Steve.
    Dealing with decimal stops is far different than fractional stops. Especially when the decimal is an LCD display and the fractions are shutter speed dial and aperture ring.
    I guess that's why it's called analog.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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