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special time with a special lens (larger images)
Posted By: Marc Langille, 10-20-2008, 07:13 PM

Images 1-3 are not cropped. Only #4 is, and simply for composition. Taken on Oct. 17th during a couple of hours. You'll have to guess what it is... 8-)





EXIF:
Date Modified 2008-10-19 20:10:03
Date Taken 2008-10-17 15:15:19
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0012s (1/800)
Aperture f/6.3
ISO 320
Focal Length 600mm (900mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3872 x 2592



EXIF:
Date Modified 2008-10-19 20:13:50
Date Taken 2008-10-17 14:56:53
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0012s (1/800)
Aperture f/6.3
ISO 320
Focal Length 520mm (780mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3872 x 2592



EXIF:
Date Modified 2008-10-19 18:22:39
Date Taken 2008-10-17 00:00:00
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0005s (1/2000)
Aperture f/6.3
ISO 320
Focal Length 540mm (810mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3872 x 2592





EXIF:
Date Modified 2008-10-19 20:42:34
Date Taken 2008-10-17 14:44:40
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0012s (1/800)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 100
Focal Length 250mm (375mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 2926 x 1703

Cheers,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 10-21-2008 at 07:22 AM.
Views: 5,916
10-20-2008, 07:35 PM   #2
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That first picture is the best picture of a duck I've ever seen. Of course all the pictures are great. Were they taken with an FA* 250-600?

Mark
10-20-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mark2100 Quote
That first picture is the best picture of a duck I've ever seen. Of course all the pictures are great. Were they taken with an FA* 250-600?

Mark
Thanks Mark for the kind words. That image is wonderful at 100% - they all are. This and the other images are perhaps 1/5 of the actual size.

You are correct about the lens: I was really impressed, given it's sharpness, and the focal length range is so useful!! Of course, I intentionally did both ends of the focal length range and included the EXIF to make it easier for folks to figure out. Otherwise it may have been confusing - possibly a TC or something was involved.

Regards,
Marc
10-20-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Wow! All my bird pictures suck...

I don't know the problem, I suspect I need a tripod. Sigma APO 500mm. I thought I had enough shutter speed to deal with movement, but I suspect not. Not with that long a lens? ???.

These buggers are wild and hard to sneak up on. I try to float up in my boat, they won't have anything to do with me. Heck, even the turtles are skittish. There are a few Osprey, those guys won't even let you look up at them and they are gonzo.

10-20-2008, 08:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Thanks Mark for the kind words. That image is wonderful at 100% - they all are. This and the other images are perhaps 1/5 of the actual size.

You are correct about the lens: I was really impressed, given it's sharpness, and the focal length range is so useful!! Of course, I intentionally did both ends of the focal length range and included the EXIF to make it easier for folks to figure out. Otherwise it may have been confusing - possibly a TC or something was involved.

Regards,
Marc
Yes, the EXIF did make the guess easy.

I think you should get to keep the lens after those shots!

Mark
10-20-2008, 08:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jocko_nc Quote
Wow! All my bird pictures suck...

I don't know the problem, I suspect I need a tripod. Sigma APO 500mm. I thought I had enough shutter speed to deal with movement, but I suspect not. Not with that long a lens? ???.

These buggers are wild and hard to sneak up on. I try to float up in my boat, they won't have anything to do with me. Heck, even the turtles are skittish. There are a few Osprey, those guys won't even let you look up at them and they are gonzo.
Hi Jocko,

I guess that's a compliment for me, but not for you... ? Everyone starts somewhere - I just applied old school ethics of practice, learning from my mistakes and more practice. Just so you know, I'd NEVER done birding photography (other than a few convenient shots at a feeder in 2007) until this year. Hummingbirds were the only exception to the previous statement. They are a different challenge.

IMO, a tripod or a stable platform is generally a must for 400mm or more. Even 300mm can be a challenge, especially if it's a bigger+heavier lens. This lens weighs twice as much as my FA* 300/2.8 - 5.5 vs. 11 pounds.

Assuming the setup/support platform is stable, almost all of the success rides on your technique. Long lenses are a different animal, given the narrow FOV - every movement is amplified multiple times!
I've taken quite a few images with a Canon setup and the Sigma 500/4.5 APO EX lens. You can check my other posts for details. More than a few were on a Kirk Fat Bean Bag on the window ledge of the SUV... Most were on a Arca Swiss Z1 monoball and Giottos MT9360 tripod. Very stable, except in 45mph winds...

I was shooting in a wildlife photo competition, so I learned a lot very quickly. The wildlife rarely if ever sees a human being, so I had a lot of challenges in that realm too.

EDIT: the owner's platform was not super sturdy, so I believe my experience/technique saved the day on some of these images. I would suspect your boat movement is the biggest culprit. What are your shutter speeds' ballpark numbers?

Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 10-22-2008 at 05:20 PM. Reason: clarification
10-20-2008, 08:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mark2100 Quote
Yes, the EXIF did make the guess easy.

I think you should get to keep the lens after those shots!

Mark
Wow, you are very kind!

I am hoping he'll eventually switch to Canon completely and sell it - for obvious reasons... He knows that I am interested, so I have first dibs... no guarantees though...

Cheers,
Marc
10-20-2008, 08:32 PM   #8
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Put a good tool in the right hands and that is where the magic starts. As always you raise the bar a little higher Marc. If given the choice between a 600mm f4 lens and the zoom that you where using what would be your preference. (probably the zoom for composition / physical positioning reasons?). What like to hear your thoughts.

10-20-2008, 08:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by spyglass Quote
Put a good tool in the right hands and that is where the magic starts. As always you raise the bar a little higher Marc. If given the choice between a 600mm f4 lens and the zoom that you where using what would be your preference. (probably the zoom for composition / physical positioning reasons?). What like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you Spyglass - your kind words are appreciated!

It's what I've stated all along to people: master the tools, and the results will follow...

At first I discounted this lens, and now I've done a 180 degree about face on my opinion of it. Sure, it's not quite as fast as the 600/4, but the zoom focal length range is the deal clincher for me.

I rescued several images because it's a zoom, but I forgot a few times since I'm so used to primes in that longer focal length. However, only having 2-3 short hours of using it part of the time is difficult to tell all. I was worried about it's max. aperture, but at least it is constant.

Here are my reasons for choosing this lens over the 600/4:
  1. very, very sharp even wide open
  2. excellent contrast
  3. constant aperture is a plus, even though it's "slower" than the 600/4
  4. it's lighter at 11 pounds vs. ~ 15 pounds for the 600/4, which is an older, heavier design than the current models from other manufacturers. I'm used to 7 pound lenses, and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't seem that heavy, even at 11 pounds!
Disclaimer: I am someone who has done competitive elite endurance sports and strength training since high school, so gear weight is not an issue. I took a layoff from exercise and regretted that immensely. Things are back on track and now I have a resting AM heart rate in the lower 40's, even though I am only training 3-5 hours/week. I know I can take the weight, and do major hikes with heavier gear.

Hope that helps?

Regards,
Marc
10-21-2008, 12:53 AM   #10
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Thanks for the thoughts Marc,

It is always good to get a perspective from someone that is using the gear in challenging and demanding applications and obtaining great results.
I am a big fan of zoom lens myself. I have found that certain zoom lenses suffer from trying to accomplish too much and are fair at many things but master of none. I have also found some primes to be great at certain aperture settings and soft at others (wide open especially).
Weight is a good point. I can not imagine lugging 15lbs of lens around (plus all the other gear).
Constant aperture, wow, nice design. I will have to do some reading on that lens

Look forward to your next wildlife post,
10-21-2008, 05:03 AM   #11
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Absolutely amazing images Marc. The detail and colour are outstanding, looks like a great lens but its the man behind it that makes the difference. Well done!
10-21-2008, 06:11 AM   #12
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Very nice work. I like the one with the duck and the splattered water most.

JMR
10-21-2008, 07:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by spyglass Quote
Thanks for the thoughts Marc,

It is always good to get a perspective from someone that is using the gear in challenging and demanding applications and obtaining great results.
I am a big fan of zoom lens myself. I have found that certain zoom lenses suffer from trying to accomplish too much and are fair at many things but master of none. I have also found some primes to be great at certain aperture settings and soft at others (wide open especially).
Weight is a good point. I can not imagine lugging 15lbs of lens around (plus all the other gear).
Constant aperture, wow, nice design. I will have to do some reading on that lens

Look forward to your next wildlife post,
You are welcome and my honor.

During the wildlife photo competition, the 15 pounds was just between two longer lens systems: Canon 40D + Sigma 500/4.5 and K20D + FA* 300/2.8. That didn't include any other gear...

This lens is VERY sharp wide open, and unfortunately I had little time to really test it. The only true weakness (other than it's weight, but that's not an issue for me) is the max. aperture of 5.6. I'd like wider, but it's a compromise I could live with quite easily, given it's flexibility. You can check the lens review database here on the forum to read about it, or go to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page

I hope to post more images as time permits, but probably not for a little while. I've lots to still review! I need to spend some quality time at home or be out photographing, with minimal forum time...

Cheers,
Marc
10-22-2008, 06:49 AM   #14
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crop of #4, and the lens is wide open...

This is approx. 50% of the actual size:



EXIF:
Date Modified 2008-10-19 20:42:34
Date Taken 2008-10-17 14:44:40
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0012s (1/800)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 100
Focal Length 250mm (375mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 1721 x 1039

Flash flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Exposure Program aperture priority
Exposure Bias -3/10 EV
Exposure Mode manual
White Balance auto
Contrast 0
Saturation 0
Sharpness 0
Subject Distance Range 3
Sensing Method one-chip color sensor
Color Space unknown

Regards,
Marc
10-22-2008, 06:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by scott-devon Quote
Absolutely amazing images Marc. The detail and colour are outstanding, looks like a great lens but its the man behind it that makes the difference. Well done!
Thank you Scott! As you stated, technique is very important once the camera/lens settings are decided (and appropriate).

Please understand I was learn the lens in such a short time, in an area I was not familiar with. Perhaps some day I can get more practice and a little closer!

Regards,
Marc
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