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Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII

I have had the chance to shoot with the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens for  while now on my Nikon D300.  I have been more than happy with the results and how well this lens works with the Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter.  Below are several photo galleries showing off what this lens can do, starting with most recent results:

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-lens-with-tc-20eiii-teleconverter-updated-12411/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/baytown-bald-eagles-with-nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-lens-nikon-tc-e20iii-teleconverter/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-tc-20eiii-field-tests/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/baytown-bald-eagles-with-nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-lens-nikon-tc-e20iii-teleconverter/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/nikon-300mm-f2-8-ed-af-s-if-vr-ii-lens-review-test-shots/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/nikon-300mm-f2-8-ed-af-s-if-vr-ii-lens-review-test-shots-ii-7-25-10/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-wyoming-photos/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-with-tc-20eiii-tc-17eii-teleconverters-sample-photos-bad-lighting/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-with-tc-20eiii-tc-17eii-teleconverters-–-sample-photos-goodlighting/ 

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Categories: My Equipment Review

Digital SLR Market Share – November 2010

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is another interesting article from digitalphotographywriter.com.  It discusses the current and potential future market share for the digital SLR industry.  I thought it was interesting and wanted to share…

http://www.digitalphotographywriter.com/2010/11/digital-slr-lens-market-share-november.html

How a Camera Lens is Made??

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered how a camera lens is made?  Why does it take them so long to get new lenses back in stock?  Well I was curious about this and found some pretty interesting resources that I thought I would share…

This link is to a website/blog that contains videos with detailed description on how the Canon 500mm lens is made.  Though I am a Nikon man myself, I am sure the process is very similar.

http://www.digitalphotographywriter.com/2011/01/how-camera-lenses-are-made-canon-500mm.html

Here are the lens manufacturing steps mentioned in the videos at the link above on digitalphotographywriter.com:

  1.  Material blending
  2.  Pre-fusing
  3.  Melted glass allows to cool naturally
  4.  Cut the glass into pieces
  5.  Fusing
  6.  Mixing
  7.  Churning
  8.  Clarification
  9.  Homogenization
  10.  Shape the glass into sheets
  11.  Shaping and pressing process
  12.  Grinning processes
  13.  Heating the glass and form its shape by pressing (by hands or by automatic machines)
  14.  Annealing
  15.  Further polishing
  16.  Rough grinding that produces that curved surface of the lens
  17.  Fine grinding
  18.  Polishing and surface curvuture adjustment
  19.  Optical inspection
  20.  Clean with ultrasonic washing machines
  21.  Alignment
  22.  Coating
  23.  The Lens assembly process itself (done by hand for Canon L lenses)

Below is a link to another website with an overview of how a lens is made…

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Camera-Lens.html

The comments below are from a dpreview forum in which the person posting was discussing why is takes so long for lenses to come back in stock (several months)…

Post: “Seriously, keep in mind these lenses are built by hand by a select few specialists at Nikons plant in Sendai, and that the manufacturing process for the bigger lens elements take something like the better part of a year. Big chunks of glass like the biggest lens elemenst in these beasts has to be left alone for long periods to see if there are any problems in them before you invest much work (and thus money) in processing them further.

So why do they have so few people building lenses like these?

Mainly because training new such specialists take many, many years. I was at the Jenoptik plant in Southern Germany a few years back. The specialists putting the finishing touches on their most high quality lenses (they make stuff for satellites among many other things) must have something like 25-30 years of experience before they were entrusted with their job. Making a 600/4 is probably not as demanding, but it is still a work that take years and years of training to qualify for. So stepping up the workforce for building stuff like this is not something you do quickly.

Well, one might then wonder why has Nikon been caught off guard with to little manufactureing capacity?

Think about Nikons recent history. As late as mid 2007 Nikon had poor sales of all their big lenses, mainly because something like 85% of the professionals (who buy the bulk of lenses like these) shot Canon back then. I remember at the press event for the Eos 1Ds Mark III (just a couple of days before Nikon presented the D3) Canon presented statistics from the worlds three largest image agencies – close to 90% (88% if I remember correctly) of the images being submitted to them at that time came from Canon cameras. Nikon was down and out in the pro market just three and a half years ago …

It was probably only somewhere in early 2008 it was clear to Nikon what a landslide success the D3 had become. Even if Nikon suddenly started a crash programme to increase their manufacturing capacity for high end gear, well, it still takes years and years to train people to build equipment like this. And they they also at the same time have to find enough skilled and experienced people to build all the D3, D3x and D3s cameras (who are also hand built) and all the other hand built big lenses like 400/2.8, the 500/4, and not least the 200-400/4 who was suddenly in such high demand.

In short: Nikon has in the last few years had a landslide success in the high end market. Inceasing manufacturing capacity for that kind demanding products is not easy to in a hurry (and probably not a good idea either – hurrying and quality rarely makes a happy couple).

But, I wholeheartedly agree that Nikon need to rethink their information strategy … Just keeping quiet when customers get irritated is never a good idea. Particularily customers looking to spend serious amounts of money.”

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens with TC-20EIII teleconverter (Handheld)- updated 1/24/11

January 24, 2011 9 comments

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens with TC-20EIII teleconverter – updated 1/24/11

Well it was a beautiful day down here in Galveston, TX on Saturday 1/22/11.  There was an extreme low tide that morning which is perfect for coastal bird photography.  In case you are not familar with this type of photography,  low tides creates tide pools (pockets of very shallow water on the beach in which small fish, crustaceans, and other potential food gets trapped).  Anyone who has photographed birds on the Texas coast for any amount of time knows that this is one of the best situations to photograph shore birds in action.  They become so focused on the buffet before them, that they tend to not pay photographers or anything else for that matter much attention.  I highly recommed to anyone who is not experienced with coastal bird photography, but has the opportunity, should try to coordinate at least one photo trip with a low tide.  I almost guarantee that you will walk away with some great photos.

As far as the photos below, they were all taken with the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII in combination with the TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter on my Nikon D300.    All photos were handheld at 600mm equivalent (not including DX conversion factor).  This lens-teleonverter combination continues to amaze me and has been worth every penny thus far!  Truly outstanding result (in my opinion) for 600mm handheld.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that handholding of this lens was all fun and games.  It is a very heavy lens and was even a bit of painful experience at times after trying to hold steady for several minutes at a time.  I am actually a little sore from doing it for just a few hours. I also noticed that there were more “non-keepers”  to “keepers”  ratio as the day went on and the fatigue took its toll.  But the photos that made the cut were impressive in my opinion and demonstrate that the lens is handholdable even at 600mm.  On average the keeper rate was about one per five shots in a consecutive series, and at worse when I started to get a bit of muscle fatigue, probably about one per ten shots.   In case you are wondering how I decide what photos are keepers, here is my process…  I typically compare all the photos from a consecutive series first at normal magnification to weed out obvious bad shots.  Then I look at the remaining photos are 100% magnification to compare the slight differences in sharpness, overall quality, details in the right places, etc.  I usually select the best one or two photos to actually keep and do any post-processing that might be needed.   I am looking for sharp to tac sharp photos since that is what is expected in bird photography.  Not sure how others do their workflow, but that works for me. 

So as you can tell, I was very happy with this lens and teleconverter combination thus far and will continue to update this blog with future experiences.  But I will let you be the judge for yourself.  You can click on the photo of interest to view at 100% crop.  Please let me know what you think, as feedback is always appreciated.

UPDATE:  1/25/11 – I have had some feedback about images appearing oversharpened.  Honestly, there has been very little if an post processing to the photos below…and minimal sharpening at most.  However, these comments did lead me to check the in camera setting on my D300 and I realized that the sharpening value was cranked up to the max value (9 of 9).  I do not remember adjusting this setting so high, as it was mid way (5 of 9) in the past.  So, I have corrected this setting for future photos.  So the moral of the story is that some photo may appear oversharpened due to the combination of in camera and minimal post process sharpening.  As a result, I have added some original unprocessed photos for comparison.

Photos below with Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens & TC-20EIII teleconverter (600mm total)

(Below) 600mm f5.6 (wide open, handheld)- Brown Pelican (NO EDITING)

(Below) 600mm f6.3 (handheld)-  Brown Pelican (NO EDITING)

 

(Below) 600mm f11 (handheld)-  Brown Pelican (NO EDITING)

(Below) 600mm f8 (handheld)-  Brown Pelican (NO EDITING)

(Below) 600mm f10 (handheld)-  Brown Pelican (Sharpening only)

(Below) 600mm f10 (handheld)-  Brown Pelican (UNEDITED)

(Below) 600mm (handheld)- Little Blue Egret (Sharpening)

(Below) 600mm (handheld)- Little Blue Egret (UNEDITED)

(Below) 600mm (handheld)- Little Blue Egret

(Below) 600mm (handheld)- Little Blue Egret

(Below) 600mm (handheld)- Little Blue Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Little Blue Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Little Blue Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Willet

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Willet

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Willet

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Willet

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Reddish Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Reddish Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Long Billed Curlew

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Dunlin

(Below) 600mm  (handheld) – Dunlin

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Piping Plover

  

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Marbled Godwit

 

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Marbled Godwit

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Snowy Egret

(Below) 600mm  (handheld)- Snowy Egret

Please feel free to leave your comments or feedback…

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

Check out other photo galleries with this lens and teleconverter combination at the link below:

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-tc-20eiii-field-tests/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/baytown-bald-eagles-with-nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-lens-nikon-tc-e20iii-teleconverter/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/nikon-300mm-f2-8-ed-af-s-if-vr-ii-lens-review-test-shots/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/nikon-300mm-f2-8-ed-af-s-if-vr-ii-lens-review-test-shots-ii-7-25-10/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-wyoming-photos/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-with-tc-20eiii-tc-17eii-teleconverters-sample-photos-bad-lighting/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-with-tc-20eiii-tc-17eii-teleconverters-–-sample-photos-goodlighting/ 

Categories: My Equipment Review

Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM Review

January 19, 2011 22 comments

Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM Lens Review

 

Product information:

Website: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/150-500mm-f5-63-apo-dg-os-hsm-sigma

APO –  Stands for Apochromatic.  This is Sigmas mark for their higher end lenses in which they use “special low-dispersion (SLD) glass” in order to produce the “highest quality images” and  “minimize color aberration”.

DG- Stands for digital, as this product is designed for use with Digital SLRs.

OS – Stands for optical stabilization…this is Sigma’s vibration reduction technology aimed at minimizing image blur caused by camera shake.

HSM- Stands for hyper sonic motor…  The lens autofocus motor is driven by ultrasonic waves to provide a quiet, highspeed AF.

Compatible with Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Pentax digital SLR bodies.

Compact design weighing only 4 pounds & approximately 10 inches in length when not extended

Personal Experience:

First of all, let me tell you a little about myself as a photographer.  I am predominately a nature photographer and would mainly call myself a bird photographer.   I bought my first digital SLR (Nikon D300) back in 2007, so I am by no means an expert.  Photography has been my main hobby since then, and it was apparent early on that the Nikon 18-200mm lens that I initially purchased with my camera  just wasn’t cutting it for bird photography.  As a result, I started looking for an inexpensive lens that would give me the reach that I needed.   I did my homework and decided on a new lens that was about to come out by Sigma.  So, I purchased the Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 lens the week it first came out, and was one of the first people to post my results with the lens.  Of course, my inital impression was probably overly positive since it was such a dramatic improvement from the severely over cropped photos that I was accustom to with my Nikon 18-200mm lens.  Anyone who might have read these initial reviews of the Sigma 150-500mm from a more naive version of me, would have thought it was the best lens ever produced.  Over time using the lens however, my impression of the lens came back down to earth and evolved into a more realistic view that I would like to share in this blog.

Before you read further, I should tell you that I no longer own the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 lens, but I did use it  for over a year before it was sold.  My experiences with this lens are definitely not all bad.    So what are the postives and negatives of this lens you might ask?  Well to start with a positive note, this lens is one of the most inexpensive ways to get this much reach in a lens.   I purchased mine for $979 which is cheap in comparison to other lenses with this focal length. 

The image stabilization system (OS) does works properly on the 150-500mm, but there is a slight delay from the time you depress the shutter release button half way, until the OS is fully engaged.  I think it was this issue that lead to some bad reviews when the lens was first released.  Some people claimed that the OS system did not work properly.  My theory is that either they in fact had bad copies of the lens or that they were not not allowing enough time for the OS to “kick in” (about a second or two) before they would start firing away.   As a result, you would end up with blurry photos that were not image stabilized.  If you allow the OS a second or so to properly engage, then it works just fine.  This is different from the Nikon lenses that I own in which the image stabilization is almost instant.  The major drawback to this delay is the obvious potential to miss photos while you wait for the OS to engage.  With that said, the lens is extremely handholdable when the OS is activated.  I used it almost exclusely handheld during the time that I owned it.  Because of its hard plastic body construction (not metal), it is actually a relatively light lens for the size. I think most people, including my mother-in-law who owns this lens, can handhold this lens all day and not get tired. 

The autofocus speed is completely acceptable though not as fast as my nikon lenses.  It is also not completely quiet compared to my Nikon lenses, but overall this was not a problem.  The construction of the lens is decent, as I mentioned before it has a hard plastic body found on many Sigmas.  One minor complaint would be that this lens has a slow lens creep when pointed towards the ground.  The longer I owned the lens and more I used it, the faster this lens creep would get.  Not a huge problem for me overall, but annoying.  Fortunately there is a lens lock button, but it can only be engaged when the lens is fully retracted at 150mm. 

As one would expect with an aperture range between f5 to f6.3, speed is not the strong point of the lens and thus nor are low light situations.  I found myself using it often during times of day with less flattering light (mid day) simply to obtain the shutter speeds that I needed to eliminate camera shake and freeze the motion of my subjects.  This was often a major issue since the early morning and evening are often the best times to photograph wildlife.

Most impotantly and the reason that I sold the lens is that I was not completely satisfied with the image quality that I was seeing on a regular basis.  Personally, I am a perfectionist and want the ability to take tac sharp photos, assuming my technique is good.  I am probably my own worst critic when it comes to my photographs, but the Sigma 150-500mm lens left a lot of room for improvement with respect to overall image quality, sharpness, and detail.   No matter what I would try (handheld, tripod, wireless shutter release, etc) the image sharpness and quality just wasn’t anything to brag about.  The exception to this weakness would be when subjects are relatively close and you are using the lens to get a tight zoom.   I found the image quality to decrease  as I exceeded 400mm…especially past 450mm.   Because of this, I found myself frequently shooting at 400mm and rarely using it over 450mm in order to preserve some image quality.  Also your distance to the subject greatly affects the image quality with this lens, more so that other lens I have used.  The 150-500mm lens performed relatively well to very good when a subject was close (within 10 yards (9.1meters) or so), but the image quality would decrease as the distance from the subject increased.   It did however provide consistently good results even to 500mm for very close subjects that I was trying to get a close-up/portrait type photos. 

 After over a year of owning the Sigma 150-500mm lens, I purchased the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8VRII lens and the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter (TC-17EII).  This combination would give me up to a 340mm f4.8 lens and this was close to the Sigma for me since I typically tried to use it around 400mm for best results.  For a while, I would shoot both lenses on the Nikon D300 and D90 camera bodies so I would still have the option to shoot 500mm if needed.  During this time, I had the opportunity to take numerous similar photos with both the Sigma 150-500mm, and Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 with the 1.7x teleconverter (some comparison photos below).  It was soon clear to me that I was getting better results from cropped photos with the Nikon 70-200m f2.8 plus 1.7x teleconverter than those with the Sigma (again I only used the Sigma up to about 450mm).  The results with the Nikon combination were overall sharper at the edges, more overall detailed, and had better color and contrast.  After a while, I just didn’t find myself using the Sigm 150-500mm lens anymore, so I decided to sell it.  On a side note…a few months after selling the Sigma,  I decided that the 340mm I was getting with the Nikon 70-200mm plus teleconverter was no where near enough reach for the type of photography I enjoy.  As a result, I made another massive investment and bought the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens and new Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter.  This combination gives me up to a 600mm f5.6 with excellent image quailty.  In essence I have gone from one extreme to the other.

Pros & Cons Summary:

Pros:

-Inexpensive lens (~$1000 or less)

-Occasional Excellent image quality

-Very good for relatively close subjects

-Overall effective Optical Stabilization system (but has slight delay)

-Compatible with multiple manufacteur’s camera bodies (Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax)

Cons:

-Slow lens f5-6.3  (f5 at 150mm and f6.3 at 500mm)

-Lens creep

-Normal image quality usually Good at best

-Image quality decreases significantly past 450mm

-Distant objects are not a strong point

-Slight delay in Optical Stabilization system

-Hard plastic construction (feels a bit cheaper than metal)

Final Recommendation:

So the million dollar question.. do I recommend this lens and would I purchase it again if I knew then what I know now??

As far as recommending the lens, that depends on the photograpaher who would be buying it.  I would  probably strongly recommend the Sigma 150-500mm  lens to people who don’t see themselves getting too serious about their photography.  I say this because I think only people who do not look at photography as a serious hobby will be completely satisfied by the quality of images consistently produced by this lens.  This sounds harsh to some I am sure, but it is my honest opinion.    For those “soccer moms or little league dads” out there who want to get a little closer to the action  (with adequate lighting of course), or for the nature enthusiast who owns a camera and wants to take some photos to share with family and friends, this is a great lens for you and is a bargain at $1000!   This also could be a good long lens for those photographers who are uncertain whether or not they really want to get serious enough to justify spending  thousands of  dollards on a lens.  Finally, it is a perfect lens for a potentially serious photographer who is on a budget and at the time can not afford a more expensive “brand name” lens.   I would definitely fit into this latter category when I purchased this lens a few years ago.   I would be hesitant to recommend this lens to a serious wildlife photographer without a lengthy disclaimer.

Would I purchase it again if I could go back in time?  Yes, I think I would.  I learned a lot about photography when I owned the Sigma 150-500mm lens.  I quickly learned the lenses weaknesses and had to improvise my shooting style and camera settings to make the most of what I had.  Don’t get me wrong, I was able to take some very usable photos with this lens when I owned and hopefully some photos below demonstrate this.  For me, it was all part of the learning process.  Plus, I take great care of my gear and was able to sell the lens for close to what I bought it for.  So in the long run it is basically like I “rented” the lens for a year at a really great price!  Anyway, that’s my opinion of the Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 lens.  Below are some sample photos to highlight the strengths and weaknesses that I mentioned above.  Hope this review was helpful and informative.  Feel free to leave you experiences or other feedback.

  Sample Photos with Sigma 150-500mm lens (below) : These photos are meant to show the variable results (good and not so good) that I captured with this lens on a day to day basis.  These are not meant as a “best of” for this lens.  I recommend looking at the photos at regular and highest magnification.  Highest magnification is where you will see for yourself if these are the type of results you would be satisfied with.  At normal magnification many images are acceptable, while at higher magnification you will see that the lens produces softer edges than you will see with a Nikon or Canon lens ( in my opinion).  Sometimes the results are similar or with only subtle differences.  But see for yourself and make up your own mind…

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500 at 150mm  (there is some atmospheric aberation from the heat)

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500 at 500mm (there is some atmospheric aberation from the heat)

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500mm at 350mm

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500mm at 350mm

(BELOW) Sigma 150-500mm at 380mm

Comparison shots between Sigma 150-500mm and Nikon 70-200mm

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 290mm

  

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Nikon 70-200mm at 200mm

Notice that the photo below taken with the Nikon has better overall sharpness, contrast and color.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm

Overall this is a nice photo but compare the sharpness and contrast with that of the Nikon combo below

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Nikon 70-200mm with 1.7x tele at 340mm (not cropped)

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 450mm

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Nikon 70-200mm with 1.7x tele at 320mm (cropped) – Notice more details of the feathers and talons compared to the Sigma.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Nikon 70-200mm with 1.7x tele at 300mm (cropped)

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS ADDED BELOW  ON  3/6/11

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm : This caracara was very far away and the resulting image is very soft at 500mm and this was actually the best of the group. 

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm (cropped):  This sickly looking tern was also very far away and this photo has been cropped.  Higher magnification shows that the feathers and beak have some softness at the edges.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm :  This Yellow-crowned night heron was relatively far away and this photo at highest power shows what I would consider “normal” results with this lens.  The edges are soft and have a loss of detail.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm:  This shows the strength at closer distances with nice preservation of feather detail.  Subject as also stationary.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm: Another relatively close subject (Great Blue Heron) with nice preservation of detail.  Subject was also stationary.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm : Another relatively close subject with good detail.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm : Higher magnification of this photo will show some loss of feather and beak detail.  At lower magnification the photo is usable IMO.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm:  Actually works as a fairly good macro lens at time.  I was very close to this moth and there is nice detail in this one.

(BELOW) Photo taken with the Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm:  Another photo take very close to the subject.  This is a real strength of this lens IMO

  Feel free to leave your feedback or thoughts…  Also check out Thom Hogan’s review on this lens at the link below.  I think his findings are similar to mine but read for yourself at : http://bythom.com/sigma-150-500mm-lens-review.htm

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

Categories: My Equipment Review

Baytown Bald Eagles with Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens & Nikon TC-E20III teleconverter

January 3, 2011 3 comments

Baytown Bald Eagles with Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII & TC-20EIII teleconverter

I recently discovered the Baytown, TX Bald Eagle nest that I have heard people talk about.  It was a perfect chance to use the Nikon 300mmf2.8VRII with the TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter (600mm focal distance total).  I think the results were very good overall though I wish the lighting would have been better.  As a result, I had to take most photos at ISO 400 with the Nikon D300, so you will notice some ISO artifact when looking at the photos at 100%.  All photos were taken with a tripod and have “typical” post-processing.  Feel free to check out the results for yourself below.  I will try to add more information about the settings each photo was taken at soon but for now the images alone will have to do.  Until then, I will say that photos were acceptable from wide open at f5.6 all the way through f8 which was the smallest aperture used in this series.

Categories: My Equipment Review

Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) Teleconverter Review and Sample Photos

January 1, 2011 2 comments

Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) Teleconverter

 

Update 1/1/2011

I have always been amused by these two billboards near my house.  The one in front for Heartbreakers is that of a popular gentlemen’s club (strip club) and the one directly behind it states “Jesus heals the broken hearted” is from a local church.  I guess people know where to go to have their “sins forgiven” after they leave Heartbreakers.  Anyway, I was bored and wanted to do a quick test with the Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter.  I took quick handheld shots with the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII, both with and without the teleconverter.  Overall, I am still very impressed with the image quality with this teleconverter.  You will actually notice some heat artifact since it was in the upper 70’s here on the Texas coast, despite it being January!  See for yourself.  These images have a touch or sharpening and contrast enhancement…”normal editing”. 

For a more indepth review and pairing with multiple lenses, please see the link below to Brad Hill’s website.  He has done some great testing with the TC-20EIII  and many of Nikon’s top lenses.

http://www.naturalart.ca/artist/fieldtests/tc_series3.html

(BELOW)  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII – NO Teleconverter – 200mm at f8

 

(BELOW)  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII – WITH Nikon TC-20EIII Teleconverter – 400mm at f8

(BELOW)  Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII – NO Teleconverter – 300mm at f8

(BELOW)  Nikon 300mmf2.8 VRII – WITH Nikon TC-20EIII Teleconverter – 600mm at f8

 

PREVIOUS POSTS:

After many months of waiting, I finally obtained my  Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter.  I am currently in the process of testing it with my favorite two lenses, the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII. 

My first impression is WOW!!  I can honestly say that I have been very impressed with my early results with both lenses in combination with this teleconverter…especially the 300mm f2.8 VRII.   Also all photos are shot with the Nikon D300 camera body and Yoda’s eyes were always the focal point.  A tripod was used for both the indoor (poor lighting) and outdoor (good lighting) tests.   Aperture priority was used and ISO was maintained at ISO200.

Click on the photos twice to view at 100% crop.  Many difference in photos are subtle so feel free to right click to download the original images for better comparison.  I will continue to update this review with sample images as they are taken and plan to do some field testing as soon as my work and a new baby allow it 🙂

Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter WITH Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens (BELOW)

**This combination makes the lens a 140-400mm f5.6**

INDOOR TEST- Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII

  (below) 400mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open)                                                                                      

 

(below) 400mm equivalent at f8                   

    

(below) 400mm equivalent at f11

    

(below) 400mm equivalent at f16

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

OUTDOOR TEST- Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII

(below) 400mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open) 

(below) 400mm equivalent at f6.3 

  (below) 400mm equivalent at f8

(below) 400mm equivalent at f11 

(below) 400mm equivalent at f16 

  

Nikon TC-20EIII (2.0x) teleconverter WITH Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens (BELOW)

**This combination makes the lens a 600mm f5.6**

INDOOR TEST- Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII

(below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open)

 –

(below) 600mm equivalent at f6.3

  

(below) 600mm equivalent at f8

 

(below) 600mm equivalent at f11

 

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUTDOOR TEST- Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII

(below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open) 

(below) 600mm equivalent at f6.3

(below) 600mm equivalent at f8

(below) 600mm equivalent at f9

(below) 600mm equivalent at f11

(below) 600mm equivalent at f16

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

For more sample shots with the Nikon TC-20EIII from the field, check out the link below:

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/nikon-300mm-f2-8-vrii-tc-20eiii-field-tests/

Categories: My Equipment Review