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Advanced Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 12 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions.

I am from India. I shoot birds. Please take a look at to see my work. I use mainly a Nikon F5 with a 600mm Nikkor Tele.  My question is this...

Sometimes while shooting birds which are sitting in a tree or shrub I get "hot spots" in the background where the leaves let the sky be seen. Also, if the sky is an even white when I shoot birds sitting in the open, the image has a washed out background.

Can you suggest a way to improve my images?

Vijay Cavale

Very nice site. Your photographs are also very good.

The hot spots are very tricky to solve. The hot spots are created when your subjects (the birds) are in the shaded area of the tree and the  brighter sky is visible through the openings in the tree branches.

 There are a couple of ways that you may be able to get around this. If you can get a flash unit in close enough you may be able to use the light from the flash to help balance the exposure so the hot spots don't contrast as much with the subject. 

Also, if the trees are not out in the open wild, maybe put up a gray mesh blind in the background. This will help diffuse the backlight so that it doesn't blow out in your images.

I plan to do Wedding Photography and my question is if you put your film in the refrigerator, would it give the picture better quality?
Tara Thatcher

Refrigerating film does not in itself give a better picture quality. It does however, slow the aging process of the film. Most professional films require refrigeration for this reason. This does help insure a rich accurate color reproduction. Most consumer level films do not need this special handling (it does help to refrigerate consumer films as they get closer to the expiration date).

Can a 2x or 1.4x extender be used with the new Nikon 80-400mm 4.5-5.6ED VR AF lens with success? Will the image stabilizer still work?
Al Lopinot

The word from Nikon is that any of the extenders will work with limitations.  

You will loose the vibration reduction technology and use of the
Nikon extenders will cause you to loose auto focus. You will, however, maintain your metering capability.

My feeling is that if you spend the money for a lens with this kind of
technology, why loose the most important feature? But if you are looking at it from the aspect of the occasional extension from 400mm using a tripod, it may workout well for your needs.

What's the word on the new Diffractive Optics from Canon? Have they sorted out the "halos" when shooting into a light source? I understand there is rumor about a 200-600 f4 coming!! Do you know anything about this?

Diffractive Optics is a technology that is allowing Canon's engineers to design lenses with about half the size and one third the weight (in the case of the 400mm IS lens). 

We have had the opportunity to try the 400mm f/4 IS at PMA (see our comments on the News page of the March issue) and had very impressive results. We didn't notice any problems with "halos", but we were observing the image on the LCD of a D30.  We spoke with an individual in Canon's tech group about your question and they were not aware of any current "halo" problems. 

As far as a 200-600mm, all we could get from Canon is that there are other lenses with this technology coming, but they would not elaborate.

I feel with the Image Stabilization and Diffractive Optic technologies, a 200-600mm lens or similar could be a real possibility - but we wouldn't hold our breath until it's announced.

We hope to get a sample of the 400 IS for a detailed review in the near future.

Just purchased a Tokina AF 300 2.8 AT-X Lens & Kenko Pro 300 AF Teleplus 1.4 & 2x. Is there a circular polarizer for the "drop-in-slot of this lens?

Attaching the 1.4, the f-stop is f-4 Attaching the 2x, the f-stop is f-5.6. What would be the f-stop, if you stack the 1.4 + 2x = 3.4 = f-??

Thanks for your time
Lee Schaffer

The Tokina AF 300mm F/2.8 ATX lens uses a 35.5mm rear drop-in filter. Tokina does not offer a circular polarizer, however B+W does have a 35.5mm CPL that should work for you.

As far as stacking the teleconverters, the amount of exposure you will need to add for the 2x coverter is about 2 stops and about one stop for the 1.4x converter. This means you will loose about three stops of light, making your f/2.8 lens an f/8 lens.

You will want to test these converters stacked with your lens to make sure you will maintain the optical quality you want. Although the Kenko Pro 300 teleconverters are high quality, teleconverters are not necessarily intended to be stacked.

If you need more power than the 2x, Kenko now offers a 3x converter in the Pro 300 line that will maintain auto focus with the 2.8 lenses.







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