30 August, 2009

Testing 1 ,2 ,3, Testing!

29 August 2009, Kemensah, Selangor

I haven’t been doing any birding over this Puasa month but the itch to press the shutter release button is constantly there. So I have been doing some testing with the Nikon D90/ Nikkor 80-400mm VR f4.5-5.6, in the backyard to see their limits and explore new opportunities they offer.
I set myself a new objective being ‘to shoot  primarily with the available natural light’ so yesterday  Ilyas and I went to Kemensah , the spot where we shot the Rufous Collared Kingfisher to do an hour of  actual field tests.

Things couldn’t have been much better;  gloomy and overcast sky,  and it started to drizzle when we were preparing the equipment, just the right condition to test for a probable worst case scenario!


I shot these in Aperture priority and overode the  given shutter speed to about 1/160s by pushing down the EV to about -2, f7.1, ISO800. Noise was a  problem. This lens has an attitude that it will not deliver a sharp image below 1/125s and  at f5.6.


The camera was setup such that it was able to capture the shots without the aid of a flashgun   but I actually  used a flash, set to almost the minimum with diffuser dome fitted to give some sparkle to the eyes. I checked that there were no difference in the level of exposure even with the flash.

_DSC0546_filtered   Spectacled  Bulbul and a mouthful of berries

The birds were certainly cooperating today- a good thing since we didn’t have much time and energy.

I find that the results were more than satisfactory. The colour/ tones of the birds were more natural and the details of the eyes ( no silver/red eye)  turned out better.

_DSC0545_filtered _DSC0554_filtered

A backlit Black-Headed Bulbul at about 40ft.


I will definitely be trying  more of this.The outcome would have been better in good weather.

Things you have to do to squeeze every single ounce  of performance from  this lens which I don’t think those with longer and faster lenses need to bother. Maybe one of these days I will wake up to find a Nikkor 500mm f4 on my door step!






  1. My merdeka wish is Canon 600mm IS f4 :)

  2. Wow,fantastic birds and outstanding Photography.
    Well shot.

  3. Hi Madi
    I too giving up flash unless in dense forest Jusu boost up the ISO and hope for the best