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Thread: SAL Photography Challenge #5 - Telephoto Photography

  1. #1

    SAL Photography Challenge #5 - Telephoto Photography

    Hi everybody and welcome to the latest SonyAlphaLab - Forum Photography Challenge: Telephoto Photography

    So what the heck do I mean by that exactly? Well I'm saying use your longest lens and challenge yourself to learn something in the next month. If that lens happens to be a 55-210mm lens, then set it long and start shooting! If you only have the basic kit lens, then set it to 50mm or 55mm and start shooting

    The goals of this Telephoto Challenge in my mind are as fallows:

    - Push your compositional skills to the next level by being forced to re-think scenes using a much more narrow perspective of this 3d space we live in.
    - learning to use a tri-pod if necessary...
    - being forced to take a new physical locations than the normal ones that used to work with a wide angle lens for example
    - Practice...
    - explore the layering possibilities that are presented to you from this new telephoto perspective
    - learn how the depth of field is effected when using the telephoto range
    - step out of your comfort zone
    - Have some fun!

    Some tips:

    - Using roof tops, windows, or shooting from the car is great fun with telephoto lenses!
    - Use the minimum focus distance with backgrounds at various distances. This will really show off the separation you can get and make a cool photo of almost any subject if the background is far enough away.
    - Pan around the scene and look for compositions using the viewfinder and one eye. You must learn to see with the new perspective so use it and look a the world.
    - go back to old scenes with a complete new eye and be surprised at the results!
    - try getting closer to the ground
    - Use a tri-pod!

    Sample Photos Coming Soon...

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  2. #2
    Think this tip answers my question if I understand correctly.
    "Use the minimum focus distance with backgrounds at various distances."
    So, this challenge would include anything done with longer focal length than the "normal" lens for a given camera format, including portraits and close up photography.

    Willie

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by wilmeland View Post
    Think this tip answers my question if I understand correctly.
    "Use the minimum focus distance with backgrounds at various distances."
    So, this challenge would include anything done with longer focal length than the "normal" lens for a given camera format, including portraits and close up photography.

    Willie
    Great question!

    Being a challenge Willie, I would say your longest focal length as apposed to longer than normal. For example, with the 55-210mm lens, I will try and stay above 200mm if possible. If I were using a 70-300mm I would try to stay above 275mm for this challenge personally. If I was using a 135mm prime lens, then 135mm it is.

    Remember, challenging yourself is the goal, so depending on your lens selection this can vary and ultimately you must decide what to use...

    I still need to tidy up the actual challenge post Willie, so stay tuned for more tips and hopefully some sample photos

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  4. #4
    Tamron manual lens @ 150mm f/4

    tamroncz150_04356
    by Hunter S Catson, on Flickr

  5. #5
    First post, awesome job and congrats Willie!

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  6. #6
    That's a nice capture of the bee doing what bees do.

    I am just about off to San Francisco for a week and I won't be taking my 500mm lens, nor am I taking my NEX 5N and 55-210 . . . so my contributions are about 10 days out. But I'll plan on it.
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

  7. #7
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanlancaster View Post
    I am just about off to San Francisco for a week and I won't be taking my 500mm lens, nor am I taking my NEX 5N and 55-210 . . . so my contributions are about 10 days out. But I'll plan on it.
    San Francisco is a very photogenic city. With your flair and 135mm, I guess you could render several nice views! Have a safe trip.

    p.s. Nice picture to start things off, Willie.

  8. #8
    Oh goodness, February and March were so busy for me that I barely noticed two months had already passed by! I better whip out the old telephoto zoom and adapt it on for this challenge. : )! The 100+mm range is not something that I use very often, that's for sure.
    (Insert list of camera gear that lets others know how much money you have here.)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by leuius View Post
    San Francisco is a very photogenic city. With your flair and 135mm, I guess you could render several nice views! Have a safe trip.

    p.s. Nice picture to start things off, Willie.
    I'll have my 135, but this is a challenge and my 135 isn't much of a challenge so I'll wait to use a real challenging telephoto lens. I plan to take my 55 and 135 and shoot them exclusively. I am also renting a Ricoh GR (APS-C 18mm lens - 28 FF equivalent) for my wider angle needs and so I don't have to change lenses. It's nearly a pocketable camera, too.
    Last edited by seanlancaster; Apr 2 2015 at 01:58 PM.
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

  10. #10
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Funny coincidence, this challenge is along a line that I had recently started to delve deeper into.

    A few weeks back, I found a good deal on a classic Tokina ATX 100-300mm f/4 lens. It's an amazing piece of glass, big and heavy, in perfect (like new) condition. The only thing is that it was built with a Contax mount so I had to order an extra adapter for my A6000. I'm still waiting for that item to be delivered and I can't wait to try the lens out. So the timing for this challenge will be just right.

    In the meantime, my longest focal is a 500mm mirror lens. Compared with the previous monster, this one is small and quite portable. It is reasonably sharp but focus is very sensitive and hard to nail down. I normally reserve it for shooting the moon and birds (rarely) so I'm looking forward expanding its use via this challenge. Just last weekend, I got to take the following as a focusing and resolution test. The tree is approximately 200 feet away. Notice the small donuts in the bokeh, which are typical for this type of lens.


    Sunset tree on Flickr (750mm FF equivalent)

    Moreover, just yesterday I received a vintage Minolta 2X tele-converter. I immediately set upon testing it using some longer-reach lenses. I'm reasonably happy with the optics although the TC body is a bit beat up. My favorite remote target (the moon) had just started to rise and I had a Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4.0 classic lens mounted on the TC when spring manifested itself for the first time...


    North bound on Flickr (630mm FF equivalent)

    A while later, I mounted the mirror lens on the TC and on a tripod. For an A6000, this yields 500 x 2 x 1.5 = 1500mm equivalent focal length (native focal multiplied by the TC factor multiplied by the APS-C crop factor). That is essentially a small telescope but not very bright at f/16 (native f/8 x 2 for the TC). That is still plenty for the moon though and I captured several shots. I tried to stack them but did not succeed. That will be my personal challenge for the foreseeable future... getting my head around Registax. In the meantime, I continued experimenting with Capture One and produced the following image.


    Moon on day 12 on Flickr (1500mm FF equivalent)

    So there you have it, my first pictures for this challenge. More to come I'm sure...

    Regards.

    p.s. For those of you in Australia or the mid and western part of North America, there will be a lunar eclipse this Saturday. You can get more information about this celestial event (and practice telephoto photography if you like) at this website. Unfortunately, the weather man is calling for snow (yup, winter's is not quite over) in my nick of the woods and I will likely miss the show.
    Last edited by leuius; Apr 3 2015 at 02:26 AM. Reason: added Australia to eclipse coverage for our friends down under :)
    Stef (leuius is latin for more light)
    Using:
    Sony A6000 + A6500
    (Native E-mount)
    * Sony: 16-50mm | 16-70mm/4.0 | 55mm/1.8 | 55-210mm * Samyang: 12mm/2.0 * Trioplan 50/2.9
    (Adapted to E-mount from SR | C/Y | AD2 | M42 lenses)
    * Minolta: 24mm/2.8 | 45mm/2.0 | 50mm/1.4/1.7/2.0 | 85mm/2.0 | 135mm/2.8/3.5 | 35-105mm
    * Tamron: 28mm/2.5 | SP 90mm/2.8 macro | SP 35-80mm * Tokina: RMC 500mm/8.0 | ATX 100-300mm/4.0
    * Pentax: 50mm/1.4 * Vivitar Series 1: 70-210mm * Soligor: 85-205mm/3.8

  11. #11
    Nice photo's Stef!
    Figured you'd have some equipment for this challenge. I'm looking forward to it because the long focal lengths are pretty much out of my comfort zone. All I have is an old manual Tamron zoom that goes to 150 and the Sony 55-210. Funny, I bought the 55-210 back in July when I bought my first Sony and have probably used it for less than 3% of my shots so far. So, this will be good learning experience. Put it on today and plan to keep it on one of the cameras for the next month - hopefully will learn how to maximize it's potential for me. Took it to a ball game today.

    Think this will be fun.

    Willie

  12. #12
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    Great start on the challenge with the bee and flower (hibiscus?) Willie. Great shots as always, Stef. I especially like the one with the migrating flock -- movement, pattern, and of course the moon. Thanks also for the link, very cool. I've got a long way to go to get proper shots of the moon.

    It doesn't help when I struggle because I haven't noticed I'm shooting at ISO 100. tried a "bridge" between B&W and telephoto at the end of B&W thread, but even with a ~1500mm FOV, it took me awhile to prop that 17" beast for a shot, and it still came out moderately crappy.

    Anyway, I was back up in Questa and Red River, NM (my favorite place to go for work) the last couple of days, visiting meteorological and particulate monitoring stations to get data, and I took my Rokker 135 along, and shot at f/4.

    Here's a shot of what the locals call the Questa Bear. I personally think it looks more like an alien wabbit...
    Last edited by BrianC; Apr 2 2015 at 11:28 PM.

  13. #13
    Excellent photos Stef! The detail on that moon image is incredible and one of the best I have ever seen on a forum! You see all those tracks going in and out of the craters? The apparently change over time and this was noticed and tracked way by One of the first telescope inventors. Galileo maybe? He had a journal with the evolving tracks over time and was perplexed by this. It really is weird and looks like a mining operation.

    The birds with the moon in the background is also killer

    Thank you for sharing!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Obelix's Avatar
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    Tree pictures with same lens and camera at different focal lengths 135, 200 and 300
    There is around 3/4 mile distance between light houses, with short focal length white light house would be just a speck on horizon.

    135mm


    200mm


    300mm


    Sony A57, Tamron SP 70-300mm f4/5.6 USD

  15. #15
    Nice shot Brian and the shutter speed will need to be pretty high for a lens like that I would imagine

    Excellent work Obelix and I really like how you included all three frames. I really enjoy the visual compression that the telephoto lenses yield and your images illustrate this effect perfectly You the man!

    Thanks again for sharing everybody and I have a few photos coming shortly I took this morning on the way to work!

    I also wrote a new article on the main SonyAlphaLab.com website that I would love your feedback on >>

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  16. #16
    Here's one from this morning and I used the same telephoto compression effect as Obelix, but on a much shorter subject spread. In this case only about 15 feet or so between connections

    Sony Nex-6 and 55-210mm @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/200sec, ISO Auto (3200)



    Here is what the whole rig looks like for reference if you have not seen it before: I was shooting the connecting span on the upper right hand side.



    Thanks for looking and more to come asap..

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  17. #17
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    @Brian - It took me awhile to see the wabbit; more like a wolf to me initially. Nice composition.

    @Obelix - Excellent images and way to show the perspective variation with increasing focal length. Great composition and subject. That zoom lens looks to be very sharp (ref: the fishing poles) all over.

    @Jay - Nice DOF effect; I like those. Thanks also for the contextual picture. The gearbox should be interesting to investigate with a lens too

    Regards.

  18. #18
    Nice photos.
    @ Stef, went to flickr to view the last moon shot again. Really nice detail.
    @ Brian, like the mountain shot, good angle - are those ski trails?
    @ Obelix, totally agree - shots are great illustration of how focal length affects perspective. Great shots, nicely composed.
    @ Jay, great choice of subject and framing - really shows that the 55-210 has nice potential, even at full zoom.

    Willie

  19. #19
    Here is a few more shots from this morning using my Sony Nex-6 and E-Mount 55-210mm lens maxed out @ 210mm. Sorry about the high ISO noise, but I did not have time to use a tri-pod before work unfortunately and just kept it on Auto ISO for speed sake

    I focused int he center for this one...









    The Hole:





    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  20. #20
    Hardcore Member Tikcus's Avatar
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    Here is a couple I took with the sel55210 the light was fading both were taking at 210mm on the Alpha 5000 f6.3, with the objects (the tip of the evergreen tree, and a branch from a plum tree) at minimum focus distance (less than 1 meter)

    ISO was set to 800 on the branch and 1600 on the evergreen (I have some shots on auto but ISO is 6400 and you can tell)

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    I used to own stuff

  21. #21
    Hardcore Member Tikcus's Avatar
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    Decided to post the branch at ISO 6400, better focus (I think)

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    I used to own stuff

  22. #22
    Like the shots above from the Sony 55-210mm, so here's some more from same lens. Have a feeling we may get to see a lot of what that lens can do.

    Tried a shot of the "almost full" moon tonight - cropped, but other than that, straight out of camera @ 210mm.
    f/8, 1/320sec, iso 100

    almostfull04464
    by Hunter S Catson, on Flickr

    Then a couple of shots from a spring training baseball game. Had good seats for a change, so did not use max 210mm zoom for most shots.
    David Dejesus pulls up on this pitch.

    Rays-Phillies04371
    by Hunter S Catson, on Flickr


    Then, on the next pitch, hits a 3 run homer.

    DavidDeJesusHomer04372
    by Hunter S Catson, on Flickr

    Series of shots from the game at link below.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/387422...7651276861807/

    This was the first good test I'd given this lens and I liked the results.
    Willie
    Last edited by wilmeland; Apr 4 2015 at 10:30 AM.

  23. #23
    Nice work Tickus and yes, the second image appears more sharp for sure Really like the way those branch tips look with the background so far away!

    Really nice job Willie and yes, that 55-210mm is looking mighty popular for this challenge so far! Moon shot looks super crisp and bassball images are also killer. Trying to time capturing the ball is really hard, but rapid fire mode can be helpful in this case!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  24. #24
    Junior Member
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    Some great captures posted on this thread!
    I wanted to share several photos taken with my A6000 and the same lens used for most of the shots above, the SEL 55-210. The only exception is on the final photo. All of these were taken here at my home, the Retreat Center and Dharma Gardens in Godavari, Nepal. If you have a high resolution display (I have 3200 X 1800 on my computer but a 4K LCD also if fantastic) try zooming in on the details, such as the "Flower and Bee" or the hair/hands on the Ukrainian girl in "Devotion".
    Thanks for posting such terrific pictures.

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    Last edited by Hermit; Apr 4 2015 at 08:31 AM.

  25. #25
    Excellent photos Hermit and thank you so much for taking the time share and comment Looks like a really nice place you have their and some really happy moments in time captured forever! Great detail, color, and other technicals for sure...

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  26. #26
    Junior Member
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    Jay, I have a personal question which I have been trying to find an answer to for months. As it relates very directly to this thread I'll ask you here.
    Do you know if Sony is going to be releasing any E-mount (preferably not full frame) lens with a longer Telephoto length than the 55-210? If you don't, is there any alternative w/o spending thousands for both an adapter and an expensive full frame Telephoto lens? I would love to have something in the 300-400 mm range (cropped) meaning 450-600 mm in 35 mm terms.
    Last edited by Hermit; Apr 4 2015 at 08:55 AM.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
    Jay, I have a personal question which I have been trying to find an answer to for months. As it relates very directly to this thread I'll ask you here.
    Do you know if Sony is going to be releasing any E-mount (preferably not full frame) lens with a longer Telephoto length than the 55-210? If you don't, is there any alternative w/o spending thousands for both an adapter and an expensive full frame Telephoto lens? I would love to have something in the 300-400 mm range (cropped) meaning 450-600 mm in 35 mm terms.
    An excellent question and I do think Sony will eventually make a lens, but who knows when is the issue. In the meantime, I would suggest looking at some vintage glass for the most affordable lens with the best optical quality. For example:




    If you want to go Auto focus, then new Sigma 150-60mm lens looks pretty nasty. An adapter would be needed though of course. The best place to ask questions like this would be E-Mount Lens Talk >>

    A 200-400mm would be nice from Sony, (if that would make it easier on the optics and cost) to compliment the 55-210mm that most of use already have. I'm talking kit lens prices though like the new 24-240mm lens for the full frame e-mount line which is ~1000. Not to bad for a very good quality all in one with full frame coverage. If Sony uses this model for the 200-400mm lens I think we would have a winner. However, full frame is still the priorety it appears....

    Jay

    Best,
    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  28. #28
    @ Jay, really like the subject and compositions using that old machinery. Particularly like the last 2 with focal point on the old gears taken through other parts of the machinery. Very cool subject, what is that machinery?
    @ Hermit - very nice series of shots & really great detail in the flower/bee shot.

    thanks for posting,
    Willie

  29. #29
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Size:  280.9 KBShot with A6000 55-210mm lens. Hawk is at full 210mm, Deer is at 156 mm.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jtimmer View Post
    Shot with A6000 55-210mm lens. Hawk is at full 210mm, Deer is at 156 mm.
    Really nice wildlife captures! Don't think I've ever seen hawk and another bird that close together - is that a composite?

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