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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trying Infrared

Infrared, Inside Out • From CRT To LCD, And Even LED • 2X Or Not 2X • Separate The Pros From The Cons

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
2X Or Not 2X
I use mostly Nikon equipment and one other lens, a Sigma, and now I’d like to get a 1.4X or 2X tele-extender to use with my Nikon D200 and my Nikon ED 70-300mm f/4-5.6 D lens that will also work with my Sigma AF 170-500mm f/5-6.3 D APO lens. What do you recommend?
P. Faust
Via the Internet

A Most zoom lenses significantly lose sharpness, especially in the corners, when paired with a tele-extender. Zoom lenses with greater range experience greater loss. Hence, neither of the lenses you mention works well with tele-extenders. Also keep in mind that with a 1.4X tele-extender attached, your ƒ/5.6 lens will become an ƒ/8 lens, and your ƒ/6.3 lens will become an ƒ/9, mandating slower shutter speeds or higher ISOs, which could exacerbate the loss of quality.

That said, the Sigma, Tamron or Tokina 1.4X tele-extender will fit on both lenses (I wouldn’t recommend a 2X extender on any zoom other than an 80-200mm ƒ/2.8). If you want to try the 1.4X, test it with a number of focal lengths at the lens’ widest aperture, as well as one to two stops less. If the quality level is to your needs, you have a match.

Separate The Pros From The Cons
In your December 2009 column, you commented about what is a "pro" camera. You then mention a Canon "pro" printer. What makes a printer "pro" quality? Also, I’ve read mention of "pro" lenses. Are "pro" lenses a separate line of glass or just high-end "regular" lenses?
P. Thauer
Via the Internet

A A professional photo printer typically uses a full set of archival pigment inks in large cartridges or tanks and handles a wide variety of media, including fine-art papers, in larger sizes and rolls. The Canon professional printers I use are large-format; they start at 17 inches wide (the imagePROGRAF 5100), up to 60 inches wide (the imagePROGRAF 9100). These printers use 12 inks (four are blacks and grays) for a larger color gamut and include sophisticated software that allows you to customize the ink pattern to the particular media, and to make fine color and exposure adjustments for the print without adjusting your image file. Canon’s professional printers are major investments (the imagePROGRAF 9100 runs about $16,000) for businesses that make prints for pro photographers or for those photographers who insist on managing every image themselves from capture to print and/or want to make really big prints (that would be me).

Other printer companies have different criteria for their professional lines and may start them at the 13-inch level, but they also offer the brilliance and longevity of pigment inks, larger ink cartridges and the ability to print on fine-art papers.

The simplest definition of a pro lens is that it attaches to a DSLR manufacturer’s pro camera bodies. But it’s really more than that; pro lenses are higher quality and more specialized, providing a higher level of precision and greater range. They typically have highly engineered optics and more extreme focal lengths, and offer a sharper and more contrasty image. Most of Canon’s pro lenses have an “L” designation and Nikon’s are designated ED, but I would include highly specialized lenses such as fish-eye, macro and tilt/shift lenses in the “pro” category.

For information about upcoming seminars and digital-imaging workshops, visit www.georgelepp.com. If you have any tips or questions, address them to: OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER, Dept. TT, George Lepp, 12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90025-1176 or online at www.georgelepp.com.


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