Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nikon V1, 70-200mm VRII, 1.4x vs. D4, 80-400mm VR

This image was taken with Nikon V1 with FT1 adapter, 70-200mm VRII lens and TC-14E II teleconverter.  With the FT1 adapter only the central focusing point of the camera is working and only at AF-S.  Thus the eye of the macaque is at the center of the image.  The image was shot at 729mm (focal length equivalent of 35mm), f/5.6, 1/80, ISO100.  The camera and lens was supported by a Gitzo tripod with RRS ball head.

Here is the detail of the image, V1 at ISO100 gives incredible image.

The same macaque photographed with D4 and 80-400mm VR lens.  The image was shot at 400mm, f.8, 1/200, ISO800.  I did not use a tripod.

Here is the detail of the image.  The V1 setup gave longer reach, but the D4 set up is so much easier to use.

When the V1 setup worked, it worked beautifully.

For this shot, I have to point the focusing point of the V1 in between the eyes then move the camera for better composition.  It was not easy, even placing the focusing point on the nose was not good enough. The image is so sharp, I am almost sure that I can see my own reflection in the eye.  But the shot was taken at 648mm focal length, I would be only a speckle.

The V1 setup only workable for me if the subject is stationary, but few wildlife stay immobile for us.  When shot at ISO100, often the speed is too slow even if I do my part and the electronic shutter generate hardly any shaking of the V1 camera.  Any slight movement of the subject blurs the image.

One may ask how about D4 with 70-200mm VRII and the TC-14E II?  The image is soft at wide open f4.  It ought to be use at least f5.6, not much better than the 80-400mm VR.  70-200mm is already a very long lens with the TC-14E II makes it even longer and ergonomically difficult to hold as compare to D4 with 80-400mm.  200mm after the 1.4x is really only 280mm, hardly worth the trouble.  I always shot 80-400mm on FX camera hand-held at speed as low as 1/100.  For speed lower than that, I have to use tripod, turn VR off and use mirror-up with remote shutter release.  With even higher ISO performance than my D700, D4 and 80-400mm is really a very good combination for me.  May be I can have a 400mm f2.8 with D4, but it will be so big and heavy, people will surround me to look at my camera rather than looking at the tiger.

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