Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black-capped Chickadee & Dragonfly

Where: Richmond Nature Park, BC, Canada
When : Sept 04, 2011

I took some test photos with this odd combination: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G IF-ED + Sigma 1.4x EX APO teleconverter. Thanks to the smaller optics and lower lens group design, the Sigma 1.4x EX APO TC fits well with the Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens. However, it hunts for AF because mine is not the DG version, but still works better than other brand's TCs. The non DG version TC will not convert the metadata to record the actual f stop and shutter speed. In fact, it records the lens metadata without the TC conversion. The Sigma 1.4x EX APO DG is an excellent teleconverter. It handles the CA (Chromatic Aberration) very well.

Initially, I was using AF-C servo to shoot the Black-capped Chickadee but it is hard to focus, so I switched to AF-S in the later shots. For the dragonfly shooting, I switched back to AF-C servo. All photos are in original frame, no cropping.

My opinion:
The performance of this odd combination surprised me, they work so well(beside the focus hunt) as the consumer lenses. This combination will be great for travelling when you don't want to carry heavy gears. Of course, the results can not be compared to those taken with the pro lenses. But hey, for value vs performance wise, this is an excellent match!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Full moon test shots

I planned to shoot the full moon on the evening of the Lunar Mid-Autumn on Sept 12th with the tripod set up. However, I found a great buy of a mint complete set of Nikkor AF-S VR I 70-200mm f2.8G ID-ED on that day. Because I had to rush to grab it before it was too late, I missed the great moment to shoot the full moon in yolk color while it is rising from the horizon. So, I dropped my initial plan and did a quick and simple test shots without the tripod. Testing gears: Nikon D300Nikkor AF-S VR I 70-200mm f2.8G ID-ED, Nikkor AF-S 80-200mm f2.8D IF-ED, Nikkor AF-S 300mm f4D IF-ED, Nikon AF-S TC-20E II and Nikon AF-S TC-14E II.

All photos were taken by hand held, AF-C, ISO800 to minimize the shake. Nikkor AF-S VR I 70-200mm f2.8G ID-ED was taken with VR on. The VR does a little help at high shutter speed and I can see the image is much stable in the viewfinder. It seems a little bit sharper compares to Nikkor AF-S 80-200mm f2.8D IF-ED, but only when you blow the images 100% up to compare. I am surprise to find that at 200mm focal length at the infinity distance, the Nikkor AF-S VR I 70-200mm f2.8G ID-ED covers just a little more than the Nikkor AF-S 80-200mm f2.8D IF-ED, meaning shooting just a little bit closer. Well again, only when zooming in 100% to compare. Without measuring them, you can not tell the difference. Hey, we are talking about 100% blow up, no one would  have to bother this.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Craigdarroch Castle

These are the photos taken on the next day - Aug 19, 2011, after spending a night at the Free Spirit Sphere. This was our last visiting destination of our Vancouver Island tour before we were heading to Swatz Bay for the ferry. It was very rushing and I shot all these photos in 11 minutes only. No time to tour inside the castle.

All photos were taken with Nikon D300 and Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5D EX DG , hand held. No filter added because I don't have any gelatin filter.

The Craigdarroch Castle was finished in 1890 and located in Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

"Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. This Victorian mansion, overlooking the City of Victoria British Columbia, announced to the world that he was the richest and most important man in Western Canada."

15mm f11 1/50 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV

15mm f11 1/80 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV

15mm f11 1/160 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV

31mm f11 1/200 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Spot -0.67EV

26mm f11 1/50 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV

15mm f11 1/200 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV

17mm f11 1/200 1EV under ISO200 (ISO100) Center Weight -0.67EV