d600 performance with teleconverters

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sener, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. I had a chance to take a few pictures of a pigeon on the roof of a building right across my apartment using my d600 + 500/4 vr and the tc-17e, specifically I wanted to see the results with tc-17e, since I had very unpredictable results with this combo attached to d7000 before.
    It was a sunny morning and the pigeon was exactly at 30m away (checked it on the focus scale). The camera was set to standard mode with +3 sharpening, high iso noise reduction at normal, and the pictures were taken in fx jpg format full resolution and hand-held (vr on). The first example data is: 1/1500, f/9.5 (1 stop down for max sharpness), iso400, -0.5ev (a habit from d7000, apperantly not good for d600). The second example is with: 1/2000, f/9.5, iso800, -0.5ev. The 100% crops of both pictures are shown below each one.
    The pictures are brightened up slightly, but no other processing is done. These two examples are representative to the others being very similar. Some of the dots on the blue background are the dust on the window. Also, pictures are saved with jpg compression with only good quality in order to keep the files below 100kb.
    I found the d600 to be much better performer than the d7000 when it is used with tc's. I think the major advantage is the high iso performance that enables a photographer to shoot at much smaller apertures (large f numbers) with high shutter speeds. Also, f/8 sensitivity is important to get accurate focus where it was not possible before. Also, in camera noise suppresser seems to keep detail much better than the d7000.
    These are my findings so far, I hope they are useful,
    any comments would be welcomed.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Keep in mind that the D600 has a pixel density even less than the 12MP D2X and D300/D300S, while the D7000's pixel density is higher than the D800. Therefore, it should surprise no one that the D600 is not as demanding on lenses as the D7000 is, at least in the center part of the frame.
  3. Have you done any comparison of an identical image shot both with and without the TC, comparing crops of the upsized non-TC image to the similarly cropped TC image? I find this is the best way to determine if the TC is helping or hindering.
  4. I have not done such a comparison for these images. However, I had done it for different images back in 2011. I took the pictures of a Eurasian hobby from a distance which I am not sure how long it was, clearly longer than these pigeon images. The first image is with 500/4 vr alone, and the following is its 100% crop, the second image is from the same location with tc-17e added, and the picture is downsized. The last picture is the 100% crop of the 850mm image.
    I should also mention that from such distances, heat waves etc.. become very important sources of blur, hence the images given here are the sharpest selections out of several images.
    500mm with No TC, d7000, 1/1500, f/4, iso200
    Its 100% Crop:
    500mm + tc-17e, d7000, 1/500, f/8, iso400:
    Cropped and Downsized to 600x400 pixels for comparison:
    100% crop:
    No processing has been made on these images.
    TC clearly produces better details because of downsizing. With the d7000, the biggest challange for me was the blurs due to slow shutter speeds, inaccurate focus, etc.. That being said, I don't recommend such long shots with any camera system as the heat waves are far more destructive, and I don't know how much these results can reflect the true performance criteria, but I still prefer real field outcomes instead of the studio tests.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My 500mm/f4 is the first AF-S version. I rarely put my TC-14E on it precisely because it is hard to control the vibration. All you need is one really sharp image from that combination to demonstrate that optically, it is capable. The issue is vibration, which affects most images with that combo. I don't even bother to put the TC-17E II on it.
  6. I like to do controlled tests when I get new lenses so I know what to expect when out in the field. Your D7000 'challenges' should be resolved with your new D600 as the new body will allow you significantly faster shutter speeds and focus accurately with your lens/TC combo. Your initial results look pretty good!
    Just curious... do you shoot with the VR on or off?
  7. VR is always on on my lens, except when I shoot very slow shutter speeds on a tripod or a beanbag in which case I use a remote shutter and mirror-up mode. Exposure delay mode also eliminates the shutter vibrations, but on the d7000, the delay was not enough to cease oscillations completely, on the d600, they fixed it by putting three different time delays, 1, 2, 3,sec. I tried this feature and even 1sec. does the job.
    I like the stable view that vr gives which helps composing the frame, vr also helps when chasing a fast moving objects such as birds in flight.
  8. I think that if you evaluate your field images solely based on the test results, this may be misleading. The light coming from long distances in the open field would almost always be degraded by differactions and scatterings, on top of that, there are heat waves that will even drop the quality of light entering into the lens. For example, a prime telephoto lens with a 2xTC can produce very sharp and usefull images in the studio tests taken from 5m distance, while in the field, the results may be not usefull at all. Another example is the Nikkor 200-400mm vr lens that is reviewed as being very sharp, while supposedly suffers sharpness at long distances, and as far as I know, there are no seperate MTF's for two different object distances.

    Of course, controlled test are far more error-free in terms of lens performance and there are definitely correlations between the test results and the field data, however, you would not know what to expect in the field solely based on the test results. I think the best way to find out is to use it in the field.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Goker, your image samples indicate that you are trying to capture subjects that are too far away. Therefore, they occupy too small an area on your sensors and that is partly why image quality is poor; you are also shooting through too much air with its share of pollusion.
    That is partly why a lot of us who use long lenses prefer DX bodies. In this case the D600 has its disadvantages.
    You need to find ways to get closer.
  10. Goker, I always try to do my tests based on how I intend to shoot. I always test my long lenses with distant objects that would simulate the typical distance I may be often shooting at.
    My 200-400mm VRII is extremely sharp at all distances and is pretty darn good with the TC20e-III (to my pleasant surprise) but I havenot compared it to other 'serious' 400mm+ lenses other than my 600mm AIS. So far, I am pleased with the results with the TC, enough to keep it and use it whenever necessary without concern. IQ and AF/AF speed has certainly exceeded my expectations. The high resolution of the newer bodies (D800/D600) combined with down sampling helping in making typical medium sized prints look truly amazing!

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