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Yellowstone has given me long lens envy.....

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Just back from Yellowstone and we had a great time.  Other trips now on the docket; Alaska, Tetons, etc…

This trip was about trying to see and yes photograph, bear and wolf cubs.  In Yellowstone you “have” to keep 100yrds from all the predators.     I use the Sony 200-600mm and Sony A7RIII.  We had some closer encounters with bears but wolves were typically well over 100yrds away.  See attached photos: the first being at 600mm, one 100% crop and one at 200% crop.  All heavily processed.  

90% of the time the 200-600mm works great for me.  But…..what are options to get more reach?

1.        600mm f4 lens with teleconverter.  Sorry $13000 is not possible

2.        Sony a6700 + 200-600mm for additional crop

3.        Sell everything Sony and go with OM-1 System.   Based on going with the $6000 150-400 lens.  After ebaying all the Sony Stuff still need $5k

4.        Digiscope, with DSLR attachment.  Wide range of cost depending on scope chosen.  

Your thoughts, options I have missed?


Could contain: Animal, Bear, Mammal, Wildlife, Coyote, Grass, Canine, Dog, Red Wolf, Outdoors

Could contain: Animal, Coyote, Mammal, Canine, Dog, Pet, Bear, Wildlife, Red Wolf, Wolf

Could contain: Ground, Plant, Vegetation, Land, Nature, Outdoors, Grass

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  • changed the title to Yellowstone has given me long lens envy.....

Recently, I went through some of the same focal length envy recently myself. I have a 100-400mm GM which is an awesome lens, but sometimes I want some extra reach. I don't have a 70-200mm so if I moved to a 200-600mm I'd lose the 100mm-200mm range which I don't want to do. Instead, I settled on the 2X teleconverter. It gives me a 200-800mm which I can quickly convert back to 100-400 by taking off the teleconverter. There's always a tradeoff and the maximum aperture is reduced with the teleconverter, but because I don't need the extra reach all that often, it's an easy tradeoff for me to make.

IMO, switching to an MFT system for extra reach is a bit of an illusion. The smaller sensor's "crop factor" makes it appear that you get extra focal length, but it's really just the proportion of the frame vis a vis the subject that changes. Personally, I prefer a high-resolution, full-frame sensor that I have the option to crop to something like an MFT size if necessary. Cameras like the A7R V and A7CR are incredibly versatile in this regard. 

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M4/3 trade off is the increased noise and as you mention less flexibility to crop photos.  As I am going through the Yellowstone photos to "fill the frame" with the wolf, coyote, bear, etc...I am having to do 200% crops and heavily processing the photos.  Many are fine for our family youtube show, lol, but to me the processing is obvious and they look "fake".   Maybe I will win the lottery and I can get the 600mm lens and a sherpa to pack it around.

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On 6/5/2024 at 10:32 AM, said:

Its and option, but it bugs me to possibly spends thousands of dollars over 2-3 trips.....Couple more with the 200-600mm

Of course, it is always a cost benefit analysis. If you can make enough additional revenue with the longer lenses to cover the cost of rental or purchase then it is a no brainer.

It is similar for me with the 600/4. I'd love to have one in the closet, but there just aren't enough times per year when it would really come in handy over the 400/2.8 and it definitely wouldn't allow me to book assignments I'm not already getting with the gear I have.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FYI, in the end I have decided to sell my A7 III and purchase the A7RV and take advantage of the ability to crop to fill the frame.  I will probably buy the 1.4 tele to use with the 200-600 even though some feel the autofocus is less than perfect.  On those rare occasions I can alway go "old school" and manually focus, lol.

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