Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Darley Dale Charity Clay Shoot and the Nikon VR system

Hi All,

On Sunday 18th September 2011 I went along to help at the Darley Dale Clay Pigeon Shooting Club annual Charity Shoot. 

I went along to help with the scoring but whilst I was there I took the opportunity to take a few pictures and also to try out my new Nikon 55-300mm f4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ED DX Lens. This is the first lens I've purchased incorporating the Nikon Vibration Reduction system and I was eager to try it out. I persuaded my daughter to stand in the garden and pose for me. There was very little light around as it was early evening on a dull day. I set the camera to f5.3 at 1/80th and an ISO of 1600!!. Even with the high ISO it was difficult to hold the camera and lens still to get a good, sharp image. I switched on the VR system and re-took the picture with the same settings. You can see the results below. These images were taken a few seconds apart and VR system makes an unusable situation usable.

Looking at the two shots I realised that the VR system was something I should have been thinking about for a long time. 

Happy with the lens I decided that I would keep it on throughout the day during the clay shoot and just see how it would cope with the varying light and full zoom situations. I needn't have been worried. 

For this image I was stood quite a distance away from the subject and consequently the lens was at maximum zoom with the VR switched on and the camera handheld. As you can see the image is extremely sharp. I probably could have achieved this with a non-VR lens but it would have been much more difficult and would, more than likely, required a tripod.   

In the image below I wanted to convey the power of the shotgun as the trigger is pulled. This particular trap was set up down an embankment with me standing above the shooter. The camera was set at 7fps so that I stood some chance of capturing the shot as the gun went off. The VR was on again as the light was now dropping away. 

The VR system once again allowed me to use the lens at full zoom, keeping the image stabilised sufficiently to freeze the shot and keep the details on the sign clear and sharp.

Whilst walking around the grounds I noticed a small Dragonfly sitting on a piece of wood near one of the traps. Each time I approached the insect it flew away only to return a few moments later once I'd walked away. I hadn't got time to change the lens out so I had to do the best I could with the 55-300. I set the camera to 1/2000th with an aperture of f6.3 and an ISO of 640. The lens was at 300mm and the VR was on. Without the VR it would have been impossible to capture anything at the zoom. However as you can see below, it made a reasonable job under the circumstances. 

You can probably tell by now that I'm very impressed with the Nikon Vibration Reduction system and if you're an Nikon owner and considering a new lens then I can heartily recommend it. More details about the Vibration Reduction system can be found at this link and, as always, all of my images can be found by following the links from my Gallery Page.  

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