In the zone . . .

. . . comfort zone, that is.

Last time I had a 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R and APO-Extender-R 2X, I was shooting the combo on an M10-R. That probably explains why I was less than thrilled with the results I got. It was during one of those passing phases where I imagined myself to be a rangefinder shooter. The M10-R’s ergonomics are not at all suited for handling long glass. Without stabilization, it was a matter of shooting fast enough to drive ISO up, or risking shake by shooting slower. Not a recipe for success, which is why it didn’t last—neither the combo nor the rangefinder phase.

With good light this morning, I hurried out to shoot some familiar targets along a familiar walk. Doing a mix of wide open and one stop down, I came to realize that the biggest difference was that it was a little easier to get critically accurate focus stopped down. Adjusting the peaking cues helped a little, but that smidgen of difference is worth it if the extra stop doesn’t send ISO up.

In terms of resolving power on the SL2, I’ve not seen anything in the 400mm realm that equals it. And it should be noted that the data sheet for the lens specifies its focal length at 179mm, making the combo 358mm. Fortunately the SL2’s sensor puts relative reach right at the bare minimum I consider necessary for chasing critters.

The afternoon gave me about 45 minutes for that activity before the rain came bombing. A pair of backlit Oriental Magpie Robins were the only friends willing to sit for me during that time, and their songs made it all the more enjoyable.

The Sigma TC-1411 should arrive in a day or two and will likely sit idle after being tested, until there’s some sunshine. The way the forecasts are looking in the ant farm, that could be a while . . .

SL2/180mm APO-Elmarit-R/APO 2X