Discouraged almost to the point of not even venturing into the field a few days ago, some nice critter finds over the past few days have suddenly revived my interest in the genre.
Mounted on the SL2-S, the 180mm APO/APO 2X combo rendered some perched bird shots the other day with exactly the same quality as my best efforts with the 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R. Not almost the same; exactly the same.
Typically, this would have me conspiring to find something of comparable quality with more reach, as 358mm on full frame restricts me to the most confiding critter friends. And it would ultimately lead me to some disappointment, as I’ve learned from experience.
For me, resulting IQ depends not just on the optical quality of the lens. It depends largely on other factors as well: e.g. weight, size, focusing drag, focus throw distance. In short, it’s less about how fantastic a lens may be, but rather about how well I, with my own capabilities and limitations, am able to exploit that quality.
A manual focus line I have yet to sample is Leica’s Telyt Module system. With an entry weight of around 3.8kg, it demands a monopod at the very least. There is locally a steal of a price for a 280mm f/2.8, which looks to have been used either sparingly or not at all. Trouble is, it’s a “go somewhere and sit” kinda lens, and there’s no such “somewhere” around here for folks with a face like mine.
The 500mm mirror lens is another one I haven’t tried, and which would benefit from IBIS. It’s lightweight as well and a Dr. Mandler design. Most of the images I’ve seen that were shot with the lens ranged from mediocre to downright lousy. But I’ve seen a few critter shots that looked pretty good. Oh, well, either that or another 280mm f/4 APO. Given their ages, I think the local casino might offer more favorable odds . . .
Below: a Racquet-Tailed Drongo shows off his racquets . . .