Is the Nikon 80-400 VR with the TC-14E III (teleconverter) a Viable Combination? Creating a Vertical Puffin Pano. And News on the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Is the Nikon 80-400 VR with the TC-14E III (teleconverter) a Viable Combination? Creating a Vertical Puffin Pano. And News on the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens

Stuff

Wednesday was business as usual. With my knee continuing to improve, I am walking two to three easy miles each day concentrating on form: belly out, shoulders back and down, chin down, and striking first with the heel. This blog post took 2 1/2 hours to prepare on Thursday morning. It is now 9am and I am heading out for my walk.

I would love to hear some more opinions on the questions posed in Tuesday’s Bempton Cliffs Part VI: What To Do With Wind Against Sun Flight Conditions … And Ageing Gannets blog post here.

Both Fall Fort DeSoto IPTs are wide open — please click here for more info. Please note that there have been no red tide problems at DeSoto or anywhere north of Bradenton. Details for the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT will be announced here soon. We will be visiting Seahouses for the puffins and other seabirds and both Bempton Cliffs and Dunbar (two boat trips) for the gannets. If you are interested in the pre-publication details, please shoot me an e-mail. Limit: 10 photographers.

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

If you are a blog regular who is planning on getting your hands on the new Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM please use this link to pre-order from B&H. The faster you order, the faster you will have your new lens in your hands.

The new version tips the scales at only 6.71 pounds, nearly two pounds lighter than the 600 II and even lighter (by slightly more than 1/4 pound) than the 500 II. Best of all for the extremely weight conscious, the tripod collar is removable! In addition, it focus down to 13.78 feet, one foot closer than the 600 II. If I were still using Canon I would be the first one on the pre-order list …

News on the Galapagos Front/Limit 12/Openings: 3

Right now I have nine folks committed to the 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise. A friend who had committed to the trip learned that he and his wife might not be able to attend. Thus, I have room for a couple or for two same-sex roommates, and for a male single. If the archipelago is on your bucket list, please get in touch via e-mail asap with questions. If you might be registering with a friend or a spouse do ask about the two at a time discount. See the complete details here.

BIRDS AS ART

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



Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Pierre Williot

I would encourage anyone who wants to sell some of their photographic equipment to contact Art. High-end photographic equipment can be difficult to sell. Art, with is widely read daily posts, will allow you to sell your equipment fairly easily for a reasonable price and commission. Please, seriously consider the price that he suggests as it can be hard to face the reality of the actual value of well loved equipment! Art is well aware of the current market for second-hand photographic equipment.

Used Gear Page News

After a month or so in the summer doldrums, sales on the Used Gear page have been red hot for the past two weeks:

I sold my Canon 1.4X III teleconverter for $329.00 in early September before listing it.
Amy Novotny’s Nikon TC-E-20 (teleconverter) sold the first day it was listed in early September for $249.00.
Richard Gollar sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS (the original IS model, the “old five”) in near-mint condition for $3399.00 in early September.
I sold my Canon 100-400 L IS II in very good plus (almost excellent) condition and in perfect working order for $1399.00 in late August.
Anthony Ardito sold a Canon EOS-1DX Mark II body (with extras) in like-new condition (less than 41,000 actuations)for $3,999.00 in late August.
Roger Williams sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens in like-new condition (but for a single faint scratch on the front element)for the “it’s-your-lucky-day” price of only $899.00 a week after it was listed.
Dane Johnson sold a Canon EOS 40D kit with the body converted to Deep Infrared by Life Pixel in near-mint condition for $549.00 in August, 2918 on the first day it was listed.
Jamie Baker sold his Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III in near-mint condition for $299.00 in late August.
John Lowin sold a (men’s extra large) Xtrahand Magnum vest by Vested Interest for $229.00 within a day or two of listing it in late August, 2018.
Anthony Ardito sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens in like-new condition for BAA record-low by far price of $449.00, his Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $1,499.00, his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $1,099.00, his Canon Speedlite (flash) 600EX-RT flash in like-new condition for $399.00, his Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens (for Canon mount) in near-mint condition for $250.00, and his Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF mount in like new condition for $399.00, all with a day or two of their being listed.
Pierre Williot sold his Canon EOS-1DX Mark II in mint condition with less than 75,000 actuations (rated to 400,000) for $4,199.00 in late August.
Todd Koudelka sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (“the “old five”) in very good plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $3199.00.
Pierre Williot sold his canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens (the original 600 IS) in very good to excellent condition for $3999.00 in mid-August.
Todd Koudelka sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in near-mint condition (but for a few tiny, barely visible scratches) for the BAA record-low-by-far of $2249.00 (was $2449.00) in early August.
Ron Gates requested that the listing for his Canon 70-200mm lens be removed and kindly sent me a check for 4% of the original asking price.
Julie Brown sold her Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS lens (the original version) in excellent condition for $2099 in early August.

You can see all the listings here.

New Listings

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Will Craig is offering a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $674.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Please contact Will via e-mail or by phone at 1-540-810-7108 (Eastern time).

I owned and used this great lens for several years. It is a great flight lens and I always loved its close focusing abilities that made it great for flowers, frogs, and dragonflies. I firmly believe that it is a far better bird photography starter lens than my beloved old “toy lens,” the 400mm f/5.6L lens. Why? It is image stabilized and it does great with all AF points with a 1.4X TC. Grab this one while you can as the price is right. artie

Canon EF Extender 1.4X III (teleconverter)

Will Craig is also offering a Canon EF Extender 1.4X III in near-mint condition for $329.00. The sale includes the front and rear caps,the carrying pouch, the original box and paperwork, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Please contact Will via e-mail or by phone at 1-540-810-7108 (Eastern time).

As folks know, I always travel with two 1.4X teleconverters because they are an important part of what I do every day. artie

Canon EOS 7D

Will Craig is also offering an original Canon EOS 7D camera body in excellent condition (with fewer than 26,000 actuations) for $299.00. The sale includes a Canon BG-E7 battery grip in near-mint condition, two Canon batteries, the strap, the original charger, a 32gb SanDisk compact flash card, and a compact flash reader to USB port. Also included is the original battery grip box and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Will via e-mail or by phone at 1-540-810-7108 (Eastern time).

Will’s used Canon EOS 7D would make a great and inexpensive starter camera body for anyone wishing to explore the possibilities of digital photography. artie

Airbnb

For the past few months, I have been hearing folks use the word Airbnb, most notably, Amy Novotny. Out of curiosity I asked a few questions. What I learned amazed me. Join Airbnb and become part of a community that connects global travelers with local hosts across the world. Find a place to stay and discover things to do. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, our secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. Last night I made a reservation for an Airbnb apartment for my upcoming January San Diego visit: 13 nights with a full kitchen and two bedrooms.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link below to save $25.00.

Booking.Com

Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for their Edinburgh hotels, got great rates, and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

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, 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 currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Via e-mail from Anthony Ardito

FYI, I got a D850 & a 200-500 from Bedfords using your BIRDSASART code at checkout. Plus, Steve Elkins gave me a discount and some nice XQD freebies. I have to thank you for that!

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.

Puffins-PM-scrn-capt

These two images were created on July 8, 2018 on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens and the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 550mm) with the Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (w/Dual XQD Slots). ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec at f/9 in S (Tv in Canon — shutter priority in both systems) mode. AUTO1 WB at 11:01am on a nicely cloudy morning.

Just above center D-72/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point in the first image was on the fish. In the second image, it was too our left of the bird’s head. As with Canon’s Expand and Surround, it is not possible to ascertain which AF point was active at the moment of exposure. This is a weakness in both systems that could easily be fixed with a software update.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Each: Atlantic Puffin with sand eels
Images copyright 2018: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Situation

I was headed back to the landing spot to let several members of the group know of an excellent opportunity near the Info Shed. As I got to the top of the landing this puffin flew in with a mouthful of fish for its young. I had been set up for fly-bys in Shutter Priority with +1 EC and center Group (grp) AF so I simply dialed down to +2/3 with the soft light and the blue water background and made a few images.

I had been experimenting with upper d-72 (only when working vertically) for tall-in-the-frame seabirds. As I was handholding my framing was not perfect, nor was my placement of the selected AF point. That said, I have pretty much gone back to d-9 as my go-to vertical AF mode — d-72 offers too much slop, i.e., you do not know which point is actually active … In any case, the first image, 3788 had the best framing. In the second image,3789, the bird was too far to the right side of the frame but the baitfish and the puffin’s face were sharper. My plan was to make a vertical pano from the two images. See below for the post-processing details.

Atlantic-Puffin-with-sand-eels--_DSC3789islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image is a composite of the two images above that were created on July 8, 2018 on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens and the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 550mm) with the Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (w/Dual XQD Slots). ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec at f/9 in S (Tv in Canon — shutter priority in both systems) mode. AUTO1 WB at 11:01am on a nicely cloudy morning.

Just above center D-72/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point in the first image was on the fish. In the second image, it was too our left of the bird’s head. As with Canon’s Expand and Surround, it is not possible to ascertain which AF point was active at the moment of exposure. This is a weakness in both systems that could easily be fixed with a software update.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Atlantic Puffin with sandeels/the optimized version
Images copyright 2018: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Image Optimization

I converted both images in Camera Raw using the same settings. Then I expanded canvas on the right side of 3789, took a narrow slice off the right side of 3788 using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, placed that on its own layer, and used it to fill the empty canvas on the right side of 3789 using the Move Tool (V). Working very large, I lined up the selection pixel to pixel using the up and down and left and right arrows to move the introduced layer. Last was a crop back to the original ratio, 2X3.

Is the Nikon 80-400 VR with the TC-14E III (teleconverter) a Viable Combination?

My answer is a resounding yes. Both versions of the 80-400 have been unfairly much-maligned over the decades (as was the original Canon 100-400). And thus, many folks assume that you cannot create sharp images when the TC-14E III is added to the 80-400. I will, however, be using this combination a lot more in the coming months, especially on the San Diego IPT. The Canon 100-400 II with the 1.4X III TC is also capable of creating sharp images in the right hands. And both are extremely versatile. The close-focusing advantage goes to Canon by a mile.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above and tons more is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

Though I have become more proficient converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw, I continue to optimize my Canon images in DPP 4. You can learn how and why I converted (and still convert) nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 The RAW conversions for all three of today’s featured images was straightforward once I entered my camera/ISO specific recipes (as detailed in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide). You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If 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 New 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 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 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 will be visiting 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. Tanks a stack.

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 :).

5 comments to Is the Nikon 80-400 VR with the TC-14E III (teleconverter) a Viable Combination? Creating a Vertical Puffin Pano. And News on the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens

  • avatar Dan

    May I ask where you got the info that the collar on the new 600 is removable? This is not something I have seen mentioned elsewhere.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dan,

      Follow the B&H link above. Under the OVERVIEW tab you will find this:

      Additionally, this lens is weather-sealed for use in trying environmental conditions and it has a removable rotating tripod collar to benefit working atop a tripod or monopod.

      with love, artie

      ps: if you do order one, please use my affiliate link.

      • avatar Dan

        I suspect that this is a B&H employee misreading the information about the lens. The fact that the collar is removable is not mentioned anywhere else. What is mentioned is that, just like version II lenses, the tripod foot is removable so that you can put a smaller foot on it to better suit use on a monopod. Time willl tell I guess, but I’d put money on that being the case.

        Hi Dan, Thanks. I can only go by what I read; here is a cut and pasted quote:

        Removable rotating tripod collar is included and benefits working with the lens atop a tripod or monopod.

        Time will tell.

        with love, artie

        ps: It sure does not look removable …

  • Love to know what special tricks/magic you use to get sharpies with the TC and 80-400 combo, as I have never had good luck with that set.