Ask Jason

Jason of­fers ad­vice on bird pho­tog­ra­phy, and rec­om­mends a sec­ond­hand lens for land­scapes

NPhoto - - Contents -

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

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