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03-16-2009, 08:23 AM   #1
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My Loony F* 300mm/4.5

I took a walk on the beach (Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts) yesterday, and took along the K20D and an F* 300/4.5. There were not many birds around (almost no gulls, even) but I did have a group of (I think) three loons fishing just beyond the surf zone (they were difficult to count since they spent more time below the surface than they did above).

Here's a resized original of one bird (ISO 400, f/10, 1/1,000 sec), with no other processing besides resizing:


Here's a 100% crop of that original, with no other processing besides cropping:


[Note, though, that, although there was no post-processing (other than resizing of the first image and cropping of the second), I do have my K20D set up for +1 sharpening, +1 saturation, and +1 contrast.]

My best guess is that the subject is a first-year red-throated loon.

The F* 300/4.5's sharpness and the K20D's 14 MP combined, once again, to make for some pretty easy photobirding (thanks to the ability to do some pretty heavy cropping).

03-16-2009, 08:39 AM   #2
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Looks good, I've read nothing but good reviews about that lens. In the back of my head I keep wanting to grab one, though I barely shoot above 50mm on my film SLR's. Maybe it's the ego of a big, white and gold * lens. Maybe it's having something good for wildlife shots. Maybe just LBA.

Even though you have a K20D, may I ask how you find the feel of the focus ring when manually focussing?
03-16-2009, 09:17 AM   #3
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Those look pretty good to me. i have that lens and its my favorite. i do find it a bit short for wildlife (would like a 500mm sigma prime). both the kenko mc4 1.5x and promaster 1.7x tcs' will extend the reach and still auto-focus. a little detail is lost, but it allows me to get those long shots that i'd miss even with the k 20s crop allowance.
03-16-2009, 10:28 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
Looks good, I've read nothing but good reviews about that lens. In the back of my head I keep wanting to grab one, though I barely shoot above 50mm on my film SLR's. Maybe it's the ego of a big, white and gold * lens. Maybe it's having something good for wildlife shots. Maybe just LBA.
Well, "LBA" is enough justification for me - <g>.

Seriously, though, I tend to focus on wildlife and "other" candid portraits (i.e., of the human subject kind), and so I rarely shoot at less than 77mm (except for occasional scenics at 20mm or 15mm).

So, I tend to have "too many" (as if one could ever have "too many" - <g>) longer lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
Even though you have a K20D, may I ask how you find the feel of the focus ring when manually focussing?
A lot of my lenses are manual focus ones, although now that I am old and decrepit ("older than dirt" - <g>), I do rely on autofocus more and more. Still, I prefer autofocus lenses that can, in a pinch, do a good job when manually focused.

I do find the mf/af clutch functionality on the F* 300/4.5 (and the FA* 200/2.8 and the FA 85/1.4) to work very well for manual focusing - I might like a bit more "stiffness" (?) to the focusing action, but it is quite smooth.

(In contrast, I do not like the "non-clutch" manual focusing in a lot of the other af lenses, such as the FA 77/1.8 Ltd I also have - in fact I once had two different copies of the FA 43/1.9 Ltd that I sold because I did not care for the "whirring" focus feel when manual focusing.)

03-16-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivoire Quote
Those look pretty good to me. i have that lens and its my favorite. i do find it a bit short for wildlife (would like a 500mm sigma prime). both the kenko mc4 1.5x and promaster 1.7x tcs' will extend the reach and still auto-focus. a little detail is lost, but it allows me to get those long shots that i'd miss even with the k 20s crop allowance.
I do know what you mean about being "a bit short for wildlife". However, I am much more likely to have the lens with me than if I were to be lugging around a 500mm or 600mm lens. [Not counting mirrors, even a relatively slow 500mm or 600mm lens is pretty long, and, except for some mirrors (the VS1 600/8 being an obvious mirror exception), is pretty heavy.]

I have done some testing of how much is lost, comparing using this lens with the F 1.7X AFA versus heavier cropping without the 1.7X TC on the K20D, and I am not yet convinced that the TC is worth it (although "the jury is still out"). (I do know from previous testing using an *ist DS, that the TC does work pretty well, as compared to cropping.)

I do tend to prefer ~large~ animals, though (big birds over little guys, for example, or whales over almost anything else in the water), so that preference aids my reliance on a 300mm FL for a lot of ~my~ wildlife shooting...
03-16-2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
I do know what you mean about being "a bit short for wildlife". However, I am much more likely to have the lens with me than if I were to be lugging around a 500mm or 600mm lens. [Not counting mirrors, even a relatively slow 500mm or 600mm lens is pretty long, and, except for some mirrors (the VS1 600/8 being an obvious mirror exception), is pretty heavy.]

I have done some testing of how much is lost, comparing using this lens with the F 1.7X AFA versus heavier cropping without the 1.7X TC on the K20D, and I am not yet convinced that the TC is worth it (although "the jury is still out"). (I do know from previous testing using an *ist DS, that the TC does work pretty well, as compared to cropping.)

I do tend to prefer ~large~ animals, though (big birds over little guys, for example, or whales over almost anything else in the water), so that preference aids my reliance on a 300mm FL for a lot of ~my~ wildlife shooting...
I agree on the use of the TCs. I have the kenko and the promaster and they don't see much use. I found using them with the f*300 gives the same quality as the current 400-500mm 'budget' offerings like the sigma 120-400mm and the 170-500mm lenses so one of them goes in the bag or pocket just in case. And you are right about hauling around a larger lens. Stealth technique accounts for a lot of my better pics with the 300mm. I just came back from 7 weeks in the wilds of Florida (visited over 20 parks/wildlife areas, never saw the beach) and shot a lot of pics mainly with the f*300. It is a fantastic lens. Like you, I usually crop and then I sometimes increase the image size with Genuine Fractals. I found i can increase the image size by 2-3 inches and have almost no image degradation. Viva software!
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