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Still needs a life.
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My original reason for taking these comparison shots was somewhat morbid. I had read that a Canadian sniper made a confirmed world record shot of 2.2 miles. As someone who has done target shooting, I wanted to get some perspective of the difficulty of that shot. I am posting the photos I took for those who may be contemplating buying a telephoto lens and/or teleconverter.

#1: My son and I went up to Pt. Edwards in Edmonds and set up my camera equipment at a viewpoint on Pine St. above the condos that are in the background of many of my photos. I used my Canon 5D Mark III as it has a full frame sensor. All photos were taken @ 1/250, f/16, auto ISO.

#2: 50mm using a 24-105 wide angle zoom. I have been told 50mm is a "normal" view with no telephoto magnification. The flat open area with water is the Edmonds marsh, where I take many bird photos. The street in the distance that you will see better in the telephoto shots is Sunset Ave., where I take many train, bird and sunset photos. Using the railroad mileposts, it is about a mile north of the camera.

#3: 700mm (or 14x) using a 500mm telephoto lens + 1.4x teleconverter mounted on a tripod.

#4: 1000mm (or 20x) using a 500mm telephoto lens + 2x teleconverter mounted on a tripod.

Even though it was not hot, you can see there is still distortion caused by heart waves, which is a big factor in taking telephoto shots. If you are contemplating getting a large telephoto lens, be prepared to spend additional $$$$ for a heavy duty tripod and mounting head to secure a steady base for taking photos.
 

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With the D800 I've found that teleconverters are of zero value, I've got a full set of Nikon TC's (not particularly cheap) and they reduce image quality over crop zooming. Basically... even though all my Nikon and Zeiss optics are very high quality (all ED series Nikkors for instance), the resolution of the D800 is pushing them as hard as they're going to be pushed... there's no optical resolution beyond the D800 that can be collected using the TC's.

The only nice things about TC's then is that the viewfinder on the camera is more useful... and I can more quickly figure out what zoom factor I'm at (with crop zooming obviously you've got to calculate it from the final image size).

The one TC I still use is actually an old Vivitar 2x macro TC... pretty cool little piece of kit that can be had for about $15, but when I'm using that I'm not so much worried about overall resolution (obviously it's not brilliant at that).
 

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Retired Pipe Polisher C2H6O+
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Dave, it somewhat depends on the lens you are putting the TC on and which TC. I have the TC14II and TC20III. Used on my 300 f2.8 VRII, yes the TC20 noticeably reduces image quality when shooting wide open, f5.6. Stopped down a couple of stops and image quality is good but still not perfect. But the TC14 on the same lens shot wide open, f4, is indistinguishable from the bare lens shot at the same aperture. And I'm talking about viewing D810 files at 100%.


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Back to Bills original topic. Do you know what X power a 2000 mm lens is equal to. I don't, but I'm thinking a 40X scope is greater.

Long range shooters learn how to compensate for environmental conditions as well as wind and light changes. Even shooting at 200 yards your POI can move just because the sun goes behind a cloud.


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Dave, it somewhat depends on the lens you are putting the TC on and which TC. I have the TC14II and TC20III. Used on my 300 f2.8 VRII, yes the TC20 noticeably reduces image quality when shooting wide open, f5.6. Stopped down a couple of stops and image quality is good but still not perfect. But the TC14 on the same lens shot wide open, f4, is indistinguishable from the bare lens shot at the same aperture. And I'm talking about viewing D810 files at 100%.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
With the TC20 it's definitely a lot more noticeable... but I noticed it with the 14 under some conditions. Can't say I spent the time required to go through every aperture setting though. This was with the 70-200 VRII some... but mostly with the 200-500 VR (which admittedly isn't the same quality as the 70-200).

3x, 5x, 20x for a spotting scope or rifle scope... those aren't as meaningful when you're talking about cameras (and are a bit confusing with the consumer camera version of "3x, 5x, 10x zoom" which relates to the max divided by min magnification of a zoom lens). The scope version of zoom is "how much bigger does the thing I'm looking at get when I use this bit of glass". To fully answer that question in these days of showing pics on screens you actually need to know what that image is getting displayed on (and how far away that is from the viewer)... but if you simplify things and assume you're looking through the camera viewfinder (which on the D800 is about .7x) then you should be able to figure out something for the d800:

Approximate 1x optic - ~45mm for a 35mm full frame camera.
D800 optical viewfinder - 0.7x

So 1x on the D800 is - ~64mm
if I didn't screw something up then... 20x magnification would be about 1280mm.
A 2000mm lens would be ~31x.

I've shot my cousin's Lapua at 1000 yards... I have nothing but respect for soldiers that can hit a man shaped target at long ranges, I have zero illusions that I'd be able to hit a human sized target at >3x that distance. (could barely hit a deer sized target at 1000... and I thought I did pretty well).
 

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Bills long range shots with the 2x are very impressive. I'd like to see the full size files.

Like Bill said, when you start using long lenses it gets really difficult. Technique and having a really sturdy, vibration free tripod setup is as important as the camera/lens setup.

A funny story.... when I first got my 300 f2.8 it was winter. It was cold out but I had to try it out, right? So I put it on a tripod and opened the door and tried shooting some test shots of stuff outside. The results were fucked up. I nearly shit. I couldn't believe I just spent 6 grand on a POS! So I grabbed my 300 f4 and did a comparison. It was just as bad and I knew better what it was capable of. So I took the camera rig outside and let the temps stabilize for a few minutes and shot more test shots. It was magic. Resolution I've never seen before.

Lesson learned. Air temperature difference between inside (72) and outside (40) and the camera setting there getting flows of air from both sides was really messing with the focus. I found this out by using "live view" and I could see that the image was never locking focus. Its was constantly changing.
 

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If I was told correctly, the formula is X = mm/50mm.

Ergo: 2000mm/50mm = 40X.
Good to know. Cool.

I'm not sure what the military uses now days but I imagine it's somewhere around 40-50X. Regardless, even with the skills those guys have, a 2 mile kill had to have a measure of luck with it.
 

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My original reason for taking these comparison shots was somewhat morbid. I had read that a Canadian sniper made a confirmed world record shot of 2.2 miles. As someone who has done target shooting, I wanted to get some perspective of the difficulty of that shot. I am posting the photos I took for those who may be contemplating buying a telephoto lens and/or teleconverter.

#1: My son and I went up to Pt. Edwards in Edmonds and set up my camera equipment at a viewpoint on Pine St. above the condos that are in the background of many of my photos. I used my Canon 5D Mark III as it has a full frame sensor. All photos were taken @ 1/250, f/16, auto ISO.

#2: 50mm using a 24-105 wide angle zoom. I have been told 50mm is a "normal" view with no telephoto magnification. The flat open area with water is the Edmonds marsh, where I take many bird photos. The street in the distance that you will see better in the telephoto shots is Sunset Ave., where I take many train, bird and sunset photos. Using the railroad mileposts, it is about a mile north of the camera.

#3: 700mm (or 14x) using a 500mm telephoto lens + 1.4x teleconverter mounted on a tripod.

#4: 1000mm (or 20x) using a 500mm telephoto lens + 2x teleconverter mounted on a tripod.

Even though it was not hot, you can see there is still distortion caused by heart waves, which is a big factor in taking telephoto shots. If you are contemplating getting a large telephoto lens, be prepared to spend additional $$$$ for a heavy duty tripod and mounting head to secure a steady base for taking photos.

1000mm... what the hell! i've never view nothing of similar in my life!

I got nikon FF D700 and D800 used for fashion and glamour shooting, mi favourite lenses are the 24-70 2.8 but for specific shots i used the 85 1.4 AFD and the 180 2.8 AFD
For the real estate customers i usually use the 18mm in order to have better view of the villas
 

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1000mm... what the hell! i've never view nothing of similar in my life!

I got nikon FF D700 and D800 used for fashion and glamour shooting, mi favourite lenses are the 24-70 2.8 but for specific shots i used the 85 1.4 AFD and the 180 2.8 AFD
For the real estate customers i usually use the 18mm in order to have better view of the villas
I think the 24-70 is a great lens for flexibility... I love the 85 (I've got the G) though for some shots (generally indoor composed stuff, makes sense for a portrait lens)... I imagine that's a great lens for glamour shoots. I really like the 50 ais too for razor thin dof shots. I guess if I had to pick a favorite based on usage... I find myself reaching for the 14-24 2.8 most of the time. When I travel light I take the 14-24 and 24-70 (primary subject is wide nature shots or interest shots). I found on my last trip that I used the 14-24 about 75% of the time.

Most of us don't have much experience with the long Nikkors... because you need to mortgage your house to afford one. For nature photography however longer is very often better... or if your a pro sports photographer... same thing. For those folks $20k for a lens is not a big deal - it's how they make money.
 

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yes, it always depends on what u r gonna shoot.
For my use the 180 is far enought.

On short sides the sigma ART, and tamron VC fixed the situation is growing with very great lenses
 

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Still needs a life.
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
On short sides the sigma ART, and tamron VC fixed the situation is growing with very great lenses
On the very long sides, Sigma and Tamron are (quite literally) giving Nikon and Canon a run for their money with their long range telephoto zooms. For a while my local camera store could not keep Tamron's first series 150-600 telephoto zoom in stock.

Nikon responded by introducing an affordable (by Nikon standards) 200-500 telephoto zoom. I heard rumors Canon has something similar on the horizon, but nothing has shown up yet.

I photograph primarily nature. I advise people that for nature photography you need a least a 400mm telephoto. I like the flexibility of a telephoto zoom for "walk & stalk" photography, as birds can pop up in front of you and seldom remain in one place for very long.

For landscapes and trains, I use Canon's 17-35L wide angle and 24-105L medium zooms. I also have Canon's "bargain" 70-200L (4.0/no IS) telephoto zoom, although I seldom use it. I bought it used and at times is just the right lens for the occasion.
 
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