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  1. 3 points
    just some quick images of the lens when Mongo was unpacking it
  2. 2 points
    2/3 sec exposure in the studio I was shooting this girl, doing the usual look pretty shots ... until she mentioned: - I dance with a group we do flash mobs - really? what kind of dance, can you do a few moves? - yes but not on high heels - it doesn't matter a nice dance move beats high heels every time ... She went away, got rid of the pretty clothes, put on her ballet shoes (quite worn) and I tried a longish exposure to try to capture some blur , she was a good sport, as it took me a few tries to figure out the time, flash intensity, etc with some PP I was able to get a bit of what I wanted, a dark background would have been ideal, but was not available Thanks for looking
  3. 2 points
    Long-time members here might recall me mentioning a couple of shoots I was involved with in 1977. George Patterson Advertising had the GM-Holden account back then, and imported Reid Miles (of "Chicago" album cover fame amongst other things) to photograph a calendar for distribution to their Holden car dealerships around the country. George Patts thought that it would be good if the local photographers could get some on-set time to pick up some pointers, so my boss Paul Olson and myself attended two of the 12 shoots as "assistants". The Miles entourage was impressive indeed (there were no millionaire photographers in Australia then, so Mr Miles' presence was awe-inspiring enough), and ever since that shoot I've been trying to find an image of either of the two shoots. Today I lucked in on one - it was taken in the coach yard of Como House http://www.comohouse.com.au/ early October 1977: The "Painter" and "Model" were professional models, the rest of the "onlookers" were grabbed from the surrounding streets by Reid's "talent scouts" and paid $10 each after the shot, which took the best part of the day to set up, including a pell-mell trip to the colour lab with test rolls of films to make sure the Polaroids were accurate (that would be me who did that drive, speed limits were broken... ). The shot was taken by Reid's "assistant photographer" Bobby, who was actually the photographer - all Reid did was an awful lot of yelling and directing with an occasional glance into the viewfinder, from recollection. The Camera was a Mamiya RZ67, the film Ektachrome. Along with that anecdote I have also related one time we nearly lost a Holden Sandman panel van during a shoot at Tidal River beach, Wilson's Promontory, also in 1977. The male model was a guy named Don Mahoney, and the female I can't remember as I only ever saw her that day - she turned up with a totally unphotogenic one-piece black bathing suit and my boss did a real dummy spit over that one - she was meant to have a bikini on, of course. This was winter, and Wilson's Promontory is as far south as you can go on the Australian mainland, so it was freezing. Paul nonetheless had these two unfortunate models cavorting in the surf - shots which were never used (the girl was almost blue from the cold). Blow me down if I didn't come across a scan of the brochure that resulted from that shoot as well, taken originally with Hasselblad/Ektachrome EPD: As the sun set, Paul had me turn the car so that it was facing the ocean for some moody, reflection-type sunset shots, and a couple of penetrating wavelets from the incoming tide (Tidal River is a very shallow-sloping beach that the water travels a great distance over between high and low tide), after which I pointed out that the car had sunk into the sand up to the rims. Of course it was stuck fast, and it took a panic-struck dash to the ranger station to get him out in his ancient Land Rover to pull the car out - by that time it had had a wave over it high enough to saturate the cabin floor. He informed us that the previous week a well-known local car photographer had in fact lost an S Class Mercedes saloon, not a trace of which was visible any more. Just for interest's sake....
  4. 2 points
    I got mine last week from Adorama. I had been on a wait list for less than ten days. I think they are out again, but it was not a long wait. So far I have made wonderful shots of my books in the bookcase, and a few shots outside, through my double-paned windows. It is supposed to be much drier tomorrow, so I hope to get some more shots then. My serial number is 6,000,xxx so I should be up to date on the firmware. I was amazed at how well (how close!) it would focus in my room in low light. It seemed to lock on quite well. I will have to remember Mongo's recommendations for which VR mode to use. ( I was using normal mode.) I bought my 200-500 to give to my lady friend for a better long lens than her 80-400 VR I zoom. Those who have used one of these know how terribly slow the focus is, and how it is just about impossible to follow a bird in flight. The Tamron 150-600 is far better focusing than the 80-400 (and far more nimble with birds in flight,) so if this 200-500 is in the same league as the TAMRON, OR EVEN BETTER! then it will be a winner. With the 200-500 I did look at some magpie photos in my back yard (again, taken through the double paned glass,) and could see the silhouette of my duplex clearly reflected in the bird's eye. He was on my fence about 60 feet from where I was sitting in the house. But this lens is quite a bit heavier than the 80-400 VRI, and also noticeably heavier than the Tamron 150-600. I will need to spend some time comparing images taken with these two latter lenses. My first 150-600 was awful. I sent it back, and the second one is absolutely phenomenal. But I suspect she will end up with the Tamron, as it is lighter than the Nikon. The Nikon 200-500 on my D700 with the Battery Grip is quite a weight to carry. I cannot imagine her using it without at least a good monopod. And that is probably true of the 150-600 Tamron, as well. If this performs as well on my D700 as the Tamron 150-600 does, I will be absolutely ecstatic. Kirk Photo is already manufacturing a replacement lens collar for the 200-500 (almost $200.) So some people must not be satisfied with the rigidity of this Nikon lens collar/foot? Or is Kirk just that good at marketing? I do have the Kirk collar on my older 80-400, and I think it makes a difference on a tripod (but I bought it for $50 off of eBay, not for $200.) The Nikon collar and foot were really pretty wimpy on the 80-400. I am glad that Mongo thinks this newer Nikon collar is substantial enough on the 200-500. I am anxious to get a little better weather so I can "put a few miles" on this lens. The weight of the 150-600 is listed as 4.3 pounds.The old 80-400 VR1 lens is listed as 2.95 pounds, and the Nikon 200-500 is listed as 5.07 pounds. I may have a job convincing her that the added weight is worth it (selling the 80-400 is part of my financial plan to be able to justify the new lens....before she gets back from a trip!) Basically the Tamron will be an extra 1.3 pounds over the 80-400, and it extends much longer than the 80-400. The 200-500 is an additional 2 pounds plus over the 80-400. I do not see either of us using this handheld;.. at least not for very long. Whereas the 80-400 can be handheld (of course, this works well only for stationary targets.) If it is moving, then you better be very lucky. Walt
  5. 1 point
    Mongo was sort of lucky enough to be one of the first to get one of these in Australia. He has had it now for about a month. There is good and bad about it but mainly good (now that is). Mongo purchased it from an authorised Nikon dealer for $1700 Australian Dollars which is a very good price. AF Issues Initially, Mongo had considerable trouble with the lens. The AF seem to go “to sleep” at times and would not work unless you woke it by manually turing the focus ring or turning the camera on and off. Not really what you need when trying to catch wildlife (particularly birds in flight), sports action, aviation etc. These are the things this lens was surely designed for. The other problem Mongo noticed was that the lens seemed very slow to acquire focus on moving objects. The lens was relatively OK on stationary objects (apart from falling asleep as described above). This mystery was largely solved in two steps. First, having the “sleep issue” “fixed” with the firmware update. Secondly, by using the most appropriate VR mode. Unfortunately, Mongo had to work out the do’s and don’ts of VR on this lens largely by himself and the odd rare comment he could find on the net as the lens was still reactively new and few people had used it. It seems that “normal” mode reduced the the AF speed whereas, “sports” mode seems to have far less affect on AF speed. Unfortunately, the lens does not come with a real explanatory booklet - it only has a single open-out sheet. Mongo is all for cost saving to be able to provide this lens cheaply to customers but some information should not be skimped on. VR When you look through the viewfinder and engage “normal” VR mode, the effect is dramatic ! the movement is almost completely halted in a way Mongo has not previously experienced with other Nikon VR lenses. The claim that his lens’ VR is the best to date is probably well founded. However, as with any fast car or precision tool, you must know how to use it to get any good out of it. Mongo has determined that, “normal” mode is best used when handholding the lens and focusing on stationary objects. “Spots” mode VR should be used in all other instances including on a monopod, panning etc. Some of this information is in the instruction sheet but not all of it an not enough to have worked this out effectively in Mongo’s opinion. The combination of the above two steps have now brought the lens to a reasonable standard and one that Mongo is happy enough with and could, potentially, be very pleased with subject to further testing. However, all indications so far are that there is a little more that can be extracted from this lens and that should bring it to the that level of satisfaction. Quality Control Typically, Nikon realised the lens (in Mongo’s view) half baked and poorly tested - if at all. Untypically, Nikon came out within weeks of the lens being sold to admit there were AF issues and had a firmware update to rectify it. See: http://nikonrumors.com/2015/10/06/some-nikkor-200-500mm-f5-6e-ed-vr-lenses-have-af-issue-must-be-sent-back-to-nikon-for-service.aspx/#more-98465 So, Mongo was not wrong when he had earlier complained to Nikon that the lens had AF issues. It should be noted that Mongo noticed the problem within the first few hours of using the lens. One would have to ask how Nikon could not have notice this problem if it had carried out any credible testing. Again, as Mongo has previously stated, this should never have happened and Nikon needs to get its act together about properly testing its products before subjecting the public to them and expecting the public to be its test guinea pigs. If it does so, it may keep more of its customers and regain a lot of lost respect. If you buy a lens with a serial number greater than 2008365, the issue should already have been rectified. So, in the scheme of things, the problem was caught relatively early after the lens’ release. Build Quality & Features Mongo could go on at some length about this but it is easier to summarise it extremely good and excellent value for the money. It is solid, well built and well finished, movements are very precise (not sloppy) and no lens creep. Also, the foot on this lens is not like the 300 f4 AFS. It is , In Mongo’s opinion, it is very solid and well designed for this lens’ needs. In short, you will not have the need or urge to go out and buy an after market foot with possibly one exception. Most of us use the arca swiss attachment system and this lens does not have that feature. That is unfortunate as the foot is big enough and solid enough to have machined that profile into it. Mongo assumes this has not been done due to possible patent issues. Nonetheless, you can buy a short arca swiss plate/rail and attach it to the lens’ existing foot without any concerns. Image Quality What would you expect to get for this money in this zoom range? Well, you would have to think that it has to be at least as good as Tamron and Sigma offerings or there would be no point in making it. Mongo has only tried the Tamorn 150-600mm and found it to be a respectably good lens. He has not tried the Sigmas (although he managed to get a look at them and handle them as well as see some images from them). From that small amount of largely indirect knowledge, it seems they too are very good performers. Mongo’s analysis of the MTF charts lead him to believe that the Nikon is most closely aligned to the Sigma Sport. It would be unfair for Mongo (in these circumstances) to attempt to draw some comparison between the various lenses. So, he will comment on the Nikon more directly. The image quality is surprisingly good, indeed, very good. Even wide open at f5.6, the lens delivers sharp images with good contrast. As a habit , Mongo now largely shoots at f5.6, f6.3 and f7.1 averaging f6.3 most of the time. Even so, he finds that you may need to stop down a little more but largely for extra DOF and not for want of sharpness. This lens is small enough to fool you into forgetting it is 500mm and that you may be too close to the subject unless you add more DOF. Funny but you never seem to forget this when lugging the 600mm f4 around. It is something you will get used to quickly when using the 200-500mm. Having owned and used a Nikon 200-400 f4 VR for a few years, Mongo can say he can not tell the difference in the image quality produced by both lenses. If there is any, it could not justify 4 times the price and more than 30% more weight. The extra stop is not enough to faze Mongo either. Teleconverters Mongo must admit that, due to the other initial issues to try and get the lens right, there has been some delay in testing the teleconverters properly. Mongo had an initial try with the teleconverters before the lens was firmware updated and calibrated. Therefore, those old results are not reliable. Nonetheless, Mongo can tell you that the 1.4EII. 1.7EII and 20EIII all work with this lens although, not necessarily the AF. To break those results down, on the D800E, you get AF with the 1.4EII only but you can manually focus the other converters and the shutter releases and it all works etc. On the D4s, you get AF with the 1.4EII and the 1.7EII (which is very surprising becuase the latter combo is f9.3 wide open i.e more than f8 and theoretically the AF should not be capable of working …..but it does !). Neither body auto focus with the 20EIII. The images Mongo got from all these combos were all good to very good but read further below. While having the firmware update carried out on the lens, Mongo also asked that it also be calibrated (together with calibration of his D4s and D800E). Since getting the gear back about 10days ago, Mongo has been flat out trying to AF fine tune the lens to the camera bodies. At present , despite all having been calibrated and theoretically no AF fine tune should be needed, Mongo has found that the D800E and the lens are best at +4 AF fine tune. Accordingly, Mongo will have to calibrate each of the teleconverters with the lens and redo all the test with them. It may well be that he will get even better results than before the lens was firmware updated and calibrated. This remains to be seen. Commentary There is a thread in this forum started on 4 August. There is much speculation in it because the lens was not really around at that time to gain a real impression and feel for it. Mongo hopes his thread (here) helps clarify some of the lens’ mystery. Certainly, if Mongo were ever to go on one of those safaris he reads about, he would not hesitate to take this lens. Conclusion Nikon 200-500mm f5.6E ED VR is clearly aimed at the Tamron and Sigma competitors and despite its unfortunate troubled birth, it will make a serious indent into their market share of this approximate zoom range. Mongo would now recommend this lens. a quick sample image (view large): D800E , 200-500 @500mm, f6.3, 1/800th, ISO 2000, -0.3EV, +4 AF fine tune, monopod
  6. 1 point
    Mongo was sort of lucky enough to be one of the first to get one of these in Australia. He has had it now for about a month. There is good and bad about it but mainly good (now that is). Mongo purchased it from an authorised Nikon dealer for $1700 Australian Dollars which is a very good price. AF Issues Initially, Mongo had considerable trouble with the lens. The AF seem to go “to sleep” at times and would not work unless you woke it by manually turing the focus ring or turning the camera on and off. Not really what you need when trying to catch wildlife (particularly birds in flight), sports action, aviation etc. These are the things this lens was surely designed for. The other problem Mongo noticed was that the lens seemed very slow to acquire focus on moving objects. The lens was relatively OK on stationary objects (apart from falling asleep as described above). This mystery was largely solved in two steps. First, having the “sleep issue” “fixed” with the firmware update. Secondly, by using the most appropriate VR mode. Unfortunately, Mongo had to work out the do’s and don’ts of VR on this lens largely by himself and the odd rare comment he could find on the net as the lens was still reactively new and few people had used it. It seems that “normal” mode reduced the the AF speed whereas, “sports” mode seems to have far less affect on AF speed. Unfortunately, the lens does not come with a real explanatory booklet - it only has a single open-out sheet. Mongo is all for cost saving to be able to provide this lens cheaply to customers but some information should not be skimped on. VR When you look through the viewfinder and engage “normal” VR mode, the effect is dramatic ! the movement is almost completely halted in a way Mongo has not previously experienced with other Nikon VR lenses. The claim that his lens’ VR is the best to date is probably well founded. However, as with any fast car or precision tool, you must know how to use it to get any good out of it. Mongo has determined that, “normal” mode is best used when handholding the lens and focusing on stationary objects. “Spots” mode VR should be used in all other instances including on a monopod, panning etc. Some of this information is in the instruction sheet but not all of it an not enough to have worked this out effectively in Mongo’s opinion. The combination of the above two steps have now brought the lens to a reasonable standard and one that Mongo is happy enough with and could, potentially, be very pleased with subject to further testing. However, all indications so far are that there is a little more that can be extracted from this lens and that should bring it to the that level of satisfaction. Quality Control Typically, Nikon realised the lens (in Mongo’s view) half baked and poorly tested - if at all. Untypically, Nikon came out within weeks of the lens being sold to admit there were AF issues and had a firmware update to rectify it. See: http://nikonrumors.com/2015/10/06/some-nikkor-200-500mm-f5-6e-ed-vr-lenses-have-af-issue-must-be-sent-back-to-nikon-for-service.aspx/#more-98465 So, Mongo was not wrong when he had earlier complained to Nikon that the lens had AF issues. It should be noted that Mongo noticed the problem within the first few hours of using the lens. One would have to ask how Nikon could not have notice this problem if it had carried out any credible testing. Again, as Mongo has previously stated, this should never have happened and Nikon needs to get its act together about properly testing its products before subjecting the public to them and expecting the public to be its test guinea pigs. If it does so, it may keep more of its customers and regain a lot of lost respect. If you buy a lens with a serial number greater than 2008365, the issue should already have been rectified. So, in the scheme of things, the problem was caught relatively early after the lens’ release. Build Quality & Features Mongo could go on at some length about this but it is easier to summarise it extremely good and excellent value for the money. It is solid, well built and well finished, movements are very precise (not sloppy) and no lens creep. Also, the foot on this lens is not like the 300 f4 AFS. It is , In Mongo’s opinion, it is very solid and well designed for this lens’ needs. In short, you will not have the need or urge to go out and buy an after market foot with possibly one exception. Most of us use the arca swiss attachment system and this lens does not have that feature. That is unfortunate as the foot is big enough and solid enough to have machined that profile into it. Mongo assumes this has not been done due to possible patent issues. Nonetheless, you can buy a short arca swiss plate/rail and attach it to the lens’ existing foot without any concerns. Image Quality What would you expect to get for this money in this zoom range? Well, you would have to think that it has to be at least as good as Tamron and Sigma offerings or there would be no point in making it. Mongo has only tried the Tamorn 150-600mm and found it to be a respectably good lens. He has not tried the Sigmas (although he managed to get a look at them and handle them as well as see some images from them). From that small amount of largely indirect knowledge, it seems they too are very good performers. Mongo’s analysis of the MTF charts lead him to believe that the Nikon is most closely aligned to the Sigma Sport. It would be unfair for Mongo (in these circumstances) to attempt to draw some comparison between the various lenses. So, he will comment on the Nikon more directly. The image quality is surprisingly good, indeed, very good. Even wide open at f5.6, the lens delivers sharp images with good contrast. As a habit , Mongo now largely shoots at f5.6, f6.3 and f7.1 averaging f6.3 most of the time. Even so, he finds that you may need to stop down a little more but largely for extra DOF and not for want of sharpness. This lens is small enough to fool you into forgetting it is 500mm and that you may be too close to the subject unless you add more DOF. Funny but you never seem to forget this when lugging the 600mm f4 around. It is something you will get used to quickly when using the 200-500mm. Having owned and used a Nikon 200-400 f4 VR for a few years, Mongo can say he can not tell the difference in the image quality produced by both lenses. If there is any, it could not justify 4 times the price and more than 30% more weight. The extra stop is not enough to faze Mongo either. Teleconverters Mongo must admit that, due to the other initial issues to try and get the lens right, there has been some delay in testing the teleconverters properly. Mongo had an initial try with the teleconverters before the lens was firmware updated and calibrated. Therefore, those old results are not reliable. Nonetheless, Mongo can tell you that the 1.4EII. 1.7EII and 20EIII all work with this lens although, not necessarily the AF. To break those results down, on the D800E, you get AF with the 1.4EII only but you can manually focus the other converters and the shutter releases and it all works etc. On the D4s, you get AF with the 1.4EII and the 1.7EII (which is very surprising becuase the latter combo is f9.3 wide open i.e more than f8 and theoretically the AF should not be capable of working …..but it does !). Neither body auto focus with the 20EIII. The images Mongo got from all these combos were all good to very good but read further below. While having the firmware update carried out on the lens, Mongo also asked that it also be calibrated (together with calibration of his D4s and D800E). Since getting the gear back about 10days ago, Mongo has been flat out trying to AF fine tune the lens to the camera bodies. At present , despite all having been calibrated and theoretically no AF fine tune should be needed, Mongo has found that the D800E and the lens are best at +4 AF fine tune. Accordingly, Mongo will have to calibrate each of the teleconverters with the lens and redo all the test with them. It may well be that he will get even better results than before the lens was firmware updated and calibrated. This remains to be seen. Commentary There is a thread in this forum started on 4 August. There is much speculation in it because the lens was not really around at that time to gain a real impression and feel for it. Mongo hopes his thread (here) helps clarify some of the lens’ mystery. Certainly, if Mongo were ever to go on one of those safaris he reads about, he would not hesitate to take this lens. Conclusion Nikon 200-500mm f5.6E ED VR is clearly aimed at the Tamron and Sigma competitors and despite its unfortunate troubled birth, it will make a serious indent into their market share of this approximate zoom range. Mongo would now recommend this lens. a quick sample image (view large): D800E , 200-500 @500mm, f6.3, 1/800th, ISO 2000, -0.3EV, +4 AF fine tune, monopod View full article
  7. 1 point
    Mongo, thanks for sharing your opinion on this lens
  8. 1 point
    Great shots and cool write up. /RANT I've stopped using Instagram. I just can't abide by the way they think they own everything that is uploaded or they delete images from accounts without explanation. RANT/
  9. 1 point
    Hi Alan. Been a while - hope this finds you well. After exhausting nearly all avenues trying to find any new info regarding the Sea-witch, a few weeks ago I happened to stumble across a comment on facebook made back in 2013 regarding the photo with the Beach party and van on a Holden Page. The comment had me intrigued as it sounded on all accounts that the van had belonged to the persons late brother and was in their shed at home. I sent a message via Facebook and I eventually received a reply tonight. From a few additional messages back and forth I found that not only did they have the Sea-witch but also the Green Kingswood Van with Marilyn Monroe on the side! This has blown me away. How cool is that!
  10. 1 point
    Terrific review of what looks to be a fantastic lens for Nikon shooters! Thanks for posting it Mongo - I have made it an article on our database.
  11. 1 point
    I think I need to make a T-shirt that educates people about what full frame means. Perhaps a photo of Kirsty Alley might help in understanding the true meaning of the phrase?
  12. 1 point
  13. 1 point
    Thanks Alan - yes, it's my favourite shot of the day too. I took over 800 shots at this event and then I had to sit and edit them yesterday. I have a large number of keepers, so this client is going to hopefully be very happy. They are already thrilled with the ones I put on Instagram.
  14. 1 point
    These are nearly impossible to find in the US unless you want to buy a "used" one at a hefty premium.
  15. 1 point
    I will have to go and count the pennies in my piggy bank. Thank you.
  16. 1 point
    So finally, within the one brand this time, the idiotic nonsense of referring to "Full Frame" instead of 135 becomes clear - because if this Leica is "Full Frame", then what on Earth does Leica think that their S2 is?
  17. 1 point
    Five minutes at Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania, during a weekday.
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