I was wandering around our house a few days ago during the Golden Hour and came across this little cutie pie called a Black Phoebe. I was not too far away, but even with my 300mm lens I couldn’t fill the frame. It’s amazing how it seems there is never a long enough lens for bird photography lol.
Zoom lenses are usually not sharpest at the extremes of the zoom range. For example, if you shoot a 28-300mm lens (which I used for this shot), you will get sharper photos at 280mm than 300mm. Almost all lenses are sharper somewhere between the extremes of the zoom range. This is especially important if you are shooting a less expensive zoom lens or a kit lens. Spend just a minute and take a picture of a newspaper taped to the wall across from you at different focal lengths and apertures. You’re likely to find quite a variation in sharpness levels depending on the focal length.
Backing off the full range of a zoom lens doesn’t cause much issue with presenting a close up image because it’s necessary to crop whether it’s shot at 300mm or 280mm. I’ve included a screen shot of the original picture size so you can see how much I cropped it.
I hope you enjoy this little cutie pie!