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Reflections on shooting dark birds if flight: 150-600mm zooms vs FF length and FF vs APSc.
#1
<p style="font-size:14px;">Hi guys,

<p style="font-size:14px;">              After a few years of very amateur shooting BIF from the Bigma 50-500mm F4/6.3 (MkI) then to the Tamron 150-600mm A011 then the excellent A022/G2 version and the AF-S 500mm ED F4D, I just wanted to pass some comments.

<p style="font-size:14px;"> 

<p style="font-size:14px;">  The G2 and the D500 seem like the perfect combination and it almost is.....at least for "most"  BIF shooting .......the caveats are you need good light, preferably sunny conditions, typical settings are M mode 1/1600 @ F8 at around 250-500 ISO, given that, in most situations there are few problems and one can expect very decent images.

<p style="font-size:14px;"> 

<p style="font-size:14px;">  The problem comes when shooting dark birds such as vultures and dark brown Ibis for example, for the most part you are shooting from a lower viewpoint than the bird and it's underside is in shadow.       Dark brown in shadow reflects very little light on to the sensor, looking at PS's histogram figures from 0-255, on the underside of a vulture, I'm getting numbers like 10-30, hopelessly noisy.

<p style="font-size:14px;">      .....a light gathering light war ensues, juggling ISOs / shutter speeds and aperture, in the end you lose the war!

<p style="font-size:14px;"> FF sensors:

<p style="font-size:14px;">   The D750 goes some way to solving the problem in the same conditions, producing much less noisy images which in turn gives sharper images, (using the whole G2's field of coverage), in fact it seems that in theses testing situations the FF sensor does way better than the "claimed noise differences" of around a stop, in these situations I think it's closer to 2 stops of improvement........but you have lost the reach advantage, but, the battle is not lost.

<p style="font-size:14px;"> 

<p style="font-size:14px;">   The other option is to climb these cliffs with 7 Kgs of backpack (4.2 Kgs of AF-S 500mm+ D500+ water+ bits and bobs....heavy when you are climbing a slope of 35-45%)

<p style="font-size:14px;"> 

<p style="font-size:14px;">       .......... but you can shoot the D500 at F4 (750mm equivalent) giving you 2 extra stops of light.

<p style="font-size:14px;">   The same lens on the D750 gives a three stop advantage, but with only 500mm of reach.

<p style="font-size:14px;"> 

<p style="font-size:14px;">  So for dark BIF shooting unfortunately the G2 and D500 just can't cut it and it's no surprise that pro shooters still want their very low noise D4s/ D5s and their heavy and expensive pro lenses.......until sensors can improve by 2 stops the old rules of the game remain, the bigger the better.....both for sensors and lenses!

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<p style="font-size:14px;">https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Dave's clichés
#2
I think it's also worth to remember that something like the 500mm f/4 has a higher contrast than a long range zoom lens. If you have fine tonal variations in feathers or so that'll make a difference as well - resolution isn't everything.

#3
 Who wouldn't have thought the Nikor would out contrast the G2?...  but look here!

 

 

  Well the Nikor starts off with low contrast at F4 by F8 it's decent!

 

   the G2 starts off at F6.3, here at 600mm just to make things difficult for it,and it's as good as the Nikor at F 7.1,

 

  At F8 there's not much between them!

 

  Hey didn't the G2 do well both in sharpness and in contrast?  

 

  Are you surprised? the difference shows the progress of the latest modern zooms!

 

  Anyway the "outcome" is you need enough light on the sensor to "bury the noise", the Tamron on dark BIF  just can't do it, and believe me I've tried, once they sit on a branch and you can shoot at 1/320 sec. your back in business.

Dave's clichés
#4
Now here's the Nikor, the G2  has more contrast!

 

BTW. Only the slightest change to brightness, all other settings were the same.

 

 This is an older Nikor design nearly twenty years ago!

 

 Who would have thunk it?  All shots on APSc D500!

Dave's clichés
#5
The strangest thing is happening on this site to my images!  I'll try again......

 

             ......anyway I got there in the end!

 

All shots on APSc D500!

Dave's clichés
#6
I already thought "the strangest images are happening to this site."  :lol: I luv it.

 

First the dark birds, I, thought "raven", you delivered something brownish. Now we go to labels, shot with a 500 mm, hell, yes.

#7
Quote:I already thought "the strangest images are happening to this site."  :lol: I luv it.

 

First the dark birds, I, thought "raven", you delivered something brownish. Now we go to labels, shot with a 500 mm, hell, yes.
Perched labels!  :o
Dave's clichés
#8
Quote:Now here's the Nikor the G2  has more contrast!

 

BTW. Only the slightest change to brightness, all other settings were the same.

 

 This is an older Nikor design nearly twenty years ago!

 

 Who would have thunk it?
 

 

I have a hard time to believe that a normal sample of a Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4 is that pathetic at f/4 ...
#9
Pathetic?

 

 The lens is fine, that is a huge crop!!  It's contrast just isn't great wide open.

 

The first image on my Flickr page of the vulture is taken at F4 on the D750, most of my shots are at taken wide open with it!

  

Both moderately cropped.

 

How do they look to you?

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

 

  another....wide open

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

 

 

    Sorry Klaus, but I'm not seeing "that pathetic"!

Dave's clichés
#10
Well, your sample crops show grey letters rather than black ones. I'm really baffled that this shall be normal unless you used a linear tone curve or maybe those letters aren't black in the first place. If such a prime lens can't produce deep blacks at f/4, then ...

 

Were these sample crops taken at ISO 3200 or so ?

 

Maybe I shouldn't provoke so much ;-)

  


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