Need a bit more range - 1.4x TC or Minolta 500 Reflex?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Photorer Senior Member • Posts: 1,429
Re: Need a bit more range - 1.4x TC or Minolta 500 Reflex?

Its been a while since I was on teh forum, so its good to know that the advice is still well thought through: 
1. I have all those combinations with teh A77 and A77ii

2. The 70-300G is a superb lens - it is my sharpest long lens, light and easy to take to small events where you might want to take some candid shots. It is good, but not great when it comes to wildlife, (its just too short) and birds are not really its strong point, unless you have real good craft and wait for the birds to approach you! Putting a 1.4x TC drops the AF for all situations apart from brightest light conditions. SSM Focus is fast, silent and accurate.

3. The Minolta 500 F8 Reflex - its super-sharp, and is very useful for birds in good light (the f8 does limit things a little, but not as much as you'd expect). The focus is quite fast, but since it uses the screw drive, a little noisy. Sometimes it needs a bit of a manual tweak to get the focus spot on. The contrast of the lens is not great, but that can be fixed in post, especially if you shoot raw. I've not had any success with putting a TC on this lens........ it drops the fstop too far.

4. The 70-400G and G2 - I am lucky to have both of these. The lens is my favourite for wildlife and birds - its flexible, and produces fantastic colour, sharpness and good images. The drawback is that it is very conspicuous - the silver or white colour brings a huge amount of attention...... and its HEAVY if you need to carry it around. Dropping off the tripod collar is an option to save weight, but then the lens doesn't balance well.

5. 70-200 F2.8 - This is often overlooked, but it produces some of the sharpest images I have taken for wildlife, and the F2.8 makes it ideal for dusk / dawn shooting. You get success with this lens when the others are just dead weight! With the 1.4 x or 2xTC the range does improve, but it may be my copy of the TC's but I would not even bother. Rather crop the 200mm images because they will be sharper than using the TC's . With the Tripod collar off, it becomes a really light and easy to use lens for stunningly sharp images. The SSM focus is super quick and silent.

6. I used to have the Minolta 100-400 APO - now if you can find one of those second hand grab it! Its black, so doesn't stand out. Its cheap because its an old model. Its light, and easily hand held. Its images are almost as sharp as the 70-400G - some fringing, and a bit of CA but other than that, really good bang for the buck! My copy suffered a knock when entering / exiting a safari vehicle that dented the focus, and loosened a screw inside - not repairable - so I ended up with a used 70-400G2 from insurance.

It depends on your application and intent - the cheapest lens is the one you have! The best is the one you have on the camera when the instant arises! Keep shooting....... its great fun!

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Still not enough time to take pictures....... Is there ever?

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