I went to Hartsholme Park with my photographer friend Richard yesterday, its always more fun when going with one or more other photographers, you can share ideas and the company is always nice. Although Richard’s forte is more Landscape based he also enjoys the wildlife. It also gives him the opportunity to try out some different techniques and other features of his camera.
I wanted to go to give my new Nikon D3S a try-out on some of the types of pictures I like to take. I also gave the Nikon 70-300 and newly acquired (this Friday) 14-24mm f2.8 lens a go (see picture at top); although I have purchased and used to good affect the iPhone software GPS4Cam (see review here), the fact that I have a Nikon camera now means that I can now re-use the GP-1 GPS module for my geo-tagging.
Although we arrived around 8PM, there was a lot of activity in the park today, the Herons were doing lots of flying and it was quite evident that they were collecting twigs and such like for their nests:
One of the things that the D3S gives me is a few more frames per second coupled with a large buffer, I was able to get some shots that would not have been possible without this camera, there were many birds in flight around the park. Here is a Greylag goose on its final approach before landing:
Here is a Canada Goose as it hits the water:
All in all I manged to capture a number of excellent shots and the equipment performed admirably. The D3S operated almost exactly like the D3 I used to own so there was no delay in knowing how to use the camera; the 70-300 is a hidden gem and a bargain for what it can do, although not in the same league as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens that Richard was using or the other excellent Nikon Lenses that are around it gives them a good run for their money and optically (where it counts) it is flawless. The 14-24mm lens also performed as expected (I love this lens), whilst not a lens that I will use as much as the 70-300mm, it is their when I need it.
Not everything went as well as it could have. You see the 70-300mm lens on a full-frame camera such as the D3S has a maximum reach of 300mm, on the a crop-factor camera such as the D200 that Richard was using would have the same field of view as a 450mm lens. The 70-200mm lens on the body with a 1.7x converter (again what Richard was using) yielded a FOV of up to 510mm. This is over 200mm more and that is a lot when you are trying to capture birds or other animals that are far away.