Nikon D3300 with 55-300mm lens

edited April 2016 Posted in » Nikon Lens Talk
I'm wondering what my best choice would be? I love taking close up pictures of birds that are moving (I like landscaping also). I'm using the above lens, but when I crop it I lose a lot of the quality of the picture, and I would like to blow them up and make prints. This is my first slr, and I love to take pictures and use them in my home.


  • edited April 2016
    You should still be able to crop fairly well with the 55-300mm, if the picture is sharp to begin with and if the ISO is not too high. With the D3200 especially, you have to be a little careful of going too high on ISO when cropping birds and the like. Although the noise is often quite acceptable on a non-cropped shot even when it goes quite high, edge detail is lost and you'll see that when you crop hard.

    Shooting birds in flight is a big challenge anyway, and requires some practice. You can get lower ISO and get away with lower shutter speeds if you get good at panning. It also helps if you don't have to increase exposure later to open up shadows, so when going for birds in flight, spot metering often works best if you can keep the bird in the meter spot (which is the same as the AF spot).

    Make sure you get out of auto area focus, too. Try continuous focus mode, and dynamic area. This will begin with a single spot and track a moving bird to some degree. If the bird is alone and distinct from its surroundings, sometimes 3D will work better, but if the background is complex, it can jump to the wrong subject.

    Of course a faster or longer lens will always be nicer, but you should be able to do pretty well with this one if you keep practicing.

    The 55-300mm lens is pretty good on sharpness all the way through, but depending on circumstances and samples, and luck, you might find it best if you can keep it out of its maximum. It's appreciably sharper at 250mm or so. Of course if you're cropping you probably lose the advantage, but try it both ways to see which you like best. It's also easier to follow a flying bird at a slightly wider setting.
  • Thanks for your advice. I will keep practicing and trying all the things you mentioned.
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