Robins and Nikon V1 + FT1 + (Handheld) 70-300mm G AF-S Lens

Started Mar 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
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cyuill2007
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Robins and Nikon V1 + FT1 + (Handheld) 70-300mm G AF-S Lens
Mar 24, 2013

I have been seeing a large number of American Robins, Black Capped Chickadees, and other songbirds in my neighborhood. I took the opportunity over the last few days to take some pictures of these birds using my V1 fitted with my FT1 adapter and 70-300mm G AF-S lens. I wanted to see how well the AF and VR features would work when the camera and lens were handheld and the lens was zoomed out to 300mm (with equivalent field of view of 810mm, relative to a full-frame camera).

A few observations:

  • Having to rely on only the central area for AF is a bit inconvenient. It would be nice if one could select off-center AF areas.
  • AF speed with this lens at 300mm was OK, but not as fast as I'd get with a D7000.
  • Sometimes the camera could not focus on the subject, so a bit of manual intervention was needed.
  • I found that the image had a tendency to bounce around (sometimes a lot) as the photo was being taken, which was especially noticeable when firing a sequence of frames. The composition of the captured image was often not what I had intended. I believe this was caused by the VR feature of the lens, and is a small price to pay to get sharper handheld photos.
  • Sharpness at 300mm and f/5.6 is OK, but not stellar, with this CX-sensor V1. The lens captures details pretty well, but the edge sharpness isn't quite there. I did find that using moderate amounts of regular and edge sharpening in PP helped improve the sharpness a fair amount, albeit at a potential cost of looking a bit too processed.
  • Chromatic aberration seems to be well controlled on this lens. I was getting much less colour fringing with this lens than my old Tamron 300mm f/2.8 lens. (The Tamron, however, is sharper.)

All of the following images were taken with the camera's exposure mode set to A, and with the lens wide open to f/5.6. This is perhaps not the best aperture for 300mm, but I wanted to maximize shutter speed. I have found that when photographing birds one is as likely to lose sharpness due to subject movement as anything else. All of these photos are of American Robins, birds that move around a lot. I tried to focus on the birds' heads, using AF lock when necessary. The only post processing done on these images was resizing the entire images, and cropping for the 100%-magnification portions of the entire images. No sharpening or definition enhancement was done.

The first two images were taken two days ago, with ISO set to AUTO 100-400, and with the SB-5N flash mounted on the camera but not turned on. The ISO fluctuated between 100 and 400. I noticed that the maximum shutter speed was 1/250 sec, which is the maximum flash sync speed with the mechanical shutter. Was this due to the flash unit being mounted on the camera? Further experimentation is needed.

This first image was taken at ISO 200, 1/250 sec, f/5.6.

The entire image.

A 100%-magnification portion of the above image.

The next image was taken at ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/5.6.

The entire image.

A 100%-magnification portion of the above image.

The next two images were taken yesterday. I had taken off the SB-5N flash unit, and set the ISO to 400.

The following image was taken at ISO 400, 1/800 sec, f/5.6.

The entire image.

A 100%-magnification portion of the above image.

This final image was also taken at ISO 400, 1/800 sec, f/5.6.

The entire image.

A 100%-magnification of the above image.

I hope you find the above information and results useful. In future I will try to see what I can get out of this lens when mounted on a tripod as well as stopped down a bit. I also have an old 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF Nikkor that I would like to try out with the V1.

 cyuill2007's gear list:cyuill2007's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 +4 more
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D7000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 (Lumix DMC-FT1)
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