Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/06/10

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Bird Photography (with apologies to Doug)
From: Doug Herr <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 04:59:07 -0700
References: <>

Gerry Walden wrote:

> Yesterday I had the opportunity to shoot at the bird sanctuary of the
> Wildlife and Wetlands Trust about 40 miles down the coast from us, so I
> decided to have a go. I had borrowed an APO tele-extender from my local
> store to try out with my 350mm f4.8 and my R8. I must point out that the
> birds are free to leave but never do, so they are sitting ducks (forgive me!)

> <SNIP>

> I think I got some reasonable shots but was surprised how close I needed to
> get to the birds even with the 350mm lens, and although the extender was
> good for getting closer it knocked the light back so much as to make it
> virtually useless. The other think which I found incredibly difficult was
> keeping up with the seemingly slow-moving ducks. As soon as I had them in
> focus (and I think I am pretty quick) they were off out of the frame. I had
> the camera on a tripod which I had tightened enough to hold it steady but
> still movable. I must confess to missing my EOS1 with autofocus although I
> know the results will be razor sharp when they are in focus.


IMHO the 350, while optically a wonderful lens, isn't the best for active
subjects because of the long "throw" of the focussing helical.  There are
well-known photographers who disagree with me, but I've found that getting closer
is far more effective than using the longest possible lens.  A shorter lens
minimizes the effects of camera motion, generally has a faster maximum aperture,
and the shorter working distances mean there's less chance for brush or
atmospheric crud to get in the way.

Doug Herr
Birdman of Sacramento

In reply to: Message from Gerry Walden <> ([Leica] Bird Photography (with apologies to Doug))