Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another lesson learned, a day at the harbour.

 Another day, another lens borrowed. This time a kindly loan from Gary Woodburn of his Canon 300mm f4 with 1.4x extender, saw me and John down at Seahouses Harbour giving it the once over.

The light today was pretty useless when we were out, being overcast and quite windy, so the results aren't directly comparable to yesterdays photos, but here are a selection...

Eiders running up the ramp, thinking we had chips.
Is there a finer duck than this? I think not...
Calling and bubbling to females.

Various gulls got the paparazzi treatment.


Never has a Skemmie been so photographed! Lets call it a Rock Dove...
A Collared Dove, on a dull day on the north side of some pines with ISO1600.
John took this one of a Rock Pipit admiring its own reflection.

Very good results I think. Take into consideration that it is a new lens to me, the light was poor and these results are after an hour in the field.

So how do I decide what is best for me? Lets go through the pros and cons of each lens, not that there are many cons for either of them. Both are tremendous, and after being used to compact and bridge cameras, I would be very happy to use either of them to the exclusion of all else!

The 400...

Compact and lighter than the 300 set up.
A single optic, with very bright images and fast focusing.
Cheaper, slightly, as it doesn't need an extender.
Only one item to buy so its easier to get hold of.

My friend Roger has one. He says that he often leaves it at home during the winter as the lack of image stabilising needs better light than a Northumberland winter can provide.
3.5 mtr min focus distance, is ok for birds and mammals but not so good for butterflies etc.

The 300...

IS. A boon in dull Northumberland winter light, means faster shutter speeds can be obtained.
Focus down to 1.5 mtrs tested today would enable insect photography.
Extender ups the 'mag' to 430mm.

Quite long and heavy with IS and an extender.
Two pieces to buy makes it more expensive.

These 'cons' above are nit picking really, but its difficult to choose which one to fork out cash on.
I want a lens to carry in the field when birding, but it has to be used all year round. Despite what people think, I didnt notice any appreciable reduction in quality when using an extender. Certainly not enough to detract from blog photos which is my main use after all.

I think I'll go for, now hang on a minute.....

oh shite.

[Many thanks to Gary, Alan, Richard, Roger, John, Ian, Tom and everyone on t'internet for their help and advice.]


Stringer said...

Have you considered tossing a coin ?

Either way I get the feeling a bank account battering is imminent !

Good luck.

Warren Baker said...

Get a set of extension tubes for the 300mm lens Stewart, this will bring the close focus right down, enabling close up of insects. Takes some practice to use them, but it comes quickly enough :-)

PS they are relatively cheap :-)

Stewart said...

Gary - Seems the only option. Now I'm keeping one eye on the used items for sale..

Warren - Oh no not more cash!

JWR said...

A very interesting morning this morning, no doubt.
Explain the IS in low light thinking?, is it that the IS allows slower shutter speeds which would enable low light work?..

Stewart said...

John - In lower light using the same shutter speeds on both 300 and 400 the 300 IS pulls you out of the mire...I think? Whereas no IS on 400 results in blurred image.