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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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