Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
July 11th, 2020

Macro Plan B, Part I: Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lenses: the very good and the very bad ...

What’s Up?

Several days a week I receive e-mails like this:

I just got some new (fill-in-the-blank) gear. I love the blog. I learn so much. I have been visiting every day for (fill-in-the-blank) years.

I reply:

Thanks for your kind words. Congrats on the new gear. Be careful not to drop it! Did you remember to use my B&H affiliate link or get your new stuff from Steve Elkins?

The replies (if any), usually go like this:

Sorry. I forgot. I will use one of your links next time.

Please Remember

If you enjoy the blog, please remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so will not cost you a single penny and if you use Bedfords, you will save at least $50.00 on all orders greater than $1000.00. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and will be greatly appreciated.

Read today’s blog to learn of my Macro Plan B, Part I. Part II will be along soon.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

101 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on the morning of 9 JULY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for Sony E and the 61MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/80 sec. at f/? in Manual mode; the exposure was confirmed as perfect by RawDigger. AWB at 7:23am early on a barely sunny morning.

Manual focus using the combination of Manual Focus Toggle and Focus Magnifier tips from the SONY e-guide along with the 2-second timer.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Grassleaf Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia graminifolia) blossom and friendly spider

The Lens: Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for SONY E

The lens itself is great. It is obviously well-constructed, it is very sharp, and at f/2.8 it is fast. It is relatively inexpensive. Best of all it is a 2X macro lens! It focuses down to an incredible 9.7″ from the plane of the sensor and can yield subjects at twice life-size!

Because there are no electrical contacts on the lens, no information of any kind is transmitted to the camera: not the aperture or even the name of the lens …

There is however a huge design problem: there is no groove on the lens in which to seat the Venus Optics Laowa Tripod Collar for 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO. The only spot to place the tripod collar is on the narrow strip of the lens barrel between the focus ring and the aperture ring. The fit is poor at best, and when the collar is loosened to rotate the lens, it slips and twists out of place and covers part of either ring. The collar often becomes skewed. And it is almost always difficult at best to fully tighten it.

There is plenty of room for a groove in which to seat the tripod collar on the proximal (near) end of the lens barrel. Had they sensibly placed it there, the rig would have been fully functional and much better balanced. It often baffles the mind to think that someone actually got paid to design the lens and the tripod collar.

Now at this point you are likely thinking that it is time to return the lens. But despite the challenge of using it on a tripod and the lack of EXIF data, I actually love the lens. That said after using it for only a single morning … A 100mm 2X macro lens is not something to be taken lightly.

This image was created on the morning of 9 JULY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for Sony E and the 61MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/80 sec. at f/? in Manual mode; the exposure was confirmed as perfect by RawDigger. AWB at 7:23am early on a barely sunny morning.

Manual focus using the combination of Manual Focus Toggle and Focus Magnifier tips from the SONY e-guide along with the 2-second timer.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Grassleaf Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia graminifolia) blossom (wider view)

Your Choice?

Do you prefer the tighter framing and image design (along with the friendly spider) of Image #1 or the wider version (sans arachnid), Image #2? Why?

This image was created by BPN Landscape Moderator, my friend, Andrew McLachlan. He used the handheld Nikon D800 and the Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for Nikon F with a Raynox DCR-250 diopter screwed onto the front of the lens to achieve 4X magnification — four times life-size. ISO 400. Flash as main light: 1/80 sec. at f/22. Meike dual flash macro system on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020 Andrew McLachlan.

Image #3: Baby Garden Spiders

Baby Garden Spiders!

By adding a diopter, Andrew got to four times life-size. In addition, adding flash and working handheld adds a ton of versatility to these amazing lenses. You can see more of Andrew’s excellent photography in his nature galleries here. He created both Focus on Frogs and Ontario Landscapes – A Photographers Guide.. Landscape folks might wish to check out Andrew’s forum here.

A Version for Most Systems

Laowa makes a 100mm macro lens for all major camera systems (as above).

Note: For those like me working on a tripod, the Wimberley P-20 plate mounted in reverse is best for these lenses.

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.







Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

July 9th, 2020

Dock Eliminator: the SONY a7r iv!

What’s Up?

After a slow (2 keeper) morning on Wednesday past, I went out early today — Thursday 9 JULY 2020 in search of flowers. I purchased a new toy from Patrick Sparkman, the Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for Sony E. I had a ton of fun and made some wonderful images. There are lots of great positives along with a few negatives including one major one. Details soon.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

102 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Price Drop

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dSLR

Price Reduced $100.00 on 2 JULY 2020
Price Reduced $100.00 on 9 JULY 2020

John Bowden is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark 4 in near-mint condition for $1499.00 (was $1,699.00) — the shutter count is only 16,172. The sale includes a ProMediaGear universal L-bracket (model PLX3 — an $89.95 value), the original product box, the manuals, the EOS Digital Solution Disk, the EOS Digital Software Instruction Manual, the camera strap, the single battery (with the protective cover), the charger, the front cap, the interface cable, the cable protector, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Photos are available upon request.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact John Bowden via e-mail or by phone at 1-919-358-5717 (Eastern time zone).

What can I say? The 5D IV was my favorite-ever Canon digital dSLR. I owned and used three of them while my 1DX II sat on the shelf in my garage for the most part. If you have been dreaming of a 5D IV, grab John’s camera body right now and save a cool $1,000.00. artie

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on Wednesday 8 JULY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO: 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:23 am on a sunny morning …

Upper Center Zone AF-C performed perfectly and produced a razor-sharp eye.

At First Glance …

At first glance, after noting the clipped feet, you might think that I screwed up the framing with today’s featured image. But I did not. I could not risk moving my vehicle closer as I would have gotten stuck in the mud along the edge of the canal and I knew that I would not include any part of the dock in the final cropped image. Scroll down to see the optimized image.

Note: this bird was resting on the outer portion of the same dock as the Great Egret featured in the Behaviors on the Dock of the Bay blog post here.

The SONY e-guide talks extensively about the choosing between Upper Center ZONE AF-C and Tracking Flexible Spot (M or S) AF-C when photographing birds in vertical format …

This image was created on Wednesday 8 JULY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO: 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:23 am on a sunny morning …

Upper Center Zone AF-C performed perfectly and produced a razor-sharp eye.

Image #2: This JPEG represents the cropped, optimized master file for Anhinga young-of-the-year

Eliminating the Dock!

The flattened. original, 8-bit TIFF file was 172.3 MB. After a proportional crop from all four sides, the flattened, cropped, 8-bit TIFF file wound up at 96.8 MB. So the optimized file is about 56% of the original file with slightly more than 44% of the original pixels cropped away. Even when created at 1200mm, sharp files from the a7r iv allow for relatively large crops that provide oodles of fine feather detail along with still-superb image quality.

Note the perfect head angle of about 1.5 degrees toward us.

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.







Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

July 8th, 2020

Don't Let the Old Man In. Driveway Sandhill Crane Studio. Focus Breathing Explained and Focus Breathing and MFD Info for the SONY 200-600 G Lens (and others ...)

What’s Up?

Bird photography here at ILE has been slow the past few mornings. On Tuesday, I tried and failed on some Wild Turkey hens with three poults. This morning — Wednesday 8 JULY 2020 — I created a few frames of the Mother’s Day crane family and headed home early.

It has poured here for the past three afternoons with thunder and lightning keeping me out of the pool until about 7pm; my late swims have been a delight.

With two folks signed up, I decided that with discretion being the better part of valor to cancel the Fort DeSoto Fall 2020 IPT due to my concerns about COVID 19.

If you have any questions on focus breathing please leave a comment. If you have a great SONY 200-600 image or two that you would like to share with me, please shoot it or them (1200 pixels on the long side) to me via e-mail.

Four of the five flash cards that I listed two days ago sold on the first day. Only this one remains:

San Disk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash Card

I am offering a brand new in the unopened sleeve San Disk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash Card (Up to 160 MB/s: 1067X) for a very low $89.99. Save $30.00 as these sell new for $119.00. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% (to birdsasart@verizon.net) or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card same day. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

Don’t Let The Old Man In – Toby Keith (Clint Eastwood) 2019

Thanks to long-time friend Alan Levine for sharing this with me. This short video (4 minutes, 2 seconds) is beautiful, wonderful, and inspiring for folks of all ages. The backstory here is quite interesting as well.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

101 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

New Listings

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Telephoto Lens (with extras!)

BIRDS AS ART Record-low Price!

Long-ago IPT veteran Art Leyenberger is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Telephoto lens in near-mint condition for a BAA record-low $2349.00. The sale includes the original box, the front lens cover, the lens trunk, the rear lens cap, a brand new Canon PL-C 52 Drop-in Circular Polarizing filter, a RRS Lens Plate 63A, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Art via e-mail or by phone at 973-476-6559 (Eastern time zone).

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you use Canon and don’t have the cash for a 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. A new 500 II sells right now for $8,999.00 so you can save an amazing $6,650.00 by grabbing Art’s original version 500mm f/4 IS lens right now. artie

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens

BIRDS AS ART Record-low Price!

Long-ago IPT veteran Art Leyenberger is also offering a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM zoom lens in near-mint condition for a BIRDS AS ART record low $449.00. The sale includes the original box, both lens caps, the lens hood, the LZ1324 Lens Case, a RRS lens plate #86, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Art via e-mail or by phone at 973-476-6559 (Eastern time zone).

The original 100-400 is a sharp, amazingly versatile telephoto zoom lens. When I used Canon, I made hundreds of great images and saleable with this lens (including the front cover of Scott Weidensaul’s book, “Return to Wild America.” Denise Ippolito loved hers also. Art’s lens would make a great starter lens for a beginning bird or nature photographer, especially when paired with a 7D Mark II … artie

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM Lens

BIRDS AS ART Record-low Price!

Long-ago IPT veteran Art Leyenberger is also offering a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM zoom lens in near-mint condition for a BIRDS AS ART record low $99.00. The sale includes the original box, both lens caps, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Art via e-mail or by phone at 973-476-6559 (Eastern time zone).

This compact lenses features a versatile 4X telephoto range and a fast, quiet AF motor and is characterized by its light weight. It is well-suited for a variety of subjects, including portraiture, nature, sports, and travel. A Super Spectra coating has been applied to individual elements to reduce lens flare and ghosting in order to achieve high contrast and accurate colors. Additionally, it features a seven-blade diaphragm to produce smooth and pleasing bokeh. It is designed for full-frame Canon EF-mount DSLRs but can also be used with APS-C models where it provides a 120-480mm equivalent focal length range. If you are looking for an inexpensive starter lens for a child or grandchild, you will have struck gold with Art’s 75-300! B&H

Canon EF Extender 2X II (teleconverter)

Sold first day of listing!

Multiple IPT veteran Patricia Fishburne is offering a Canon EF Extender 2X II (teleconverter) in near-mint condition for a very low $129.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Pat via e-mail or by phone at 1 (239) 236-5207 (Eastern time zone).

Regular readers know that I have long depended on both teleconverters for much of my bird photography. The series III TCs were designed for the series II super-telephoto lenses but if you have an older lens (like Art Leyenberger’s\ above), the series II TCs will perform well for you. artie

Canon EF Extender 2X II (teleconverter)

Sold first day of listing!

Multiple IPT veteran Patricia Fishburne is offering another Canon EF Extender 2X II (teleconverter), this one in excellent condition for a BAA record-low $99.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Pat via e-mail or by phone at 1 (239) 236-5207 (Eastern time zone).

Regular readers know that I have long depended on both teleconverters for much of my bird photography. The series III TCs were designed for the series II super-telephoto lenses but if you have an older lens (like Art Leyenberger’s above), the series II TCs will perform well for you. artie

This image was created on the morning of 6 JULY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) and the 61MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/800 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode; the exposure was confirmed as perfect by RawDigger. AWB at 7:53am on a sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed superbly.

Sandhill Crane adult studio head portrait

Sandhill Crane Adult Studio Head Portrait

For this one, the “studio” setting was provided by the concrete driveway where the bird stood. I got out of my vehicle to get higher and avoid the house in the background … Learning to recognize such situations can provide great rewards.

Focus Breathing

I have heard the term focus breathing for many years and possibly for several decades. I thought that it applied only to zoom lenses that zoomed internally, that is, lenses did not extend when you zoomed to a longer focal length). Arash Hazeghi mentioned that the SONY 200-600 does not give you 600mm when you are working close (as with today’s featured image). My first response was that I had never really noticed nor did I consider it a problem. But I owed it to myself to learn more about focus breathing. I found an article on the PhotographyLife website by Nasim Mansurov and read it carefully. I learned that I was wrong in my understanding of focus breathing (but only 100% wrong!). Interested folks can learn a lot from Nassim’s Understanding Focus Breathing article here. I urge all who use a telephoto zoom lens and those who do focus stacking when shooting macro, landscape or architecture photography to study this article.

Here is a direct quote from the beginning of the piece:

Focus breathing is a term that describes the change in focal length that occurs as a result of adjusting the focusing distance of a lens. It is a common issue that occurs on many photographic lenses. As focus is adjusted from close focus to infinity, focus breathing causes noticeable changes in both angle of view and magnification.

These changes are often clearly visible to the photographer during the process of focusing, with different lenses exhibiting varying levels of focal length changes. Focus breathing issues can occur on both prime and zoom lenses. (Italics mine.)

Focus Breathing and the SONY 200-600 G Lens

Tuesday evening I grabbed my 200-600, zoomed to 600mm, turned AF off, walked as far from my house as I could, and focused manually on one window. As I turned the focus ring to closer focus, the window obviously got smaller in the frame. As regular readers know, I am not a big fan of testing, but I am 100% positive that at minimum focusing distance the SONY 200-600 GM zoomed out to 600mm will actually give you something like 550mm of reach (or possibly a bit less).

Focus Breathing and MFD Info for the SONY 200-600 G Lens (and others)

Nasim concludes with this:

Is focus breathing a big problem that every photographer needs to be aware of? Not really. Most photographers aren’t even going to notice any differences in angle of view and magnification when using most lenses at close distances.

For me, that about sums it up. I never noticed the focus breathing/shorter focal length issue with the 200-600 until Arash Hazeghi pointed it out.

Folks need to understand that the MFD of the 200-600 is a very superb 7.87 feet. That compares quite favorably with the MFD of the SONY 600mm f/4 GM at 14.8 feet, and the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF lens at 9.84 feet.

The magnifications work out to .2X for the 200-600, .18X for the 500 PF, and a still respectable .14X for the weapon of mass destruction, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM.

Therefore, even with the focus breathing issues significantly reducing the focal length of the SONY 200-600 for close work, it is still the clear winner when it comes to working tight (again, as with today’s super-sharp featured image …)

Just for the record book, the MFD for the SONY (and the Canon) 100-400 lenses is an amazing 3.22 feet that results in magnification as great as 0.35X (depending on the focal length).

The a7R iv and the SONY 200-600 G Lens

In the SONY e-Guide (by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris), we state clearly that for flight photography the a7r iv/200-600 g combo is less than ideal. The a7r iv with the 200-600 is, however, perfect for close work and for general bird and nature photography; with good technique and a decent shutter speed the huge a7r iv files are incredibly sharp. And the a7r iv does well with flight photography on the 600mm f/4 GM both alone and with either TC. AF, however, is not as good as it is with the a9 ii.

Both Patrick and I have trouble distinguishing sharp 200-600 G images from sharp 600mm f/4 GM images despite the fact that the GM lenses are supposed to be of much better quality than the SONY G lenses. Or not!

Arash recently replaced his Nikon 600mm f/4 VR lens/D5 or D850 combination with the SONY 600mm f/4/a9 ii and is now routinely posting super-sharp flight images made at 1200mm in the Avian Forum on BPN

Strangely, Arash trashed the SONY 200-600 over the course of several e-mails last week. He finally realized that it was possible that he had received a damaged lens. I am happy to report that he had the lens replaced and is now making some very sharp images with his new 200-600 and the a9 ii.

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