Let's Get Nuts! 200-600mm + 1.4X TC + A6600: Birds & BIFs

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 32,136
Let's Get Nuts! 200-600mm + 1.4X TC + A6600: Birds & BIFs

OK, as promised I would get to some tests with the big FE200-600mm lens using the FE 1.4x TC on the A6600 - I'm skipping ahead a bit in the date order to share these first, then will skip back a week or two to catch back up on other shots this month.  I know quite a few folks were waiting to see how the 200-600mm lens would work with the 1.4x TC, especially considering autofocus needs to perform at F9 maximum aperture at full zoom.  Good news: AF performance seems unimpacted.  At all!  AF is instant, accurate, and locks easily and immediately on subjects, even in lower light conditions, and tracking still works on BIFs.  Moreover, IQ is very good even at ridiculous distances.

Of course, over two days of local birding playing with the TC attached, I was limited to what I could find - and given that some wildlife in Florida can be quite close, there were times that I was zoomed out to the 200mm end (240mm with the TC) and had to resort to eyeball closeups of a bird standing 12 feet away...but fortunately I had other opportunities to shoot some more distant birds and push beyond the normal 600mm range of the lens without TC.  I played around with shutter speeds - but found that surprisingly I was very comfortable at 1/500 shutter handheld, even at the maximum 1,260mm equivalent reach...the stabilization of the lens and body together seemed to work very nicely significantly below the typical '1-over-focal' rule.

The following shots were taken on two separate days, at two different locations...some were taken at Arthur Marshall Wildlife Refuge in western Delray Beach, and the others at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, my local shooting grounds.  All are posted at 1400 pixels on the long side if you click the originals, though I will also provide at least a few 100% crops from the originals for the pixel-peeping needs:

Starting long - at 669mm (1,003mm equivalent), this red-shouldered hawk was sitting about 40 feet from me up in a tree...I couldn't zoom in any tighter.  I hadn't even noticed that he was tagged until I looked at the photos at home!

A colorful BIF came by overhead - too close to go into the extended focal ranges, so I shot at 473mm (709mm equivalent) as this roseate spoonbill flew past with strong backlight

Spoonbill headed almost directly over my head!

I was looking for any excuse to use all the reach of the kit, so when I saw this distant mockingbird around 200 feet away, I decided to shoot him at 840mm (1,260mm equivalent).  Also note this is handheld at 1/500 shutter - so that double stabilization is doing good work!

I intentionally wanted to test the combo in lower light conditions, so I wandered through a dark cypress swamp looking for anything to shoot.  This red-bellied woodpecker was shot at 654mm (981mm equivalent), at 1/500 and ISO 2,500

This isn't so much a test for IQ as a test for AF - I noticed this pileated woodpecker on a distant cypress pine about 100 feet away, and threaded the focus through - he was on the dark side of the tree which made it more challenging, but the AF still locked on at 840mm (1,260mm equivalent), ISO 1,000, 1/500 shutter

A male common yellowthroat, showing off his lovely mask, down in the reeds and shadows where they usually like to hang out.  Shot at 570mm (855mm equivalent) at ISO 2,000

One of those 'too close' examples - this american bittern was about 12 feet away, so even at 540mm (810mm equivalent) his head was filling the frame!

A cute fuzzy little pied-billed grebe making ripples in the reflection - shot at 602mm (903mm equivalent)

Shooting a bit into the sun to catch a little wing glow on this wood stork coming in to land - 482mm (723mm equivalent)

A purple gallinule wandering through chest-deep water at 515mm (772mm equivalent)

Time to go long again - this tricolor heron was Google Earth measured at 192 feet away, shot at 840mm (1,260mm equivalent)

And here's another one at the full 840mm (1,260mm equivalent) - of a great blue heron standing out on his nesting tree

This vulture was circling, and there weren't that many opportunities to test BIFs beyond the 600mm end of the lens - so I went as deep as I could without cutting him out of the frame at 633mm (949mm equivalent)

A cattle egret cruising by in a nice, blue sky - shot at 496mm (744mm equivalent)

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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