Roseate spoonbill (manual focus)

Prints available

The Nikon AI-S Nikkor 600mm F/4 ED-IF manual focus telephoto prime lens was manufactured between 1982 and 1986. The lens is 1.64 feet long and weighs 13 lbs with a Nikon TC-300 teleconverter attached. No vibration reduction is available on older Nikon lenses. The increased image magnification of a 2x teleconverter coupled with the long 600mm lens amplifies the slightest camera movement and causes image blurring.

I employed a tripod with gimbal head to hold the lens steady enough to eliminate camera shake. My WH-200 Wimberley gimbal head which has a 100 lbs load capacity weighs 3.15 lbs. My Nikon D850 camera weighs 2.2 lbs. Therefore the total tripod load is around 18 lbs. A handy rule of thump is, tripod load should minimally equal two times the actual load. In this case the actual load is 18 lbs, therefore 18 lbs x 2 = 36 lbs. My tripod’s load capacity of 88 lbs exceeds the rule of thumb by 52 lbs. The tripod in conjunction with the Wimberley gimbal head holds the 13 lbs lens steady.

In addition, to eliminate the need to touch the camera, and risk camera shake a Nikon MC-30a remote trigger release was employed to render this photograph.

Great egret noir

Prints available

This photograph was produced with my manual focus Nikon AI-S Nikkor 600mm F/4 ED-IF coupled with a Nikon TC-300 2x teleconverter. This combination produces an equivalent 1200mm focal length at an f/8 maximum aperture.

Old, indestructible pro-level Nikon f mount lenses are quite relevant with newer camera bodies such as the Nikon D850 used in this photograph. As a case in point, I used the D850’s focus peeking feature to focus this photograph from over 100 yards.

Focus peeking is common in mirrorless cameras and micro photography. Nikon’s D850 is the first Nikon DSLR to natively offer focus peeking. With modern photographers shunning manual focus lenses for auto focus lenses, the telephoto application of focus peeking is rare. I’m using focus peeking to facilitate the use of a classic unwanted manual focus telephoto 600mm prime lens manufactured between 1982 and 1986 on arguably one of the best modern DSLR cameras to date.

By exploiting Nikon’s timeless backwardly compatible f mount lenses on a modern camera, I’m learning a great deal more about photography at a minuscule fraction of the cost of a modern auto focus nikkor 600mm prime lens

A noir photograph seemed appropriate for a first experiment with a 38 year old manual focus lens and complementary to my current reading of Andreas Feininger‘s The Complete Photographer: The Definitive Guide to Modern Black-and-White and Color Photography.