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200-400 + 1.7x TC test

I recently visited a newly discovered local nature reserve. Not the greatest weather so thought it would be a good chance to just scout it out. I had tried this lens with the 1.7tc on my old D2x and never had good results, images were always very soft to the point that they didn’t even look that great at websize. However, as the D3 has adjustable focus I thought I’d try tweaking it for this lens/tc combo and use this opportunity to do a few test shoots in between the rain…

**This wasn’t a test of the D3’s high ISO, there are enough of those on the net. These shots are a bit grainy on the sharpened %100 crops but I think thats to be expected at ISO 2000 **

Test Images, handheld from a hide:

1/800, f8, ISO 2000, 650mm

Original shot resized for web

Original shot, click for full web size

%100 crop, click for full res

%100 crop, click for full res

1/500, f8, ISO 2000, 650mm with slow panning as the chick moved along the water.

Original shot, click for full web size

Original shot, click for full web size

%100 crop of head

%100 crop, click for full res

%100 feather crop

%100 crop, click for full res

Conclusion:
Please remember this was a worst case scenario, overcast and the lens not supported very well. If you already own this lens and don’t have any longer glass then I ‘think’ with more favourable conditions (proper sunlight, lower ISO, decent support) it would pass in an emergency…its certainly made me less reluctant to reach for a TC in times of need.

Thinking of buying?
If you live in the UK the 200-400 and TC’s can be purchased from Warehouse Express.
If you live in Amercia the 200-400 VR can be purchased from B&HPhoto, here and Adorama, here

About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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