Photography / Tips and Solutions

A Guide to Birding with Long Lenses

Capturing amazingly sharp photos of birds in the wild is the goal of many birders. There are different ways to do this, but the most organic is through the use of extremely long telephoto lenses coupled to digital or film SLR cameras. Not only useful for photography, modern digital cameras also can record video and sound to capture the flight of a bird and its song. The telephoto lens and SLR camera may be your standard observing optic in the field and, not only that, the clarity and crispness of modern optics can help identify a rare species and then capture it photographically as proof of its location, or for further analysis and sharing.

In this third segment of a four-part series, we will discuss what to look for if you are looking to observe and capture birds with a camera, as opposed to straight optical viewing.

Call it a hobby. Call it a pastime. Call it a sport. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in 2011, more than 47,000,000 Americans are “birders.” Birding ranks as the 15th most popular outdoor recreational activity in the US. Chances are that you either know a “birder” or you see one when you look in the mirror. B&H Photo is a great place for stocking up on the best birding optics available, or for shopping for your favorite birder.

Another Way

The traditional birding optic is the binocular. Spotting scopes are also popular for closer views of birds in the wild. However, the popularity of bird photography, enhanced by the accessibility of digital photography, has led a new generation of birders (and converted more than a few veteran birders) to the possibilities presented by birding through a long telephoto lens. Bill Stewart, Director of Conservation and Community at the American Birding Association, says that the new generation of birders has really taken to the idea of long-lens birding and that many youngsters are showing up for nature walks “without optics; just cameras.” He has seen the trend explode in the past two to three years and says that the number of cameras on a given birding outing is always on the rise.

Eric Lind, the Audubon Constitution Marsh Center & Sanctuary’s Center Director in Garrison, New York, is quick to emphasize the social aspects of birding. Birding brings friends and family together, as everyone can observe and enjoy the beauty of nature through birding. Of course, you can hand your binoculars to the person standing next to you to observe a distant bird, or you can use a long telephoto lens and camera, take a photo of that bird, and then share it with the entire Internet-connected world on social media websites. Birding through cameras, and the ability to easily share captured images and video, has given a completely new and exciting dimension to birding.

What Magnification Power is that Telephoto Lens?

Binoculars and spotting-scope magnification are presented in simple numbers. For instance, a pair of 8x40 binoculars has a magnification of 8x and a 40mm objective. An 80mm spotting scope has an 80mm objective and may come with a zoom eyepiece with a magnification of 20-60x.

Camera lenses are measured in focal length, not magnification. Focal length is the distance from the lens’s rear nodal point to the image plane inside the camera body. The greater the focal length, the greater the magnification of the lens will be. For example, a popular telephoto lens is the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens. The 300mm represents the focal length, not the objective diameter.

On the B&H Photo website, you will see magnification listed as a specification for camera lenses (the NIKKOR 300mm f/4 mentioned above has a magnification of 0.27x). This number is NOT the magnification we use to compare the camera lens to the birding binocular or scope—it is the reproduction magnification and is an important specification for close-focusing macro lenses.

Luckily for birders, it is very easy to convert the focal length of a camera lens into a binocular/scope-like magnification factor with simple math.

On a full-frame digital or 35mm film camera, 1x magnification is achieved through the use of a 50mm lens. Therefore, a 100mm lens is 2x, 200mm lens is 4x, etc. To get the optics magnification factor, simply divide the focal length of the lens by 50.


So, using the formula, we now know we need a 400mm lens to approximate the magnification of an 8x binocular and a 500mm lens to approximate a 10x binocular. And, if you are familiar with camera lenses, you probably know that lenses of those focal lengths are most definitely not inexpensive.

Even more extreme, if you want to simulate the magnification of a 20-60x spotting scope zoom eyepiece with your camera, you need a 1000mm lens for the “short” end and a 3000mm lens for the long end!

Telephoto Lenses

Camera lenses are not only measured by their focal length, the other primary specification is their maximum aperture. The aperture number is displayed as an f-stop and the number itself is a ratio of the maximum opening of the aperture diaphragm to the circumference of the entrance pupil of the lens. Because we are dealing with a ratio, the smaller the number, the more light the lens allows in. In photography, light is everything. With a larger aperture, the lens will allow the photographer to take photos at faster shutter speeds, freezing the motion of a bird in flight, and the light-gathering capabilities of the larger lens will also allow the birder to photograph in less than ideal lighting conditions.

The drawbacks of the large-aperture telephoto lenses are weight and cost: bigger lenses are heavier and make your wallet lighter.

You do not need a large f/2.8 aperture super-telephoto lens to capture great photos of birds. There are other options. Many manufacturers make two versions of their super-telephoto lenses—one with a large f/2.8 aperture and one with a smaller f/4 or f/5.6 aperture. Depending on the focal length, the smaller-aperture versions can still be pricey, but they certainly cost less than their big brothers, and they are often considerably lighter, while providing optical quality similar to the larger lens, albeit with less light-gathering capabilities. Birding photographer Arthur Morris has virtually retired his binoculars and spotting scopes and now views birds almost exclusively through a Canon 7D Mark II coupled to a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Deputy Director of Audubon North Carolina Walker Golder uses a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR lens on his Nikon D300S to capture images of birds. This large lens, when coupled with the DX-format sensor, gives him the optical equivalent of an 18x binocular.

Also, many of today’s DSLR cameras come with kit lenses that extend out to 300mm (6x power). This is a great focal length for birding, but they usually have smaller apertures and will not give excellent performance in low light. But, for the size, weight, and cost, they are unbeatable.

Another value lens is the telephoto mirror lens. It works similarly to a mirrored reflecting telescope and packs extreme magnification into a relatively small and lightweight package. The disadvantages are that the optical quality may not be exemplary; the maximum aperture is usually several stops less than a traditional lens at that focal length, and the mirrors produce distinctive doughnut-shaped, out-of-focus highlights that not everyone enjoys, aesthetically. You can find mirror lenses for different cameras at B&H Photo with focal lengths ranging from 300mm to 800mm.


Depending on the focal length of the lens with which you are birding, it may be critical to bring a camera support into the field with you. A tripod will give you maximum stability, but, for portability, weight savings, speed, and flexibility, a monopod might be your best choice for birding.

Spotting scopes nearly always require a tripod because of their extreme magnification capabilities, but long lenses are more akin to the magnification seen in binoculars and, therefore, can be used with a bit less stability.

Also, with the weight of a large telephoto lens, having a method to remove that load from your shoulders or back, as well as to stabilize the lens for extended viewing, a support, no matter how many legs it has, might be your new best friend in the field.

The Camera and Lens Can Help

If you are immersed in the digital photography world, you have undoubtedly heard banter debating the advantages and disadvantages of full-frame versus smaller-sensor cameras. Cameras with sensors smaller than that of a 35mm film frame have what is known as a “crop factor,” due to the fact that they are only capturing a part of the projected image circle.

On a camera with a smaller sensor, the birder gets to enjoy all of the benefits of the crop factor. With APS-C sized sensors, the lens focal length is effectively multiplied by 1.5x (1.6x with Canon). Therefore, a 300mm f/4 lens on an APS-C camera gives you the full-frame equivalent of a 450mm f/4 lens. In optical magnification terms, the image is similar to a 9x binocular instead of a 6x—quite a big difference, especially considering you are using the same lens. Arthur Morris’s Canon 100-400mm lens is effectively a 160-640mm lens on the Canon 7D Mark II, a 3x-13x optics magnification versus a 2x-8x on a full-frame camera.

Walker Golder’s 600mm NIKKOR is, effectively, a 900mm f/4 lens on his D300S and he sometimes uses a 1.4x Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III to get out to an equivalent 1260mm on the DX camera. Working around Cape Hatteras, he is often observing and documenting nesting shore birds and migrating terns on their way to Arctic breeding grounds. He says, “It is nice to have that extra reach because shore birds and water birds are very sensitive to disturbances, sometimes with fatal consequences.” Migrating shore birds, he says, could be on a feeding stopover in the middle of an extremely long journey and disturbing them is counterproductive to birding and nature conservation efforts.

Just like with binoculars, the more magnification the lens provides the birder, the more the image is susceptible to vibration and image shake that will cause blurring of your photographs. The longer the focal length, the more difficult it is to steady the lens. Today, many telephoto lenses come with image stabilization systems that help counteract this movement. For birding, this feature will come in very handy, especially at greater focal lengths/magnifications. Some image stabilization systems must be shut down when the lens is tripod mounted, so check your owner’s manual before you mount such a lens.

Another thing a digital camera can help with is ISO. ISO is, basically, the sensitivity of the sensor to light. With film, you would buy a roll of film designated for a fixed ISO or ASA: 200, 400, 800, etc. With digital cameras, you can increase the digital equivalent of ISO to make your sensor more sensitive to light. This allows you to use a smaller-aperture telephoto lens, or shoot in darker conditions, while still maintaining sufficient shutter speed to counteract camera shake or motion blur and freeze motion from a bird in flight across your frame.


An easy way to give your lens an extended reach while birding is through the use of a teleconverter. The teleconverter is a device that is mounted between the camera and lens that optically provides a specific factor of magnification for the lens. The most common teleconverters come in 1.4x and 2x magnifications. There are other magnifications to be found, including 1.7x and 3x. Also, unlike the crop factor gained from using smaller sensors, teleconverters will reduce the lens’s maximum available aperture—1 stop of light for a 1.4x teleconverter and 2 stops for a 2x teleconverter.

As an example, if you use a 2x teleconverter on a 300mm f/4 lens, the lens effectively becomes a 600mm f/8 lens. When compared to optics, the lens goes from 6x to 12x magnification, a nice gain, but less light will reach the sensor or film due to the smaller effective aperture. A 1.4x teleconverter on the same lens gives you a 420mm f/5.6 equivalent lens at an optical magnification of 8.4x.

There are additional drawbacks. The teleconverter adds optics to the light path between the camera and lens; therefore there is usually degradation in image quality due to the fact that the light is passing through more glass. Depending on the camera you are using, you may lose autofocus capabilities, even if the teleconverter supports autofocus functionality, due to the reduced aperture preventing enough light to allow the autofocus sensors to work properly. It is important to note that teleconverters are made by many lens companies and third-party manufacturers, span a broad price range, and have various options pertaining to electronic connectivity between the lens and the camera. Before buying a teleconverter, be sure to verify your lens’s compatibility with whichever device you are considering.

The Alternative

There is an alternative to the potent combination of a large lens and SLR camera: the “superzoom” point-and-shoot camera. Over the past few years, many camera companies have been producing point-and-shoot cameras with previously unheard of telephoto capabilities. For example, the new Nikon P900 features an optical zoom lens that extends from 24mm to 2000mm. At the far end of the telephoto range, that is the equivalent of a 40x magnification spotting scope.

Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation at the Audubon Society’s Connecticut office and President of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, uses both the Canon SX60 HS and its predecessor, the SX50 HS with a 21-1365mm and 24-1200mm zoom range, respectively. These days, armed with his superzooms, he admits that when on a walk, his “first instinct is to go for the camera” instead of his trusty binoculars. He says that, “If you want to shoot a [birding] magazine cover, you need a DLSR and telephoto lens,” but, when it comes to easy image sharing and observing, the superzoom has a great advantage. Just the other day, Comins spotted a Prothonotary Warbler in Connecticut, on a migratory overshoot. It is rare that they venture so far north. He immediately grabbed his SX60 for observing and imaging and never viewed the bird through is binoculars.

As we stated before, with increased magnification comes increased camera movement. The superzoom genre of point-and-shoot cameras comes with very capable and aggressive image stabilization systems to allow for photographing at these extreme telephoto lengths.

When it comes to focusing, the superzoom might not be as fast and immediately accurate as the SLR and telephoto lens, but I have seen birding images of birds in flight that were captured as well as any other camera could. Another disadvantage of the superzooms is their relatively small maximum apertures that deliver less light than the large telephoto lenses, but they can more than make up for this shortfall by offering fantastic zoom ranges in a relatively light, compact, and inexpensive package.


Most modern digital cameras have the capability to capture HD or 4K resolution video through the lens. This presents exciting possibilities for the birder. Instead of trying to capture the perfect still through the long lens, you can shoot video that will allow the action of the bird to be captured and, with high-resolution recording, you can extract stills from the video that are, in themselves, high-res still images. Add sound to the mix and you can record birdsongs with your video while you admire a distant bird through the viewfinder or on the camera’s LCD screen.

Capture and Share

Birding has always been about observing. Today, we must add capturing and sharing to that list, and the long-lens telephoto and SLR camera or extreme telephoto superzoom are terrific tools to get close-up images of birds in the wild so that you can share your birding adventures and experience with friends, family, and other birders.

Want to read more? Check out Part IV of our birding series, Guide to Birding and Digiscoping.

Discussion 31

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Todd....Thanks for this as I will be purchasing, from B & H, either a Sigma or Tamron 150 - 600mm lens at the end of this year for a trip to the Grand Canyon in January or February. This will allow me to do some birding when I return home to China with the local birders who are very welcoming and freely share information. I've tried my 55 - 300mm lens for birding purposes but it doesn't seem to quite cut the mustard. Couple of questions: what happens at the nodal point in a lens? Is it an intersection of light? And, why must some image stabilization systems, and not others, be shut down for simply mounting that particular lens on a tripod? 

Thanks again!

Hey Tom! How are you?

I probably should have said, "...the optical center of the front lens" instead of nodal point, but nodal point sounds more fancy, right? I will blame Wikipedia! It will not be an intersection of all light passing through the lens, it is just the lens center.

As far as image stabilization systems, check out an article here from my friend and colleague, Shawn Steiner. He has a great description of why you don't want to use IS/VR/SR/etc while on a tripod. I will say this, however, if you are using a monopod, or moving the camera while mounted on a tripod, image stabilization may still help you. And, lastly, when I photograph fast moving airborne stuff, be it airplanes or birds, I, when I had image stabilization, turned it off as I found it could not keep up with my panning speeds.

I owned an early VR lens and excitedly photographed the last ever F-14 Tomcat air show at NAS Oceana years ago. I was so excited shooting the show, thinking VR was magically making every image super sharp. I got home and found an entire card worth of blurry images...much much worse than if I had been shooting without VR. I no longer have that lens (another long story), and I didn't replace it with a VR lens as I never really wanted to use image stabilization again due to the bad taste that still remains in my mouth!

Thanks, again, for reading, Tom! See you next time!

Hi Todd....Thanks. I'll link to Shawn's article on IS/tripod use shortly, I need a morning coffee first. 

I shot some commercial jets at Boston/Logan and in Beijing this year using my Sony HX 100 Superzoom and some of the shots came out fantastic. Wish I could attach one here. There's a great end of runway parking area at Bradley in CT I keep thinking about, perhaps I can get there at the end of next February when I visit East Hartford. 

I'm eagerly looking forward to getting a 150 - 600mm lens at the end of this year! 

Yup, see you next time and I appreciate the sharing of your knowledge very much.

No worries, Tom! I think you may be able to attach images here...just not sure exactly how.

Anyway, thanks again for reading and we will see you next time!

Thanks for the great article.  I have been working with Sony's 400V ultra zoom camera now since last September for viewing and photography. You are correct in pointing out that the image you are viewing through the viewfinder can be compared to looking therough a telescope or pair of binoculars in terms of magnification.  If you look through the view finder with one eye and around the camera with the other eye a 1X image magnification , the image you will get when you have full frame and a 50mmm lense, both eyes will see the same image size.. At 20X, the image you get looking through a scope with one eye and around the scope with the other eye will appear tweenty times larger through the scope (or camera).  Super Zoom cameras advertise "zoom range of 100X.  This not the magnification of a telescope 100X, it is the difference in  size of the image looking through the camera at wide angle and looking at it zoomed out to maximeme  telephoto.  At maximem optical zoom, zoom created by adjusting focal length with the cameras lenses,  the image seen in the viewfinder is only equivolant to a telephoto set at 24X. past this  point in zooming further, the camera's electronically zooms to the telescope equivolant of 48X. This second part of the camera's zoom is done with electronic manipulation which decreases the number of pixels in the final image. When you enlarge the image to print it or to blow it up on your computer, you are enlarging the size of the pixels but, until the picture is blown up larger than the screen, the pixel ***** stays the same as the image sensor saw it. The pixels and electronic noise are larger though. The magnification you get through your telescope is what you get, no capability of enlargment. If you zoom in on these scope and binocular devices, the brightness, color saturation, and contrast fall off to where the image is less satisfying or even unusable. Not so with Sony's electronic viewfinder camera!. We want snap,dazzel, and brilliance in the image we see.  We can spend $2,000 on a scope or binoculars to get these three qualities but the electronic camera, especially under low light will always give a better image.

Sony's viewfinder is electronic image, the image sent directly to the viewfinder's electronic screen after being electrronically manipulated to appear "correct image" right side up and left to right correct.  Optical viewfinder cameras send the light through prisoms (5 different reflective surfaces) before projecting the image onto a fresnel screen.  On these cameras, if the subject is in low light level,  the image will appear dark. With the electronic viewfinder, the image will appear bright when the shutter speed to aperature setting are correct.  I set my camera on manual, then set the aperature manually to one or one and a half stops down for sharpness, then I turn the thumb wheal back and forth on shutter speed until the image is brilliant and high contrast. I put the ISO controle on the one functtion button behind the shutter release button so I can adjust the ISO down for better image snap, dazzel, and brilliance. At higher ISO settings, electronic noise starts showing in photo enlargements, so, I try to use a tripod whereever possible.  Also, I bracket 3 rapid shots on birds that are moving.  One of the three is usually far better than the other two. If birds are close, I use the camera's flash.  This  freezes the subject motion and makes the subject brighter than the background. 

After the picture has been taken, I reopen it in the camera and then electronically zoom in, either through the viewfinder or on the back.  This zoom in is not an option on your binoculars or scope.  The subject is stored in the camera so that difficult identification can be done later.  Saying "I saw a rare blah blah bird through my scope" or binoculars is one thing. Showing a pictgure of same bird frozen by the camera, or on a video is another.  The camera quickly becomes  a great tool for beginners and advanced birders  when a rare bird may need accepted by a state bird records review committee. The image you took of the rare bird becomes strong evidence. 

Now the best news.  You can take your videos or pictures and show them enlarged on your laptop computer, cell phone. or "I pad" type device.

This winter, Eagle Creek (actually a large lake) where our group birds every sunday, and most lakes north of it, froze over almost completely..  One last open area of the lake became a gathering place for at one point over 5000 ducks and geese.gatheredd each night.  I sat  my tripod mounted camera up from 1/8th mile away to avoid scaring the birds into a mass exodus. I scanned the mass of waterfoul back and forth using the screen on the back of the camera to ID the birds, at the same time speaking out the names of the birds onto the cameras souund microphone.  That night, I reviewed the video on the computer blowing up the images to 20 times larger than the ones on the back of the camera. I found I had misidentified several geese, and completely missed 6 White Fronted geese when I made the video.

This camera has a Carl Zies lense on it that is outstanding.

Some of the new "high end" cameras are now using glass instead of plastic for the image errecting prisoms between the imamge sensor and viewfinder for better image quality and less light loss. These  glass greatly prisoms increase the weight of the camera. A good pair of binoculars usually ways possibly 28 ounces.  The Sony 400 V weight??......23oz. and that is with image stabelization. How much does a pair of Cannnon iimage stabellized binoculars weigh? 50oz? 

The new age of birding is here and the mega zoom, one lense cameras have just about reached their maximem capabilities.  Birding is catching up with this technology. this technology coming at a cost less than prices of a pair of medium grade binoculars. I sinceerely believe that the cameras will attract a new type of birder who has a diferent reason for getting into birding.  We can enjoy birding but we can no also enjoy the challange of using the camera to creat art. After birding since 1961, that is where I find myself today.  WOW!

I am posting a picture of a squirrel I took with my soney on B&H's web page for the Sony 400V camera. It may take two days to post.Open it as see what you think of the camera's image creating capability. Think SNAP, DAZZEL, BRILIANCE, and you'l get the picture

Spike Selig

Hey Spike!

Thank you so much for the comments, tips, and tech info!

The superzoom cameras are really impressive these days. I am glad your Sony is performing well for you and I am looking forward to your image!

Thanks for reading the B&H blog! Keep on shooting!

I dont have a cannon 7d mark 2 BUT i do have cannon 40d plus cannon 28 x 135mm ; will that work or a atameron 70mm x 300 mm lens? 

Hey Jeff,

From what I can see, the Tamron lens with the Canon mount should work on your Canon 40D. You may wish to confirm this with Tamron before you purchase.

Thanks for reading!

If you could find one, Nikon made an optical attachment that would couple to its telephoto lenses that would convert it to an equivalent telescope.

tHere may be companies that might still make them

Hi JH. I believe you are talking about the Nikon Lens Scope Converter. It was basically an eyepiece that had a Nikon F mount on the other end. You connected it to a Nikon lens and looked straight through the lens. Pretty cool and unfortunate they are no longer made!

Thanks for reading!

The bird sounds  recorded with my camera (Nikon 7000) has  background noise from the camera. Is there a camera that will do the recording without an external  or shotgun mike attachment?

Hi Helen,

I am not a sound or video expert, but I work with a lot of them. I spoke to a few video folks and they said that unless you have a silent camera, an internal microphone is going to pick up on the camera's noise. Your best option is an external microphone. Sorry, Helen! 

Thanks for your question and thanks for reading! Sorry we don't have an organic solution for you!

Great article... just one comment that "f-stop ... is a ratio of the maximum opening of the aperture diaphragm to the circumference of the entrance pupil of the lens" probably should say something closer to: F-stop is the ratio of the focal length (as you say, the distance to the [rear] nodal point) relative to the diameter of the entrance pupil (or effective aperture).

Hey Brad,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm not sure I agree with how you are re-phrasing the sentence. The f-stop is only related to the size of the opening of the lens, not to focal length. 

Am I misunderstanding what you are saying? Please let me know. Thanks!

Don't forget to multiply the aperture by the crop factor for determining consistent picture quality (i.e., background blur).

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your comment!

Please do NOT multiply your aperture by crop factor. A recent highly-viewed online video has promulgated bad information onto the Internet and we are starting to get a lot of "mail" on this topic.

Aperture is completely independent of sensor size. If the two were related, exposure calculations would be affected by the size of the sensor and we would all have to throw our light meters in the garbage.

Depth of field is affected by sensor size, but not in a way that the crop factor can be applied mathematically. The DOF changes because the circle of confusion changes due to the different reproduction ratios of the image from different sized sensors. Stand by for a three-part series on DOF here at the B&H blog!

Thanks for reading and don't throw your light meter away! Crop factor is just for focal length!

Todd Vorenkamp wrote:

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your comment!

Please do NOT multiply your aperture by crop factor. A recent highly-viewed online video has promulgated bad information onto the Internet and we are starting to get a lot of "mail" on this topic.

Aperture is completely independent of sensor size. If the two were related, exposure calculations would be affected by the size of the sensor and we would all have to throw our light meters in the garbage.

Depth of field is affected by sensor size, but not in a way that the crop factor can be applied mathematically. The DOF changes because the circle of confusion changes due to the different reproduction ratios of the image from different sized sensors. Stand by for a three-part series on DOF here at the B&H blog!

Thanks for reading and don't throw your light meter away! Crop factor is just for focal length!


Need advise.

I have a Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses. I am keenly interested in birding and wild life photography.

Please advise me to buy a long distance lense which will be apt for my D3100.

Hi Sajith,

Thanks for your question! 

What lens you get mostly depends on your budget. A great value for telephoto is the Nikon NIKKOR 300mm f/4 IF-ED lens. That lens has been replaced by a newer version, but the new version is considerably more expensive.

If you have an unlimited budget, any telephoto with an f/2.8 maximum aperture will allow you to get amazing results, but at a cost.

Thanks for reading! 


Thanks a lot for the  response.

Appreiated for advising Nokon Nikkor 300mmf/4 IF-ED lens.

Still, please advise if I have an unlimited budjet,

1. Which telephoto lens with an f/2.8 maximum aperture can be used on my Nikon D3100.

2. is it possible to use it on D3100. Thats my real concern is actually.

3. Also one of my friend want to sell his Sony Alpha 200 with a 70-400f/4-5.6 g ssm lens @ usd 1000.( Good in condition) and I would like to buy that one also. Advise if it worth and performance of the same such a kit..

Keenly awaiting yours at the earliest.

Hi Sajith,

No worries!

For an unlimited budget, Nikon has several large telephoto lenses that cost around $10,000. The largest f/2.8 lens they offer is the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. There is also an 800mm f/5.6, a 600mm f/4 that gets very high marks, and a 500mm f/4.

Your D3100 should work perfectly on any of these AF-S lenses.

I am not very familiar with the Alpha 200 or that lens, but I know Sony makes very good products and many have gotten great images with that system.



Much appreciated !

Thanks a lot for the info.

The link you gave above is very informative. I am going through it and will decide to buy a suitable one.

Thanks once again.


No problem, Sajith! Let me know what one you get and how you like it!

can any one give me a release date on the coolpix p 900

Hey john,

It looks like the P900's demand isn't keeping up with the supply. I will see if anyone knows when it will be back in stock, but, in the mean time, you can click on the "Notify When in Stock" button to track its availability.

Thanks for reading!

Hello again, john.

I just spoke to our customer service folks who told me that we are experiencing a delay in our next shipment due to "unprecedented demand" for the P900. They could not give me a firm date. Sorry!

Hi, I have a Canon T3i and want to get the Tamron 600mm lens. Am I crazy? Would it be a good investment for me as I love to shoot birds and keep seeing everyone using this lens. I want to get up and personal with the Eagles and Blue herons and I hope to take a trip to Yellowstone. Would a smaller lens be better? I am planning on buying it this weekend perhaps.

Any help and suggestions are welcome, Teresa

Hi Teresa,

I am afraid that I would be operating outside my fields of expertise to diagnose you as "crazy." (Insert smiley face emoticon here.)

Are you referring to the Tamron 150-600mm lens? I have heard good things about that lens, and I personally tested its rival, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens just this week. Now you have one more decision to make! 

As far as size, I would consider both the Tamron and the Sigma 150-600mm lenses to be "manageable." They will fit in larger camera bags and do not require their own wheeled cases, or an assistant to carry around.

If you want to get close. These lenses can help you do just that! Beware of camera shake at extreme telephoto distances!

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for asking and thanks for reading!

Thanks! I am really looking forward to getting a new lens. Yes it was the 150-600 There is a Tamron rode show this weekend at the local photo store. I am going to go check it out again. Now I will look at Sigma as well. Also my grandson is starting football this month and I thought it would be good to have so I can get close photos of him. He is adorable little 9 yr old. Will it be okay for sports? Thanks and I have to keep up with your page so I will start an account.

Hey Teresa! New lenses are always fun to get! I highly encourage the practice!

I think those lenses are very close competition for each other, and they have been designed primarily for sports and wildlife. Of course, I took a lot of pictures of buildings with the Sigma because that I what I like to shoot!

In my Sigma review, check out the bicycling photos. That shows some pretty fast sports action. The light was really good, so that helped the fact that I wasn't shooting professional-grade f/2.8 telephoto lenses. Know that both the Sigma and Tamron have smaller apertures, so keep that in mind and crank up the ISO as needed when shooting your grandson!

Also, be sure to tell him to keep his head up when tackling..."See what you are hitting." That will help prevent head injuries!

Let us know which lens you chose and how it works out for you!

Hi Teresa

Its always a fun to take pictures of wildlife...specially if you are equiped with good camera and long range zoom lens.

I do have Tamron 150-600mm and its a fun to have pictures with this lens.

Be carefull of taking pictures handheld, it sure needs a tripod to get the teck sharp images.

Other option could be (if you have not purchased the Tamron yet)...look for Nikon 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6 i guess this is the focal lenght range..

Its pretty sharp and fast lens and you can add tele convertors if you so desire...

send us some pictures taken with Tamron or which ever you purchased....

Hope you will enjoy with Tamron


Babar from Whitby

Dont forget the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E lens!