ARClark

ARClark

Lives in United States NC, United States
Works as a Retired Env. Planner turned Nature Photog
Has a website at Facebook
Joined on Nov 5, 2005
About me:

Have had a serious passion for photography all my life. Got my first SLR in high school and first Nikon F in college. Primary interest these days is nature photography, especially birds (stationary and on the wing), macros and landscapes.

ARClark's current gear

Nikon D850
Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Replaced D500 and D810 with two D850s. D850 vs D500 was a tough call. Liked the 10 fps, buffer and quieter shutter of the D500. However, had to do AF fine tune with every lens and lens/TC combo and images not as consistently sharp as with D850. Also with telephoto primes, the smaller DX frame could be limiting when subjects, such as birds/wildlife moved in closer. Chose the D850 for consistently sharper images, larger FX field of view, landscapes, better high ISO performance where frame can be filled and overall flexibility.
Replaced the older f4 non-VR version with this one for reduced weight and VR. Have not noticed and significant difference in IQ, but have appreciated the VR along with the size and weight difference. took off 1/2 star for somewhat weak VR.
Have had this lens for 10 years as my DX walkaround lens. Bought it to replace an 18-70 kit lens and 18-200 for a trip to Europe. I liked the 16mm wide end and found the IQ to be enough better than the 18-200 to pass on the 18-200 to a family member.
Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR
Not an exciting lens but performs as expected and works well with a TC to get extra working distance for shooting insects.
This lens has performed way beyond expectations. Having already owned a 500mm prime, I was concerned that I'd be disappointed with it's sharpness. But I've actually been very impressed. While not as fast for tracking BIF, it's been excellent as a handheld walkaround lens for shooting birds, wildlife flowers, etc. Very sharp and outstanding VR. Have also gotten excellent images using a TC14E-II (700mm focal length at f8 max. aper.) for stationary subjects in decent light.
A jack of all trades and master of none. Not great IQ but generally very adequate. Very useful focal range and much cheaper and more carryable than the Nikon 24-70G, which it replaced. The 24-70 was sharper in the center and f/2.8, but I didn't need to the 2.8 and could get the IQ I needed from the 24-120 by stopping down. Have considered the newer 24-70E VR for it's improved edge sharpness and VR, but like the earlier 24-70G, have concerns with size, weight and cost.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D ED-IF II
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR
Bought used in 2012. Great value. Produces consistent high quality images and a little lighter than the VR versions. Would like VR, but because of its weight, I usually use it on a tripod anyway.
An outstanding lens from the standpoints of weight, handling, build quality, VR, sharpness and IQ. It’s only weakness is it’s f5.6 max aperture and attendant impacts on AF speed and accuracy in lower light, as well as usefulness with TCs - all trade-offs for the light weight. Note that it can handle a TC14, but focus points are very limited, and AF is noticeably slower with more hunting in lower light with low contrast subjects.
Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II
Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II
Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD
If you don’t mind its weight or inability to accept traditional filters, this is an outstanding lens. Very sharp, useful focal range, low coma for astro shooting, and features VR. I have found VR useful for handheld shooting at slow shutter speeds in the 24-30 focal range. I chose this over the Nikon 14-24 for lower cost, VR, wider focal range and professional reviews which say it’s IQ is on par with the 14-24. However, the 14-24 does have the edge in offering a wider field of view.
Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX
While this is a DX lens, it works quite well as a 16mm prime on my FX camera.
Other gear:
  • Epson SC-P800
  • Film Cameras: Nikon F3, F1, Nikkormat El, Cambo 4x5 View
  • Gitzo GT3542XLS Tripod

ARClark's previous gear

Nikon D70
Nikon D200
Nikon D300
An excellent camera and one of my favorites, but replaced it with the D7100 for somewhat better high ISO performance and a major increase in pixel density for shooting small birds and wildlife at a distance.
Nikon D800
Nikon D7100
Nikon D810
An excellent camera but a little rough around the edges with its loud shutter, slow frame rate and almost unusable Liveview. But it did produce excellent images. Replaced with the more refined D810.
An excellent DX camera in good light, but very limited buffer for action shooting and not a good performer at high ISOs.
Really excellent camera and a great upgrade to the D800. Replaced it with D850 for the improved AF and frame rate but was otherwise very happy with it.
Nikon D500
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF
Excellent action camera and a very good all around performer. High ISO performed much better than expected and files could handle substantial alteration in PP. However, it required AF fine-tuning with every lens and lens/TC combo. And while it was capable of producing sharp images, it wasn't as consistent as I'd like.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Excellent center sharpness and good for forms of photography that take advantage of it such as portraiture. However, edge sharpness is lacking rendering it less than ideal for landscape photography. Size, weight, limited focal range and lack of VR limit it's usability in the field for nature photography. Replaced it with Nikon 24-120 f/4.
Nikon PC-E Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR
Really excellent lens. Had gotten very useable images at f/33. I sold it as I was using it more as a closeup/macro lens than a PC. While it excelled at this, it was awkward to use with manual exposure and focus and did not allow for 1:1 magnification. I replaced it with Nikon 105 VR for autofocus, a little more length, VR and up to 1:1 macro magnification.