Tele for wildlife - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 15th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #16
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wales
Posts: 2,130
The Nikon 600mm f4 manual focus lens I had was not very sharp at all, and I've heard other people say the same.
Major problem with these big primes is being able to find the subject, especially with the big magnifications afforded by the small sensors. A zoom is a massive help here, even the Canon 150-600 is a lot easier even though it's only 4x.
Problem with the 180-600 is that it's not internal focus so would need a heavy (and therefore shaky) hand on it to focus it. Same goes for the old MF 200-400.
Steve
Steve Phillipps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 15th, 2009, 04:17 PM   #17
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kent UK
Posts: 1,397
Personally I'd be thinking of how to improve your field skill/position to get closer and improve your knowledge of your subject. At those focal lengths so many other factors come into play to degrade the your image. I make that 2100mm 35mm equiv! / thats some powerful tele as it stands!
Mat Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #18
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Worldwide
Posts: 1,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
...The Nikon 600mm f4 manual focus lens I had was not very sharp at all, and I've heard other people say the same.
Steve
I would have to disagree with that statement completely, as all the Nikkor 600mm lenses, both manual and AF are superb and knife-sharp (possibly the one that you tried had a fault). The latest AF version is maybe a touch sharper wide open, but you would be hard-done to spot the difference in even a large-scale print, and certainly not in video footage.

So in my view you cannot buy better than any of the Nikkor 600mm lenses if you need to stretch to that range.

Mat has hit the nail on the head when he mentions field skills and handling. At extreme magnifications many extra problems come into play, such as tripod vibration, distance from subject, atmospheric conditions, side-winds etc., and these cause a negative impact on any shoots with super-telephoto lenses.

There is no doubt that you will obtain better footage with a 300mm or 200mm lens if you can get close enough, but at times when the 600mm lens magnification is the closest you can get, then it can provide outstanding footage - as long as you keep vibrations at bay and shoot during the best weather conditions. Most of your best footage will be on a locked-down tripod, or with extra brace.

If you need to do a lot of follow footage or pans, then I'd keep to 300mm or shorter if at all possible.
__________________
www.WILDCARP.com
www.NIKON.me.uk
Tony Davies-Patrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #19
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wales
Posts: 2,130
I would adivse anyone to be careful with the 600 f4 MF. Don't know if you've ever owned one Tony, but I have read several other people's tests showing that it was pretty poor, certainly when compared to modern Canon 600 f4 for example, and not even close - can't remember the figures but if the Canon was resolving something like 90 lp/mm the Nikon was down at about 40, it was that big a difference, and that was with several samples. I tried mine against my equally old Canon FD 500mm f4.5 and the difference was immediately very obvious, flat and not that sharp. Maybe they just don't age well.
Try before you buy I'd say.
Steve
Steve Phillipps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #20
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Worldwide
Posts: 1,589
At wide open aperture the Nikkor 600mm Ais matches very closely the performance of the 600mm VR. The older lens also has a better and more stable tripod mount.

Performance of both the 600mm Ais f4 & f/5.6 lenses are at thier peak wide open and sharpness actually softens very slightly on the F/4 model when you stop down the aperture ring only half or one stop. The latest Af version holds sharpness a bit better down to F/8, but we are talking about minute differences at huge photo enlargements.

One thing that was common with used versions of the heavyweight 600mm F/4 is that slight knocks often moves focus alignment, so I would test the lens before buying if you can. The f5.6 version seems to handle heavy-duty a bit better, in fact I've owned four different Ai and Ais versions and all were sharp as a knife (as long as on a sturdy tripod of course).

My favourite of the Nikon 600's is the f/5.6 AIS ED-IF version (there were several 5.6 versions) - lightweight, sturdy, smooth focus ring and ultra-sharp. The 800mm f/5.6 ED-IF is also a wonderful built lens with biting sharpness when used correctly.

One of the sharpest of the latest rack of AF lenses is the 500mm AFS f/4 ED-IF, although the earlier MF 500mm f/4 Nikkor-P ED-IF almost matches it for sharpness.
__________________
www.WILDCARP.com
www.NIKON.me.uk
Tony Davies-Patrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #21
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wales
Posts: 2,130
Have you actually tested this? I'd be surprised if the old 600 was even close to the latest one. This is a thread I saw before I bought mine Optical Performance of Nikon 600mm f/4 AI versus AIS lenses? - Photo.net Nikon Forum and I was a little surprised, but mine seemed relatively poor too.
I think there is a bit a difference when some of these lenses are used on film vs digital bodies, as I too had an MF Nikon MF 500 f4P which was amazing on my F5, but had terrible chromatic aberration and less than perfect sharpness on a D200.
Steve
Steve Phillipps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #22
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Worldwide
Posts: 1,589
Yes, I have owned and tested the mentioned lenses; as have Bjørn Rørslett and others who have given similar results. William's lens was, as he mentioned, well used and out of alignment so cannot really be taken into consideration.

It is true that the MF 500mm f/4 performs very slightly better on the F5 or F6 than it does on the D70, D200, D2X etc., with slight CA creeping in - some of this is of course due to increased magnification factor on a smaller DX sensor, but it is certainly still very sharp and providing high levels of detail...more than enough for both stills and video at professional level (any slight CA in still photos can be easily rectified in post, so not a problem).

The AFS version is better, but obviously at a premium price compared to a mint MF version, and I'd doubt if many people could spot the difference between video footage shot on both.

Regarding lenses performing differently on film cameras and digital cameras. This is a well known fact. Some lenses perform equally on digital and film, some perform better on film, and some perform better on digital. The 500mm f/4 and 600mm f/5.6 perform very well on the F5 SLR and the FX Nikon D3 DSLR for example.

A lot of these SLR & DSLR matched lens tests can of couse be taken with a pinch of salt after you bayonet them instead to a camcorder, especially with tiny sensors like on a Canon XL-H1s for example. Then the huge lens magnification factor can greatly increase CA and colour fringing on most lenses, so it is better to test each lens with your chosen camcorders and also work as closely as possible to your subjects to cut down on heatwaving etc.
__________________
www.WILDCARP.com
www.NIKON.me.uk
Tony Davies-Patrick is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:32 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network