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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tame Your Dynamic Range

HDR Au Naturel • Hybrid Lenses • Pros And Point-And-Shoots

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
Hybrid Lenses
I have an old manual-focus Nikon-mount Tokina 400mm telephoto that I’d like to try on an APS-C Canon body. I’ve been very pleased with the sharpness of this lens, and I’ll probably only use it wide open. If I can get a mount for the lens, will it work?
G. Corbett
Via the Internet

A I can think of two reasons to couple one manufacturer’s lens with another’s camera body. One is that you might already have invested in a series of quality lenses that you want to use with an upgraded camera system. Another is that another manufacturer offers lenses that are superior to those offered by your camera manufacturer. Notice I use the terms “quality” and “superior,” but I know there’s a third reason for commingling: economy.

The Canon lens corresponding to your Tokina is the EF 400mm ƒ/5.6L; it runs about $1,300. Sigma offers a 120-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 zoom that costs about $900. A comparable Tokina 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 with a Canon lens mount runs $550. The advantage of purchasing one of these lenses for your Canon body is that they will maintain all of the electronic connections and automatic functions of the lens and the benefits of
new technology.

If a new lens isn’t the answer, you can order an adapter that mounts Nikon lenses to Canon bodies from several sources, as long as you understand you’ll lose the automatic functions of the lens. (Just to make it clear, I haven’t tried these personally because I don’t use Nikon lenses on my Canon cameras.) The least expensive option is from CameraQuest (www.cameraquest.com) at $175. A similar mount from HP Marketing (www.hpmarketingcorp.com), made by Novoflex, is about $200. A slightly different adapter, made for Nikon “G” lenses (no aperture ring), is available for about $266 from Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com/tech/nikcan.html ). This one is designed particularly for the 14-24mm ƒ/2.8G Nikon lens, which is a useful conversion because it covers a full-frame sensor.

Pros And Point-And-Shoots
Do you use a point-and-shoot camera, or is there one that you can recommend?
Via the Internet

A My wife Kathy is so glad you asked that question. The short answer is yes, I use two: the Canon PowerShot G11 and PowerShot SX1 IS. I recommended them both to my wife, and we bought them, and she’s hardly been able to put her hands on them since. It’s a common story. We pros buy the best compact camera we can find for our partners and then use them ourselves.

Why do we buy them for our partners in the first place? I did a little survey, and everyone said the same thing. Everywhere we travel, our partners are helping carry our big, heavy pro gear. All the carry-on capacity on the plane is taken up by pro camera bodies, long lenses, tripods, etc. There’s no room for your partner’s DSLR or camera bag, so she says, “Please, can I just have a little camera to carry in my purse or on my belt?” We say, “Sure!” and then do all the research, buy the camera, present it with a flourish, take it away to try it out and she never sees it again.


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