Your experiences with a long, fixed focal length, say 600mm?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
petrochemist Senior Member • Posts: 2,678
Re: Your experiences with a long, fixed focal length, say 600mm?

Andersonm wrote:

I've gotten pretty experienced with photos in normal ranges, up to about 200mm equivalent.

However, I've been looking at the Olympus 300mm micro four thirds lens. It seems quite sharp, and I love the concept of long range nature photography.

I'm just trying to get my mind around - how could possibly a fixed 600mm be suitable for pretty much anything - wouldn't 95% of subjects be either too close (large) or too far away? If you're a little bit inexperienced, wouldn't almost every interesting opportunity turn out to be the wrong length?

Not a joke at all, I would ask in the M43 forum but people might think I was trolling

I suppose another way of framing the question: let's imagine a bird, about 15cm tall - with a 600mm lens, what would be the closest and furthest away this could be for a sharp and interesting portrayal? How big is the range you have to work with?

I see you only need 600mm equivalent.

My 150-500mm zoom,  400mm & 500mm primes fit that as I use them on APSC, as does my 300mm mirror lens & 100-300mm zoom used on MFT.

However I also use a 600mm mirror lens, 560mm newtonian scope, 1000mm newtonian scope, & a 1000-4000mm zoom scope. All have been used on more than one format out of MFT, APSC & FF.

My everyday camera bag doesn't quite go to such lengths I max out at 500mm on FF as I need to carry it along with a host of other bits...

Zooms have the extra flexibility of changing the framing, but that frequently isn't an issue. Even using a 1000mm+ equivalent  I often end up cropping further & often wish I had a longer FL with me.

The 1000-4000mm scope is only f16 zoomed out, I find it pointless zooming in with it as diffraction spoils any advantage of the bigger image.

My 150-500 & 100-300 zooms are the only lenses of this FOV that have stabilisation on my DSLR that helps considerably but IBIS is just as good when mirrorless shooting. These two lenses and one of my 400mm primes  are the only ones that have AF a huge advantage.

For airshows I find the zooms a big advantage, as I often want to capture a formation of planes, then one on it's own. The 150-500 doesn't have enough range to cover all such shots so I usually now bring a second camera with something more like a kit zoom.

With other subjects the fixed focal length has rarely been an issue at all. Just like using primes of shorter focal lengths.

Ultra long focal lengths are always challenging to use, it's all too easy to get camera shake, lose the subject, miss focus slightly. I have managed to get reasonable handheld results from a 900mm equivalent (600mm lens via focal reducer on MFT) and even the 1000mm newtonian on APCS but some degree of support is a BIG advantage, even finding the subject using the above 600mm MFT combo without the reducer (1200mm equiv.) proved a non starter till I fitted a monopod. More normally a good sturdy tripod is by far the better option.

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