So I suppose this is a bit of a followup post to the post I did last month at the Brickyard 400 here in Indianapolis about using the new Canon 600mm F4II Version 2.  This time though I’m trying to reach something even smaller, from about the same distance using some tech that Nikon gave their D4 that Canon has neglected out of their current camera lineup.  Focusing at F8….

(Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa (26) warms up at the Indianapolis MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 19th, 2012.  (Marc Lebryk/ The Star))

(Nikon D4, 1250ISO, Nikon AFS 600F4 with Nikon TC20eIII Teleconverter taking me out to 1200mm.  1/3200@F9)

Something that I think is a major addition to Nikon’s D4 announced at the beginning of the  year was the ability to use a 2x Extender on a lens to create a maximum aperture of F8.  That means you can use a 2X extender on a 200-400F4 to make a 400-800F8 lens.  Why would you want to do that?  Well what if you want some extra reach?  You’ve already spent a lot of money on this 200-400mm lens, do you want to go and get a 500mm F4?  What if $500 or so could double your range?  Well 2x Extender always could be mounted to the lenses, but D3 series cameras (or any other camera including Canon’s current 1Dx and 5D Mark III lineup for that matter) won’t autofocus with them.  Now, you can get almost full AF using a lens like this with twice the reach sacrificing only a little bit of sharpness.  How well does it work though?  Ask Jorge Lorenzo…

(Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo (99) warms up at the Indianapolis MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 19th, 2012.  (Marc Lebryk/ The Star)

(Nikon D4, 800ISO, Nikon AFS 600mm F4 with Nikon TC20eIII taking me to 1200mm.  1/3200th@F9.)

It’s a helluva reach believe you me.  Click HERE for the 100% crop of the image as I turned it in with minor sharpening applied.  I was a LOONG way from the track at my position in turn 16 at the MotoGP, but I was able to fill the frame in turn 16, and have enough of the frame filled that I could slightly crop to fill the frame in turn 15.  Very reasonably crop may I add, leaving a lot of data for large prints if I wanted.

(Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso (4) holds off Repsol Honda Team rider Casey Stoner (1) to secure himself a 3rd place finish in the Indianapolis MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 19th, 2012. (Marc Lebryk/ The Star)

(Nikon D4, 2000ISO, Nikon AFS 600mm F4 with a Nikon TC20eIII teleconverter taking it to 1200mm.  1/5000th@F10). 

I was skeptical at first when thinking about this combination of Lens and teleconverter because when you’re putting that much glass between what is already “long glass” and your camera you are bound to end up with images that are ever so slightly soft.  It drives me nuts, but I wouldn’t be able to get the images otherwise.  That being said Nikon’s newest 2x teleconverter (along with their 1.4x version 2) are the beset teleconverters I’ve ever used.  In fact I had another blog last year having used the Nikon 2x on a 300mm Lens to get this roller derby shot.  It looked like it was a straight up 600mm Lens it was so sharp.  Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time with the 600mm I rented from Roberts here in Indy to microadjust the camera into that kind of sharpness, or determine if the 600mm needed to be calibrated since it was one of the first AFS models.  Either way, both the D4 and 600mm performed exactly as advertised, which was great with such a Hail Mary of a combination for an actual assignment having never stacked these pieces together before right?

(Nikon D4, 1000ISO, Nikon 600mm F4, 1/5000th@F5.6). 

Unfortunately I didn’t get much variation in the shots since I had such a small angle to shoot at the track.  Plus I was facing away from the Pagoda so there wasn’t even a highly recognizable background element.  Plus my shots got shuffled into the ERRORS folder at the paper thanks to an Influx of State Fair, Little League world Series, Colts vs Pittsburgh, and the MotoGP so you won’t find them in the gallery HERE.  My shots weren’t the only ones lost that night as Bob’s little league photos ended up getting Truncated, and Matt’s Colts pictures got back late so AP’s shots populated our Colts gallery to start.  On my end my good friends Greg, Matt and Doug were there to put their foot to butt to fill the gallery with the stuff of theirs that made it through before the big computer crash.  Computer issues happen.  Maybe next time.  It’s too bad since my victory shot above was the cleanest we got and it never went online or to print.  I’m trying to convince the paper to let me shoot some of the BMW Championship in September.  Haven’t shot real golfers playing in a long time, but I figure having been a 5 handicap in college I should at least know the game well enough to come up with some neat pictures right?  Who knows.  Either way; More Soon.