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Don't you just hate in when...............

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by ChrisBrookes, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. ChrisBrookes

    ChrisBrookes Well-Known Member

    ............. you have just trotted off to a hide in a nature reserve with your newly acquired 100-400mm zoom, thinking "I hope nobody actually thinks I have a clue!!!" . Only to find when opening the hide door , that you find a photographer with a 500mm f4.0 prime lens and 1.4x converter !! Boohoo Why does someone always have something bigger and better !! My little heart sank !! But once the two birdwatchers cleared off I had a nice chat with the owner of said dream lens !! Why can't I win the lottery ! :) ( I do know that having better equipment won't make me a better photographer, but to get that little bit closer oooooooh ! )
  2. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    I was absolutely kicking myself this afternoon Chris for similar reasons. I had decided to head out onto the valley behind the house with my camera and only took my 24, 50 and 90mm lenses along with tripod to keep the weight down. When I got to Carr Forge Dam I was confronted by a very cheeky little Robin and a number of other birds that were all only too happy to sit feeding or preening within 5 or 6 feet of where I stood. Had I taken my telephoto zoom I would have been able to get some good close-ups but sadly I was unable to come away with anything worthwhile.
  3. ChrisBrookes

    ChrisBrookes Well-Known Member

    Heartbreaking isn't it !!

    Two cameras could be the answer, but that will not keep the weight down !!!
  4. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Yeah, well, the field of view of his lens was so small he's probably spent the evening joining images together so he can have an image of the whole animal/bird, not just the reflection in its eye. Assuming, of course, his tripod was solid enough to support the beast - if not, then you'll have got better photos!
  5. AntSmith

    AntSmith Well-Known Member

    The 'dream lens' I have in my kit bag is an f/2.8 300mm Nikkor ED + matched 2x converter...

    ...mind, its manual focus - which means I could actually afford it!! Set me back about one tenth the price of Nikon's current offering in this class just because I'm happy to hand focus it like we all used to do back in the 80s! It's an incredible lens, well worth sacrificing AF for optics like this; mind none of my lenses are AF...
  6. ChrisBrookes

    ChrisBrookes Well-Known Member

    He had a bean bag in the window ! He was a very nice fellow, but I suppose what you say is right , he would be limited , he said he had ordered a 100-400 because the prime lens was too big to cart about on holiday with baggage restrictions, I didn't spend long there anyway , the light was fading and I just wanted to see what birds were there, there seemed a lot more variety than the last time I went !
  7. ChrisBrookes

    ChrisBrookes Well-Known Member

    I don't mind manually focussing , I bought a cheap 75-300 off ebay in an effort to save money but was sorely dissapointed, I am comtemplating getting a 2 times tele for the 100-400 but keep hearing bad things about them? I can easily manually focus at f11 , I just am a little concerened about the image quality ! Thanks for your replies !
  8. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    The Canon 2x extender should be OK. I'd be less confident about independent extenders.

    Of course, the extender will amplify any unsharpness in the lens it's attached to. You'd probably want to stop down a bit rather than using at full aperture as almost all lenses sharpen up a bit if stopped down slightly. I guess your optimum effective aperture with the 100-400 would be f/16; stopping down more than that would lead you into diffraction limiting.

    I can't answer the question as to whether or not having to work at f/11-f/16 would be tolerable in your application! Boosting the ISO leads to its own set of limitations....

    As to focusing, if your camera has interchangeable focusing screens then the type "S" does help. So does the angle finder attachment, but I don't know how useful it would be for bird photography. It's great for astrophotography; with the angle finder and the Ee-S screen fitted to my 5D I can confidently focus the camera/telescope combination - used at prime focus of my Meade 8" (aperture) LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain scope it's effectively a 2000mm f/10 lens - compact and light by the standards of such things, but I'd consider not portable, only barely transportable.

    At this sort of focal length the steadiness of the mount (and what it's stood on) and the air itself becomes more of an issue than the optical quality of the lens. There is significant vignetting but this would disappear with an APS-C format camera.

    Which brings me on to one other thing you could try - for about the same price as the Canon 2x converter, you can get a 3.5"-4" aperture Maksutov-Cassegrain astronomical/spotting telescope tube assembly and the bits to connect it directly to a SLR (I mean at prime focus, not using digiscoping adapters) - something like the Skywatcher Skymax 90T which has a focal length of 1250mm (f/14) - for birdwatching you don't need the mount, an ordinary photo tripod will do as it has a standard 1/4" threaded tripod mount built in. Or a bean bag if you're happier that way. The size would be easily transportable, the weight would probably not be much more than your 100-400 zoom and the Maksutov-Cassegrain design is reasonably tough, it will not require almost constant recollimation like a Schmidt-Cassegrain can. With these small scopes there will probably be some vignetting even with a small sensor camera but you could either allow for that or take some "flat field" photos then compensate in software.

    At a higher price, and at reduced portability, there are apochromatic refractors with field flattening adapters which can give images very similar to those given by good quality camera lenses in the 500mm - 800mm focal length range, but working at focal ratios around f/7.5 (some expensive ones are even faster). The better ones of these run to four figure price tags but that's still much cheaper than Canon prime lenses.
  9. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Getting correct focus manually with a lens as long as that on a camera designed for AF isn't actually as easy as you might think. That's not to say that it can't be done, but you might find you get a lot of misses in between the hits. But don't that deter you from giving it a go - especially if you can find a suitable 2x TC at a reasonable price.

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