My last two weeks have been about testing lenses because in just seven weeks I will be off to Kenya for 10 days of safari shooting. So, I have been out practicing for the trip.
One big change has been the availability of the Nikon D800 camera. One can switch between FX and DX shooting quite easily, which means if you have a 300mm lens, by shooting in DX mode, one is now shooting at 450mm! But, of course, in so doing one is giving up lots of resolution.
The settings yield different resolutions.
- FX format (36 x 24): 7,360 x 4,912 (L), 5,520 x 3,680 (M), 3,680 x 2,456 (S)
- 1.2x (30 x 20): 6,144 x 4,080 (L), 4,608 x 3,056 (M), 3,072 x 2,040 (S)
- DX format (24 x 16): 4,800 x 3,200 (L), 3,600 x 2,400 (M), 2,400 x 1,600 (S)
- 5:4 (30 x 24): 6,144 x 4,912 (L), 4,608 x 3,680 (M), 3,072 x 2,456 (S)
So, a DX format shot will yield a 15.3 Megapixel image, as compared to a FX format shot which will yield a 35.1 Megapixel image. The DX format is a tradeoff, but it is there for those of us who simply cannot afford to buy a 400mm lens.
There are other choices as well. One can choose the 1.2x mode, shoot in FX format, and get a 25 Megapixel image. This means that a 300mm lens becomes a 360mm lens.
Or, if you really need reach you can shoot in 1.2x mode, FX format, use a 1.4x extender, and wind up with a 882mm lens! (300mm X 1.2x X 1.5x X 1.4x = 882mm). Cool, huh?
In sum, the D800 and 300mm f/4 Lens along with a 1.4x extender is one heck of a great combination. And, what I like about it, is that the combination is thousands of dollars less than buying a Nikon 400mm lens alone.
So, how good is the 300mm f/4 lens? Well, I gotta tell you, it is simply awesome, one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. It is simply superb.
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MEET THE AUTHOR
Bill is a retired Courts Administrator of one of the largest trial courts in the United States. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Army National Guard, in which he served for 30 years. He holds a BSJ from the University of Florida School of Journalism, is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the US Army Inspector General School. His photographic experience spans four decades; his photographic awards are too numerous to list, but include well over 100 photographs of the day, photographs of the week, and photographs of the month, at many Internet forums. He travels extensively throughout the world, his most recent trips include journeys to South Africa, Tanzania, Alaska, Scotland, the Farne Islands, Poland, the American North West, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Slovenia, and Orkney. From the jungles of Panama and Honduras, to the mountains of Europe, to the awesome islands of Scotland, to the islands of the Galapagos, from the coastal regions of Alaska, to the intense heat of tropical Africa, Bill constantly searches for the “light that dances.”
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