Monday, May 18, 2009

Ode to a cult classic lens - Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 VR

An early-morning decision is that today's shooting would all be with the Nikon 70-300mm VR.

I bought this lens back in November after realizing the excellent AF-S 16-85mm VR zoom would not be enough to cover all my needs. After reading numerous reviews, it seemed to be an above-average performer in the consumer telephoto zoom category, the market has a lot of these types of lenses. Most are just mediocre, at best, but my time spent on the Nikon Cafe showed me it had become somewhat of a cult favourite.

It combines a reasonable price tag (about $700 with tax), high optical quality, very close minimum focusing distance with good close-up capability (further enhanced by the Canon 500D lens), well-built plus the extremely useful Vibration Reduction (VR) feature.

The 70-300m VR works very nicely with the D80, as the beefier tank-like build of this Nikon DSLR suits the lens with its better grip. It seems the lens is almost glued to the D80, lately.

Today's photo opportunities were plentiful.

After some very early shooting with the 500D near my house (see previous blog), I ventured out to Lunenburg.

The four-way intersection as you go from Lilydale into Lunenburg always seems busy, the angle shooting down from the hospital at the long end of the zoom compresses space.

The waterfront is always a neat place to go, today was no different. There was a group of young people working on the Bluenose II, seems sailboats are high-maintenance vessels but these employees seemed to be having fun. I spent some time shooting Kevin, I developed a rapport and this allowed me to get pretty close - I soon knew I needed my trusty SB-800 Speedlight to do its magic.

Of course, there were others working hard on the ship, they didn't mind being photographed.

This generation of digital shooters are stiff-armed with their dinky compacts, I have been there, done that, tourists always stand out no matter where they are.

Shooting over the harbour side of Lunenburg can be quite beautiful, you can venture out quite a ways if it's low tide. Lots of pretty colors to be had.

I visited some friends just before we all went to lunch. A trampoline is one of today's favoruite pastimes for kids, too bad we didn't have them back in the late 60's/early 70's, they look like fun! Cute kids bouncing on them are a natural setting for interesting photographs, I was lucky to be able to blur out the background by shooting nearly wide-open and at a fast shutter speed. (1/500th second)

I finished off my shooting (the battery level on the D80 was getting low!) with a few tulips at our LDS meetinghouse.

Hope you enjoyed my day as much as I did.

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