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(Very) long lenses on the CL and TL. -Please add your experiences.

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Having learned the hard way in the past year that different lenses can sometimes perform at vastly different levels depending on which camera they're mounted on, I decided to try yet another copy of the Nikon 300mm PF.  It's a stop slower than my 280mm f/2.8 APO-Telyt-R, but can be shot wide open with a 1.4X teleconverter.  It's also less than a third the weight of the 280 bazooka.


That combination, depicted below, yields a 652mm AOV (based on the SL's indication that the lens/TC combo on full-frame is actually 426mm).  As I strap my cameras most of the time with a custom leather harness attached to the R-adapter-M's tripod foot, (the CL's grip has no tripod socket!)  I sourced a third-party tripod collar for this lens.  This leaves the CL's mount supporting only the camera's weight, and it balances more comfortably for moving about.  The adapter is a Novoflex SL/NIK, with the electronics gutted so I don't get the "This lens/adapter is not supported" message.  Focus magnification is activated by the directional pad.


Someone asked for a comparison of sharpness between the 280 and the 300PF.  With "sharpness" conveying different visual manifestations for different people, the best comparison I can offer is that at 200% magnification the 300PF delivers the tiniest details with slightly crisper edges, while the 280 APO's tonal gradation even on crop sensor is unparalleled in any long telephoto I've ever used.  For shooting pictures of birds and insects, most of which are cropped anyway, there appears to be little practical difference in image quality between the two.


The entire setup as pictured (including tripod collar) weighs just under 1.8kg.






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CL with 90-280 @ 280mm, ISO 400, 1/160, f/4   Full resolution: http://www.doc.ingo-cordes.de/temp/1014-CL_Wilhelma.jpg     Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

CL with Nikon 300mm PF and TC-14E III . . .    The 300mm PF's short focus throw makes it easy to "ballpark" the focus quickly, but also makes it a little more difficult to get it exact.  The action on this copy's focusing ring is slightly smoother than on my previous copy, though, which makes manual focus a pleasure.   Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

Picked up a cheap EF to M adaptor because (for now) I still have some Canon stuff around, thought for fun I would try the  EF 100-400 on the CL, think I was most surprised that I managed to handhold at 1/160... grey old day here, taken through glass  Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!Common Chaffinch cropped by Jayne Booton, on Flickr

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If someone has 400mm Telyt6.8 and 2XAPO extender then try out Jupiter and Saturn with your CL. They are well positioned in evening/night sky now a days. I got nice shots on my Nex-6 using that. Very good center sharpness for this kind of purpose. Of course it is not a astronomy setup but I was pleased with what I got. Would love to see how CL fares with this setup (at some point I was thinking of replacing Nex-6 with CL).


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  • 3 weeks later...

with the SL 90-280. handheld @280 plus crop around 1/5 or so


the AF is much better than on the SL, but still not easy to get. ps the picture lost a bit due to compression

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Been looking at these photos ... some nice stuff! 


For me, the most difficult part of using a very long lens on an EVF camera is image stability for focusing and framing. Anything much longer than 135-200mm become dicey to get good focus and framing hand-held without image stabilization, whether FF or APS-C. The SL90-280mm's excellent OIS was an excellent aid in that regard, but even with that I found myself always pulling out the tripod anyway. 


For this reason, most of my long lens work is always tied to a good sturdy tripod. Even the much maligned Leica Hektor 135mm f/4.5 lens produces some lovely results when I lock it down with a sturdy mounting, and the Elmar-R 180mm, with or without 2x Extender-R, is a stunning performer on the CL when used with a sturdy tripod too. 


In an experimentalist mood, I fitted the Elmar-R 180mm f/4 to the Focusing Bellows-R and snapped a photo of a book cover on my bookshelf at full bellows extension with the CL, ISO 400 @ f/8 @ 4 second. It produced this unedited image, which in real life is 31mm wide (1.29:1 magnification) at about a 4.5 foot sensor plane to subject distance:


Click image to see full resolution in a separate window.


That's nice resolution and lots of good working room for doing small 3D objects!

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I recently returned from a photo tour in the Pantanal emphasizing jaguars and birds followed by Peru, both highlands and Manu (as well as the obligatory Cuzco and Machu Pichu) emphasizing birds.  I used a Nikon D500 with TC14eII and Nikon 300mm F4 PF as well as Leica SL 90-280mm mounted on SL or CL for long lens applications.  I much prefer the IQ of the CL/90-280mm even when closer cropping was required to produce equivalent magnification.  The Nikon was much nicer handling, and was solely used when tracking was indicated where it excelled.  However, except for BIF, even with the somewhat clumsy heavier CL/90-280 and difficulty making rapid adjustments, I plan to stick to the CL for future long lens shooting.  

Parenthetically, in my backyard testing of the above Nikon set up compared to the CL with the 90-280 vs the  R 280 F4 APO + APO 2x extender, I found the 90-280 to be marginally preferable to the R 280/2x followed by the Nikon in IQ.  

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3 hours ago, cpyu said:

ISO 100, - 0.3 EV, 1/200, on tripod, raw, processed by Capture 1 Pro 11.

F4 set on the R lens, but I did not know the equivalent aperture on such combination of CL + 2X extender.

The 2x extender costs two stops, so that's f/8 from an exposure point of view.

If you're calculating equivalent f/stop for depth of field purposes, compared to a FF format it's about 1.3 stops smaller opening, or about f/12.5, but that's irrelevant for a shot at astronomical distances. 

Edited by ramarren
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