Had to make a decision recently.
My torn Achilles tendon is on the mend although my left foot is still in an immobilizing boot. Once I start to rehab, I'll rely on recommendations of my physical therapist as to what I can do, should do or shouldn't do. And naturally, outdoor photography will be my priority activity.
Some months ago I got myself a 400 mm lens to be used primarily for wildlife, sports and even close-up photography. That lens, sitting on a tripod (which I always use), weighed in at about 6-7 pounds. That's a load to carry through woods and fields, one I felt was worth the tradeoff in order to expand my (photographic) reach. But, given that I've lost enough field time, to expedite my return to the outdoors, I traded my 400mm lens towards the purchase of a new one … a Nikon 18-300mm … one lens, wide angle to zoom with a macro capability as well.
In the past, lenses with such a wide zoom range were reputed to have points along the range where quality fell off; consequently, I read some reviews before buying and then decided to trust what I read and, my experience with the Nikon brand. The one feature I questioned was the macro minimum focal-distance-from-subject … allegedly around 1.5 feet. The few test shots at 1.5 feet at a full 300mm zoom look pretty good; and attaching an extension tube between the camera and the lens allows me to get even closer!
Going forward, instead of carrying three lenses into the field -- a wide angle, a zoom and a macro -- I can now take just this one, a reduction of roughly three pounds overall. In the meantime, because I am blessed with a back yard that butts up against a forest, I can sit comfortably in my family room, leg elevated, camera and lens on tripod at a squeaky clean window, and photograph the birds that come to my bird feeders.
Because this lens can focus at close range to subjects ... macro and otherwise, I can now place the feeders closer to my window and fill the frame (or nearly so) with many bird subjects, the images of which I formerly had to crop in order to make "full-frame." The 300mm lens at the closer distances to subject, is in effect, more than the equivalent of the 400mm lens I traded!
There's more to my approach to bird photography that I've implemented because of this lens' clarity and capability; I'll tell it another time. For now, you tell me (honestly) what you think about these new bird images.
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