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Author Topic: I have lots of megapixels-extender or crop?  (Read 920 times)
Eric Brody
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« on: January 23, 2014, 02:36:56 PM »
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Has someone has done this test? The question... a 36MP Nikon D800 with a 70-200 f/2.8 and a 1.7 Nikon teleconverter. Which gives better quality, an equivalent crop from the full frame or the teleconverter? Prints will not likely be larger than 13x20, most will be 9x13.

I'm heading to the Galapagos soon and a kind friend has loaned me his 1.7 converter to use with my 70-200 f/2.8.  I'll check it for myself, to the limits of my ability but wonder if it's already been done.

Thanks.

Eric
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 03:01:15 PM »
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As a fellow user of that camera and lens, I would suggest crop every time.

You can very easily make a salon-quality print of that size from less than 50% of a D800 Raw file.
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 04:56:29 PM »
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Thanks PhotoEcosse. If you're correct, and I suspect you are, it will be quite a bit easier in the Galapagos NOT to have to do more lens/converter switching so just cropping the 200mm images would be nice. When I do my tests, I'll post my results. I try not to be too much of a pixel-peeper on these things but this is a once in a lifetime trip and as a "serious" photographer, there are "expectations," both mine and those of my family, about my images, I'd like to get some decent photographs.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 06:47:18 PM »
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Another reason to avoid carrying/switching a converter: 340mm telephoto would hardly be needed anyway, as you can come quite close to the animals there (probably the only place in the world to do so).
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 08:36:24 PM »
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I'm also on the side of cropping with that combination, especially if you use the VR-I (you don't specify if it is VR-I or VR-II). Another benefit is that you keep the f2.8 aperture instead of the equivalent f4.5 with the 1.7x teleconverter.

If you find that you are cropping all the time, you might want to consider the 1.2 cropping mode (which I use a lot with that combination) that results in images of over 25 Megapixels. I find this especially useful with the VR-I model since it basically get rid of the lower quality zone in the extreme corners.
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 09:11:19 PM »
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FranciscoDisilvestro, I should have mentioned that my 70-200 is the VR II version. I plan to do some tests in the next couple of days to try to answer my own question. I was just wondering if anyone had actually tested the question already. I realize these are difficult questions to answer, given the effects of print size, viewing distance, even the f/ stop.
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Philip Weber
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 04:35:28 PM »
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Hi Eric - I also have the D800, the 70-200 VRII and two Nikon extenders, the 1.4 and the new 2.0 III. Generally, I find myself cropping rather than using my 2.0 as I don't like losing the 2 stops and if I'm really needing reach, I'll use my Sigma 50-500. It's a slow lens but has a heck of a lot of reach and with its OS, is eminently hand hold-able for me.

When relatively close to wildlife subjects (and it sounds as if you will be) I really like the 1.4 extender. One only loses 1 stop, and there's no discernible image degradation as it's a beautiful match for the newer VRII. I've found the extra 80mm often gets me close enough so the need to crop is minimal, if at all.

Lastly, I've had the 70-200 on and found I quickly needed more reach. Rather than try to ad an extender or switch lenses and probably miss the shot, the D800 1.5 crop factor mode works great. One still ends up with nearly 16 megapixels and when programmed into your personalized menu, makes for a very fast extension to whatever lens one is shooting with. Typically, if I'm at 200mm and put it into the 1.5 crop factor mode, additional cropping in post is unnecessary (birds in trees excepted)!

Sounds like an awesome trip! Best wishes and safe travels,
Phil   
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 07:17:46 PM »
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Well, I did the test, as best I could. I went to a local school with a great brick wall, put the D800E (at ISO100) and 70-200 f/2.8 VRII lens with an RRS plate on its foot, on a Gitzo 3 series carbon tripod on an Arca-Swiss B-1 head. I leveled the camera and looked through the finder with the 1.7 extender on, (340mm). I placed blue tape at the corners of the image with the camera at 340mm. I then made exposures with a cable release using mirror lock and waiting at least 15 seconds between mirror up and firing the shutter. I focused prior to each exposure using the center spot with the AF button, not the shutter release. I think, hope my technique was pretty careful. I made exposures with the extender at f/4.8 (wide open), f/5.6, and f/8. I made similar exposures without the extender on using the same technique detailed above. I went home, and downloaded them to Lightroom 5.3. I adjusted the exposure and white balance to even them out a bit but made no other adjustments, no sharpening, clarity, vibrance, you get the picture (pun intended). I then cropped them to the same size. Here they are. To me they are so close that I'll likely not use the extender. If anyone would like, I can send them full size files to play with. Since I can have only 4 attachments per post, I'll reply again and show the full wall. This crop is VERY SMALL. You'll have to look carefully at the full wall to see the area in the center. If anyone cares... and has a suggestion for a better way to do this, I'd love to hear it.
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 07:20:09 PM »
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Here's the one of the whole wall with the lens at 200mm and no extender. It shows the taped area, which is what is covered by the extender, and if you look REALLY carefully the area I cropped to in the last post.

Comments and cheap shots are welcome.

Eric
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BenMm
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 12:02:30 PM »
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Is 200 mm the longest lens you are bringing?  If so, I would take the 1.7X.  It doesn't even cost you anything to bring it.  The 1.7X will get you closer and you can still crop to get even closer.  I was in the Galapagos a few months ago, and yes, you can get really close to the animals.  You can fill the frame using just a wide angle.  But some stuff is elusive and needs a longer lens - red footed boobies, hawks, finches ...  I used a 300 mm for about 30% of my shots, more than 2000 frames.

One thing to consider is the total weight of your carry-on.  Sometimes they are strict about weighing it and sometimes they are not.  Find friends who travel light  Smiley.
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Lightsmith
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 05:58:59 PM »
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Cropping is not the same as using the teleconverter and gaining an extra 70% in image size in the pictures. I have not been there but friends who have said that they were happy to have their wide and ultra wide angle lenses but wished that they had taken a 80-400 instead of the 70-200 for distant subjects. The extra weight and bulk of the 1.7x TC is trivial. Better to take it and not use it then to get there and wish you had it.
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