Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Big Glass of My Dreams

I've been drooling over a lens at Tempe Camera for several weeks now. It's a used 400mm f 2.8, in pretty good shape. Yesterday when I dropped in for 4x5 sheet film, I brought my D 90 body in to try out this lens. We took it in back, threw it on a tripod (figuratively, this lens is too heavy to throw) and fired away through the window. I chose to take one shot and break it down for the viewing audience. Here's the shot:

So, you can see that this is already doing pretty well. This is wide open, at f 2.8. This lens is manual focus, but very sharp and with bright focus image that makes it very easy to quickly zoom in on a target. I was instantly impressed with the fact that there is no softness in the frame, even the edges are precise and defined.
Once I'd gotten to looking at things, I realized that there was a lot more detail than is visible when one's looking at the whole frame. I threw it in iPhoto and zoomed in a bit.

Here, in detail, is the tower on the top of Hayden Butte, along with the people enjoying their Monday afternoon.

Now we can zoom in a bit more.

This lens is sharp as a tack. I was just shooting JPEGs to test this lens out, using the medium size and fine quality settings. Aperture was 2.8, ISO 400 and I was shooting at about 1/800. Shooting in RAW or full size JPEG will produce even more detailed images, especially upon a sturdy tripod without vibrations.
Here's where things are as seen in Google Maps:

View Line of Sight in a larger map

Things are clear now how clear this lens is. I'm saving what I can, but of course that really is difficult since I have no job right now. I think I'll be looking into the census, to see what they need in terms of people in the Valley of the Sun. Plus, I do have my tax return to look forward to, even though it just covers rent for a while. Man, I wish the Arizona Republic could use a stringer. 


  1. I am reminded of the Sun Bowl a couple of years ago. During a lull in the game, the blimp shooting aerial footage zoomed in on the peak that overlooks the stadium. Then somebody realized that the couple at the top of the peak was, um, getting it on. This might not have been as widely TiVo'd as Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," but I'm sure a lot of people got it before the network cut back to a focus on the field.

    Meanwhile, it's a pity the newspaper isn't looking for stringers right now. I remember this time of year was good for stringers at the Albuquerque Journal -- high school basketball district championships and the like. If a stringer could get good action shots, that stringer had guaranteed work through all of February and most of March.

  2. Too bad they don't play the Sun Bowl in this stadium any more. Apparently the Republic is downsizing the photo staff. They're cutting from expensive photo space to income earning ads.


Stick your comment here!