I have a A900 and I have Sony G series 70-200 2.8 lens and the 2X converter to go along with it. I'm interested in trying to get more length for taking wildlife pictures(since I can't run as fast I use to) and I am curious to know if anyone has had any luck with any other brands. Thanks for your input.
I'm not doing a lot of nature stuff, this period, but when I did, the SONY 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM seems to offer the quietest, fastest focus with excellent performance end-to-end. That being said, I also have the TAMRON SP AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD, when I need a little extra reach. The sacrifice is sharpness. Pushing the TAMRON all the way to 500mm really tends to show.
The fact is, nature shooting is not usually tele-peeping. Of course, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It requires you get in there and NOT mix it up. This implies that it could require a lot of time and planning. With the 70-400... the entire range is available to you, smoothly, without having to add the teleconverter to the 70-200. I'm sure you would look real "stealthy" doing all that switching around. I could just see a sniper running around in a Gilly-suit... having to swap silencers on his 50mm Barrett... hoping the enemy doesn't detect him. I think you get my point... keep it simple.
The 70-400 is one of the best lenses on the market. Yes, you can add a teleconverter to it, but you will lose your autofocus capability, due to the reduction in base aperture, when the 2x teleconverter is attached, making it f/8-f11. But the zooming focal length goes from 140-800mm. That's a serious look-see. Add a Kenko 3x...
and not only will you be asking "who turned the lights off?" as you base aperture goes to f/13-f18, but you will take the lens to a zooming monster of 210-1200mm -> Enough to see the veins in the feathers of most birds.
Remember, when you steady a lens of this length, your shutter speed becomes critical. The equation for a stable shot usually is 1/focal length. 1/1200... or a 1/1000 sec shot. That is extremely tight on light, even with f/2.8, so hand-holding the camera is complete out of the question.
The tripod you use better not move as you back off the speed to something doable. Calculating this shot would be a little tedious, to be sure.
Set the ISO to as high as you can, w/o introducing noise. With the α900... ISO 1600 is about it.
Then your shutter speed is complete light dependent. Even with my brightest setting (call it direct sunshine), 1/60th was as fast as I go.
Under less than great sunlight, you are looking at exposure times of 1 second! I tell you, those teleconverters whack down a lot of light.
Again, these shots are NOT CROPS and were kind of taken hurriedly, to kind of simulate the amount of time you would probably have for a NATURE shot. My WB is a little off, but what the hell, right? Again, these are manually focused, because a T/C simply removes AF-capability from most lenses, unless they are f/2.8 or wider.
I was shooting about ten-feet away and focus is easier when you are at 400mm than it is at 70mm, because the DOF is so shallow when you are full out. You can easily when you undershoot or overshoot your target. You can also tell the softer light tends to soften the presentation of the subject. Nothing physically changed between shots except the camera settings and the light being used.
Here is a shot I did, some time back, thirty-yards away from the subjects, with the 70-400 @ 400mm. It has been reduced in size, so the sharpness is not quite there, but you get the idea.
Here is a 100% crop of the original.
If you look real close you can see the flash going off, reflected, in his eyes.
We have no idea of your budget so it's dificult to know how exactly to respond.
Don's solution of the 70-400mm would give you what may be the best zoom 400 out there.
Sonynut's tongue in cheek solution would give you one heck of a focus problem on your 900.
On the subject of teleconverters, it's not just as simple as losing a couple of stops with the 2x converter.
The converter introduces some aberration and a loss of contrast which requires further stopping down to compensate (to an extent).
I have both Sony teleconverters but I rarely if ever use the 2x. It seems to me that upsampling from the 1.4x tele gives a better result than I get from the 2x.
I haven't tried a tele on the 70-400mm but I would hazard a guess that it would be a complete waste of time for wildlife photography.
My own solution was precipitated by a very good deal (pricewise) on a 300mm SSM lens.
On the 900, this gives me a fantastic 300mm or with the x1.4, a 420mm f4 (better at 5.6).
On the A77 it gives me a fantastic 450mm equivalent lens or 630mm f/4.
Beyond that I have a Minolta RF 800mm but I won't resurrect that until I have the NEX-7.
It comes down to money, doesn't it? Long lenses do not come cheap so it all depends on the depth of your pocket.
At the cheaper end, you could try the Sony 70-300mm SSM or the Sony/Minolta 500mm reflex lens.
More expensive is the 70-400mm SSM and if you added an A77 you end up with an equivelant 600mm lens and a pretty good performer even at f/5.6.
After that there is the Minolta 400mm f/4.5 HSG or the 600mm F4 HSG.
Can't help you with other makes, I'm afraid.
Nice looking shot, Peter.
Do you the specs on this one?
Thanks for the response and comments I really appreciate it.
A pleasure to help...
One thing that has never seemed to lack is opinion.
For nature, the SONY 70-400 is simply unparalleled in flexibility. If that is what you plan on shooting, go for it. The 70-200mm is meant for a different use and often indoors. The 70-300 is more for outdoor stuff, but in a limited way. The 70-400 gives you that reach you seem to enjoy through the T/C without compromise. Try one out... you'll SEE for yourself.
Good luck and don't be afraid to post the results.
Thanks, I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger on one.
Sorry Don, almost missed your query, I should have posted EXIF with the pic.
Originally Posted by DonSchap
A77 * 300mm SSM + 1.4x tele = 420mm (630mm equiv) * f/4 (wide open) * 1/250th * iso200
This little fellow simply appeared on my lawn one day and tucked in. Must be an escaped pet.
Originally Posted by Peekayoh
I don't have any focus problems.