150 – 600: Edinburgh Zoo

After a long hiatus, the 150-600 was given a good airing this week with a trip to Edinburgh Zoo.
Initially I had started with a monopod, but eventually gave up and hand-held the lens for flexibility. It’s surprisingly manageable for the size, not least of all because of the excellent stabiliser. I dropped the shutter speed to 1/15s for this shot to get the background effect I was looking for. Even at 150mm, that’s a tenth of the recommended speed for hand holding.


To get the shot I wanted, I had to sacrifice some sharpness on the tiger’s head due to motion blur, but the details captured on the log shows just how good the lens is at maintaining a steady image, and it didn’t detrimentally affect the image.  I did wonder if perhaps the lens collar should be detachable, but it makes for a good hand rest for manual readjustment when needed, so the only real advantage would be the reduction in diameter for packing into a bag.


A bit of directional light (even if it’s not very strong) makes all the difference to the quality of images produced by the 150-600. These rhinos had quite a dark enclosure, but the lens handled the conditions with ease.


I saw two ways of photographing this rock hyrax, as a frame-filling portrait and an environmental study, and the range of the 150-600 allowed for both.


The long end of the lens made it possible to “see through” several fences at once, producing some soft focus shots of some of the animals.


Of course, the high reach of the lens made for some lovely closeups of some of the shier creatures as well.



A quick note about my other kit chosen for the day: a Fuji X100T for quick-fire wide angle work (and family shots); and the highly dependable Tamron 70-200 F/2.8 for indoor enclosures where the maximum aperture of the longer lens was too limiting.
This meant I always had a telephoto on the camera, and didn’t miss an opportunity.


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