Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/04

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Subject: Re: [Leica] 400mm 2.8
From: Doug Herr <>
Date: 4 Dec 2001 22:08:27 -0800

On Tue, 04 December 2001, "michael grady" wrote:

> I've had the 280 2.8 for a few years and I diligently use it on a tripod.  I
> also have the 1.4 and 2 x teleconverters and use them with the 280.
> However, I do notice a little softness when I add a teleconverter.  That's
> why I was thinking of a 400.  Am I thinking up the wrong tree?
> Regarding the question of sting like a bee vs firepower.  I love being out
> in the field in the morning with a big lens and a tripod.  But I'm not
> married to the idea.  I prefer great pictures over great equipment.
> Feedback?
> thanks,
> michael
Be certain your 280 + extender is *perfectly* steady on the tripod.  The 1.4 APO converter was made for the 280 so I'd be surprised if the softness is optical.  Try a few exposures at fast shutter speeds vs. slow.  It will hardly matter whether the 400 is a prime or a 280 + converter, camera shake will still be an issue.  The 400's advantage would be a larger maximum aperture for faster shutter speeds, but the 280 + extender should be plenty sharp.  Ted Grant has had LOTS of experience with this combination, so if he jumps in you'll read all about it.
I use a tripod when I really have to but in dense brush it's far more throuble than it's worth.  A good compromise has been the shoulder stock + monopod.  If I know I'll be set up observing a specific branch, watering hole, whatever... the tripodded lens is the way to go but most of the time I'd rather have the freedom to wander around if the mood strikes me without tripping over all that *&@# hardware.
f/6.8 is slow, no question of that.  It's also light enough that it's not a big burden, a compromise in favor of mobility over low-light capability.

Doug Herr
Birdman of Sacramento
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Replies: Reply from Marc Attinasi <> (Re: [Leica] 400mm 2.8)
Reply from "michael grady" <> (Re: [Leica] 400mm 2.8)