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Old May 30, 2011, 11:35 PM   #1
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Default Does Pentax SR really work @ 600mm and very low shutter speeds?

I've seen a LOT of claims as to which/what system is best, but thought I'd do a real world test on some difficult subjects. You be the judge as to the effectiveness of Pentax SR on a super telephoto.

Equipment:
1st generation SR (Pentax K10D)
Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Head
Gitzo 3541XLS with 3 leg sections extended
Long lens technique


Images #1 & #2 were taken in heavily overcast skies; wind gusts to 35mph. Needless to say the subjects were moving a lot on the branches due to the wind speeds! Please review the EXIF in detail - note the shutter speeds.



EXIF SUMMARY:
Date Modified 2011-05-28 21:49:23
Date Taken 2011-05-25 19:05:08
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0333s (1/30)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 640
Focal Length 600mm (900mm in 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 2665 x 1781
FULL EXIF





EXIF SUMMARY:
Date Modified 2011-05-28 21:48:47
Date Taken 2011-05-25 19:04:43
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.02s (1/50)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 640
Focal Length 600mm (900mm in 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 2613 x 1748
FULL EXIF



Now in overcast skies, shaded lighting conditions; minimal wind...




EXIF SUMMARY:
Date Modified 2011-05-28 21:47:44
Date Taken 2011-05-28 16:41:26
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.01s (1/100)
Aperture f/7.1
ISO 250
Focal Length 600mm (900mm in 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 2451 x 1635
FULL EXIF

I know now that I'm comfortable shooting 1/100 sec. or higher shutter speeds in marginally decent lighting conditions and little wind. I'm impressed with how good the 1/30 and 1/50 sec. exposures turned out, but it's too much to ask any system with a constantly moving subject to be truly sharp. Normally I'd discard such images (#1 and #2), but thought it important enough to provide a comparison on Pentax SR and how well I think it works.

Regards,
Marc
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Old May 31, 2011, 3:40 AM   #2
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Great shots Marc,

getting that sharp at 1/100 - 600mm is not only SR but also you.

I only go below 1/focal length when I don't want the iso to go up any further and the lens isn't fast enough. Handheld going below 1/250sec with a 600mm isn't for me ... yet.

One extra thing I find funny, a lot of talk has been going over mirror slap resonance that causes unsharp photos around 1/100 sec what you don't have.

Cheers

Ronny


PS: Concerning the sr, a while ago I came across this
Study-of-the-Effectiveness-of-Shake-Reduction-in-the-Pentax- where they 'prove?' that the 4 stop advantage of SR really exists. - but that is up to 50mm.
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Old May 31, 2011, 8:06 AM   #3
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Looks like you put any question on that front to bed ! #3 is just lovely.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 8:52 AM   #4
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That's just outstanding!
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 3:15 PM   #5
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just a quick question/observation

why are you using shake reduction at all when using a tripod? the general consensus is that sr reduces image quality when used on a tripod not that it shows here
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 3:36 PM   #6
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That's a fair question, though I can answer that partly. I have no experience shooting longer than 300 mm, but have discovered that there's degrees of steadiness. I've used a sturdy tripod in windy conditions and almost had my tripod blown over - that's not exactly what I would call "steady". I've had better results leaving SR on during those times. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get a steady enough surface to turn off SR at those shutter speeds, at 600mm I would guess even a light wind could cause a certain amount of camera shake.

Marc - are you going to be going anywhere interesting this year? I sure wish I could have made your Utah trip last year.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 5:11 PM   #7
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another quick question - what lens are you using?
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 10:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John.Pattullo View Post
another quick question - what lens are you using?
If Marc doesn't get back quickly, I can guess that the most likely lens is his FA* 250-600 f5.6.

I've used SR with my FA* 300/2.8 with stacked 1.4xTC and 1.7x AFA for 715mm when mounted on a Wimberley Sidekick and a pretty steady but enexpensive Chinese CF tripod. Gimbals are not known as the steadiest support as they extend considerably above the mounting point to the tripod, and are usually not shot locked down, so there's going to be a little bearing play in even the best of them (at least that's the way I use mine). Their forte is allowing essentially effortless use of really heavy gear in situations where frequent repositioning is required, and in this, they excel.

To Marc -- Great work!!! . . . as always. . . I've got to get out and shoot some hummingbirds. . .

Scott
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 2:53 PM   #9
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Marc - as always from you, some amazing photos, photos which call us to go out and discover more of nature! Thanks for all you do to illustrate and protect!

John P - I have the "grandpa" of Marc's lens - the old K 135-600 f6.3. Have tried with and without SR, and see little difference. In my case, it is much more lack of good long lens technique than the effects of SR!
Usually will get the best results with 2 sec delay/mirror lockup, but that isn't usually an option for catching any action...
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 5:11 PM   #10
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now if only they would produce a DA* 250-600mm f5.6 and either just feel generous to give me one or at least price it below £2000/$3000 so i can dream and save
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