Monday, April 21, 2008

Huge Moon With Mirror Lens and 2x Teleconverter

At the photography swap meet the other day I was lucky enough to pick up a Sigma 70-300 macro (to replace my 70-200, or so I tell myself (and my wife)) and my prize, a 500mm Mirror Lens and T-to-K mount converter so it would fit on my K20D. The mirror lens is great, huge reach, tiny price, weight, and length. The thing is about the length of the DA16-45 and a third the weight.

Of course, it's got it's bad sides. Fixed aperture at f-8.0, hard to stabilize without a tripod (though a big "yay" in the K20D shake reduction column), distinctive donut bokeh, and not the best image quality. Mine is a Japanese version that I doubt is anywhere near the quality of the Tarmon in th elink above. However, it's my first long lens and I'm having a blast playing with it! And what's the first thing you do with a long telephoto? Yup, take pictures of the moon! In my case I was a masochist and put a 2x teleconvert on the body first, so I had that to contend with.

However the results are worth it. The moon, low on the horizon appears huge in the viewfinder. Below is a shot straight out of the camera with no cropping. Minor whitebalance and converted from RAW, but that's it.

1/90th @ f-8.0, ISO 3200 1500mm equiv

The most amazing thing to me is the zoom. Whenever I see a great moon shot I generally ask how much cropping was done, and mostly it's a fair amount, like 60%. The shot above, 0% cropping. Sorry for the shadow in front, that's a branch from the neighbors tree which I did my best to avoid, but as this was a quick and dirty run-out-before-bed session, this has less foliage than some of the other ones :) Click on the image to see a larger version. Zoomed all the way in it's not great, yet it still shows nicely full size on the monitor. A bit of noise-ninja helps for the 100% view as well, however I think you're only going to get so far with a less than stellar lens and a less than stellar teleconverter!

Now I have to get to bed if I want my 5 hours of sleep tonight...