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Old Jul 31, 2008, 11:13 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I spotted this guy across a small lake, about 160 or 170 ft away (roughly 50-55 m). The sun was directly facing me, and it was in the shadows of the trees and brush on the far shore. I had the K20 with just the Sigma Ex 300/2.8 APO, so I added the Tamron F 1.4x and the P F 1.7x AFA (714mm at f6.7), and set up the tripod.

Since it was in such dark shadow, I kept taking test shots and chimping, but I couldn't get anything close to sharp -- then I remembered that I had SR on :P, so I turned it off, boosted the ISO to 1600 , and since I was seeing some overexposure, I set the Ev comp to -1.3, figuring that this might also help me get a little faster shutter speed. Even at that, I was only getting 1/60 - 1/80 with the lens wide open. . . The Heron was cooperative, and posed nicely, as you'll see, but I thought that it would be wasted effort since the lighting was so horrible and the distance so far.

These aren't optimal shots by any means, but the noise at ISO 1600 wasn't nearly as destructive of details as it would have been with either of my other Pentax bodies (DS & K10) -- I know, I've tried similar shots with both many times.

The exif shows f4.5 on these, but the AFA calculates a rounded converted Av for the 1.7x, so it shows up at f4.5 when the lens is set to f2.8 -- the Tamron doesn't convert the Av at all. All were cropped to about 3000 pixels on the long side (from the 4672 original), resized, sharpened a touch, boosted contrast, then a very light edge-preserving smooth to tame the noise -- no dedicated noise reduction software used.



On this one I also cloned out part of a branch and a log which were intersecting with the heron's head and neck.


and this one I really liked . . . if only the light was better and I could've been closer. . .


Anyway, I was pleased with the performance of the Sigma and the Tamron TC, as I think they did a bit better than the Tamron SP 300/2.8 with stacked converters at a similar distance.

And I really confirmed for myself that with the K20 (much moreso than the K10), it's REALLY important to turn SR off when shooting from a tripod.

Scott
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 11:29 PM   #2
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Very impressive, Scott,considering all the variables.

Patty
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 12:20 AM   #3
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nhmom wrote:
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Very impressive, Scott,*considering all the variables.
Hi Patty,

Thanks!

Scott
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 2:00 AM   #4
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Great poses, Scott. Glad he stuck around so you could figure out the best exposure. It was worth the wait!

Glenn
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 6:41 AM   #5
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Hi Scott

Great captures, but really needs some noise ninja or similar. Had a play with levels and couple of NN passes. Probably overdid the contrast on this version but the point is some NN or similar ought to be used in these situations I think.

cheers

bb2
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 3:10 PM   #6
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Scott,

Those are not too bad considering the stacked converters and the high ISO, but have you considered using only one converter and cropping the image? I found on my K10D I actually got better images doing that instead of stacking two converters.

Tom
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 8:33 PM   #7
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Hi bb2 and Tom,

bb2- I'll respectfully disagree here, but it's really a matter of personal taste so there is no real right or wrong. I have and use noise reduction software, and while I previously used it more often than not, I now find it more of a tool of last resort, and usually only if there's a lot of disturbing chroma noise.

In these shots, I felt that the downsizing for posting and the edge-preserving smooth did most of what I needed, while allowing some retention of the perception of texture. Keep in mind that most of my PP is generally directed towards printing, and some fine-grained noise really doesn't make much of a difference for that.

Thanks for taking a look, and feeling that one of the images was worth some extra effort.

Tom -- Being able to shoot at 300/2.8 with AF, 420/4 with an AF 1.4xTC, and even possibly 600/5.6 with an AF 2xTC (which I don't own at this time) was pretty much the idea in getting this lens in addition to the MF Tamron. I actually didn't think any of these would come out good enough to post, but the poses in #s 2 and 3 made them interesting enough, at least in my mind. . .

I used the stacked TCs more out of habit than a conscious act. At this distance, usually neither adding more FL or cropping truly work for really good quality image, but experience has shown me that longer usually works better than cropping for me, so that's pretty much my mindset, despite the conventionaly wisdom that says that stacking TCs is not the best practice. With the benefit of hindsight, I probably would have gained more from speed as opposed to reach, and your single TC with cropping would have been a smarter alternative, especially considering the amount of light I was dealing with.

Happily, I don't have to count on this to put food on the table, so getting a passable shot in extreme circumstances is normally good enough for me.:-)

Scott
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 8:36 PM   #8
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Don't get me wrong, those are great shots, it was just a thought.

Tom
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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Great shots! Love the pose in #2....cheers...Don
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 12:54 AM   #10
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Amazing that you can get good shots out of that situation. It always amazes me that you can get such quality from TCs and super long focal lengths.
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