Beginner Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary - new bird photographer - advice needed before buying

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Matt Brookes
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Thanks all for your responses, you have really helped ..... I will be back

Hello, just come across Talk Photography looks a great resource and this is my first post - so hope I am doing this right?!

Been a birder for many years and during lockdown(s) I have really caught the bird photography bug. After lots of investigation and procrastination I am about to take the plunge and buy a new Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary from Park Cameras for my Canon 7D MkII

Before I buy I still have a few questions to want to try to resolve and I hope this community can help?

1. For an extra £100 Park have an option to buy the lens with a TC 1401 convertor (standalone cost £250). While on the surface this "seems" a good deal, the jury seems to be (very much) out on whether the TC 1401 is viable for this lens - camera combo. So has anyone had any experience of the TC 1401 with the 7D MkII and 150-600mm. Would you recommend or not? DECISION MADE - am going to buy with TC 1401, try it and resell if I don't get on with it, could even make a few £ profit ..... ah they have sold out so wont be getting the TC 1401, hey ho!

2. Also looking to buy the Sigma USB Dock. From what I have read this seems like a no brainer but is it? DECISION MADE - clearly buying this is a no brainer

3. While I am fit and healthy, I know lugging this heavy lens around over long periods will be a pain in the neck. Obviously I want to negate as much as possible, so the lens gets maximum use and doesn't end up sat in its case. So I am looking to buy a new Neck-Strap or Harness System and tempted by Peak Design Slide or a similar solution which takes some of the pressure off - does anyone have any recommendations? DECISION MADE - gone for Peak Design Slide

4. I always buy UV filters for my camera equipment but £100 for the Sigma version seems a tad excessive, any alternatives I should look at? DECISION MADE - I am going to try not using UV filters and just be very, very careful with my lenses .... and remember to put the lens cap on as I ruined a couple of lenses back in the day of film camera .... but i was a lot younger then, so hopefully I will have learnt my lesson ;)

5. Finally, I have a lightweight Manofrotto 790B Monopod, which I am pretty certain will not bear the weight of this lens and camera - any recommendations for a more robust option? DECISION MADE - Going with Manfrotto Element MII which takes up to 8kg and is £45 from Park Cameras

A lot of questions I appreciate but any and all responses gratefully received as I am itching to press the "Buy Now" button in the next few days :)
 
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2. Yes to the Sigma dock, I bought one to go with my 100-400 lens and found it invaluable for calibrating the focus and experimenting with different OS options. For the price (particularly if you can find a lightly used second hand one at a reasonable price) it's a no brainer.
 
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Matt Brookes
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Thanks Mr Badger - added to my Shopping Cart (y)
 
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Chris
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As far as the TC is concerned you need to find out if your camera will AF with the lens +TC.( It should do but I am not sure if f6.3+1 stop is =/> f8)
If yes buy the TC you can always sell it for more than you paid if it does not suit ( for £100 you could sell it and buy the sigma dock if it is not suitable ).
 
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Gary
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Sigma dock as said above
No to the 1.4 converter I found it noticeably softened the images
Ive never used a filter in the 4yrs of owing mine
 
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Matt Brookes
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Sigma dock as said above
No to the 1.4 converter I found it noticeably softened the images
Ive never used a filter in the 4yrs of owing mine
Thanks, that's what I have been lead to believe about the converter and it slows focusing, so likely not to pursue
 
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As far as the TC is concerned you need to find out if your camera will AF with the lens +TC.( It should do but I am not sure if f6.3+1 stop is =/> f8)
If yes buy the TC you can always sell it for more than you paid if it does not suit ( for £100 you could sell it and buy the sigma dock if it is not suitable ).
Ahh ... you make a EXTREMELY good point about the TC! Had just discounted buying but I might now buy, try and if I don't get on with it, resell. Already convinced about the USB dock - thanks for your input
 
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richard
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1 sold prices on ebay for that tc are 140 upwards so prob worth trying for 100 quid? Has good reputation for a tc14

2 I have the usb hub ( and the tamron tap in console ) but I needed both to do firmware updates. Haven’t tried tweaking either my sig or tamron. I just tuned the af on my camera at 400 and 600 and that’s ok for me since they are normally at the long end. VC/OS usually off since at 1/1000 or faster

4 you are paying the high cost for the AR coatings. Cheaper ones are going to let a bit less light through ( not important ) and more prone to ghosting or image degradation if the coating is really really bad. I got a cheap polaroid 95mm from amazon tested it and it seemed ok - would have sent it back otherwise. I see that there are many inexpensive ones on amazon.

5/6 don’t know about monopods since I use a really cheap 7day store one. The 790b is rated at 1kg I see.
I use an old manfrotto 055 alloy snd a mod’d Neewer gimbal - works well if that is if any use
 
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Ahh ... you make a EXTREMELY good point about the TC! Had just discounted buying but I might now buy, try and if I don't get on with it, resell. Already convinced about the USB dock - thanks for your input
1 sold prices on ebay for that tc are 140 upwards so prob worth trying for 100 quid? Has good reputation for a tc14

2 I have the usb hub ( and the tamron tap in console ) but I needed both to do firmware updates. Haven’t tried tweaking either my sig or tamron. I just tuned the af on my camera at 400 and 600 and that’s ok for me since they are normally at the long end. VC/OS usually off since at 1/1000 or faster

4 you are paying the high cost for the AR coatings. Cheaper ones are going to let a bit less light through ( not important ) and more prone to ghosting or image degradation if the coating is really really bad. I got a cheap polaroid 95mm from amazon tested it and it seemed ok - would have sent it back otherwise. I see that there are many inexpensive ones on amazon.

5/6 don’t know about monopods since I use a really cheap 7day store one. The 790b is rated at 1kg I see.
I use an old manfrotto 055 alloy snd a mod’d Neewer gimbal - works well if that is if any use

Thank you. I have found a few cheaper filters on Amazon and will go down that route - actually bought Amazon filter for a lens recently at £7.99 and it seems fine. Getting usb dock and tc14 but definitely need to get a new monopod. Only recently come across Neewer and they seem a really solid outfit
 

Sky

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I forgot to mention the filter - save your money. They offer very little 'true' protection and it just means you're putting a lesser quality glass in front of the lens. You may as well shoot through a window. ;)
 
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richard
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Good luck with your sigma. Your 7Dii is f8 capable ( like my d500 ) and should af with the tc on in good light.

( PS On the Neewer gimbal - note it’s cheap but you have to strip it down, remove the gunge they put in there, clean and relube )
 
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Everything has been answered but defintely no to the filter (of any make), remember you will be often shooting at 600mm, heat haze etc will be your enemy on many occasions and you don't need anything else degrading the IQ. I have a 7DmkII and 150-600mm Sport and I would never use a filter.
 

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PRINCESS
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100% to getting the Dock, when I had the 150-600mm on my old Canon 70D I used a Optech sling and it was great.
 
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Matt Brookes
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Everything has been answered but defintely no to the filter (of any make), remember you will be often shooting at 600mm, heat haze etc will be your enemy on many occasions and you don't need anything else degrading the IQ. I have a 7DmkII and 150-600mm Sport and I would never use a filter.
Thanks for your advice - I had an incident years ago where I damaged a lens rather dramatically and have been paranoid as a consequence since :D
 
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Steve France
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I have the lens, teleconverter and USB dock on my Nikon d600. I have been using it exclusively for birds for over a year and can honestly say its a very good combo for the price. Even at F9 with the converter I have managed handheld shots of some great birds, including Sea Eagles and Sparrows. I have used the dock to adjust my lens but the jury is still out - probably my skill level.
Handheld it will keep you fit and after a 2 hour shoot my arms/chest/shoulders ached for days, I have used a monopod on occasions with mixed results and a sturdy tripod with ball head for better more consistent results. Overall it was money well spent - enjoy !
 
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Thank you for the advice - just pressed Buy Now on the 150-600. I do have an existing Tripod I use with my spotting scope, will see how it works with the lens ... but reckon I will be back with tripod head questions at a later date. Really pleased I joined this group, I know where to come for advice now :)
 
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Thanks for the recommendation - just purchased Peak Design slide
 
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Martin
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Black Rapid Breathe sling, perfect for walking and having a camera ready in an instant, plus you can fix it so that if you bend over your camera stays at your side, or back, or wherever you put it.

Black Rapid

Too late now though, I see.
 
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Black Rapid Breathe sling, perfect for walking and having a camera ready in an instant, plus you can fix it so that if you bend over your camera stays at your side, or back, or wherever you put it.

Black Rapid

Too late now though, I see.
Thank you for taking the time and if the Peak Design doesn't work out I will look into the Rapid Breathe before any other
 
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