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Thread: Which focal length do you use

  1. #1
    Member AkSKeyMoe's Avatar
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    Default Which focal length do you use

    I've been looking at the photos being posted here and I've been wondering which focal length lens are being used especially for the eagle photos.

    Which focal length lens?
    Zoom or prime?
    Do you use a TC?
    Do you crop the photos?
    What are the distances to the eagles?

    TIA

  2. #2
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    Run down to Homer right now and you can probably still get close to the Eagles Jean King is feeding. A short tele lens will be fine for that, and a 70-200 should be great. Otherwise, shooting birds, even large birds like eagles, is best done with long lenses. Occasionally you can get close enough that the 70-200 is still enough, but most of the time it seems 600mm is too short.

    Adding a TC to some lenses works fine and not with others. Usually if the lens is very sharp without a TC, it will still be good with one. And 1.4x TCs degrade the image considerably less than 2x TCs. If you have a good combination, the TC can be a moderately low cost way to reach out and touch something. Zooms and primes are both used for birding, but TC's generally work best on primes. There are some nice exceptions to that however.

    Images may be cropped, but if you use a small sensor camera (Canon Rebel, 40D, Nikon D300, D70, etc.) you have already cropped it by 1.5-1.6x. Olympus DSLRs crop by 2x, and Sigma by 1.7x. This is not a bad way to get effectively more reach with your lenses.

    Cropping more will always degrade sharpness, but sometimes it's worth it.

  3. #3
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    What Jim said . . .

    The Flickr Alaska group has a planned outing the weekend of the 28th in Homer to shoot pics of the eagles. Alas, I'm stuck in Anchorage with a previous obligation, so won'tbe there. Google "Gathering of Eagles Homer" and you should get it right away.

  4. #4
    Member EricL's Avatar
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    I just got back from Homer. I used both my 100-400 and my 70-200. I haven't even uploaded the shots yet. I used the 70-200 the most but I love using the larger lens for the "frame filling" shots. I believe I have some eagle shots on here from last year. Those are all from the 100-400 and everyone is free hand. Didn't want anyone yelling at me, right Tull!! Ha!!
    EricL

  5. #5
    Member AkSKeyMoe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I take it then that the eagles that are photographed are pretty close then.
    Unfortunately I just can't run down to Homer without paying for a couple airline tickets first and then getting a ride down the rest of the way. Maybe when I have a reason to go to Anchorage I'll find the time to visit Homer for a shoot.

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