Wednesday, October 31, 2007

my Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR zoom

It's been more than a month since I acquired this lens from Mayer Photo and it replaced my Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D as my work horse lens since then. For shelling out a moderate amount of P25,000.00, I can now shoot in a low light environment on almost any place with poor light conditions, with its VR feature turned ON and pushing the ISO setting to ISO 800 . On an overcast day, like in the photo above, I can shoot at 1/60 without blur using a 170mm focal length at ISO 250. At this focal length, bokeh will appear on the background which is generally smooth and not crunchy compared to the blur produced by the Nikkor 18-200mm VR at the same focal length.

This lens is a full format lens suitable for any future full frame Nikon DSLRs like the D3 but with my D200, with a crop factor of 1.5X sensor, the scope of its field of view would be in the focal lengths of 105-450mm. The sample photo above was taken at 230mm focal length with a shutter speed of 1/200 at f/5.3 aperture in ISO 400. One can readily notice the smooth blur of the green grass which is called bokeh, or pleasant blur.

At ISO 400, one can get better color rendition than shooting at ISO 100, which is what i've experienced in the two or more years that i've been shooting in digital. Again, the sample photo on the right which was shot at ISO 400 is another classic example of a good color rendition.

With not much choice of lens, I tried the 70-300mm AF-S VR inside a studio with strobes as main sources of light, and the results were equally amazing - sharp image and accurate and fast focusing even in low light where my 50mm f/1.4D would have faltered and encoutered difficulty. The two sample photos on the left were taken at its shorter focal lengths and who says one can't use a telephoto in a studio set up?!

Of course, using the 70-300mm VR in a cramp studio would limit your ability to take better shots and would confine you to only facial or head shots or half body portraits. When using strobes, you should also turn OFF the VR function to save on battery power as the VR would be a useless feature when your subject is being lighted by strobes.

One last test I made on this lens was shooting with it indoors using continuous lighting from a home lamp. The result was the sample photo on the right which was taken at ISO 800 shooting at f/5 at a slow shutter speed of 1/8 at a focal length of 165mm. Without VR or any anti-shake feature, the rule of thumb would be to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/(focal length) or in this case 1/200 to avoid any blurring of the image. With the VR feature ON, one can have more luxuries in shooting in low light conditions.

Credits goes to the following in the order of their appearance from top to bottom: King, Margarette, Tey, Wren, Bianca and Pearl, I am very much grateful to all of you.