Started Mar 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
nunatak Senior Member • Posts: 2,739
heat shimmer is a constant nuisance, but it's not the issue i found with this lens.

the issue is much simpler.

i spent 8 hours in the desert with this lens on Friday. i compared performance and IQ to the 300mm f4 AF-S w/wo a TC14E. i compared it to the 70-300mm VR. just for giggles i also compared it to the 500mm f4 Ai-P. heat shimmer was evident in almost all of the photos i took.

from my testing, @400mm, the VR is not nearly as effective as it is at shorter focal lengths. on a D800E, the lens is simply too heavy to shoot hand-held @400mm and at speeds slower than 1/800 sec to expect sharp results. this may be improved 1~2 stops by employing a monopod. what's more, this is consistent with almost every long lens i've used. just because it has VR, doesn't mean it can suffer "poor technique". for my subject matter, i typically use anything between 400~500mm with a monopod or a bean bag support.  anything greater is best suited to a tripod. especially at relatively slow speeds and ISO's. long focal lengths require very sturdy support, and heavier lenses doubly so. VR is no substitution for weight jitter on longer focal lengths. i doubt anyone would be surprised to find VR on the 800mm is no handheld panacea either.

when the camera is properly set to auto ISO with a higher minimum shutter speed — the keeper rate jumped up significantly.

i caution that this is only a very preliminary analysis, but the specimen i tested shows very sharp imagery at the long end — providing proper technique is applied. it doesn't lose much with a TC14E, although contrast does drop a little. it gave me a higher keeper rate than my 300mm f4 AF-S w/TC. it also shows less CA than my 500mm f4 Ai-P. i was pleasantly surprised by some other things i encountered, but i need to do more testing to isolate the variables and confirm my results. the results looks so promising, i'm ready to pull the trigger.

oh ... and for those who are new to heat shimmer, welcome to the lovely world of super-telephoto. the long end has a dangerous set of atmospheric conditions to navigate, but with patience, creativity, and good technique — everything becomes possible.

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design guy

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