PLEASE NOTE: In order to post on the Board you need to have registered. To register please email paul@sexyloops.com including your real name and username. Registration takes less than 24hrs, unless Paul is fishing deep in the jungle!

Lens for nature shots

Moderator: JanMan

Post Reply
User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 13053
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Lens for nature shots

#1

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:05 am

Hi chaps,

While sitting here on the Arc for a few days I’ve been watching wild boar mud bathing and eating roots, as well as macaques feeding in the trees - through the binoculars. I’d love to take some decent nature shots of this and other stuff to share.

What sort of lens am I looking at and should I be buying this stuff new or second hand?

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

Viking Lars
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:45 am

Re: Lens for nature shots

#2

Post by Viking Lars » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:15 pm

For that kind of nature photography, you obviously need a long lens. How long depends on what (if any) equipment you have now and how close you can get. For shooting wild life, I'd say 200mm is an absolute minimum (an note that 200mm isn't *just* 200mm, it depends on the sensor size of your camera).
And yes, you can definitely buy used. Many are switching to mirrorless these days and in Denmark especially, prices are dropping at an alarming rate on "old" fullframe gear. Especially on Nikon products, because the old lenses don't fit on the new Z-mount their mirrorless system has.

And everything of course depends on what kind of quality you're after.

Lars

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 13053
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Lens for nature shots

#3

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:47 pm

Well I don’t really know anything about it. But I do know I miss a lot of great shots not having a zoom! From fish feeding to monkeys swinging in the trees, to hornbills watching the world go by. The binoculars really makes me think I should be using a camera instead!
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 13053
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Lens for nature shots

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:48 pm

It’s not for selling yo magazines however, it’s for posting on Sexyloops :D
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

Viking Lars
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:45 am

Re: Lens for nature shots

#5

Post by Viking Lars » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:06 pm

In that case, go for a 70-200mm f/2.8 and an SLR with an APSC-size sensor, Nikon D500 for instance, but there are many other good choices. I just know Nikon best :-).

apexpredator
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Upper Austria

Re: Lens for nature shots

#6

Post by apexpredator » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:31 pm

Hi Paul
Since you didn't mention a camera body, i'd go for a compact camera instead.

One obvious choice is the tg6
Pro: ip68 and will tolerate some maltreatment
Con: limited zoom

What i'd give a try is the tz200 (or what it is called over there)
Pro: astounding picture quality
Huge zoom range
Con: not waterproof
Operation can be tricky (more on request)

Both can be operated via smartphone, the olympus app way more stable.
Could be an option for wildlife using a tripod ...
All the best,
Francis

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 13053
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Lens for nature shots

#7

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:08 pm

I’m looking to photograph the sort of shots i see through my binoculars. A complete kit idea would actually be of great help. I realise that it’s a field unto itself. I have no inclination to be obsessed. I just want to see a tiger leaping on a barking deer and take the photo.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

nicholasfmoore
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:41 pm

Re: Lens for nature shots

#8

Post by nicholasfmoore » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:27 pm

Hi Paul,

I used to do nature photography semi professionally, but I got bored of it and moved onto something else (also the pay was awful) :laugh: so that might have had something to do with it. Little trade secret that everyone asks me "how come your bird photos pop with so much colour?" simply really, I use a tiny 'kiss' of flash, not for exposure, but for colour. Male birds feathers are designed to attract the females, and they look best in the sunlight. Usually I like shooting in overcast 'soft light' to get rid of harsh shadows. Of course on assignment you get what you are given. However, that touch of flash makes the colours pop, I used to put it on a flash bracket over the telephoto lens to eliminate the red eye effect. Flash doesn't damage/scare animals, it has been scientifically proven. Some specialist photographers use flash to photograph bats in caves whilst searching for them with a red filtered torch.

When you are in a boat/water the animals seem to accept you, and you can get pretty dam close. The key is not to look and head straight towards them, but completely ignore them and focus on something else that seems interesting. When I was photographing water voles I would make out that I lost my wallet on the floor and made my way to the voles in a random fashion. You could get within a few metres of them then. If I headed straight towards them whilst staring them out, they would be gone. Water fowl seem to accept you in waders with a camera, I have no idea why.

Best time to photograph wildlife? The magic hour, either an hour before and after sunrise/sunset. This gives the best light.

What's your price budget? I could help you choose something if I know how much you'd like to spend. Second hand, absolutely. I've always bought new because it was my job, but there is a fantastic SH market. I'd recommend a shop like Grays of Westminster. They are excellent, they only sell Nikon, and I have always bought from them. They do SH and new stuff. You want to be careful with SH lenses as some people sell them with fungus in, not good. It looks like a spiders web inside or splotches.

https://www.graysofwestminster.co.uk

Believe it or not, with a long lens, you still have to get pretty dam close depending on the size of animal and the depth of field effect you want. Even with a Nikon 800mm £16.5k lens! A lot of people try and use teleconverters to 'magnify' the image even more, that's not actually what they were designed for. They were designed to reduce depth of field (another words, reduce the amount that's in focus to blur the background) so you can concentrate on the subject.

You would need a DSLR (I'd personally get a Nikon D610 or D700 with a low shutter count. these are FX camera and quite cheap now). Lenses for you in the boat? I'd say a 400mm. A hornbill is a decent size bird, so I think you'd be fine with this, a Nikon 200-400mm f/4g VR2 was my primary wildlife lens, it is expensive but well worth it. You'd need a good tripod and gimbal head for this.

I cannot comment on other systems, I've always used an SLR. I was going to recommend digi scoping but this comes with a whole host of problems. It's decent when you can get it right. That's basically using a normal scope with a camera attached to the eyepiece end.

Hope this helps?
Nick M

"Memento Piscantur Saepe" :upside:

Post Reply

Return to “Photography”