On the Burzynski QR plates and the 300 mm f/4D AF-S tripod collar

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ilkka_nissila, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Hi all. I've owned the 300 mm f/4D AF-S since 2001 and I almost
    immediately after purchase added a secondary support to the wimpy
    tripod collar to get rid of the vibration problems at medium shutter
    speeds. It worked well but was inconvenient when going from
    horizontal to vertical shots and vice versa.

    Bjorn Rorslett on his website suggested an alternative collar made by
    Rainer Burzynski (available from www.isarfoto.com). I finally bought
    it last month and received it today. What is remarkable about it is
    that not only is it solid, it rotates really smoothly, takes very
    little space, and the foot of the leg fitts arca-swiss style QR
    systems directly without adding a QR plate to the bottom (reducing
    one potential source of movement). I also purchased an AS-style QR
    platform and a couple of plates for my bodies.

    Although I haven't yet taken pictures with it I want to say my first
    impressions after playing around with the following setup: Gitzo
    G1348, Kaiser ballhead, Burzysnki QR system and the 300/4 AF-S. It
    operates incredibly smoothly and there doesn't seem to be any slack
    whatsoever. When I lock the head, there is no appreciable movement
    after locking when I take my hands off the camera and lens. I've used
    Manfrotto heads and QR plates mostly to this point, and this system
    is really from another world.

    Why did I buy the collar even though I had the plastic secondary
    support? I got double image shots with my D70 and the older rig
    (Manfrotto 141 RC) when shooting at near-1/15th-sec speeds. I mean,
    the shots were absolutely useless, totally soft. I hadn't had
    problems before with other lenses and the lens (with 2ndary support)
    but this was just too much.

    I will shortly take some test shots for comparison at 1/15 s for you
    to see if I can manufacture the difference in inside conditions. I
    think there is wide interest in the 300/4 AF-S and I think the collar
    and QR system by RB should be of interest to those who have this
  2. A fraction (100% pixel crop from a 6 MP D70 RAW file saved as a high-quality JPEG) of a map. This shot was taken with the 300 mm f/4 AF-S at 1/10 s, iso 200, with the standard tripod collar without any additions. All screws were tightened carefully.
  3. This one has a plastic pvc piece inserted between the tripod collar foot and the lens barrel. The piece was custom made and cost about 1? (materials ;-).
  4. Ok, this one is with the Burzynski collar.
  5. So, in summary, the Burzynski collar doesn't limit the potential of the lens at least at f/4. No visible difference between 2-point support and the Burzynski collar as far as I can see. I will give one more shot which was taken with the Burzynski collar but the Manfrotto head and QR system. Again, everything was tightened. Worse results will be obtained if anything in the head is loose.
  6. Given these results, I am now convinced that while lack of MLU can cause blurry shots in some instances, much can be done with careful selection of camera support parts in order to avoid blurred pictures even at critical shutter speeds. The 300/4 AF-S is an excellent lens and its potential for image quality can be delivered at all shutter speeds even using the D70 which doesn't have prefire, given that the tripod is adequate. Notice that the tripod, head, and QR adapter together weigh about 3 kg and can be extended from the ground level to much higher than I can reach.

    Comments welcome.
  7. Additional result: with the TC-14E attached & shooting at iso 400, 1/10 s and f/5.6, there is some vertical blurring due most likely to mirror movement. But the angle of view is already very narrow so some blurring is inevitable without MLU. I'll redo the test with the D2X as the higher pixel density makes it interesting.
  8. Ilkka, thanks for posting these.

    Could you please do a small additional favor. Please scale up the sharpest non-TC shot to match the magnification of sharpest TC shot and post a comparison of these two -- I'm curious. Thanks again,
  9. Ilkka,

    Thanks for posting these images; they're quite revealing.

  10. Arnab, I did some rearrangements to answer your question. I needed a bit more light to be able to shoot the two shots (with and without TC at iso 200 and at the same shutter speed and aperture). I moved the map closer to the lamp and got the desired effect although we're now near closest focus. So 1/15 s and f/5.6 for both frames, from exactly the same tripod position as far as I could make it without glueing the tripod to the floor. Two shots; one without TC, and the other with TC, resampled in Photoshop to get the same magnification. To test focusing precision, I refocused and took each shot twice. This didn't go well, in both cases there was a difference in the sharpness of the two shots. The DOF is shallow and the accuracy of the D70 AF system just isn't quite good enough for shooting close-ups of maps with 300 mm lenses. I selected the sharper shot of the two in each case. The result is that the 300 mm shot at f/5.6 interpolated to match the 420 mm shot is sharper. The color difference is due to auto white balance used (yeah, I know, I shouldn't have used it). First shot with 300 mm interpolated by root 2.
  11. Again, online now.
  12. Sorry. I should be sleeping by now.
  13. And 300+1.4x TC at f/5.6.
  14. So in conclusion, it is better not to add the TC to the 300 mm if you use the D70 because the lens seems to be sharper stopped down, which the TC in this case didn't allow (and often in real life one shoots these kind of lenses at f/5.6). I will redo the test with film to see if the film grain makes the situation different. It would also be possible for me to use MLU on film.

    Notice several potential problems with my methodology: 1) I did not test other apertures (f/11 might be a good choice for still subjects) or 2) distances (this one was really close to the minimum distance) 3) I didn't use preselected WB which can affect things slightly.

    It's not really surprising that these were my first shots with the TC and the D70. I just don't need this long lenses on digital, fortunately.
  15. I really should be sleeping! In fact, the 420 mm shot shows more detail in the texture of the map but the text seems worse. How do you see this?
  16. In short -- I like the shot without TC so much better that I'd just trust my eyes and wouldn't even stop to think why :^)

    To elaborate, I think the *apparent* sharpness on texture with the TC is due to purple color fringing. It also has a color shift. The one without the TC should lend itself much better to post-processing.

    Thanks a bunch for doing this test! An eye opener in terms of 1. importance of stable support and 2. use of top-glass TC with top-glass lens in digital context.

    These are the kind of "educated" threads regarding the D70 that we generally miss the most in this forum.
  17. Ilkka,

    Which Kaiser ballhead are you using?


  18. I forgot to mention that it could also be due to 1.4 times (?)amplification of vibration blur.
  19. I reshot at f/8 and f/11 and a bit longer distance (2.5 m). Now the shutter speeds were 1-2 s, so there should be no effects from mirror slap. I would shoot with flash to test the lenses but my flash doesn't have batteries at the moment. That tells you how much I like flash :) The result is that the TC shot is clearly better than the interpolated one.
  20. And 420 mm f/8, 1 s.
  21. Here are the f/5.6 shots with 1-s shutter speeds. Again, the TC has the advantage over the interpolated 300-mm shot. So what we saw above when I was shooting at 1/15 s was mirror-induced motion which limited the images and our ability to judge them. So the TC is useful even wide open. The rigidity of my setup is not sufficient for shots at 420 mm at 1/15 s on the D70. Mirror lock-up or a better balanced mirror would be necessary for that. Shooting at 300 mm, the quality of my rig seems to be sufficient. The ballhead I have is the "Kaiser professional ball & socket head 6011" so it's not their largest. Weights 660 g.
  22. 420 mm f/5.6 1 s
  23. I do think that the TC shots seem less "clean" in my subjective perception, but they have clearly more detail if the camera stays still enough. I think the lack of MLU in the D70 is forgivable in the context that good results can be obtained at mirror-critical shutter speeds up to 300 mm (450 mm EFL) and good results at non-critical speeds can be obtained even at 420 mm (EFL 630 mm).
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, very thorough tests. Recall that I did an MLU test with my F100 (no MLU) and F5 (with MLU) and concluded that MLU is not that important on the F100. I think you can draw a similar conclusion on the D70, which is a bit surprising to me. Apparently, mirror damping on modern Nikon bodies is excellent.

    I don't use my 300mm/f4 AF-S for macro work, but rotating the lens from vertical to horizontal and back is pretty inconvenient. I'll probably end up getting a non-Nikon collar for it.

    Again, thanks for the tests.
  25. Ilkka, How were able to order from isarfoto? Evertime I try to order a lens support for my 500 f4 P I can't get past the shopping cart. When I go to checkout all the stuff is gone. In short, I have never been able to get throught the checkout online. I don't speak German either. How did you place your order? Thanks Walter
  26. Walter, I didn't have any problems like you describe. Which browser are you using? Maybe it is some kind of a cookie problem. You can send an e-mail to bothe@isarfoto.de. I'm sure they will be able to help you with your order or take it by phone, and in English too. ;-) You can ask about the delivery time as well, mine took several weeks because one of the items wasn't in stock. Good luck.
  27. I have used the Burzynsji collar for over a year now. Great stability is achieved through for the 300/4 AFS even with a TC. I have one shot with panning (quickly!) birds in flight at 1/160 of a sec: needle sharp on the Ultimate Ballhead, RRS clamp, with Berlebach wooden legs.

    It is essentially all in the damping characteristics of the whole system, though. Thanks for testing what I intuitively have known for a year+. I normally just look at the pictures and decide if I like the equipment, or out it must go ... Thanks!
  28. Ilkka,<br>
    very interesting review of the Burzynski lens collar. I was looking for pictures on the net what this specific lens collar looks like on the AF-S300 but haven't found any. Do you mind posting a sample?
  29. Here is a copy of a photo at www.naturfotograf.com.
  30. Thanks a lot!

Share This Page