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Long distance lenses

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by MiB, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I have the Sigma 150-500mm. Reviews warned that it wasn’t very sharp at 500mm. After buying the Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E, I took test shots of a chart from a tripod, using my Nikon D800, and from the same distance the Sigma at 500mm only seemed to resolve more detail than the Nikkor at 300mm when I closed the aperture to f/11 or smaller, which would rarely be practical in use. That’s despite the Sigma having a similar new price when I bought it, and being far heavier and more cumbersome.

    Reviews suggest the newer 150-600mm lenses are sharper at maximum focal length, in addition to that focal length being longer. But, unsurprisingly, the one rated best at 600mm is the Sigma Sport version, which is the most expensive, and the heaviest by a large margin.

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I entirely agree. I’ve been meaning to change my converter from mkii to mkiii for ages. The only difference is that the mkiii passes focus distance information from the lens which makes for faster and more accurate AF. I was just a bit surprised at the Wex price, thought it was much higher than a year ago. I know the list prices that AP now publish have gone up a lot but they aren’t necessarily the as sold price.
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Adding a TC brings a third item into the equation, really the poorest part of the chain is the quality that can be obtained. A high end converter on a poor lens or vice-versa means a quality drop, stick a poor converter and lens on a high resolution body and the results will disappoint. The path to high technical quality is not cheap! Many only think megapixels and unfortunately quality long telephoto primes and zooms do not come cheap. I'm not into wildlife photography so it's not a real problem in my case.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I find that the real problem is defining "high technical quality". For me, it's when I and others can see what I want to show. For others it may be defined numerically. I think that any discussion has to lay out that definition before going further. If we don't do that, one may be talking about oranges while the other is discussing apples.

    More long lens images that meet my needs...

    Vulcan over Dawlish 8022.JPG

    Young woman talking to man on bench Sidwell Street Exeter P113 0937.JPG

    Cars parked in Exmouth G9 P1012154.JPG
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I agree. I wouldn't even try. If it makes you happy is the main criterion.

    I've seen the differences between good and poor lenses so I know they are real. I didn't get any less enjoyment out of my photography at the time I was using poor lenses. I thought I needed to improve by going from 35 mm to 6x6. I put the difference down to the bigger format and spent proud minutes comparing 6x9" prints shot on 35 mm with 9x9" prints shot on 120 while I was convincing myself that I hadn't wasted my money. Only when I "went digital" with a Canon 5D and 24-105 L and did the same side by side did I realise that size of format wasn't everything.

    Now I am digitising [very slowly] my 35 mm film stock I'll be looking to see how image quality changed. I was lucky to start with what I now know were very good lenses (Hexanon - Konica kit all got nicked) - good lenses Minolta MD - poor lenses (Canon budget 2 lens zoom kits). I have used the MD lenses on my Fuji digital camera from time to time and they seem OK. I think the Canon EF 28-80 and 75-300 must have got disposed of - I haven't seen them for years.
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  6. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    You are of course correct. Many people now appear to be totally obsessed with equipment and which item is better, taking the view that an improvement which in truth is marginal is actually a quantum leap. My own view is that so long as I can produce what I consider a decent A3 print from an image I have sufficient quality, any excess is unnecessary. Now in truth my Fujifilm X-E1 can do that, even with some cropping, so logically the newer 24mp Fujifilm I have has a good bit of spare capacity.
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That's not really new. I have several old magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s and there are plenty of readers' letters extolling this and denigrating that. I sometimes wonder how interesting I would find their pictures... :(
  8. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I have seen many pictures which are technically excellent or virtually perfect, I see others that are not. Unfortunately it is frequently the latter that merit a further look
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure it's "unfortunate". Some of the most arresting pictures are the least technically "good" yet tell the most important story.
  10. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately was perhaps not the ideal choice of word in this instance, I think though that you understand the drift of what I meant.

    I have viewed many carefully crafted landscape pictures which although superb technically are unable to evoke any feeling of involvement in the viewer by somehow not really capturing anything in particular, where a more flawed example actually manages to bring a reaction. Landscapes are probably one of the categories that suffer most in this respect. Now I'm not into wildlife photography which is where this thread started out iirc but I wonder what you do after you have taken that superb picture of say a Golden Eagle, you can't better it, so any other shot you take of the species is going to be a disappointment.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I can see why you are not into wildlife photography.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  12. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    That doesn't mean I am unable to appreciate the work of those who are though!

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