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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A temporary solution

Do you remember when I rented the Nikon 300 mm f2.8 lens to shoot the snowy owl?? At the end of that post, I wrote that one of my photography goals was to save enough money to buy a longer lens for wildlife photography. The longest lens I owned was th Nikon 18-200mm VR lens, and I wanted more reach than 200 mm's. Also, I found the lens was soft at 200 mm's as well.
I purchased a used Nikon 70-300 mm f4-5.6 G AF lens last evening for $125.00. This is NOT the Nikon 70-300 mm lens with VR which has very good reviews. This is the one without VR, and the reviews of this lens are mostly not favorable. I knew what I was buying, and was willing to take a chance on this lens. I read Ken Rockwell's review and went out bird shooting today, using Ken Rockwell's recommendations to get the best IQ from this lens.
So far so good! I shot mostly at 300 mm's today, because it's the long reach that I am interested in and wanted to experiment with. Here are a few gull in flight shots. I stopped down the lens to f11, and set the ISO to 500 to get the shutter speed that I wanted.
This first image was shot at ISO 500, 1/640, f11with a focal length of 300mm.
Here's another shot:

This second shot is ISO 500, 1/320, f11, with a focal length of 300mm
I also went through the cemetery today and took a few pictures of the Robins:

This was shot at ISO 500, 1/320, f11, focal length of 300 mm

This was shot at ISO 500, 1/250, f11, focal length of 300 mm.
These were all processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3, with levels adjustments, saturation applied, and sharpened with unsharp mask.
The verdict so far:
I think I can work around the limitations and quirks of this lens and will know more after more trials with it. This lens is very plastic, and does not have the build or weight of my other lenses. I'm not thrilled with having to bump up the ISO when I take this lens to 300mm's. Also, I ultimately would like to have a lens longer than 300mm's. Until I can afford the quality lens that I want, I am hoping this one will get me though until then. For 125 dollars, it just may be worth it!

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