Sunday, January 27, 2013

AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II with TC-14E and TC-20E III: D4 vs. V1

The weather suddenly warmed up when I visited Taipei Zoo for testing the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens.  The flamingo swam in the pond like a swan and dipped its head quickly into the water to cool itself down.  The movement was too quick to use single-spot and AF-C focusing.  I was quite confident with the even background, the bright color of the bird and especially the clear yellow eye would activated the facial recognition of the D4 focusing system.  I switched the focusing to Auto and AF-C.  It was such a joy to photograph, D4 nailed the focus 9 out of 10 times.  With TC-14E converter, the focal length is 420mm.  I used f/5.6, the camera auto-ISO set the speed automatic to 1/500 and ISO160.

Here is an enlarged view and we can see the water freeze in action.

The enlarged image looks good on the web, but in reality, at 300 dpi, the image is only 5.45 x 3.63 inch, 1.8 MP.

Here is an image shot with the same lens with TC-20E and V1, a 35 mm focal length equivalent of 1620mm.

The image size at 300dpi is 12.9 x 8.6 inch, 10.1 MP.  However, it was a pain to use the V1 with the lens, only one single focusing point in the center can be used at AF-S.  I have to set the ISO at 100 to get the best image quality, at f/8 the speed is 1/60.  Because of VR, it is not too slow to get sharp image from the lens but it is often too slow for the bird in action.  Furthermore, whenever a shot was taken, the viewfinder freeze to show a preview.  Opposite to D4, only one out of 10 shots is good.

Using more realistically, AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II and V1 make an incredible  810mm f/2.8 combination.  Hopefully with the new V2's better ergonomics, better ISO performance and 14.1 MP, the experience will be a much better one than V1.

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