JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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The Frustrated Bluebird Suitor – First Test on My Birthday Lens

Apr 22, 2018

OK, it's not B&W, so shoot me – and it's not my birthday yet, so shoot me again. But a male bluebird decided to perch atop our little birdhouse and try to entice a female. It didn't work, or he simply gave up to easily, I don't know. A female did show up at one point, take a quick peak inside and abruptly leave, never to return. Poor fellow. This went on for a couple of days. It gave me an opportunity, and excuse, to convince Nan to let me run some tests on the lens. It's a decades old, mint condition, I-swear-it was-never-even-used, Canon 500mm, f8 mirror lens. Mounted with an adapter on my Fuji X-T2 it makes for a cool 750mm, wow. Sure could use a stabilizer with that thing!

     With converted lenses, everything works on my Fuji except auto-focus (there was no such thing when it was made) and auto aperture – well, I shoot aperture-preferred anyway, so that's not a problem. Manual focus on a mirrorless system is NOT like that on an SLR – press a button and the viewfinder zooms to a very close blow up of the center of the image and something called focus peaking, putting a red, white or red line around anything in focus, makes it quite quick and easy. And since I'm used to using my left hand for zooming anyway, on a prime lens it can be busy focusing.

     Anyway, below are more shots of our romantically frustrated bluebird. They were taken through a pane of glass in the kitchen door, so I imagine the lens doing a small notch sharper because of that. Plus I was hand holding the thing – not the smartest move in the world. I got to thinking later:

1- Duh, get the tripod out…  2- Duh, use a remote release… 3- Duh, activate electronic shutter… 4- Duh, try opening the darn door…

The main difference between the results here and my Fuji 300mm equivalent lens (last year's bluebird sequence here) is that those exposures had to be monster-cropped, these not-so because it gets me more than twice as close.

 There will be another "test" of my birthday lens. Seeing these flawed but passable results, I thoroughly expect to see some amazingly sharp results. The electronic shutter, by the way, means the mechanical shutter is not used, rather the sensor makes the exposure by sweeping across in the designated time. This can cause issues photographing moving subjects, but otherwise one is not handicapped by either potential camera vibration or even sound.

     So I'm glad I made this first, unthought out effort. Do I think I can wait for my birthday to try again – not. These shots aren't perfect, but they were fun. Oh, and the birdhouse – we have what looks like a pair of house sparrows nesting in there now – go figure!