70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...

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70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sat 13 Feb 2010 09:38

Ives brenders drove 220km to bring me his 80-400VR and his D300 to enable this users review as a complement of my great experience with the 70-200VRII+ TC2.0 E III on my D700. Thanks Ives!
I had quite a bit of difficulties doing a users review with this combo because of very unusual weather conditions in our region, much snow and freezing -3 upto -10 °C during the last weeks. Taking pictures of birds in flight in this low temperature next to very strong wind coming from over the sea is no fun...

Last two days weather was getting a little better and I was able to make some decent pictures and shoot enough to write my thoughts about using the 70-200VRII+ TC2.0 E III on D300.

My findings, impressions and enthusiasm on this zoom-TC combination on a D300 are quite different than those on the 70-200VRII+ TC2.0 E III on a FX format camera, which I called a "magic combo".
The results I get with a 70-200VRII+ TC2.0 E III on D300 are quite "average", and even quite poor wide open...
:( :( :(
Even though I have this impression already for several days, I was hesitating to write it down, while the poor results could have been te result of the terrible weather conditions, a user mistake of mine or having lost the habit of working with D300... (I had a D300 after I returned my first D3 for reasons of weight, size and PUFlash but returned to D3 after approx 6 weeks. TMHO the difference in IQ between D3 and D300 is very significant, and not only @ higher isos...)

By coincidence I got the latest copy(n°321) of Chasseur d'Images yesterday with a very detailed review of the 70-200VRII on D300, D3s and D3X, a test done by real experts and their finding explained my rather disillusioning results of the 70-200VRII+ TC2.0 E III on D300...
Whereas the 70-200VRII @ 200mm and F2.8 gets a comfortable "8+" -quote while used on a D3s and a "9" -quote while used on a D3X, it only gets a "6.3" quote while used on a D300 @200mm and F2.8. At F4 and 200mm the 70-200VRII mounted on the D300 gets a "7.6" and a "7.8" @ F5.6.
Further more and according to this Chasseur d'Images 70-200VRII-test(Chasseur d'Images n°321), at shorter focals the 70-200VRII mounted on a D300 gets 8-8.5 -quotes until F16 where diffraction starts to degrade IQ significant.
Another interesting thing in the Chasseur d'Images 70-200 test is a comparison with the 70-200VRI on the different cameras. While the improvement of the new 70-200 version is clear in the test results on FX cameras, the VRI scored higher on a D300 body than the new version does... This could of course also depend on the person who was writing the 70-200VRI review those days...
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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D3/D700 vs D300 with 70-200vrII+TCIII basic differences...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 14 Feb 2010 14:34

Using a telezoom with a 2x teleconvertor is not only loosing 2 stops of light, but the final IQ depends as well on the camera you use it on.
Next to the size of the sensor and the pixel density, the size of the pixel or the photosite in relation with lens elements determinate if the photons hit the sensor(photosites) on the right place, before being converted to an electronic signal(by the photodiode) that finally generates 1 part of the final image. Photons hitting the right place, -or not hitting the right place- on the sensor after pasing through the lens elements, is at the basic of image imperfections named like diffraction, CA or color fringing.
But there is more on a digital camera chip than only the silicon, the size of the sensor and photosites and pixel density... The quality of the Color filter array, the microlenses on the chip and the signal processing...

The quality of all parts of the camera chip explains why f.i. a D3X with a similar pixel density of a D300 generates a much better image with the same lens combination than the D300 does.
The quality of the signal processing explains why a D3X with basically the same sensor than the Sony A900, has a much better image output than the Sony a900, easy visible while comparing similar images from both cameras taken from iso 400 upwards


To illustrate a bit the complexity of this matter I inserted a diagram from this interesting link about on-chip color filters (Color Filter Array and micro lens) : http://www.toppan.co.jp/english/products_service/pdf/OCF.pdf

Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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D3/D700 vs D300 with 70-200vrII+TCIII-practical differences

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 14 Feb 2010 15:16

D3/D700 vs D300 with 70-200vrII+TCIII-practical differences

I had the D3 since the day of it's release back in nov 2007 and because of size, weight, unsuspiciousness and PUFlash I exchanged my (first) D3 for a D300 in february 2008. After approx 6-8 weeks I returned to D3 despite size, weight and no PUFlash because after a couple of thousand pictures I was convinced that the D3 IQ is significantly better than the D300 IQ @ all isos. Back in july 2008, Nikon released D700 and I found the camera of my dreams... A relative compact DSLR with the outstanding D3 chip aboard...
Now, after this humble test, I was confronted once more with this difference, and while carrying 2 more years of experience with me, the difference seems even bigger...

Underneath I mention some of the major practical differences between D3/D700 and D300 in relation to this test:

-The bigger pixels of the D700 are more forgiving for optical imperfections of the 70-200vrII+TCIII combo.

-The D700 let's me shoot @ full speed in RAW 14bit while D300 is limited to 2.5fps in 14 bit mode. Shooting 14 bit gives visible more shadow detail than 12bit.

-The AF while using the 70-200vrII+TCIII-combo , especially in lower light, is significantly faster on the D700 than on the D300. Also in full sun the difference is there. Mounted on the D700, the combo is "snappier".

-My favourite camera setting for photographing birds in flight is M-mode, while setting the shutter speed @ 1/3FL=1/1200sec (or faster) with the aperture stopped down to F7.1 and auto iso enabled until iso 1000, 1250 or 1600, depending on the weather.
Here you get two major differences between the cameras: first of all the 11/2 stop advantage the D700 has over the D300 in relation to noise and secondly the auto iso setting that can be set unlimited on the D700 while with the D300 it is limited to 400, 800, 1600, 3200 or, HI-1...
While using the D300, iso 400 or 800, or from 800 to 1600 is a bridge too far...

-The significant difference in DR. While photographing birds in flight during this test, D700 and D300 aside, I had much more blown out white birds with the D300 than with the D700...

-And last but not least, the difference in noise. Despite the fact that I was switching "off" Active D-lighting for this test, even @ low iso you can see very significant noise in the shadow areas of images taken with D300, especially if the contrast is big. Whatever others might say, TMHO and after many thousand pictures with D3, D700 and D300 the difference is @ least 1 1/2 stop and already very well visible @ low isos when you pixel peep the shadow areas.
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...sample shots...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 14 Feb 2010 17:46

70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...sample shots with crops...

All underneath pictures have been taken in RAW, AWB, convertion to jpeg without additional PP, resized for websize.
The underneath pictures can become much better after some PP, but I am convinced that for a test it is important to see what you get straight out of the camera. While taking this samples the light was not always consistent: sometimes full sun, sometimes there were some clouds...

1st set of samples: taken on tripod @ 140, 200, 270 and 400mm, iso400 and each one @ F5.6(wide open), F7.1 and F9. Shutterspeeds are indicated under every picture.

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @140mm, the scene:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @140mm F5.6 and 1/4000sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @140mm F7.1 and 1/2000sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @140mm F9 and 1/1600sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @200mm, the scene:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @200mm F5.6 and 1/3200sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @200mm F7.1and 1/2500sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @200mm F9 and 1/1600sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @270mm, the scene:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @270mm F5.6and 1/4000sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @270mm F7.1 and 1/2000sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @270mm F9and 1/1250sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @400mm, the scene:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @400mm F5.6 and 1/4000sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @400mm F7.1 and 1/2500sec, crop 100%:
Image

D300 + 70-200VRII+TCIII @400mm F9and 1/1600sec, crop 100%:
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Re: 70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...some more samples

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 14 Feb 2010 18:11

Until now only one more sample. A bird in flight taken with D300 and 70-200VRII + TCIII, handhold @ 400mm and iso 1600, F7.1, 1/4000 sec.
As you see you can get very decent results with this tele/TC combo on the D300, even @ 400mm(which means "600mm" -handhold!!!)
What is quite impressing in this picture is that it has been taken @ iso 1600...

Image

and a 67% crop:
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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The 70-200VRII on D300 without TC..., some samples...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 14 Feb 2010 18:24

The 70-200VRII on D300, without teleconvertor...

The new 70-200VRII on the D300 is nothing less than spectacular, just like his predecessor used to be, capable of delivering tacksharp images, but just like his predecessor, noticable better when you stop down a bit. On the D3/D700 though, the new 70-200VRII is already very sharp @ F2.8...

The scene:
D300+ 70-200VRII @ 70mm, iso250, handhold, 1/2500sec/ F4.5
Image

and a 100% crop:
Image


The scene:
D300+ 70-200VRII @ 200mm, iso250, handhold, 1/2500sec/ F4.5
Image

and a 100% crop:
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
http://www.nikonuser.info
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Re: 70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...

Postby Marsupilami » Sun 14 Feb 2010 21:23

Just one question to your test: Did you perform a AF fine tune on your 70-200 tc III combo ?
Might make a difference.

Christian
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Re: 70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D300...

Postby Stany Buyle » Mon 15 Feb 2010 22:16

Hi Christian.
Marsupilami wrote:Just one question to your test: Did you perform a AF fine tune on your 70-200 tc III combo ?
Might make a difference.Christian

No I did not while it was a body I borrowed from a friend. Upto that I got perfect AF with the 70-200VRII on the D300 without TC... But your idea makes perfect sense... I wonder if the camera would registrate the 70-200 VRII + TCIII in relation to AF fine tuning as another lens as the 70-200 VRII alone...
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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70-200VRII + TC-20 E III on D7000 (links)

Postby Stany Buyle » Fri 1 Apr 2011 20:55

I was amazed with the samples I found taken with D7000 and the 70-200VRII + 2xTCeIII combo, much better than what I could do with the D300 and that TC-Lens combo:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=38062769

And some excellent (I mean outstanding) images from birds in flight with this combo:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=38070797
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
http://www.nikonuser.info
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