telephoto Tag

A lot of people might think that the biggest lens they could ever get for their camera is the Sigma Super zoom - 200mm to 500mm f:2.8. That's the green zeppelin seen in the heading image. We got to see one in the shop a few years ago and it was certainly impressive. I was scared of it in case it rolled out of the case and onto my foot - I would be equally frightened of tripping over it due to the expense. Someone, somewhere needs one of these and if that someone is you, be prepared to search with your wallet. But you probably have a different scope to your needs - both physically and financially - and your upper limit lens may be quite a bit smaller. Many, many DSLR shooters have benefited from other Sigma lenses in the past, as well as the more expensive teles of the major body manufacturers. I even know an outdoor shooter who went through serial Sigmas, having dropped the original one off rocks at the seashore into the surf. Hooray for...

Because the new Olympus Zuiko 100-400mm 1:5.0-6.3 lens is in the Stirling Street shop for sale - and none of your privacy is safe. Not that it has been in these last few years of digital development - the camera makers have all tried to add longer and longer lenses to their sales line-up and this urge has extended into the zoom range as well. No names of other makers in this Olympus column, but they've all been at it. And mostly they have been at it hard and heavy. Again no names, but consider the fact that in most cases the lenses made for the keen wildlife and bird photographers have been long, awkward, and massive. In most cases, they've had to feed an image onto an APS-C -sized sensor or a 24 x 36 one. In the case of the medium format systems some truly memorable lenses have been produced - all with great aplomb and seriousness - but they have been beasts to carry. I know - I owned a 500mm Hasselblad lens once complete with shoulder stock and...

I sound too boastful - I defeated it only by one day. It doesn't pay to be lazy when the sun is out in winter - you only get small windows of possibility. The student flyers at Jandakot know that well. I was sure that, as Tuesday was fairly fine, they would be circuiting as hard as they could go to get time in before the big fronts hit the coast. Sure enough - the rotary as well as fixed-wing students were up and down as fast as they could taxi. The M Zuiko ED 300mm f:4.0 IS PRO is the angular equivalent of using a 600mm lens on a full-frame camera. That's well into shake territory, but there is stabilisation both on othe lens and in the body. I have no idea which mechanism was working, but as soon as I took a half pressure on the shutter button the EVF image settled down and I could clearly frame the subjects. I read the manual and set the camera to do a pre-shot continuous focusing as well - As I kept the rig pointed...

You might be wondering if I was going to pair the title with a lead line that implied there are times when they get it wrong. Relax - nothing of the sort. I am in a positive mood despite the wintry weather. My goal was to try out a longer lens on the Olympus Micro 4/3 system than hitherto. Oh, I've shot with long lenses on bridge cameras and even gotten out to 400mm on a APS-C sensor but this time I lusted after the M Zuiko ED 300mm f:4.0 IS Pro. As it has to be used around the metro area - no hauling it to Bali for surfing shots - the local airport scene was going to be the testing ground. But first the other part of the test bed - the camera body. Olympus make a number of OM-D models that could handle the lens - generally labelling them as E-M1, E-M5, or E-M10, with different target markets, price points, and specifications. There are now Mk II variants and I noted one camera was up to a Mk III...

I have not done as much in the past with Sony cameras as with some of the other brands. It hasn't been prejudice - just opportunity. You see, Sony in many cases seal the boxes of their goods with a metal tape, and it was not done to slit that tape to extract a camera for testing. I had to wait until one of the demo units was put back into the storeroom to get a chance. This came the day before Valentine's Day. The camera I grabbed was the Sony Cybershot DSC HX400V - a super-zoom designed for the tourist market that combines an all-in-one design with a long telephoto and an active stabiliser system. It's the sort of thing that you get when you are going to Africa or Alaska - or want to take long-distance sporting shots but cannot carry the big DSLR cameras into a venue. ( WACA ) As with most of my tests, it was done OOTB ( out of the box ) with minimal resetting and fiddling - to replicate the sort of experience a...

People who read this column regularly are getting pretty used to the flights of fancy that sometimes occur. And they are more critical than you might think. So I don't think I will have any luck telling them that the lens in the heading image is the Paul Hamlyn part-work Built-Your-Own-Lens in 204 parts and that we have been faithfully buying the magazines every week for over a year now...

I rarely enquire into other people's relationships - they are none of my business. Some photographers feel the same way about taking other people's images - they never approach closely. This is neither a good thing nor a bad one - it is just the way some people's personalities deal with the world. If you are one of these shooters you may choose a longer lens for your year's work. Something that allows you to put a distance between yourself and the subject. You'll have good and bad: Good a. There will be less interference between you and your subject. They will be less likely to react to you. There will be less fear on both parts. b. The depth of field for any given aperture will be shallower. If you are trying to isolate your subject with a fuzzy background or foreground, this will happen more readily. c. The background will loom larger in the shot  - good if this is the atmosphere you want. d. You'll get less chromatic aberration at the edges of most pictures. e. Your face shots will show less distortion than...

We've been selling Wimberley heads for years in various forms. When I started working for the shop a decade ago there was a stack of Indian-made castings in the store-room that were intended for use as long-lens gimbals. The quality was on the high agricultural level - the castings were big and sturdy, and any reasonable use would see the things good for decades. But the things were bulky and insensitive to the locking mechanism That was then and this is now. In the interim we have seen genuine Wimberleys come through occasionally, and have also noted similar devices in the Really Right website as well. The prices were really right too, if you looked at them from the perspective of the accountant for the wholesaler. Now we have a good alternative right in-store - the Sirui carbon fibre head. The level of sophistication and finish is everything that any could be desired - look at the clever design that lets one portion of the casting act as a clamp on another one with the no need for gouging serrations. The finish on...

When you are three weeks old? When you are 65 years old? Or when you take the kit lens off your DSLR and put on the one you have bought especially for your next photoshoot? Well, all three occasions, actually. The first one is when the world swims into focus, the second is when it swims out again, and the third is when you actually get down to business with your photography. Don't misunderstand what I am saying - the kit lens that was on the camera when you bought it was not a mistake. Indeed, if you are just now looking at it after 5 years of fabulous images and wondering whether you should replace it because someone at the camera club bragged about their new $ 4000 acquisition...