Archive

Archive for July, 2011

Grand Teton National Park Map and Photography Tour

July 28, 2011 4 comments

Grand Teton National Park Map and Photography tour

I visited Jackson, Wyoming in August 2010 and had the pleasure of touring around the Grand Teton National Park area and the southern loop of Yellowstone National Park.  I had plenty of time to explore and feel like I found many of the top scenic and nature sites in the area.  I put together this pdf file which contains an annotated map of Grand Teton National Park with some of my favorite photography spots.  Each site is designated with a yellow star that you can click on to provide a brief description of the site.  There is also reference to a “Slide #”, of which the slides can be found below the map and possess a few sample photos that I took from each area.  Obviously, there is nothing quite like experiencing a destination for yourself.  But, I hope this resource serves as a mini tour guide to help you prioritize your photography trip to the Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park area.  I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  Enjoy!

Click below for the pdf file or right click to download (WARNING, this is a huge file (17MB) due to the size of the map and photos.  It may be easier to download this file for viewing versus doing so in your internet browser window.  Also you will need adobe acrobat reader to view the pdf file)

Grand Teton National Park Map and Photography Tour

For more photos from my trip to Wyoming see the links below:

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

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/p209984540

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/

Feel free to leave your feedback or personal experiences.  Check for future updates for a similar map of Southern Yellostone Park.

Advertisements

Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII lens with teleconverter… my one time impression

Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII lens with teleconverters – July 23, 2011 

Before I get started describing my impression of the Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII lens with teleconverters, I want to make it clear that I do NOT own this lens.  I was able to borrow it from a friend one moring to do some test shots and get an initial impression.   As a result, all of my findings are based on a single day shooting with the lens both with and without teleconverters including the 1.4x (TC-14EII), 1.7x (TC-17EII), and 2.0x (TC-20EIII).  Please take my results for what they are and read other reviews in addition to this one if you are seriously considering this lens in combination with teleconverters.  For convience, I have included two links to other more detailed reviews at the end of this thread.

Unfortunately, the shooting conditions were less than ideal for this test.  First of all, I wanted to have a living, relatively interesting, and stationary subject to photograph.  The tigers seemed like a good choice at the time, except that they were not as eager to have their photo taken that morning.  As a result, the series of photos below were shot with the tiger in a shaded area of the enclosure.  This resulted in less than optimal lighting conditions for the test photographs. On the other hand, this scenerio mimics the challenges you might be faced with when you are shooting in the field with this lens and teleconverter combination.   Also, I did use a tripod and Wimberly gimbal head for all photos in the series below and all photos were taken with the Nikon D300.  I am considering doing a repeat test in a more controlled environment with better light to help eliminate slow shutter speed from the equation.  This factor was increasingly evident with the 1.7x tele at 580mm equivalent and even more so with the 2.0x teleconverter at 800mm equivalent.  So, as I mentioned before, take the results for what they are.

My Overall Impression: 

Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII WITHOUT teleconverters :

-Excellent sharpness, color, and contrast

-Immediate and responsive autofocus on the Nikon D300 body

-I found images to be quite good at all ends of the zoom spectrum including wide open at f4

-Even though I used a tripod, I did take some photos handheld and found it manageable

Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII WITH 1.4x (TC-14EII) teleconverter:

-Overall good to excellent image quality in most photos within a series

-Autofocus remained fast and responsive…I noticed very little change compared to the autofocus without a teleconverter

-This seems to be a rather good combination when you need a bit more reach without too much aperture sacrifice

Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII WITH 1.7x (TC-17EII) teleconverter:

-Overall fair image quality with a few good shots mixed in…probably more unacceptable photos that keepers

-Started to notice adverse results of camera vibration from slow aperture and teleconverter

-Autofocus was slow but did fuction most of the time, though it had a tendency to hunt

-Personally, I would only use this combination when I absolutely had too

***Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII WITH 2.0x (TC-20EIII) teleconverter:

-Overall soft images were a results of camera shake artifact from slow shutter speeds and the combination of the teleconverter.  One out of every ten photos was decent enough to post on this blog, but none we that I would brag about.

-Extremely slow to no existent autofocus.  Most of the time it would just hunt without finding focus

-Personally, I would only use this combination when I absolutely had too, or maybe not even then.  Perhaps further testing in better light condition will change this.

***The results at 800mm equivalent with the 2.0x teleconverter are difficult to evaluate and perhaps even down right inconclusive.   Because of the significant camera shake artifact, I personally will not make any conclusions about the quality of this combo, other than saying you will need a good amount of lighting to overcome the aperture limitations.  I don’t blame the tiger for wanting to stay in the shade out of the Texas heat, but it didn’t make my lens-teleconverter test easier.  So, the softness and slight blur in these images is likely due in part to the expected loss in image quality associated with a teleconverter, but then magnified significantly by camera shake (remember I am posting the best example of each).  I think these results do bring up a valid argument of why one should NOT rely on the 200-400mm f4 to be a consistent performer with the 2.0x teleconverter.    Anything less that a brillantly bright scene will leave you with either extremely slow shutter speed camera shake artifact or high ISO graininess, since you are stuck with a maximum aperture of f8 with this combo.  Based on these findings, I personally don’t consider the 200-400mm plus 2.0x teleconverter a realistic option for use in the field for my purposes.   I would have no reservations about using it with the 1.4x teleconverter however.   I am kinda neutral on the idea of using it with the 1.7x teleconverter, though I don’t think I would if I had other options (which I do).  I spoke to the owner of the 200-400mm f4 lens that I borrowed and shared these findings.  She agreed with my observations and added that she only uses the 1.4x teleconverter with this lens for her photography.  Overall, she found the results with the Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII with the 1.7x or 2.0x teleconverters to be too inconsistent and require too much light for proper function.

Anyway, this is my impression but don’t take my word for it.   See the results for yourself.  Click on the photo to enlarge and click a second time to view at 100%.  I have also added a few high power crops to give you an idea of the detail preservation at higher magnification without the need open the picture fully.

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 200mm , f4, 1/60 sec – NO TELECONVERTER

 

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 400mm , f4, 1/80 sec – NO TELECONVERTER

 

(Below) Close Crop –  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 400mm , f4, 1/80 sec – NO TELECONVERTER 

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 560mm , f5.6, 1/50 sec – WITH 1.4x (TC-14EII) teleconverter

 

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 560mm , f5.6, 1/50 sec – WITH 1.4x (TC-14EII) teleconverter

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 560mm , f8, 1/25 sec – WITH 1.4x (TC-14EII) teleconverter

 

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 560mm , f8, 1/25 sec – WITH 1.4x (TC-14EII) teleconverter

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 680mm , f6.7, 1/15 sec – WITH 1.7x (TC-17EII) teleconverter

 

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 680mm , f6.7, 1/15 sec – WITH 1.7x (TC-17EII) teleconverter

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 680mm , f8, 1/15 sec – WITH 1.7x (TC-17EII) teleconverter

 

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 680mm , f8, 1/15 sec – WITH 1.7x (TC-17EII) teleconverter

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 800mm, f8, 1/40 sec – WITH 2.0x (TC-20EIII) teleconverter

 

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 800mm , f8, 1/40sec – WITH 2.0x (TC-20EIII) teleconverter

(Below)  Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at at 800mm, f10, 1/20 sec – WITH 2.0x (TC-20EIII) teleconverter

(Below) Close Crops-   Nikon 200-400mm f 4 VRII  at 800mm , f10, 1/20 sec – WITH 2.0x (TC-20EIII) teleconverter

Here are a couple of links to some more detailed reviews on this lens if you are interested:

Feel free to share your own experience with the Nikon 200-400mm f4 VRII with teleconverters.

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/

Categories: My Equipment Review

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter – Big Cats June 2011

July 7, 2011 2 comments

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter – Big Cats June 2011

Now that I have completed my boards exams, I finally have had the chance to actually get out of the house to take some photos.  I only made it 5 miles down the road the our local zoo, but still it’s better than nothing.  Plus, I have always loved big cats, and the Houston Zoo has a decent collection.  These sample photos were taken with the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens, and show results both with the Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter and without it.  I did bring my tripod with me this time and this resulted in fewer downright unusable photos as compared to the previous trip without a tripod.   The results at 600mm with the 2.0x teleconverter are still very good in my opinion, especially for “normal” viewing or printing.  I am sure some of you “pixel peepers” will notice that there is some softening and minor loss of image quality associated with the teleconverter that is noticable at full magnification.  But overall this combination continues to produce quality results and I have no regrets about the lens or teleconverter purchases.

Click on the photo to enlarge and click a second time to view at 100%.  I have also added a few high power crops to give you an idea of the detail preservation at higher magnification without the need open the picture fully.

NO TELECONVERTER – Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens only

(Below)  300mm, f2.8, 1/200sec:

(Below) 300mm, f3.2, 1/200sec:

(Below) 300mm, f3.2, 1/200sec (100% crop from upper portion of the above tiger photo):

Another high power crop below to show the detail captured by this lens…

(Below) 300mm, f4, 1/250sec:

(Below) 300mm, f4, 1/320sec:

(Below) 300mm, f4, 1/320sec (100% crop from upper portion of the above cheetah photo):

WITH TELECONVERTER – Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII (2.0x)

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f5.6, 1/125sec:

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f6.3, 1/100sec (notice the point of focus is the nose):

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f8, 1/180sec (notice the point of focus is the nose):

(Below) 100% crop of the nose from the photo above:

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f5.6, 1/125sec (notice the point of focus is the nose):

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f6.3, 1/200sec (great detail in the teeth and jaw):

(Below) High power crop from the photo above…

(Below) 600 mm (300mm + TC-20EIII), f6.3, 1/125sec:

MORE PHOTOS TO BE ADDED SOON…

Categories: My Equipment Review