Jason offers advice on bird photography, and recommends a secondhand lens for landscapes
I’ve just taken up photography and bought myself a D5500. Would Nikon’s 200-500mm VR be a suitable lens for bird photography with this camera? Brian Sault, via email
Jason says… That’s an excellent choice of first camera and, thanks to the 1.5x crop factor of DX format bodies, the Nikon 200-500mm lens would give you a mighty maximum reach, equivalent to a 750mm lens on an FX (full-frame) camera. However, even with this much telephoto power, it can still be a struggle to get close enough to small birds.
I’d be tempted to go for Sigma’s 150600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C lens kit that comes complete with Sigma’s 1.4x teleconverter. At £850/$1290, it’s less expensive than the Nikon (£1179/$1399) and will give you an effective telephoto reach of 900mm, or 1260mm with the teleconverter fitted. The only catch is that, as your D5500 doesn’t support autofocus at f/8, you’d have to focus manually when using the teleconverter.
My nephew has been using my D90 and 18-105mm lens, but his parents are buying him a D3400 with 18-55mm kit lens, which doesn’t have the same telephoto reach. Would the 18-105mm be a better pairing? Peter Williams, via email
Jason says… The small, lightweight AF-P 18-55mm VR kit lens is well suited to the D3400. It features Nikon’s new AF-P (Pulse) stepping motor autofocus system and effective vibration reduction (VR), rated at four stops. The retractable design makes it very compact, and it delivers impressive image quality. At retailers where the D3400 body is available without the kit lens, it’s not much cheaper, so it makes sense to get the complete kit.
To add decent telephoto reach at a reasonable price (around £130/$150), he could supplement it with Nikon’s AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II, which also boasts a retractable design.
Coupled with a 1 .4x teleconverter, the Sigma 150-600mm delivers incredible telephoto reach
Compact, lightweight and inexpensive, the Nikon 55-200mm VR II is an ideal supplement to the D3400 18-55mm kit