Ugly Hedgehog® - Photography Forum
Shooting butterflies
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Mar 14, 2019 12:52:34   #
Betsy58 (new user)
 
I will be going to a butterfly garden next week. I am not sure which one of my lenses I should take. I shoot with a Nikon D7200. I have my kit lens 55-300, a Nikon 70-300, and a Sigma 17-70. Any advice on which lens and shooting butterflies, in general, is much appreciated.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:01:53   #
Mac (a regular here)
 
Betsy58 wrote:
I will be going to a butterfly garden next week. I am not sure which one of my lenses I should take. I shoot with a Nikon D7200. I have my kit lens 55-300, a Nikon 70-300, and a Sigma 17-70. Any advice on which lens and shooting butterflies, in general, is much appreciated.


You definitely won't need a long lens for butterflies. Of the three lenses you mention, the 17-70mm is the best choice.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:03:32   #
Haydon (a regular here)
 
Take your 70-300 and use a flash. I shoot at an indoor butterfly conservatory a couple of times a year. Using a shorter lens can work if it's a macro but generally, using a little distance can discourage their flight. After the first year I started using off camera flash with a partner. Frequently, butterflies are nestled deeper into the flora and dragging the shutter with a longer lens will cause motion blur. Using a flash allows you to freeze the action and saturate colors.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:05:06   #
jwinberg1
 
<<You definitely won't need a long lens for butterflies. Of the three lenses you mention, the 17-70mm is the best choice.>>

The OP did not indicate how CLOSE he will be able to get to those butterflies. One long lens may be quite useful!

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Mar 14, 2019 13:12:53   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
I agree with the long lens too. Use a single focus point set on the eyes. Since you'll be close and if you add some flash, use a small aperture like F/8 down to f/11 so you have a depth of field to see most of the butterfly. Use your flash compensation to adjust the output downward to the minimum needed so you don't overpower / over-brighten the image. Of course, if the light isn't there and / or flash is not an option, work as wide as the lens allows for the focal length used.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:14:15   #
Mac (a regular here)
 
jwinberg1 wrote:
<<You definitely won't need a long lens for butterflies. Of the three lenses you mention, the 17-70mm is the best choice.>>

The OP did not indicate how CLOSE he will be able to get to those butterflies. One long lens may be quite useful!


Well he did say he was going to a butterfly garden and every butterfly garden I've been to has plants that attract butterflies and in those gardens the butterflies are at or near those plants and there have never been any barriers restricting proximity to the butterflies or the plants. For that reason I can't imagine the need for a long lens or anything more than his 17-70mm.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:18:29   #
robertjerl (a regular here)
 
I use one of two/three lenses for butterflies in my yard.
My 100-400L Mk II which focuses to just about 3 feet but allows me more reach for one far away or a bird that comes along.
If I am planning on only doing butterflies I use a macro lens, my 100 mm will work but I prefer my 180 mm since I don't have to get so close.
And of course the macro lens has resolution to burn.
With your gear I would use the Sigma and maybe carry one of the longer ones in case I find I could not get real close.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:18:56   #
jwinberg1
 
On the other hand, I have been to butterfly gardens where the very BEST specimens were lurking at quite a far distance away. Surely it cannot HURT to be prepared for such a circumstance.

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Mar 14, 2019 13:46:19   #
rmorrison1116
 
Betsy58 wrote:
I will be going to a butterfly garden next week. I am not sure which one of my lenses I should take. I shoot with a Nikon D7200. I have my kit lens 55-300, a Nikon 70-300, and a Sigma 17-70. Any advice on which lens and shooting butterflies, in general, is much appreciated.


I was at the Philadelphia International Flower Show last week and there was a butterfly room. Here are some of the photos I got with a D7200 and Nikkor 28-300 lens. All the photos were shot at 200 to 300mm, (300 to 450 equivalent 35 mm). I'd suggest you use the faster of the two XX-300 zooms. Advantage of the 300 is, you can get pretty good detail and you don't have to get all that close.















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Mar 14, 2019 13:52:32   #
jwinberg1
 
<<numerous Canon and Nikon Bridge, DSLR and MILC cameras, plus many Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron lenses. Lots of tripods and speedlights and soft boxes and crap & lions & tigers & bears,oh my! >>

Are you SURE you have enough equipment???

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Mar 14, 2019 14:37:16   #
rmorrison1116
 
jwinberg1 wrote:
<<numerous Canon and Nikon Bridge, DSLR and MILC cameras, plus many Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron lenses. Lots of tripods and speedlights and soft boxes and crap & lions & tigers & bears,oh my! >>

Are you SURE you have enough equipment???


It's nice to have a good selection to choose from. This morning I went for a ride on my motorcycle and I brought along my D7200 with Nikkor 28-300. Later this afternoon I will be taking the puppies to the dog park. I will bring my Canon 5D mk IV with EF 28-300L attached.
I've been collecting digital cameras since 2000, when I bought a Sony Mavica CD-300. Still have it and it still works. My first DSLR is a Canon EOS 10D I bought in 2003. I upgraded every few years but never disposed of the older cameras. The 10D thru 40D rarely get used anymore, they just sit in a cabinet behind a glass door. The 50D and 60D are used a lot for time lapse projects. The 70D and 80D are still used fairly regularly. My daughter has grown attached to my 6D and I keep telling her to pay me for it or get her own; someday... A few years ago a friend, who knows little about cameras and such, gave me a rather nice used Nikkor lens so I had to get a Nikon body, the D7200, to use it on. When the D500 came out it was, and probably still is, the best crop sensor DSLR in its class so I had to get one. I'm quite pleased with it. I often shoot the D500 and my 7D mk II together; the Canon on a tripod and the Nikon hand held. Most of the bridge cameras were bought as upgrades. I use the bridge cameras in places, like concerts, where DSLR's and big lenses are not allowed. I bought an MILC because I wanted to see for myself how I like them. It's like a high end bridge camera with interchangeable lenses. My personal opinion, too small. I don't have a full frame MILC yet and am in no hurry to buy one, in fact I have not purchased any photo gear, with the exception of a few accessories, in over a year.
I enjoy all types of photography so I have acquired, over the years, a good selection of lenses, from wide angle to macro to telephoto.
You asked, I answered. Time to head out with the puppies...

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Mar 14, 2019 18:24:42   #
Betsy58 (new user)
 
Thank you to all that responded. All of the reasons you suggested for each lens were the reasons I was considering them. I might have to take both but not sure about changing the lens inside the exhibit. I may have to go twice!

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Mar 14, 2019 18:34:15   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
Your 55-300 and 70-300 are the essential the same lens, focal length. You probably don't need both. My experience with butterflies is they'll oddly land on you or your party in an indoor environment. But typically, capturing a useful image at less than 135mm is difficult unless they've passed away, leaving their lifeless form for a close-up.

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Mar 14, 2019 19:24:13   #
PixelStan77 (a regular here)
 
Betsy58 wrote:
I will be going to a butterfly garden next week. I am not sure which one of my lenses I should take. I shoot with a Nikon D7200. I have my kit lens 55-300, a Nikon 70-300, and a Sigma 17-70. Any advice on which lens and shooting butterflies, in general, is much appreciated.


Welcome to the forum. To capture butterfly's with no additional expense, use your 70-300. When I photograph butterfly"s I try for an unusual angle. Have fun. I also learned you need patience when photographing them.From experience if you are in a greenhouse with them and you are just ready to click the shutter and the butterfly fly's off...be patient as he will return to the same flower.



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Mar 14, 2019 19:38:26   #
DavidPine (a regular here)
 
Betsy58 wrote:
I will be going to a butterfly garden next week. I am not sure which one of my lenses I should take. I shoot with a Nikon D7200. I have my kit lens 55-300, a Nikon 70-300, and a Sigma 17-70. Any advice on which lens and shooting butterflies, in general, is much appreciated.


Macro.

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