Thursday, April 29, 2010

Outings and Camera Gear News

This last week I've gone out shooting a number of times and come home with fewer results than I would like. I've been seeing a lot of focus errors lately, where the auto focus just hunts around unable to find anything to focus on. In bright light the auto focus seems to be fine, but as soon as I get into mixed light or shadowy areas then I start to have problems. I'm starting to wonder if there is a problem with the auto focus in the camera, or if the teleconverter on my 300mm F4 AF-S is the issue. I'm thinking that the TC is the problem, because it does have an effect on auto focus performance. If only there was an easier way to take the TC on and off to mitigate this problem.

Greater Yellowlegs
300mm AF-S with 1.4x TC, ISO200, 1/250s @F8

So why mention the focus errors at all, they are part of the reason that I have not come home with as many photos on my memory card. I have missed a number of good shots as a results of these focus problems. In some cases I did get a photo, but they are softer than I would like so it is unlikely that they will ever be seen by anyone other than myself. I still have enjoyed the outings, but not getting some of the photos I would like to have does put a damper on the day. Yesterday I got some photos of an American Bittern, I haven't seen one in about a year, and I was disappointed to find that due to the fact that the Bittern was in mixed light the focus was slightly off. I got some better photos last year so I'm not overly concerned though.

This just highlights why I would love to have a lens like the Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR, which incidentally was updated by Nikon this week (Now it is the Nikon 200-400mm F4 VRII). With the lens being updated it gets even farther from my reach though, going from a $6100 Cdn lens to a $7000 Cdn lens. If I were to make money from my photography, I would go for that lens as soon as possible, because it would give me a lot more flexibility, not to mention that it is F4, even at 400mm, which would be great. In reality, I may never get the telephoto zoom I want due to price, but, if Nikon ever updates or replaces the 80-400mm F4.5-5.6D VR with an AF-S model, then I might be happy with that.

Just a quick update as well, I am working on the third part of the lens purchasing guide and so that should be up some time in the next week or so.