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Archive 2012 · My best BIF focusing lens
  
 
PetKal
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My best BIF focusing lens


When skies are overcast and light is wretchedly poor, one can not see "birders" outside practicing their craft even on stationary targets, let alone on BIF.

Under such poor ambient light conditions, any f/5.6 telephoto lens is hopeless, such as 400 f/5.6, let alone 800 f/5.6.
With f/4 lenses, e.g., 500 f/4 or 300 f/4, one is relying on lucky shots.
Lastly, 300 f/2.8 IS and 400 f/2.8 IS become just marginal.

What telephoto lenses are then left which can cut it ?
Well, there are only two of some practical application: 200 f/1.8 and 200 f/2.
(135L is a great low light performer too, but way too short.)
Although 200 f/1.8 can "see" dark objects well enough, unfortunately it doesn't have a very fast AF drive, which really leaves us with 200 f/2 IS.
Although I do consider 200 f/2.0 IS overpriced, the lens is a very solid/dependable all around performer, in just about any shooting conditions.

Therefore, when low light makes outdoor photography ridden with problems, if not impractical, I take my 1DMkIIN + 200 f/2 IS and go shooting pijuns in flight, if they are inclined to fly, that is. In my books, that is more fun than sitting in front of the computer and talking about things such as a rumoured 5DMkIII sensor size and some such.

The images below were all shot as JPG only, using 1DMkIIN + 200 f/2.0 IS wide open, IS turned off.
Servo AF mode, center AF point with auto expansion.
Manual exposure mode.

Edited on Feb 22, 2012 at 03:09 AM · View previous versions



Feb 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My best BIF focusing lens


Well done, Peter!

BTW, you need a EOS-1D X with it's larger sensor size and rumored better low-light sensitivity and a new AF system to investigate



Feb 21, 2012 at 07:55 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My best BIF focusing lens


alundeb wrote:
Well done, Peter!

BTW, you need a EOS-1D X with it's larger sensor size and rumored better low-light sensitivity and a new AF system to investigate


That is right, Anders.
I also think that 1DX is a camera which should allow significantly better AF than any and all 1D bodies up to this point in time.
Two practical problems remain though:

(1) The camera has yet to prove itself in operation.
(2) The camera's price is less than palatable.



Feb 21, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Grantland
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My best BIF focusing lens


these are excellent as usual. thanks for sharing.

the 1d2n is a wonderful body.

i recently picked one up and imagine i will keep it for a long time.




Feb 21, 2012 at 08:50 PM
John_T
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My best BIF focusing lens


Wait a minute Peter, you mean in this winter diffused light?

I was out in it yesterday, sunlight through the clouds and the haze, totally diffused. You might as well take up sand painting.



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My best BIF focusing lens


Grantland wrote:
these are excellent as usual. thanks for sharing.

the 1d2n is a wonderful body.

i recently picked one up and imagine i will keep it for a long time.


Thanx, Grant....I certainly agree, especially when considering its price today, 1DMkIIN is a phenomenal buy. Furthermore, when buying 1DMkIIN today, one doesn't need to worry about defective AF camera copies.



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My best BIF focusing lens


John_T wrote:
Wait a minute Peter, you mean in this winter diffused light?

I was out in it yesterday, sunlight through the clouds and the haze, totally diffused. You might as well take up sand painting.


John, not diffused, I meant heavy/rainy overcast, with no source of light which could liven up colours and detail.

One can raise ISO enough to get sufficient stopping action.....that's the easy part.
Th difficulty comes from dullness of colours, smearing/loss of detail and AF impairment......high ISO camera capability doesn't really help with any of that.



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:11 PM
John_T
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My best BIF focusing lens


That's what I mean, the light is diffused, diffracted, scattered in all directions by the droplets in the clouds, the haze. No directional rays that make the sharp shadows that define an image's sharpness. Same with colour, diffracted into so many microscopic rainbows, the result is gray.

This image is in focus in sufficient light, but it might as well have been molded in ice cream.






  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    365mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    800 ISO    +0.7 EV  




Feb 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
safcraft
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My best BIF focusing lens


Fantastic PIF shots Peter, as usual of course. You make us really feel as dumb amateurs...
I can't help to notice there is a lot of detail in the shots, are they cropped ? What ISO were you using, they seem so clean..



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:38 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My best BIF focusing lens


That's the one, John ....one can certainly increase the global sensitivity of the imaging sensor, however, that does little to nothing for contrast, detail and colours, while it typically blows the sky (and similar light surfaces) nuclear white.


Feb 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
 

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PetKal
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My best BIF focusing lens


safcraft wrote:
Fantastic PIF shots Peter, as usual of course. You make us really feel as dumb amateurs...
I can't help to notice there is a lot of detail in the shots, are they cropped ? What ISO were you using, they seem so clean..


Thank you, Safcraft........the shooting parameters were f/2, 1/800 sec and ISO 400.
The image files were cleaned by "Neat Image" NR software.......then given a minor saturation boost + fine grained 300/0.2/0 USM.
Not much cropping done.....perhaps about 20-40 %.....I had to be rather close to the birds (about 15-18 ft) in order not to compromise IQ too much.



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Chris-B
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My best BIF focusing lens


Yeah, but you could shoot a pigeon with a 50mm 1,8 so that makes shots with lenses such as the 400 5.6 even better

Chris:



Feb 21, 2012 at 09:52 PM
John_T
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My best BIF focusing lens


PetKal wrote:
That's the one, John ....one can certainly increase the global sensitivity of the imaging sensor, however, that does little to nothing for contrast, detail and colours, while it typically blows the sky (and similar light surfaces) nuclear white.


I have the good/bad fortune to be able to see the difference within an hour or two, to be able to go up a mountain 2-3,000 meters to get above the clouds, and like ascending from the Nibelung to Valhalla, brilliant sun, brilliant colour, crystal sharpness, the gears are reborn and discovered as if new. A photographer's dream covered in.......ummm, snow....

...to bad we have to trudge through life in the Nibelung...until Spring.



Feb 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM
safcraft
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My best BIF focusing lens


Peter thank you for the detailed info. I am curious, do you do your 300/0.2 USM before or after you resize it to web sizes?


Feb 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My best BIF focusing lens


John_T wrote:
I have the good/bad fortune to be able to see the difference within an hour or two, to be able to go up a mountain 2-3,000 meters to get above the clouds, and like ascending from the Nibelung to Valhalla, brilliant sun, brilliant colour, crystal sharpness, the gears are reborn and discovered as if new. A photographer's dream covered in.......ummm, snow....

... to bad we have to trudge through life in the Nibelung...until Spring.


Nibelung indeed, or photographic sturm und drang.
If I want to see any mountains I have to cross the entire continent.



Feb 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My best BIF focusing lens


safcraft wrote:
Peter thank you for the detailed info. I am curious, do you do your 300/0.2 USM before or after you resize it to web sizes?


Whatever little pp I do, it is usually applied to my JPG original, until I am reasonably happy with the 100% crop. After that I resize the image for web without any further pp.



Feb 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My best BIF focusing lens


Peter, was the bird in #2 just thrown into the air by a magician? He has that 'abra-cadabra' look to him!



Feb 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · My best BIF focusing lens


PetKal wrote:
What telephoto lenses are then left which can cut it ?
Well, there are only two of some practical application: 200 f/1.8 and 200 f/2.


Unfortunately, neither of them can cut it for reach, unless you are reaching for pigeons.

Tony



Feb 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · My best BIF focusing lens


onegreatcity wrote:
Peter, was the bird in #2 just thrown into the air by a magician? He has that 'abra-cadabra' look to him!


Good association, Cam. however, It is the blend of colours and shades which made that shot cross into the keeper category.


Edited on Feb 21, 2012 at 11:23 PM · View previous versions



Feb 21, 2012 at 11:16 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · My best BIF focusing lens


Imagemaster wrote:
Unfortunately, neither of them can cut it for reach, unless you are reaching for pigeons.

Tony


200mm is plenty long for VT, peckers, chickadees, eagles.....you name it, with a bit of stalking and concealment effort.
Some time ago I saw half-decent "wild" Bald eagle pictures someone got in Homer Alaska using their cell phone.



Feb 21, 2012 at 11:22 PM
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