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Old Feb 14, 2011, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default Tele-converter or mirror lens?

I dropped my Sigma 50-500mm on the pavement (long story and makes me sick ) and I'm right at the start of my Nesting Bald Eagle story. Problem is, some pressing bills force me to wait on getting a good lens, so I need a quick fix until then. I have $400 to spend and I can choose between a Nikkor 500mm f/8 or Sigma 600mm f/8 mirror lens, or a real good 2x teleconverter for my Nikkor 70-300mm. The cost of each is about the same and I was wondering if anyone has experience with both, or either, and any advice on which would be better.

I'm leaning to have my D300 w/Nikkor 70-300 for flight shots and use the D5000 w/600mm mirror on tri-pod for the nest shots.

This is a quick fix until I get more funds, (2-3 months) but the nesting bald eagles is NOW and won't wait.
See last years story here:
Nesting Bald Eagles 2010.
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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Wow! Thanks for all the help folks!!! ZERO responses!
I've already have 12 responses on another photography forum.
I guess I know where to hang out now...
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 12:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack55 View Post
Wow! Thanks for all the help folks!!! ZERO responses!
I've already have 12 responses on another photography forum.
I guess I know where to hang out now...
Not a great way to solicit help I just saw the post, and considered not answering, but I will assume this was meant tongue in cheek.

Nikon says teleconverters are not compatible with this lens. That doesn't mean it won't work, but really even if it does, your results won't be great. First, you'll be using the lens at it's weakest focal length (towards 300mm...otherwise, no need for a teleconverter) and the teleconverter will magnify and worsen any problems with the lens. Second, you'll be beyond the limits of autofocus..you'll be at f11 wide open at 300mm, meaning you'll need really bright light, slower shutter speeds, and be dealing with diffraction limits softening the image. You're better off, cropping down to your desired field of view than shooting with a TC
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 2:28 PM   #4
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G'day all

Sorry mate - but to have that response after only 45 minutes is -by my standards of politeness- a bit rude ... many of us are busy people and only log in daily

I do have experience with TCs & mirror lenses of this size, but I fear that my comments would not assist you when you have this attitude

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Old Feb 15, 2011, 3:29 PM   #5
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G'day all

Sorry mate - but to have that response after only 45 minutes is -by my standards of politeness- a bit rude ...
In fairness, it was 12 hours and 45 minutes, not 45 minutes.
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Old Feb 21, 2011, 11:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjseeney View Post
Not a great way to solicit help I just saw the post, and considered not answering, but I will assume this was meant tongue in cheek.

Nikon says teleconverters are not compatible with this lens. That doesn't mean it won't work, but really even if it does, your results won't be great. First, you'll be using the lens at it's weakest focal length (towards 300mm...otherwise, no need for a teleconverter) and the teleconverter will magnify and worsen any problems with the lens. Second, you'll be beyond the limits of autofocus..you'll be at f11 wide open at 300mm, meaning you'll need really bright light, slower shutter speeds, and be dealing with diffraction limits softening the image. You're better off, cropping down to your desired field of view than shooting with a TC
All I said in the first post was that I had 12 responses to none here in the same time frame as another forum I was on. I got responses here "after" my comment about it. Anyways, thanks for your info.

Now if this will help anyone else...
I went ahead and got a Vivitar 500mm Mirror lens and a Kenko 1.4x Teleplus Pro 300 DGX to test and see which ones I liked and see for myself. I would send the one back that did the worse. Well, after some test photo's, it was a no brainer. The Mirror lens absolutely SUCKED. The TC did far better than I expected.

I practiced with the Mirror lens for an hour in the back yard and never quite could get a clear photo. I used a tripod and several settings and live view to focus properly. Then I went out to the nesting eagles to try it there as that is what I want it for. I set up again with the tripod and live view and different settings and actually did worse than I did in the back yard. First, it was a windy day, so that didn't help the mirror lens any, even on my Manfrotto Carbon Fiber TriPod. Notice the wind-blown Eagles head. On my 10th test, the eagle flew in and this is what I got. Quite crummy. No amount of PS can help this one, so I didn't try.


Then I grabbed the Nikon D300 with the Nikkor 70-300mm VR with the TC on it, (now 100-420mm) and shot a few with NO tripod, hand held!


I moved to a different spot, a narrow opening on the nest to get this shot with the TC.
Now I was real happy with this shot. Not only did I NOT use a tri-pod, I cropped into the picture 100% and used a tad of CS5.
Notice the wind blown eagles head. Not bad for hand-holding!


Now I must say I had more "throw away" shots with the TC than I did with the straight 70-300 and it's maybe a tad more sharper, but I'm real pleased with this. 100-420mm is a great range. I shoot a lot of birds and there is no way you have time to focus on flight shots or birds that move alot like hummers with the mirror lens. The TC did great on shots like that too, such as this hummer. I could never get the mirror to focus on a hummer in time to find out.


UPDATE:
For some reason Nikon converters don't work on my Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens.
But the one I got does and has great reviews and after using it, I'm convinced. This combo does better than the Sigma / Bigma 50-500mm I had. Now I am sure it can't match the Nikkor $3-5K lenses but I can't afford one of those.

Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DG 1.4x AF Teleconverter
Got mine at B&H and they had great reviews on it from buyers:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...RO_300_DG.html

This was one of the many reviews that convinced me to try it: (after trying it myself, I'm convinced)

This is the only teleconverter available for the Nikon D700 that permits the focus and VR to work. The Nikon versions do not. Fortunately this lack of choice did not result in any lack of satisfaction on my part. Bought the Kenko teleconverter for my 80-400 mm VR Nikon lens to improve my chances of getting decent shots at Bosque del Apache. The results have been outstanding. I can finally fill up my viewfinder with clear, sharp images.
Also, I had not anticipated that I would get such great benefit using the 1.4 teleconverter with my 24-120 mm and 14-24 mm lenses. The teleconverter has not been off my camera since I purchased it. Except for occasional close up work it is starting to look like a good device for keeping dust out of my camera body.
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Last edited by jack55; Mar 2, 2011 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Added picture and more info
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Old Mar 2, 2011, 11:35 PM   #7
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I updated the previous post.
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Old Mar 5, 2011, 9:15 AM   #8
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Hi jack55, can you tell me what's the lowest f-stop you get when using the Kenko TC 1.4x on your 70-300mm VR lens?
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Old Mar 5, 2011, 10:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by LGWGM View Post
Hi jack55, can you tell me what's the lowest f-stop you get when using the Kenko TC 1.4x on your 70-300mm VR lens?
I think it was 5.6 or 6.3 I'll have to check when I use it next.
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Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 1:56 AM   #10
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Hi jack55,

How you find your TC on 70-300mm VR? Mine just came today and I immediately noticed the AF got worse (very slow to AF)? I Also did a quick comparison shots between 70-300mm VR with and without TC and got better results without the TC.

* I zoomed in the photo without TC to match the size of the photo with TC (hope I make sense here)

Anybody else care to comment while I'm still at the return period?

Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by LGWGM; Mar 21, 2011 at 2:04 AM.
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