Daily Archives: April 27, 2010

Double the Photography Fun

Nikon’s new 200-400mm f/4 VR lens

Nikon recently announced an upgrade to its already-excellent 200-400mm lens. Ain’t it a beaut? And such a bargain!

Well, not really. It’s a whopping $7,000. Good thing that price includes the lens filter!

My version of a 400mm lens—the Nikon 70-200 plus the 2x teleconverter

As much as I might yearn for such a wonderful piece of glass, I have one son headed to college with another one sure to follow in a scant three years. Plus I’m just an amateur. So unless we decide to play the lottery (and then win it), I have to jury-rig my own 400mm lens. I add Nikon’s much-maligned 2x teleconverter (that I rarely use) to my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens. On my full-frame Nikon D700, that doubles the length!

The negatives to such an arrangement? First, the widest you can open the aperture is f/5.6; not conducive for much bokeh. Plus it’s really heavy, making a monopod or tripod a must. And, as you’ll read on many Nikon photo forums, the teleconverter degrades the quality.

The early-evening moon hangs in the sky.

But when I saw the moon shining so big and bright around 7 p.m. the other day, I knew I had to try the cheap 400mm combination to see if I could capture it. And then I looked around my backyard for other things to zoom in on.

A wasp works on its nest.

Look at this wasp, which built its nest over our master bathroom window. Creepy yet interesting. Oh, and please stay away from me!

A bird warily eyes me from the top of our garage.

Flying things that have stopped to rest were easy pickings for the budget-minded 400mm.

Water on its way back into the pool

Then I turned on the pool’s waterfall.

Multilevels make for more interesting water patterns.

Usually I choose my Nikon 105mm macro lens to photograph water.

Water slides off the rocks into the pool.

But I liked the results I got with the bogus 400mm lens.

Our frog suns on one of the waterfall’s rocks.

It was fun looking at my backyard world through a new perspective . . . times two!