Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lens test!

It's been a while - a computer crash and the big move have taken their toll. I've had to replace my previous laptop, which developed a power problem that would have been an expensive fix, and otherwise I've just been spending too much time working on the house to take photos.

Finally, today, I grabbed a lounge chair and sat it down in my back yard to take some photos of passing airplanes. This is the first time I've really put my new 135-400mm lens to the test and I don't know that I'll ever be a great aviation photographer, but it's easy to do and it's fun. I can picture lazy summer weekends sitting around on my back deck and just snapping photos all day long (at least until one of my neighbors thinks I'm scouting targets with my scary-looking camera and calls the police on me...).

This photo was the best of today's bunch. It's noisier than I'd like, and not as sharp as it could be, but then I was hand-holding at 400mm, and that's a tough technique to master. After getting results like this on my first day, though, I think I'll be able to do it.


  1. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Hello Jeff. 400mm lens? Isn't it really heavy? It is pretty sharp as a handheld shot with that lens. I want to have another lens (70-200mm f2.8)for my camera though, it is quite expensive.

    Yoichiro from Mixi

  2. Anonymous5:35 PM

    It is very heavy. I couldn't really handhold it and get sharp results if I was standing. I have to do it sitting, using a chair to rest my elbows. It's not that hard that way if I hold the lens from the front, rather than by the hand grip in the back - this is the technique I learned about halfway through shooting. It becomes much more stable that way, and propping my arms up on the chair, the weight is not that noticeable either.

    I'd never want to use this lens as a walk-around lens, though. I think it weighs about 10 pounds.

    I haven't used this lens at all since this day, but now that it's warmer I will have more chances to (as long as it stops raining for 5 minutes at some point!).

  3. Anonymous12:01 AM

    Hi Jeff

    I came across some advice you gave on about lens inspection at a store before purchasing. Well, I'm hoping you can tell me (or point me to) how to "test" a lens to see if it's in proper working order? I'm new to DSLRs and have come across so many posts regarding back/front focus issues etc. that I've become so critical of everything!


  4. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Some of the people on DPReview are maniacs when it comes to front/back focusing issues. A lot of them can just be safely ignored. But you can do a basic focus test with a printout of a chart like the one you can find here:

    Read that whole page, though, both to make sure you do the test right and to make sure you set your expectations accordingly.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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