Welcome to our August 2018 Newsletter. We hope you enjoy it.
This month we will talk on three items. The Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 and why I love this lens, the Fuji X-H1 mirrorless system as a wildlife system, and the Nikon 300 f/4 PF as a pack it light wildlife prime lens. We will also touch on our trip to the Triple D Game Farm in Montana.
I have been shootng the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 lens since it came out. This is one spectacular lens for wildlife work. Its small compared to most lenses in its class. The zoom range from 200-500 seems just about perfect for a lens that can be carried as well as being comfortable on a Gimble Head, such as my Wimberley Head.
It just a few years back, to have a high quality wildlife zoom or fixed prime, you would be spending $7000 to $10,000. There is no excuse anymore. Several 3rd party companies have come up with affordable 150-600mm zooms that will give you excellent results. Nikon, a few years ago came up with their own.
This Nikon lens has a few things going for it which are important to me. It is a f/5.6 lens across the entire range. It doesn't go from f/4.5 to f/6.8 through its zoom range. This tells me that there are better optics to maintain the f/5.6 throughout its range. Its just the laws of physics.
My lens has been sharp throughout the 200mm-500mm range. I typically shoot it on a Nikon D5 or D850. I have gotten great results from both camera bodies.
The zoom gives you perspective capabilites which is difficult with a prime lens. The autofocus it not as fast as some of the more expensive lenses in the Nikon line up, but it is far from slow. I routinely photograph birds in flight, airshow work and fast moving wildlife with no problems. The lens is capable of using the TC lineup of Nikon teleconverters. I do find I'd rather shoot without a converter on this lens and prefer to shoot it on my D850 in a crop mode or a D500 to get the crop factor.
The ability to zoom in the 200-500 range as well as its smaller size outweighs the need for me to carry my 600mm f/4. This is especially true when packing camera gear on a multiple mile hike in the mountains.
I have only found one thing I really didn't like about the lens. The tripod collar and foot are a little light duty, and the smoothness of the collar is poor at best. If you rotate the camera/lens too far to the right, the collar disengages. I didn't like that at all. The solution was simple. I replaced my collar with a Really Right Stuff Collar. The foot is an Arca style and works perfectly on my RRS or Kirk Ball Head.
It also is perfect for my Wimberley gimble Head. The RRS collar is very smooth and it does not disengage at all. The $1400 price tag is a great price level even with the add on $225.00 replacement collar. A steal with this type of equipment. So if you are a Nikon shooter, get one today and enjoy those wildife closeups you have been missing.
Alan at Hunts Photo handles all my workshop participants. Contact him and use my name. Ask Alan about Vinny Colucci Workshop Specials.
Hunt's Photo & Video
100 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176
Another piece of equipment I got to test while in Montana was the Fuji X- H1 system.
I get to see a lot of mirrorless systems at my workshop programs. Most of them are of excellent quality in glass, camera construction, and image quality. In fact, years ago I shot a FujiFilm X-T1 and found that the Fuji lens glass was superb and the camera image quality was outstanding. What I also found with that mirrorless was it did not hold up to tracking fast moving subjects very well. I had way too many missed shots and it did not fit my shooting style at all as a wildlife photographer and airshow photographer. Birds in flight, forget it, as in, if I got a good image, it was luck.
My close friend, Bill Fortney, said I should take a look at the new FujiFilm X-H1 as it would hold up to the fast shooting and autofocus needed for my type of work.
Bill made an introduction to the folks at FujiFilm and we were off. I want to thank Bill Fortney for hooking me up with the Fuji Folks. Thank you Jackie Hillyer and Cy Franks of Fujifilm, for loaning me all the equipment needed for my testing. I appreciate you trusting me with all this stuff.
The FujiFilm X-H1 system is amazing. This is the first mirrorless camera I have shot that the autofocus kept up with its blazing 12 frames per second firing speed. I was nailing wildlife images right and left. Look at the Wolf sequence below from when the wolf fell into the water. I am only showing a few frames, but every image in the 10-12 frames I shot in continuous high was tact sharp.
Here we have some wolves on the run and the system with the 100-400 lens made for an excellent wildlife combo.
The lens quality is outstanding, not only in optics, but in construction. This equipment is built with the shooting pro in mind. If I was to switch to mirrorless, (and I might, to save size and weight), this system is one that I can be very happy with. It would handle all my professional needs and requirements.
I also love that many of the features I need to get to are on external controls or assignable function buttons. This makes the transition from what I am shooting, (NIKON GEAR), to the Fuji system seamless. In fact, without a manual and getting the system a day prior to leaving for Montana, it only took a short while to setup and get ready to shoot right away. This is a user friendly system.
I'm 63 and am considering going mirrorless to downsize the weight and size of my equipment. I still like hiking back country and this Fujifilm system would fit the bill. In fact, the entire system for all my wildlife and Landscape work will fit in a Think Tank Street Walker Pro and come in less than half the weight of the same SLR system I carry in my Mindshift MP-3 bag at 33 LB. Thats amazing.
I'll be looking to do a little more testing but there is a big target on this system for me.
If you are interested in a Fuji System, there are two places I recommend:
Hunts Photo & Video, who is a sponsor of mine, and Southeastern Camera in Raleigh, NC.
Contact Alan at Hunts for Vinny Colucci Workshop Special Packages
Hunt's Photo & Video
100 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176
His hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 8:30-5:00pm eastern
Contact Tony and tell him Vinny sent you.
Tony has been a great help to many of my workshop participants and has an outstanding store to visit.
The last item Annette took along to test out was a borrowed Nikon Lens. The 300 f/4 PF with a TC-14 EIII makes for a light weight hand holdable prime wildlife lens. I used one shooting the Sun & Fun Airshow in April with great results and, as you can see below, Annette's Moose images are outstanding.
The lens has an f/4 f-stop with gives nice shallow depth of field. The autofocus is very quick even with the 1.4X converter on it. The converter extends the 300mm f/4 to 420 f/5.6 loosing only one stop of light. What people don't realize in the loss of the one stop of light bringing the lens to f/5.6 still maintains the depth of field of f/4. This gives a nice shallow depth of field, which in turn separates your subject from the out of focus background.
With or without the TC-14E III 1.4X teleconverter this lens is very sharp. Look at the detail below. If I needed to pack light with my Nikon SLR's this would be the lens to carry for wildlife. I love this lens.
The links below for Hunts Photo will get you a competitive price on this Nikon Equipment. Alan at Hunts is a huge source of information for my workshop participants. Give Alan a call and tell him Vinny sent you.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens
Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III
Thats it for this month. See you all in September and Happy Shooting!