Lighter Birding Kit

PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
edited August 4 in General Discussions
The D850 +grip with the 200-500 is a bit heavy however you sling it on your shoulders . So is there an alternative .
I never had any success with M4/3 though I did only have an M5 Mk1 with 16 mp. But the Panasonic G9 has 20MP so I looked at the pixel density v the D850. The G9 has 70% higher pixel density than the D850. Now if you take a 300mm lens the image size of a small bird it puts on any size sensor is the same so the G9 wins, more POI. However the longest lens for the M4/3 is the 100-400 but you can put a 600mm on the Nikon which boost the image size so I think you are about equal G9v D850.

But I find not all pixels are equal not even Nikon ones .The same lens on a D7200 gives a worse image than the same lens on a D850. So how good are Panasonic pixels or Panasonic "sauce" ?

Then you have the pose factor ...The guy in the hide with a D5300 and a 70-300 always give you a strange look when you have a D850/500mm, and you look at his kit and think "oh no not for me"

So will the G9/100-400 cut it ? or do you have an alternative?
Post edited by Pistnbroke on


  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,059Member
    And there are other factors. Animals are best seen in the early morning or evening when light is poor and the low light performance on M4/3 is abysmal compared to Friday’s 35mm.
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 1,254Member
    I would say D7500 + FX 70-300 AF-P lens. D7500 has much better AF than the D7200. And the FX 70-300 AF-P lens is very good and much smaller than the 200-500.

    From what I have seen the D500 + 200-500 is a very popular combo for birding, and gives great results, but I don't think the D500 is much lighter than the D850.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    Well I often think people ask a question to which they know the answer ….so I think first thing to do is to try the Tam 100-400 on the D850 in the field ( which is a lot lighter) and see how it performs . Then maybe sell the 200-500 and buy another Tam 100-400 ( only £ 456)
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    edited August 4
    The best low weight kits I've seen are high end point and shoots with spotting scope adapters. Doubt the AF or low light performance is great, but it is light weight.

    Personally I'm with mhedges, if you want a real light weight kit with a good mix of AF and weight savings a higher and DX body with a 70-300mm zoom is the way to go. Either that or grab the Nikon 300mm F4 PF with a TC, very light weight and compact. In all the years I've been birding (11 years now), I've never found much use for a zoom lens. I always found I wanted it parked at the longest end for all but a small number of shots. For 6 years I used the old AF-S 300mm F4D IF ED, great lens and still a great bird lens, but the 300mm PF would be the way to go now days. If I didn't shoot a mix of sports and birds, I wouldn't have the 200-400mm F4 VR as my main supertelephoto.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    just been testing the Tam 100-400 against the Nik 200-500. I use a house number about 60 yards from my window and examine the cross head screws that hold it .
    There is no difference that I can see ,in fact I like the colour of the tam better.
    The Tamron combination is 2.4 kg and the Nikon 4 kg. I am happier because Tamron have just bought out the software to make this lens compatible with Z mount which gives me options.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    edited August 5
    Or if you really want to dabble in Nikon 1, get the F-mount adaptor with the 70-300mm. Although it's discontinued, obviously, so it's a bit of a risk.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 459Member
    I regret that I never bought the 300mm f/4 VR, I tested it on the D810 and it was outstanding, set the D810 on DX and had a kind off 450mm, what is more than enough for me. Waiting for a 300mm f/whatever for the Nikon Z.

    Had the Nikon 1 with the 70-300mm, you can get every bird you want, but oh boy, 500mm plus tele is so difficult for BIF.
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    Tony ..I am glad you used the expression " Kind of 450mm" because your 300mm will produce the same size bird image on an FX, DX or N1 sensor. The bigger the sensor the easier it is to keep it in the frame.
  • FreezeActionFreezeAction Posts: 837Member
    I'm trying not to be impatient and jump on a D850 to mount my 200-500mm on for BIF. Weight is not an issue as I will not attempt to hand hold it now. I love it in the full gimbal and where I shoot it works fine. Maybe one day a Z*** that can focus like a D5*** but until then I don't won't to pass by opportunities that may never come my way again. With a sense of no time to waste waiting and waiting... I can't help but want a D860 or whatever it my be with 60+ MP for large office building type printmaking but a bird in the hand.... A D850 on a full gimbal now is worth more in the long run than a state of the art feather weight that is a couple years away.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    Have you tried a tripod in a hide with an 8inch hole in the wall ? I don't use a tripod its carrying the thing 5 miles as I trek from hide to hide even at my local reserve
  • FreezeActionFreezeAction Posts: 837Member

    Have you tried a tripod in a hide with an 8inch hole in the wall ? I don't use a tripod its carrying the thing 5 miles as I trek from hide to hide even at my local reserve

    I'm lucky. Multiple hides not more than a 100 meters from the vehicle and using flexible netting for the holes. Wide range of coverage in all directions. Building another soon for 270° shooting to work with the sun at my back. Learning from mistakes even in my old advanced age.

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    edited August 7
    yes not only do some places build without reference to the sun but put glass in the viewing area !!
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • MrFotoFoolMrFotoFool Posts: 36Member
    Unless I missed it, I am surprised no one has mentioned the Nikon 500 f/5.6 PF lens. I got one a couple weeks ago (only had to wait three weeks from time of order at my local dealer). It is one of the primary reasons I just switched to Nikon after 20 years with Canon. I have only used it once (at a zoo) so far, but after I felt it (great size and weight) and saw how sharp the images were, I was instantly convinced it is IMO the best long telephoto lens ever. I use it with a D850, but a D500 would be even lighter and also have the crop factor for the appearance of more reach.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,847Member
    Well the wife has a Tam 100-400 so I got a doc and done some test and bought another one only £469 about $500 . Selling the 200-500
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