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Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I hired the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm 1:5.6E ED VR lens to try out for the week-end since my old 300mm f4 AF-S ED lens is acting weird, and I’ve always wanted more reach.

I spent all day Saturday out birding using the lens, and several hours on Sunday before having to return it. I hated to part with it! I LIKE IT A LOT!

 

Anna's Hummingbird

I used it on my Nikon D300s and found the lens very quick to focus with very little hunting even in low contrast areas, and the images have lovely colors, and contrast. The VR was quite snappy and worked very well on the few images I shot hand-held. I won’t be doing that often.

The lens weighs 4.6 pounds so,  I used this lens on a tripod with my Wimberley  Arca Sidekick Ball to Gimbal Adapter, and let my rig carry the weight, or I shot from the car window using the door frame as my base on the auto-route parts of the refuges I visited.

This little Anna’s Hummingbird feeding on this succulent plant is an image I made this morning. The sky was overcast and gray, and she was in the shade.
Camera Settings: 1/320s| ISO 1000| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Single AF

A challenging situation that I think came out well. So, I guess you know I want this lens!

I shot just under 1000 images this week-end and have begun culling them. I’ll be sharing more images as I go through them.

More to come…

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29 Comments

  1. Oh, wow, you’ve got me drooling over that lens too! This shot is just amazing.

    • I’ve been really happy with it. Now waiting for the D500 to be released and hopefully it will be bug and issue free. The auto-focus died on my D300s last week-end and it’s not worth sending it in for repair at this point. It’s been good to me these last 6 yrs, and I’ve got over 75K shutter clicks on it, and the flash isn’t popping up like it should either. I need a new wildlife camera.

  2. So beautiful and sharp, love all the colors!

  3. Beautiful shot! The hummingbird and flowers are so fresh and vibrant. Did I read that you bought a lens like the one you rented???

    • Thank you so much Myriam! Yes, you did. I’ve for about a year my 300mm f4 was on it’s last legs and have been saving to replace it. I haven’t had much chance to use the lens I bought though. It’s been raining this week, and when it stopped I went out back to photograph backyard birds. I only got a couple of good images of the elusive Fox Sparrow that lives in my neighbors Oleander. I’m super thrilled about that!
      I am hoping I get out Saturday for a full day to see if the lens is a keeper or not.

      • Eeeeeee! Oh that is so exciting! Looking forward to seeing your Fox Sparrow and other pretty birds. Hope you get some good weather on Saturday.

        • Me too! If it’s not a Fox Sparrow I’m confident that you will know how to ID it and correct me if I’m wrong! You have a great eye for the finer details that I miss.

        • Okay, late night bird book studying and I now think it’s a Thrush not a Fox Sparrow! I’ll get it posted so you can see. 🙂

  4. exquisite image!

  5. this is so beautiful, speechless!

  6. Beautiful image Deborah, love the blur on the wings which gives a hint of their motion. I have and use that lens quite often, in fact I don’t think I have used my 300 f/4 since purchasing. I find the 200-500 f/5.6 works quite well with the 1.4 and 1.7tc’s as well. You mentioned shooting from the car which seems to work very well as a lot of the animals aren’t overly intimidated with it. My wife made me a rice bag that is kept in the car for just that reason.

    • Thank you so much Harold! When I returned the lens the store had one new one in stock and I bought it. I’ll be spending the next year and half paying myself back and saving for the D500. I won’t have much $ extra a month, but no regrets I’ll be out shooting and I hope having a whole lot of fun! 🙂

      I received a bean bag for Christmas several years ago that I keep in my car too. I took it on this trip to use, but I didn’t drive so I was able to sit in the backsit and shoot from both sides of the car, but the back window didn’t roll down all the way-only about half way, and the bag wouldn’t balance well to use it.
      Why are manufacturers stopping the windows from rolling all the way now-a-days? My 2014 Subaru’s rear seat windows only go down 3/4 of the way. It’s very frustrating and annoying for we birders!

  7. Sassy! Interesting gimbal mount. And you may have found your birding glass 😀

    Great shot.

    • Thank you so much Todd! I only linked to the Sidekick to show readers what I was talking about. It’s been a well used, and appreciated piece of my kit for several years now.
      My keeper rate went up when I started using it.

      You’re right. I did find my birding glass! 🙂

  8. That’s a great shot Deborah, beautiful photo.

    • Thank you so much Dan! I had a very, bad, no good, horrible, terrible case of NAS after hiring that lens!

  9. Really beautiful photo! 🙂

  10. WOWZA! What an awesome shot!


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