Experimental moon shot with AFS 300 and stacked (3) TCs

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by hkgharry, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    The point of posting this is just to share a recent test I did.

    I enjoy playing with TCs and in the past had tried a 2X and 1.4X with a 80-200. I recently got a 300mm f/4 and wanted to see if it would work better. The image quality of the 300 prime with the TCs, especially stacked, seems significantly better to me than what I got with the zoom.

    Below is a shot taken with a D200 at 1420mm - AFS 300 f4 + Nikon 1.7x + Tamron 2x + Kenko 1.4x. It was about 5:45 pm, or long before sunset so the contrast is low, but with some processing turned out okay. I used ISO 400 because the effective aperature with all the TCs was pretty small.

    Specifically my objective with the shot below was to test the following:

    1) How well the mirror-up with remote works to reduce blur. I had been using a D50 (no MU) and recently got a D200.
    2) The stablility of tripod, ballhead and lens foot (the original) to see if I should invest in a replacement collar
    3) My ability to manual focus with the D200
    4) Image quality with stacked TCs

    The result is nothing to boast about but I was pretty satisfied with the outcome of the test.

    Original without processing (not cropped, this is basically what the image looked like in the viewfinder)

    [​IMG]

    After processing

    [​IMG]

    I know I need to learn how to process moon photos better, just sharing these for fun. Suggestions on how to improve the processing or camera settings and technique are welcome.
     
  2. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Odd. I can see them on both my home and work computers. Can anyone else see the two images?
     
  3. I can see them. Looks pretty good to me. Nice post processing as well.
     
  4. Super Job!!!! Love it!
     
  5. Very nice. Great job.
     
  6. Nice shot, and an amazing idea. The thought of stacking TCs never crossed my mind. This is why I spend so much time browsing posts. Thanks for posting this.
     
  7. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for the kind words Mark, Bobber, Phil and Mark!
     
  8. Shooter

    Shooter

    47
    May 7, 2007
    New York
    I see them just fine and they are very nice.
     
  9. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    You're most welcome. I like to see and learn from what others have tried too.

    I don't know how practical stacking TCs is; a lot of people wouldn't even degrade their lenses and photos by using so much as a 1.7x. As I develop an eye for photographs I'll bet I'll start noticing the softness, aberrations and other what-not that real photographers complain about with TCs, but sometimes the shots are not too bad and I enjoy using them. I hope you don't mind me sharing below an image I felt lucky to get.

    I was just fooling around in a park with 2 TCs when all of a sudden a Kingfisher landed about 30 feet away. I didn't have a tripod with me so just braced myself as best I could and started snapping away with D50 at ISO 1600 and effective focal length of 560mm. Haven't seen the little guy since.

    I realize the IQ on this is poor (you don't want to see a 100% crop, not a pretty sight!) but I felt lucky just to have noticed him. This was with the Tamron 2X and Kenko 1.4X stacked on a 80-200.

    [​IMG]

    Playing around with the stacked TCs led me to see that I like long focal lengths. I decided the AFS 300 f/4 was about as much as I want to invest at this time, and was curious to see how much better (if at all) TCs worked on primes. I'm pretty convinced they do work better, at least on the AFS 300.

    I really like that lens. Guess that's why I'm posting this in the Lens Lust forum. :smile:
     
  10. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Thanks Shooter!
     
  11. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    That is a beautiful kingfisher
     
  12. hgkharry, I like

    your shot here. I have been contemplating a Kenko 2X teleconverter for use wuth my 70-200 and was also thinking about stacking that along with my current 1.4. Do you have any plain 2x with the 80-200 I am interested in seeing image quality or hearing your opinions.

    Also, I could see that your second shot could still be sharpened. I made 4 passes of USM 40%, .3 pixels, 0 threshold to get this. What do you think?

    original.
     
  13. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Hello Gale,

    It was/is a beautiful bird, I wish I could have done it justice.

    From that experience and subsequent testing with the TCs I learned a lot about the value of using a tripod to improve focus consistency and accuracy and of course reduce blur, so hopefully in the future I'll be better prepared to capture such opportunities. Thank you!
     
  14. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Oregon
    Nice work actually. I just did a test of my 1.7 & 1.4 (Nikon/KenkoPro). But note that I failed to turn the camera and lens to M and after a few hundred shots got the Drained Battery message, which I fixed by turning them both to manual.

    In those case like the King Fisher, I think its a useful technique.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  15. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Hi Joe,

    I've been quite pleased with my Tamron SP AF 2X (I think that's similar or the same as the Kenko 2X Teleplus Pro 300). Not that I'm qualified to judge, but I honestly can't tell the quality difference between the Tamron 2X, Kenko 1.4X and Nikon 1.7X. I've looked at many tests others have done and there are so many variables (stability, lighting, post-processing, etc.) involved it's really hard to judge, so I just use and enjoy them all. :smile:

    The Nikon is heavier with a more solid feel to it, but the others seem to work the same. You probably know that the Tamrons and Kenkos also autofocus with AFS (and non-AFS) lenses and pass the correct focal length and aperture information to the camera (for AFS lenses) just as the Nikon does.

    Here are a couple of moon shots taken with the Tamron 2X and 80-200, non-AFS. Again, I don't know how to process them correctly and you would most likely get better results that this. I'm pretty sure these are both 100% crops. Additional disclaimer - these are taken from the middle of Hong Kong so light pollution (and other pollution) is included. I used a good tripod and ballhead but with a D50 so without Mirror-up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry about the cropping (awful) on the 2nd one. I did that to use it as my computer desktop with a black background so I wasn't too careful about cropping it squarely.

    I like and appreciate what you've done to the image. Another variable that comes in with TCs (at least this is what I find) is that they do take or need more sharpening than photos without the TC. I cranked what I thought was quite a bit of extra sharpening into these, meaning much more than on non-TC images, but based on your feedback I think I'll try using even more in the future, in additional passes.

    Hope this is useful, and thank you very much for your feedback and help.

    P.S. I reread your post about stacking with the 70-200. I have to say that I couldn't recommend stacking the TCs on the 80-200. I did for some testing and even used it with the 2X and 1.4X for 560mm at a track meet (just as a parent and friend not professionally) and got some usable shots, but I decided then that I needed something long of higher quality. A lot of searching and reading comments and reviews led me to the 300 f4 with the hope that it would get me to 500 or 600 mm better than the 80-200 with 2X + 1.4X. I'm very pleased with the 300 alone and with the teleconverters individually and will even use them stacked for shots like these moonies. I never got usable moon shots with the stacked TCs on the 80-200. I don't know if it was a problem with the camera (no mirror-up), the lens/converter combo, my technique or what. Maybe now with the D200 I should go back and try again, but the 300 is so much nicer for going long. The 70-200 may be a different story, I don't have one of those, yet. Oh, the manual focusing is much easier with the 300 as well. The 80-200 seemed very touchy at the longer focal lengths.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2007
  16. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Hi Jeff,

    I saw your post of the 300 + 1.7X + 1.4X image - very nice. The eye in the crop shows incredible detail, I'm sure you like the 300mm as I do.

    Would you mind sharing what kind of support you used? Stabilty is so key at these focal lengths. Are you going to get a replacement collar for the 300? So far the original Nikon one seems okay to me. One thing about using these TCs, it really helps you find the weak links in the system.

    I agree. Sometimes I read people saying they would never do this, or never do that with teleconverters. Sometimes you just need the reach. :smile:

    I really wasn't very happy with the overall results with the 2X and 1.4X stacked together on the 80-200. I never intended to use it for real photos, I was just amazed when trying it out one day that it actually autofocused, at an effective aperture of 8. I found out later that normally Nikons can do that; before I thought they couldn't go above 5.6. I realize things get a bit iffy at f8, but it gave me the confidence to go for the f4 300, thinking that I could likely still autofocus sometimes with a 2X, which I can. To me the AFS 300 f4 works very well with TCs, even all three together. Well, maybe not very well, but good enough for me to enjoy. Then I got the D200 and even manual focus works pretty well with the bigger viewfinder.

    I'm all set for more moon shots, just need a nice clear sky one night.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  17. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Oregon
    Kirk collar, Man. 3001 legs, 488CR0 head., long lens technique.
     
  18. hkgharry

    hkgharry

    77
    Apr 1, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Thanks Jeff. I'm using a Gitzo 1325 with Markins M10 ballhead (and poor technique).

    Coming from the D50, the mirror-up on the D200 really makes a difference. I could see problems with the D50 at 1/60 to 1 sec already with the 200mm + 2X converter on pretty basic shots around the house. The problems are worse with the 300 and teleconverters (no surprise there) but things seem much more stable when using mirror-up in this range. IIRC with the 3 TCs attached I went as low as 1/40 for some moon shots. I read in a post on dpreview that this is around the lowest speed that should be usable for moon shots, http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=23001968 *.

    While the 1/40 shots didn't come out well for me that time, it wasn't because of lack of stability. I'll need more testing before I can convince myself to get a replacement collar. :smile:

    * Romy and some of the other posters at dpreview.com take incredible moon shots. In addition to hardware and photographic technique, they must also be very good at the processing required to bring out the best in the images.

    So much to learn, so little time, but so much fun.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads Forum Date
My first few shots with the 200-500mm lens Lens Lust Nov 7, 2017
600mm f4 lens on Nikon V3 and the Moon Lens Lust Sep 3, 2014
600VR ~ TC14EII Moon Lens Lust Mar 4, 2010
First shot with 300 F/4 and TC14E-II (Moon) Lens Lust Feb 21, 2010
Wolf Moon Shot 1-30-10 Lens Lust Jan 31, 2010