Saturday, 20 December 2008

Out and about with two foot of glass

For the first time this month, I managed to get out and about with the 80-400mm Nikkor zoom. What a lens! You can get pics like this one below of a marsh harrier taking off from a telegraph pole.

The biggest downside for me with this monster lens is changing it in the field. Juggling a large bit of glass (my standard 18-200mm zoom) and this huge one, four lens caps, two lens hoods, the body and the lens case with cold fingers is risky. The solution is a second body. But then the prime lens in a two-lens outfit should be wider than 18mm; ideally a 12-80mm zoom - from ultrawide through to portrait. Toting two bodies with two lenses overlapping between 80mm and 200mm makes little sense when weight is key.

Two foot of glass? The extreme end of this zoom lens is 400mm, on a DX sensor camera this is the equivalent of a 600mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Which, if it were a long tube without any fancy optics foreshortening the focal length, would be two foot long!

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