I seem to be pushing the limits of the 70-200VR11 with TC 20e111 combo.
Here are some before and after photos - both at 400mm EFL on a D300 at f9 the Hawk at 1/800 and the Coyotes at 1/320. Neither photo is very good. The Coyotes, in part because I did not get a chance to adjust my setting before they began coming round the lake and we had to leave fast. They were about a football field and a bit away according to Google earth about 158meters/173 yards. These were shot on a Gitzo 2541 and Markins M10 Ballhead. The processed and unprocessed photos are below:
Now my question is to improve these kinds of shots which of the following option is the best solution for me to consider:
1. 300mm f4 with TC 17/20 (I own those TCs)
2. 300 f2.8 plus TC 17 and 20
3. My current combo with a different Camera such as the D800 (I have a D7000 and the results are pretty much the same)
4. using LensAlign to calibrate the TCs with the lens at maximum distance.
I realize the issue is the ability of the lens to resolve details at a significant distance. I also understand that climate, especially over water can have an impact. So is it even possible to do better with any of the solutions I have mentioned?
A 400/500/600/800mm solution is sort of out of the budget; and I would prefer a prime over the 200-400.
My website: www.rakmilphotography.com
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#1. "RE: Need some advice on choices" | In response to Reply # 0dm1dave Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Fri 14-Sep-12 01:43 AM
I think your biggest obstacle here is the distance and maybe the light.
I don’t think fine tuning focus would do any good with these shots. The DoF at that distance is more than enough to cover minor focus errors. If you are able to get well focused shots at close distances I would not worry about focus issues.
The light looks kind of harsh and that combined with not having many pixels on your subject cause you to lose a lot of detail. The 70-200 with a TC20E III should preform about as well as an 80-400 so it should be pretty sharp (not as sharp as the lens without a TC) as long as your subject fills a decent area of the frame.
Even with my 400/f2.8 I would not expect much out of the coyote shot at that distance and I would not have even fired the shutter on the hawk (way to far away) unless I was trying to get a shot for identification.
The 300/f4 is an awesome lens and light weight. It is probably sharper (with a 1.4TC attached) than the 70-200 + 2xTC combo that you are using. AF could get touchy with the 1.7 and 2.0 TSs.
The 300/f2.8 is about as good as any of the big primes and works very well with the TCs. If you really want a prime and can’t find anything longer that is in your price range this is a great lens.
The 200-400 is probably worth looking at. It is on par with the 70-200 for IQ and works well with at least the 1.4TC. A lower cost alternative is the sigma 120-300/f/2.8 OS with a sigma 1.4TC (170-420/f4.)
Anther Sigma to consider is the 500/f4.5. Nikonian Richard Dubiel (Dubes) used this lens extensively for a while. He has posed a lot of stunning images in our wildlife forum.
#2. "RE: Need some advice on choices" | In response to Reply # 1VR8 Nikonian since 04th May 2008Fri 14-Sep-12 02:14 PM
Thank you for the considered reply. I am an admirer of your photography, so I am even more pleased you commented.
I think the bottom line is to lower my expectations of the gear I have and the gear I might acquire.
The key point is to fill the frame. I would prefer to avoid cropping as much as possible. Point taken on the Coyote, but it was an adventure I wanted to illustrate even at the expense of a poor picture. Your comment that this would not work even at 400mm is a reality check. I was avoiding the 400 because of cost and portability.
I will have a look at Sigma, but I was hoping for something that worked with the Nikon Tcs.
I tried the 300 f4 and was not impressed with the copy I tried. Maybe I should try that again - the 1.4 plus the 300F4 would be in budget for sure and would easier on the budget.
Thanks, very much appreciated.
My website: www.rakmilphotography.com