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'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?
  
 
jcorvaia
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p.1 #1 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


I'm looking to pick up some gear for some birding. I know 400mm is short for most birding, but it is the most I can stomach. I shoot primarily m43 and Nex, but good long teles and decent continuous autofocus are non existent in those systems. Would the D7000 and 80-400 make a good team? I am not looking for National Geographic results, just have some fun and grab some shots of the bald eagles in my area. I considered the 300mm F4 and TC, but I would prefer the flexibility of a zoom and VR. I can't decide if it would be justified to spend $400 more for the D7100. I see mixed thoughts on the advantages of the upgraded autofocus system and new sensor.


Jan 08, 2014 at 12:32 AM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #2 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


I have had a D7000 and I currently have an 80-400. IMO it's a good combo for birds. The 80-400 is a sharp sucker and the D7000 will give you a 600mm FOV. It's always nice to have more reach, but it can get pricey real fast.


Jan 08, 2014 at 01:12 AM
jcorvaia
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p.1 #3 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Steve - is your 80-400 the new version? Is the D7000 autofocus sufficient enough to keep up with that lens in a tracking situation?


Jan 08, 2014 at 01:23 AM
binary visions
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p.1 #4 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


I have the new 80-400mm as well as both a D7000 and a D7100. It's good on both, though the D7100 is a bit faster focusing - but definitely still good on the D7000.


Jan 08, 2014 at 02:01 AM
azbill
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p.1 #5 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Is it still sharp at 400mm?


Jan 08, 2014 at 02:06 AM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #6 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Steve Perry wrote:
I have had a D7000 and I currently have an 80-400. IMO it's a good combo for birds. The 80-400 is a sharp sucker and the D7000 will give you a 600mm FOV. It's always nice to have more reach, but it can get pricey real fast.


Had the D7000 and new 80-400 at different times, but the 80-400 is fast focusing on my D800 and D4.



Jan 08, 2014 at 03:06 AM
OccAeon
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p.1 #7 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


The D7000 AF is plenty fast for birding IMO. There are edge cases in low light where the D7100 probably beats it, but it's not worth the premium by itself, IMO, as long as you are OK with only having the centered AF points of the D7000. I used to capture birds in flight on my D90 with an f/5.6 lens -- I'm certain that the D7000 can handle it as well.

As far as zoom vs. prime, though, I've struggled with that myself. For birds alone, I think that the prime+TC wins, because it gets you a bit closer (385 vs. 420 mm) for much less money. In fact, you can get the prime plus a TC and a nice light 70-200 f/4 on the used market for the price of a new 80-400. On the other hand, for walking around and having fun, the 80-400 wins over the prime, because you have such flexibility in what you can shoot.



Jan 08, 2014 at 04:24 AM
brunobarolo
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p.1 #8 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


More pixels always help when you're focal length limited. You just have more room for cropping. That alone would make it an easy choice for me, I'd get the D7100.


Jan 08, 2014 at 08:17 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #9 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


The D7K's AF more than up to the task with the new 80-400.
Handheld SOOC



© riversbendphotography

  NIKON D7000    400mm    f/7.1    1/1000s    320 ISO    -0.7 EV  




Jan 08, 2014 at 11:03 AM
binary visions
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p.1 #10 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


azbill wrote:
Is it still sharp at 400mm?


The new 80-400mm is extremely sharp at 400mm.



Jan 08, 2014 at 11:53 AM
 

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ckcarr
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p.1 #11 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Don't worry as much about the body as the lens. And, you incorrectly state "I know 400mm is short for most birding." I call BS on that and suggest you study a lot of the shots on Nature & Wildlife. The fact is, if you go Nikon you will quickly be limited financially to either the 300mm f/4 AF-S with a teleconverter, or a version of the 80-400mm. There's a ceiling there financially for most realists. Reality is, it becomes technique as much as focal length.
Just stick a D300, D300s, D7000, or D7100 on it.

I've got both, consider myself a beginner with birding, but each has a time & place. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between a good shot from either when compared.


Edited on Jan 08, 2014 at 05:09 PM · View previous versions



Jan 08, 2014 at 12:08 PM
glassartist
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p.1 #12 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


+1 to ckcarr above.


Jan 08, 2014 at 12:49 PM
Pinarello65
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p.1 #13 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


You can even shoot birds with a 50mm! (D800E, 50mm f/1.8 G).






But usually I use the 300mm f/4 with or without the 1.7 TC depending on circumstance. I have a Sigma 120-400 as well but it's not as sharp as the 300mm of course.

Carl



Jan 08, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Christian H
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p.1 #14 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


If you don't do larger wildlife, I'm not convinced the 80-400 is the best choice because you won't really need the zoom's versatility you're paying for. Assuming decent fieldcraft, 300 mm is long enough to shoot songbirds from 6 to 30 feet. (On DX bodies, the f/4 300 + TC combo is awful, except for the odd closeup in good light.)


Jan 08, 2014 at 02:21 PM
MitchSC
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p.1 #15 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


In a side by side comparison the D7100 had features I personally was willing to pay the difference for. Higher ISO capability, More MP for cropping, AF to f8 (not to say the D7000 doesnít) and I like having the 1/3 crop mode. Smaller buffer hasnít bothered me shooting JPEG. Iíll let the RAW guys comment on that.

I chose the 300 f4 + TC's over the 80-400 due to more reach for less $$$. I have the old 80-400 and it stayed at 400mm most of the time.

D7100 1/3 crop mode + 300 f4 + 1.7 tc (1000mm fov) Handheld SOOC no crop Clipped the wings a little but you get the idea.








Jan 08, 2014 at 05:06 PM
OccAeon
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p.1 #16 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Christian H wrote:
On DX bodies, the f/4 300 + TC combo is awful, except for the odd closeup in good light.


I strongly disagree with you on this one, especially as to the TC-14E. The 300mm + TC14E is going to be just as good or better than the new 80-400 at 400. It will focus just as fast and the results will be just as sharp, plus it will get you a bit closer. I use it all of the time with my D7100, and I'm happy with the results.


Edited on Jan 08, 2014 at 07:07 PM · View previous versions



Jan 08, 2014 at 07:05 PM
OccAeon
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p.1 #17 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


MitchSC wrote:
Smaller buffer hasnít bothered me shooting JPEG. Iíll let the RAW guys comment on that.


It still hits about 3 fps with the buffer full, so I haven't found it to be an issue.



Jan 08, 2014 at 07:06 PM
jcorvaia
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p.1 #18 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


Lots of great info here. I will apologize in advance for not responding to each directly. I certainly do not want to spend for the new 80-400, so the suggestions for the 300 + TC are highly noted. Would I miss the flexibility of the zoom? Absolutely. Will most of my shooting be done at full tele anyway? Probably. It makes sense to consider the 300 and 1.4 TC. Even purchased new, it comes in about $800 less than the 80-400. That buys the 80-200 or 2/3rds of the 70-200 f4.0.

Based on the discussion in this thread, I'd say I'm now leaning towards the D7000 and 300mm.



Jan 09, 2014 at 02:23 AM
OccAeon
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p.1 #19 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


If you haven't already seen it, PhotographyLife compares the two setups (80-400 vs. 300+TCs):

http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-80-400mm-vr/5



Jan 09, 2014 at 03:21 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #20 · 'Budget' birding with D7000 and new 80-400?


jcorvaia wrote:
Lots of great info here. I will apologize in advance for not responding to each directly. I certainly do not want to spend for the new 80-400, so the suggestions for the 300 + TC are highly noted. Would I miss the flexibility of the zoom? Absolutely. Will most of my shooting be done at full tele anyway? Probably. It makes sense to consider the 300 and 1.4 TC. Even purchased new, it comes in about $800 less than the 80-400. That buys the 80-200 or 2/3rds of the 70-200 f4.0.

Based on the discussion in this thread, I'd say I'm
...Show more

Wise move
Here's the long and the short of the excellent combo. Plays well with the TC-14/17's...so what's not to love?!




© riversbendphotography

  NIKON D7000    300mm    f/5.6    1/2500s    160 ISO    -1.3 EV  





© riversbendphotography

  NIKON D7000    420mm    f/8.0    1/1250s    200 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Jan 09, 2014 at 01:44 PM
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