Tagged: Canon EFS 55 – 250 IS STM

Long Focal Length Images with the Nikon 1 J5 and 30 – 110 mm Lens

I have been making some more test images with my Nikon 1 J5 camera and the CX 30 – 110 mm lens.  Both of the above pictures were made at the 110 mm focal length.  I liked them, but they didn’t tell me what I wanted to know.  How does the Nikon 1 system compare to my Canon 70D with my longest lens for distant images?

To learn more about the differences I photographed a distant rock pile with the Nikon 1 J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens at 110 mm focal length and with the Canon 70D with the 55 – 250 mm lens at the 250 mm focal length.  It was raining lightly when I made these so I photographed from my porch with both cameras in the program mode.  But note that they were made at different effective focal lengths.

Since I mostly photograph at the extremes of all lenses, I went ahead and made comparison images at the extremes, but this resulted in an effective focal length of 297 mm with the Nikon and an effective 400 mm with the Canon.  I then cropped the images quite a bit to arrive at the following comparison images.  The first is the Canon image and the second (on your right) is the Nikon image.

Both of the images are straight from Adobe LR6 with medium tone curves and lens corrections made by the software.  They have no other adjustments.  The Canon image was at ISO 160, f/5.6, and 1/160 sec.  The Nikon image was at ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/320 sec.

Guess which combination I’m using from now on for my outdoor, long focal length, walk-about photography.  It will be the little Nikon 1 J5 which is a lot lighter and smaller and easier to carry; but harder to hold steady since it doesn’t have an EVF and I have to hold it out away from my body.  I think that the Nikon 1 system has been way under-rated, at least with the latest one-inch sensor that is in the J5; and I really like the 30 – 110 mm CX lens.

Long Dreams

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I vacillate between using only one normal prime lens, or using a long zoom lens.  When I took the above pictures I had gone for a walk with the Canon 70D and the 55 – 250 mm lens.  As is usually the case when I’m using that lens, I shoot mostly at the 250 mm end of the zoom, and then crop a lot when I get it up on my monitor.  While looking at the cropped images I always start dreaming about a longer lens.  This only lasts until I think about the cost and the weight.  A long lens is hardly worth it just to get a few more pictures for my blog, and I don’t need it for my internal photography; but, maybe one of these days I’ll change my mind.

Birds with Canon 55 – 250 mm Lens

Don’t forget to click on an image and view them in gallery mode, and to review them full size.

I have not used my relatively inexpensive Canon 55 – 250 mm lens for a while so I put it on the Canon 70D and went out to try photographing birds.  As those of you know, this is an awful short focal length to use to take bird pictures.  To compensate for the short focal length I ended up cropping the 20 MP images down to around 3 MP to get them as shown above.

While I managed to make these pictures with it, I did find another problem with it other than the focal length.  It doesn’t focus fast enough if the birds don’t sit still.

Given the value of this lens for the cost, I will continue to use it as I look for another compromise.  I have considered either the Tamron or the Sigma 150 – 600 mm lenses but they represent a large increase in size, weight, and cost for the additional focal length gained.  I will weigh those factors against not photographing distant birds, etc. and maybe look for another compromise around 400 mm.

Simplifying my Photography Gear

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 Start

I accumulated too many cameras and lenses.  I primarily did that while trying to cover many different photographic situations and trying to figure out what I wanted or needed.  The above are what I had when I started my recent purging, and you will note that I had a lot of overlapping systems.  It doesn’t include all the other cameras I tried and sold previously.  Lately, I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I want to do, can do, and will do, in my future photography so that I can simplify.  By-the-way, there are a lot of differences between “want to do, can do, and will do”.

The unmarked camera in the picture at the top on your left is the Canon SL1.  At the time I took the picture I had black tape over the lettering.  I had one other camera in addition to the above cameras that I used to take the picture.  It was the Ricoh GR.

I have given up on reducing down to one camera for the time being, but I am reducing the number of different systems that I have and selling off some of the above with the goal to end up with fewer options.  While trying to decide which way to go, I cycled through each of the above cameras and used them to remind myself of their individual characteristics and why I got them in the first place.  Each has a particular strength and capability so my decision process came down to deciding what, or how, I will not be photographing in the future.

I have tried to pick a subject to concentrate on.  I first thought it would be Hanover streets and buildings, and it might still be; but I have concerns.  In some of my trials I have had minor confrontations which I have been able to walk away from so far; but I am concerned that the confrontations might increase, especially if I use a DSLR camera with a long zoom lens.

I would like to do something with a rangefinder style camera with a focal length of 35 or 50 (e) mm; but that usually means photographing people, and is not likely … in town or within Homewood.  But, that doesn’t rule out such a camera for buildings, landscapes, etc.

What about other possibilities?  The big one is travel photography but for several reasons, that is not likely for me.  Another possibility would be nature, wildlife, etc.  We have limited wildlife but it is still a possibility.  There are also weather, clouds, etc. but that is limiting from an opportunity perspective.  I can’t photograph the weather effects when I wish since it is dependent upon the whims of the weather.

I am still trying to decide what it is that I mainly hope to photograph, but in the meantime I am going to concentrate on what is most likely.  The picture below shows what cameras and lenses I am currently using after going through my initial simplification and concentrating on what will most likely be available for me to photograph.

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Interim

The Pentax gear and the Lumix LX7 have been sold.  The rest have been boxed up for sale or storage.  I haven’t sold the micro 4/3 gear yet since I haven’t yet decided to give up on micro 4/3.  I like my micro 4/3 gear but I can’t do everything (especially in low light) that I would like as well with it.   You will also see my latest acquisition, the Canon 70D with the 18 – 135 mm lens attached that I am trying for 30 days.  Yes, the Canon is heavy (just slightly lighter than the K-3) but it has advantages and uses that I would rather not give up.  I really like the articulated LCD and fast live-view focusing.  In order to deal with the weight, I might not carry it far or often, and if necessary, I could get a 50 mm lens for it and back off using the longer, heavier focal length lenses.  Currently I am trying the Canon 70D for certain uses like clouds, wildlife, some internal Homewood projects, etc., and using the Ricoh GR for my pocket camera while walking about as well as for several projects close to people, etc. where all I need is an effective 28 mm focal length.

My objective is to just use the Canon 70D and the Ricoh GR for a while as I continue to evolve my future photography over time, and later replace one or both with a camera that is better for a more limited style of photography when, or if, I decide or find I need or want to reduce further.

Hand-Held Live-View with Canon 70D

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I have been trying out the Canon 70D with various relative inexpensive lenses.  One of the main reasons that I chose this Canon camera is the enhanced focusing capability in live-view mode.  That feature along with the nice articulated LCD could come in handy with some of my projects as long as the camera isn’t too heavy and large to use quickly hand-held in awkward positions.

The other evening I noticed the moon and decided to test the Canon 70D in this mode using the 55 – 250 mm lens.  I took the above picture hand-held using the live-view mode and articulated LCD.  I used the live-view mode so that I could dial-in different exposure adjustments and see the effect before releasing the shutter.

You can decide how well it worked relative to your own needs.  I took it at the end of the zoom range at 250 mm and then cropped it to get the above image.  It was taken at ISO 200, f/6.3, and 1/320 sec. … and the focusing was very quick.  This method worked so well that now I’m thinking that I would like to use it with a better, longer lens, and a tripod.

Morning & Afternoon

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These are the same flowers photographed on the same day, and they appear to go through this slight change in color from early on a cold morning as they unfold in the warm afternoon.  I don’t know if the color change is caused by a difference in the sunlight or by the different temperatures, or by the actual unfolding.  The camera picked a slightly different white balance for them but that wasn’t the cause.