Poking around with old technology

Weather is always the big determining factor, and today was overcast, drizzle and high winds. Not great for birding, hopeless for photography and not much fun to be out and about in.

So rather than sit about playing with Flickr, I decided to clean up some of the gear and get ready for our trip to Goschen in January. (Actually its a family event thing, but I’m only seeing the birding part of it at the moment!).

I came across a Kenko TC1.4 that I’ver talked about before, but really haven’t used it since Mr An Onymous returned it after a borrow sometime back. About the same time I came across my old faithful, but now rarely used 80-400 VR Nikon Zoom.  This is pretty old technology now, and if you believe everything you read no the net, about as sharp as my Mum’s old box camera. Which is sad really as by and large it does have some good optical qualities.

I’ve actually owned three of them!  The first I destroyed in a very freaky accident, the second I traded in a fit of NAS (nikon acquire syndrome), for a nice 600mm f/5.6 manual focus lens. Now that was a lens.  The third I traded over at Camera Exchange for a D300s, I had grown tired of. That lens is the subject of the current missive.

When I use it it doesn’t go near a tripod, won’t be seen on a monopod, and always has the lens mount clamp removed. I… wait for it. Hand hold it.  Oh, the waves of agony that just rippled o’er the net.

Or I’ll prop it against something, like a tree, branch, car, sign or doorpost. Which brings us to the pics.

Given the light was pretty bad, and I felt in a playful mood, I wondered if the Kenko TC would fit and work on the 80-400 Surprise, it did,  or as the old story of Cinderella is told, “It fid dit”.  Out I went to try out the beastie.
Not much in the garden, check the opening sentence, day- miserable.
But after a little bit, a Spotted Turtle-Dove landed on the old Hills Hoist and I had something to photograph other then said hoist.

Now I didn’t expect much, but in fact its pretty sharp.  Down side is the lens won’t talk to the camera properly via the Kenko’s poor translation skills, so the Aperture gets reported without the the 1.4 conversion  Instead of F/8 minimum it reports f/5.6  And the EXIF data reports that too.  Not sure it affects exposure or reports that incorrectly just assume it looks ok. (Thought, perhaps I could enter it as a manual lens in the lens data bank on the camera, and it might report correctly.  Next rainy day.

Here’s the Turtle Dove,  by the way, just in case your wondering, its… .Hand held.  Not bad for really old VR technology held by a really old bloke.

Taken with a Nikon 80-400 VR zoom and a Kenko 1.4 Teleconverter
Taken with a Nikon 80-400 VR zoom and a Kenko 1.4 Teleconverter

There was a splash from the birdbath, and the local Common Blackbirds were bringing the young ones in for a bathe.

I took off the Kenko for this next shot, so its the 80-40 behaving as it should.

Now the old bloke pushed the lens up against the door frame for these, as it was pretty obvious they would all happen in much the same area. Wow, got the shutter value up to 1/200th.  Took a number, but this one attracted me as the little bather has flicked its wet wings up and then snapped them down, just as the shutter released.  A lovely crown of water drops resulted.  Thanks bird.

So the old lens comes back for yet another round of applause a bow, curtsey and its exit stage right.

Common Blackbird at bath
Just as I tripped the shutter it dropped its wings and left this amazing explosion of water drops. Who’d have guessed.
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