The annual Denver Zoo Camera Test Drive was today, sponsored by Mike's Camera stores. There were booths from your favorite manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Tamron, Sony, Lensbaby, Vanguard, Promaster & Panasonic! Scattered at various exhibits were shooting stations, where the exotic hardware was set up: the big telephotos and prime lenses. You could walk up to the stations, clip your camera body onto the lens and shoot a few frames.
Since I recently got a Sigma 150-500mm, f/5-6.3 zoom lens, I wanted to compare it to Nikon's offerings.
First was the Sigma, to establish a baseline. I set my Nikon D7000 at f/8, AP, ISO 400 at 400mm. The camera chose 1/1000th of a second for shutter speed for the sleeping lion below.
While the center is fairly sharp, there is some softness around the edges. The DOF seems to run out at the top edge and at the lion's rear feet.
Next, I hooked up to the Nikon 200-400mm f/4. Same settings. This time the D7000 chose 1/800th of a second for shutter speed.
On center sharpness was again very good. Even though it was also set up at f/8, the DOF seems to be greater than the Sigma. Also quite apparent is the overall cooler tone to the lens over the warmer Sigma.
Close crop of the Sigma:
.. and of the Nikon, showing a finer detail to the whiskers. MSRP on the Nikon is around $5,000.
Next, what's it like to shoot with a $7,000 lens? Nikon had the 500mm f/4.0 prime telephoto there. Here again, first is the Sigma:
1/1250s f/8 @ 450mm, ISO 400
And the Nikon -
1/1250s @ f/8, ISO 400, 400mm
On center details with the Sigma,
.. and the Nikon. Razor sharp!
So there you have it, a chance to play with very expensive, and very good, lenses.
To end out the day I also played a bit with the LensBaby attachment:
At least, this is within my current budget!