Cindy and I met on a volatile weather morning in St. Petersburg for another pre-Alaska trip (for her!) DSLR Photography Lesson. The photo above highlights Cindy's absolutely fantastic Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm VR II f/2.8G lens with her brand new Nikon 2x teleconverter, the latest iteration of that device. In April of 2010 a friend let me borrow his first generation 70-200mm VR lens and the previous Nikon 2x teleconverter to photograph an anhinga, and I said at that time I was not impressed with the results. I could not get a sharp image in the slightest above f/8. I was expecting the same results even with Cindy's newer setup. I could not have been more wrong.
I tested the VR II lens and latest 2x teleconverter by photographing a sign at f/5.6, f/6.3 and f/8. I had to zoom in to near 100% crop on Cindy's Nikon D90 viewfinder to perceive the slight improvement in sharpness at f/8 as compared to f/5.6. I wasn't just shocked, I was stunned! This setup is now a fantastic solution to get a 600mm effective focal length for a quarter of the price of an actual 600mm lens. I did not want to hand that lens and teleconverter back to Cindy!! Once you use them together (or even just the VR II lens by itself) it is hard to go back to lesser gear.
Next month Cindy cruises to Alaska from a boat leaving Vancouver to photograph whales, eagles and grizzlies! It is hard to imagine a better wildlife photography trip than that one besides maybe a trip to Africa.