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longer lens or more pixels


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8 replies to this topic

#1
Johnwestacott

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Hi,

I have recently got into wildlife photography, particularly small birds, currently use a Nikon 80-400 on a  D300. I am looking to be able to improve but cannot decide if more pixels or a longer lens would be the best way to go. More pixels should allow tighter cropping, whereas the longer lens would fill more of the frame. Current thoughts are upgrade to D7200 (not considering D7500 because of lack of battery grip) or purchase Sigma 150-600. Would appreciate any thoughts.



#2
Jerry_

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Hello and welcome to the forum

There are a few uncertainties here to answer your query f.i. different 80-400 lens models (but assuming you have the older model in the advice hereafter)

The older 80-400 lens was not overwhelmingly sharp - and likely this would even suffer more on a sensor with more pixels.

As cropping is about reducing an area, you quickly loose number of pixels, which will be excluded from your picture. So not really an advantage to prefer the higher number of pixels.

At 400mm you have an approx field-of-view of 3.4° and with a 600 a fov of 2.3° (source: https://shuttermuse....ew-camera-lens/). If my calculations are correct, this results in 400mm covering 46% of the pixels on the sensor compared to 600mm.

Therefore I would go for the longer (and more recent) lens.

#3
Bobby18120

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It's all about the Lens and users knowledge ...   

I don't know about about the d300 but I've seen killer shots from d300s 

 

My opinion is go with  Nikon 200-500 f5.6. 1400$ new or 800-1200$ used on ebay

Excellent VR and the sharpest at this price range

 

If you want The best One ( It's big and Heavy)

Search for a used Nikon 200-400 f4 on ebay !

Should be under 2000$! It's fast, accurate with scary autofocus! It can last for decades and the most important it can take teleconverters, you'll be surprised how sharp it is 

 

If you want the best of DX camera go with the D500 if you planning to get birds in flights or track moving subjects. 1400$ new under 1000$ used (Ohh and you can crop when your subject is sharp)

 

My advice is that a 40,50 or 100 megapixel camera  will not save the situation if your image is Blurry ! Don't worry

So Calibrate your lens and focus always in the eye and keep your shutter speed higher than 1/1000



#4
Nikon Shooter

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For me, longer lens AND more pixels go hand in hand ultimately.

I am actually using a v.1 200~400 ƒ4 on a D810 and a thirty year
old 600 mm ƒ4 on a D850.

The most important in my book is to avoid TCs.



#5
Merco_61

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If your 80-400 is the current AF-S version, get a D7200 as the cleaner 24 MP files will let you crop a bit more. If what you have is the old screw-drive 80-400, get a better lens. The AF on the older lens won't keep up with a bird flying towards you even if the light is good enough for the D300 sensor.

 

If you are considering getting the Sigma C lens, you will be better off with a Sigma S, Tamron G2 or the Nikon 200-500 in the budget telezoom range.



#6
TBonz

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To me the AND option is the way to go.  D7200 or D500 AND your choice of the long zooms unless as Merco suggested - your 80-400 is the AF-S version.  



#7
walt@wblady.com

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I have a D850 and a Z 7. I use my Nikkor 200-500 when shooting birds and smaller wildlife. My choice was to start with a very large MP image and close crop it to the equivalent of an image shot with a cheaper camera and a very expensive telephoto lens. The arithmetic convinced me which way to go... D850 $3299.99 CAD, Nikkor 200-500 $1749.99 CAD vs D750 $1899.99 CAD, Nikkor 600-800 fixed focus $15,999 CAD - $18,999 CAD.

I'm not shooting for National Geographic, just for myself, so the sharpest image possible is not an issue. I didn't get involved in calculating equivalent pixel depth for one method over another etc. I only use my images to print 8 x 10 prints for me and my friends, so these images are more than sharp enough.

Have a look at PhotoArt by Walter Blady to see some shots I've taken... and these Web images are of a lower quality than the originals.

#8
Johnwestacott

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Many thanks for your responses, I now feel more confident in upgrading lens not body, just got to find the best I can afford

#9
Marcus Rowland

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Another recommendation of looking at the lens first. I have an album of pictures taken with a 100-500mm Vivitar lens I got incredibly cheaply. It seemed OK when I was using a D90, but really not so sharp after I switched to a D7000. The extra resolution highlighted the shortcomings of the lens. Still using the lens, since I can't really justify spending several hundred pounds on a new lens that will get very limited use, but I'm a lot more aware of its limitations.

 

Vivitar S1 100-500 5.6-8.0 on Nikon D90 | Flickr