A 340mm f/4.8 lens may not be optimal for birds in flight, but it's 140mm better than I had before. ISO 400, F/6.3, 1/4000.
(NOTE FOR NEOPHYTES: YOU CAN CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR A BIGGER VIEW)
Walking along a path at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands with my nephew Steven, I watched serious photographers with giant lenses on giant tripods hiking to get into position before magic hour. We were already on our way back to the car, because while the serious photographers were walking to take pictures, we were taking pictures while on a walk.
Stopped down and pulled back from maximum focal length, the lens/teleconverter combo produces surprisingly sharp images handheld. I'm really looking forward to getting this thing onto a tripod. The egret was so cooperative, I got this at 220mm, just a bit longer than the lens without the teleconverter. ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/2500.
Steven and I were playing with new equipment. He has a new Panasonic micro 4/3 camera (I cannot remember the model), and I have temporary possession of a new 1.7x teleconverter (as described in the previous post). Our hour at Bolsa Chica revealed to me the potential of this teleconverter, and I am very excited about it. I still need to calm down, use a tripod or monopod, and hunt for better light, but I can see that the optical quality of this tool will make it well worth the effort. For a fraction of the cost, I can have the long lens I always wanted. Now it’s up to me to live up to it’s potential.
I'm not sure if stopping down to f/8 would have produced enough depth of field to keep both the wing and the head in focus, but I certainly had enough light to get away with it, since the shutter fired at 1/5000 at f/6.3. Even so, with such a long lens, it's difficult to keep the focus sensor precisely where you want it.
Although I have not yet tested it under optimal conditions, I'm really pleased with the optical quality of the teleconverter. I like bird photography even more than portraiture, and this piece of gear opens up all sorts of possibilities for improved birding.