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"digital" zoom versus "optical" zoom


Toronto, CA
136 posts

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arcweldernorth Registered since 05th Nov 2005
Thu 10-Aug-06 03:23 AM

I want to share the results of a test I did this weekend with my D200.

I shoot wildlife and sports, so I like telephoto lenses. On my F5 I got used to using a TC to extend my 80-200mm f2.8 AFS and even my 300mm F4 and I got some pretty decent results even with my TC 20 E although the TC 14 produces visibly better results.

Obviously I love the fact that my D200 made all my lenses 50% "longer" but since I like birds and I don't have a really big lens like the 500mm AFS I have tried my TCs with my lenses on the D200 as well.

This weekend I got to wondering whether I would get a better final image by shooting a scene with lets say the 300mm and cropping it or using the 300mm with the TC 14.

I did a series of tests with the camera on a rock solid tripod, using my infrared remote control to elimane any camera shake, so that I could isolate just the effect of the lens+TC versus the lens only with a subsequent crop. (ie: what I was trying to see is what looked better ... more pixels of a lower quality optical image or fewer pixels of a higher quality image).

The results were the same for all my lenses and all my TCs ... in every case using the lens without a TC and cropping (or in effect enlarging) the digital image was sharper than with the TC. In fact, my very old MF Tamron SP 200-500 zoom was sharper at 500 mm than the 300mm AFS with the TC 14 and a slight digital enlargement to reach the same scene as the 500mm captured.

Anyone want to buy a coupe of TCs??

D300, D200, 14-24mm f2.8 AFS, 28-70mm AFS, 80-200 f2.8 AFS, 85mm f1.4D, Sigma 150 Macro, 200-400mm AFS/VR, TC 14 & 17, 50mm f1.8 AF

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