>>> What makes this lens so difficult? > >Forget the optics and look at the geometry. It is a well >designed... tuning fork .
I see, thank you. I believe there is nothing wrong with the optics on my lens; I had not ruled that out until this discussion brought out the other factors. Your tuning fork analogy is the perfect way to explain the concept.
> >Among the highest end 400/500/600 lenses, your 600 is usually >considered the toughest of the bunch, simply because it is >physically longer and heavier. If you want an efficient >tuning fork you generally increase the length of the arms.
Now that I have at least a vague understanding of the concept, I hope that I can learn to adapt.
With the exception of very deep macro where all the >issues I mentioned (except now usually a one sided tuning >fork) apply at a microscopic level.
I did some macro photography, with a controlled setup in my dining area so I see what you mean. I rather enjoy macro.
> >Since you do not plan to make an intensive hobby out of this >lens, as many or most of us do, it just means you have to >approach your learning curve smarter, and we are trying to >help you do that.
I take pictures to have fun, but I also want to take good pictures. And I appreciate your insight and help.
> >If you do not want to make this lens an obsession, then you >absolutely, positively need to get that Series 5.
You hit this on the head; I want to enjoy the experience and not be worried about the equipment.
> >Edit: I have talked to a number of 600/4 shooters that >use Series 3's. I rarely see a Series 5 in the field. When I >ask them about VR/IS they all tell me they could not shoot >their lens without it. Most are Canon users simply because >most of them are old timers that bought their Canon IS lenses >back before Nikon had a VR model.
Why is the series five not used in the field?
> >For that reason alone I would suggest you seriously try VR and >determine if it helps or hurts. You will get varying opinions >on that so you need to find out for yourself.
So far, I've used TRIPOD mode. To your point here is how a wildlife photographer described the VR modes on the 600:
"VR Performance: GREAT! I find that the VR function significantly extends the range of usefulness of this lens - whether on or off a tripod. When shooting using a tripod (moderately large Gitzo with Wimberley head) I ALWAYS use "tripod mode" except when panning birds. I have run numerous tests and have found that I virtually always get sharper results with VR on (tripod mode) than when the VR is off. When shooting off a monopod or hand-holding the lens (yes, you CAN hand-hold this lens, but not for long!) I use "normal" VR mode and have captured sharp images down to 1/100s. Note that one moose-like Nikon sponsored photographer states that the "tripod mode" of the VR should only be used when you're "absolutely locked down" - my experience is that this is NOT correct. Use Tripod mode whenever on a firm tripod (unless you're panning). Using "Normal" VR on a firm tripod CAN degrade image quality. Sorry moose - in my experience the manual IS right (and the info on your website misleading)."
So, yes, opinions vary.
I am now living in southern Utah, no duck ponds here. Zion is an hour away though.