Dave was right (70-200VR + 500D report)

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by Flew, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    A few weeks ago, I asked Dave (dmwphoto) to do some comparisons between his 70-200VR plus the 500D and his 200 micro. To paraphrase his response, he said that the VR / 500D was a great combo, but was not nearly as easy to use as the 200 micro. At the time, I didn't understand how the difference could be so significant, since I have used the former with little difficulty recently.

    Well this weekend at the Nikoncafe picnic, I discovered for myself exactly what he was trying to point out. The first stop at the picnic was the butterfly house at the botanical gardens. I set up my tripod, D2H, and 70-200VR with the 500D. After some considerable efforts, I was not able to get a single shot off with this combination. The problem was that the VR / 500D just has too limited a working focus range. Time after time, I saw a likely subject, positioned the tripod (not easy when you have to be within 12 to 18 inches of the subject), only to have the target butterfly leave long before I could even think about getting a focus lock.

    Now it is true that hand held, this combo might work OK, but with a DOF of much less than 1/10th inches, I have no hope of hand holding this set-up. As a point of contrast, another Cafe member had his 70-180 micro lens and was kind enough to let me shoot with it for a little while (thanks Meril ;-)). What a difference. I could get close, but I could also shoot from 19 inches, 27 inches, or 90 inches. The point being that I was not restricted to an extremely narrow working depth, so I was able to get off many decent shots.

    Does that mean that the VR / 500D is no good? Of course not. It does mean that it has application only when the subject ain't going to move anytime soon, and that you can comfortably get within the required working distance. Under those conditions, it can produce superb results. As a field macro lens though, based on my experience, it has limited range of applicability.

    I really wanted this combo to work. I really don't want to spend $1,000+ on a macro-only lens. I'm not giving up yet though. I like the 70-200VR so well that I'm going to try a set of Kenko extension tubes. Maybe this will be the answer, maybe not, but the only way to know for sure is to give them a try. I did want to let everyone here know about my results though, especially since I have been pushing the VR / 500D combo so hard here on this forum. If you are relatively strong (the D2H + 70-200VR + 1.7TC that I was using + the 500D weighs in at over 10 lbs), and have very, very steady hands, you may be able to use this combo hand held. I can't.
     
  2. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Holey smokes...

    Anyone want to by a 500D...:>)))

    You know what I can hand hold. eeeekkkkk

    Went shooting in the Viera Wetlands this morning with Harry with the 80-400:>)))))))

    Even got a couple flyers :>))

    Hope you are all having a wonderful time. wish I was there.

    Maybe one day.
     
  3. Frank i made a few test this morning with the 85 macro and the 500D at max magnification and that would be a lot better with a focusing tract the zone of sharp focus is about 1/8 inch play, that very short indeed.
     
  4. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Gale,

    I'm not selling the 500D, and I'm not that unhappy with it. I just wanted to be sure that I have painted an accurate picture of its capabilities. I don't want someone to go out and buy one because of something I said that might be misleading. :?

    I wish you could have been here too. We had a great time. What a wonderful bunch of folks. :wink:
     
  5. mrtac2man

    mrtac2man

    Jun 3, 2005
    CT
    Thanks Frank..

    was thinking about the 500d but think i will go with a macro lens.. no reason to spend a 1000.00 like you said.. much cheaper stuff out there...

    Tim
     
  6. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Tim,

    I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that one of my objectives is to get a lens with a decent working distance (at least 10 - 12 inches) for 1:1 shots. The only lens that I know that meets that requirement is the 200 f4 micro. Do you know of other possible candidates? I'd even consider a good manual focus lens.

    Thanks,
     
  7. Lisa

    Lisa

    May 3, 2005
    IL
    Frank:

    You are absolutely right about this combo. I have the 60mm Micro, but I was looking for a little more working distance without spending the money. While I do like the results I can get using the 500D and the 1.7TC, it doesn't take much to miss a shot. It is very difficult to handhold and I am usually bracing myself on something when I do use it. Basically I bought the 500D for a spur of the moment macro while hauling the 70-200VR on my vacation next week. I'm going to put it through its paces tomorrow while sitting in a clover patch awaiting the bees and anything else that may wander by.

    I'll be very interested in seeing the results you get using the extension tubes.
     
  8. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Lisa,

    And I'll be interested in seeing if you can do better hand held with the 500D than I was able to do on my tripod. Can't wait to see your shots.
     
  9. But, hey! It's only money! :wink:

    Sorry, just couldn't resist. Gotta get that LLD brewing up inside ya, ya know! :twisted:

    Imagine the shots you would be getting with a dedicated macro setup?

    Ok, I'll stop now! :wink:
     
  10. Frank,

    I completely forgot to thank you for this wonderful and informative post. I haven't had time to complete a comparison between the 70-200+stuff and the 70-180 micro. I think you sum everything up quite well. I look forward to trying your combination (70-200+500D+TC17E) this week during my vacation. Thanks again for all of your hard work.
     
  11. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Both the Sigma and Tamron 180's have a similar working distance to the 200 Micro, within an inch or so measusing from the film/ccd plan. Measuring from the front element the Tamron actually gives the most working distance because it's the shortest lens. I'm not doubting the Nikkor is superior but if you're looking for something a bit more affordable the other two are supposed to be very good also.
     
  12. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Kev, I actually have reverse LLD in this case. :lol: I'd prefer not to buy another lens, and save room in my bag (and $$ in my wallet).

    Crystall, Can't wait to see your results with the VR / 500D / 1.7. It certainly is capable of excellent images. Do you shoot hand held or on a tripod? Are you also taking the 70-180? I'd be interested in your comparison between these two set-ups. Nice avatar BTW. ;-)

    Jeff, Thanks for the tip. If I can't get the results I'm looking for with the extension tubes, these look like excellent alternatives.
     
  13. Great post Frank.
     
  14. Hi Frank,

    Talking about working distance, I think I induced you in error in my email for the Tamron macro lenses. For the 90mm, it's between 5 and 6 inches and for the 180mm between 9 - 10 inches.

    About Nikon 200mm f/4, I ran across a post on Nikonians forum selling a manual 200mm micro for $380,00 USD.

    Here's the link
    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID23/4424.html

    Regards.
     
  15. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  16. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Thanks Dao. I'll check it out for sure. Anyone have any experience with the 200 f/4 manual micro lens?

    Paul, I appreciate the feedback. :wink:
     
  17. Frank the manual version works great and is a great buy for the money.
     
  18. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Thanks Dave. After Dao's post, I went to the Nikonians link, but since I haven't used their forum much, I didn't know how to respond to or PM the originator. I'm kind of glad that I didn't as KEH has one in 'Excellent' condition for $375. I'm going to check it out for sure.

    Can I assume that it has the same working distance as the AF-S version (10 - 12 inches)?

    Thanks again,
     
  19. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  20. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Thanks Paul!!
     
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