Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Lenses for the Nikon

This week I took the leap to expand my camera bag (read about my choice of the D90 here). We're looking at doing some travel this summer, and I wanted to add some perspective changes. I've also found that the factory 18-200mm just doesn't get up close enough for many event type pictures. So off to Adorama to pick out a few reasonably priced additions.

I don't have the budget for a several thousand dollar high powered lens, so when reading Pop Photography this past trip, I found the ProOptic 500mm mirror lens. This is basically like strapping a 5in telescope to the front of your camera. The lens is compatible with just about any DSLR out there, because it uses T-adaptors to attach. This means you'll be putting the camera in manual mode, and focusing it yourself. But this shouldn't be much of a stretch if you've had a camera for a little while. I also now see in post editing that the window I was shooting through also added haziness and some added distortion on the other super fisheye lens.

Caveats, this fixed aperture lens requires a lot of light, and a very steady hand. It was very overcast, and using a simple tripod, it was still difficult to get a clear photo. I obviously need to play with this one a little more. A more thorough review can be found at Popular Photography.

The other item purchased was a Phoenix Super Fisheye lens. The field of view of this lens is claimed to be up around 180 degrees. In reality, things are so distorted at the edges, you're always going to have something less, however, it still gets a lot more in the picture. I took a photo of Gail feeding Bennett along with the entire scene of the kitchen. This perspective is much closer to what you see with your eye, and seems to be a more realistic photo. So often, I find that the bounds of a photo can't tell the whole story, because you can't pull in the surrounding environment.

The photo below is taken from the same photo as the squirrel picture above. I then used PTLens and Gimp to stretch it out to full frame. I'm still playing with the best way to do this, and have had mixed results.

Lastly, I now needed a bigger case to put all of this stuff in, so off the Internet again for an answer. I've long admired Pelican Cases for the indestructibility, and now they offer an option with a fitted bag. There is one flaw in this bag, in order to provide an internal net pocket at the top of the bag, they didn't include any Velcro along 75% of this edge. This considerably limits your configuration options. So the first thing I did was to rip out the Velcro sections and put two of these together to span the top edge (edge closest to the photographer in the picture below). I then reconfigured the remaining dividers to match my camera and accessories. Hey, if I don't like it, I can always get foam and custom fit the Pelican case to my setup. So here is my Pelican 1526 (1520 case with a 1527 carry bag), purchased from Cases4Less.

1 comment:

Mike Morones said...

ThinkTank makes good camera bags. a bit pricey but rugged as hell and useful for just about any situation.

personally i would be careful about third-party lenses. when you get down to it, the lenses have more to do with the quality of image than the camera (good call on d-90 though).

you get what you pay for are words to live by when it comes to glass! happy shooting!

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