Wildlife Safari Lens

Nikon 80-400mm VR

Wildlife Safari Lens! Today I want to feature photos taken with my 80-400mm VR Nikon Zoom lens. A list of lenses is stark and boring so I wanted to do a feature of photographs taken with some of the gear I’m selling. I’m not a commercial trader or anything like that so all the gear I have has personal reasons for buying it in the first place. In 2011 we went on an amazing trip to Namibia. I had nothing with enough reach in my lens collection at that time so I bought this one and didn’t regret it for a second. The VR is amazing, it has three settings, off (for use with a tripod), normal (for general walking about and hand holding) and active (for on the back of a moving safari truck)! Perfect for shots like these:

Hand Held walking about:

Cheetah Cub shot at 400mm on D300

Mamma shot at 400mm on D300:

Naughty Cheetah stole a camera bag shot at 220mm

Hand Held from the truck:

Backlit lion shot at 400mm on D300 (you can see the exif on pbase by clicking these images and then select “view exif” under the photo):

Mamma Lion shot at 400mm on D300:

Giraffes Kissing shot at 400mm on a D300:

Giraffe Harem shot at 200mm on D300:

Lion Play fight shot at 400mm on D300:

Zebra in the road shot at 240mm:

Elephant shot at 120mm

At the watering hole (on a tripod) shot at 46mm:

shot at 150mm:

Not going on an amazing Safari trip any time soon? No Problem there’s plenty of wildlife at home. When I first got the lens I went for a wander around a Dorset town and got this shot of cheeky gulls:

Just because I’ve personally only used this as a wildlife lens that doesn’t mean there is only one use for it. You could use it for Astronomy, Landscape, Wildlife, Portraits, Spying on your neighbours (joke) etc etc! The lens is in excellent condition for only £700 (basically new as I only used it for this one trip & a few test shots). There is not much call for such a zoomy lens in underwater photography. I hope you enjoyed my photos here. Either email me with your interest on: scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk Or head over to the full list of gear for sale.

How to set up a Subal ND30

I’ve written this how to guide-to get primarily for my own use as an ad memoir but I thought I’d post it here in case anyone else is having trouble. When I took my subal to Cebu, Martin Edge had to show me everything. So I’ve jotted it down here from what I can remember. This is my disclaimer.. these are my own personal notes so if you chose to use them and your camera floods please don’t blame me.

EDIT: One piece of info that I forgot to mention (thanks for pointing that out Peter). I always take the strap, the little rubber eye piece and plastic LCD screen cover off the camera before putting it in the housing. The little eye piece should just click off if you push it upwards. Apparently the pressure caused by these things can cause a flood.

I have a 60 macro flat port lens and a fisheye (with gear & extension ring) for my Tokina. This is how I set them up. I may update this account with pictures in June so take this as an initial draft.

Firstly, make sure you’re in a nice dry environment (I always did this in my room at Cebu). And make sure no one will interrupt you otherwise you’ll end up missing a step and flooding it :(

Back of housing:

  • - Open Subal housing with heal of hand, push down & twist (this is how I do it because I haven’t the strength in my thumbs).
  • - Take out baseplate and attach it to the camera (by the tripod screw slot) with a coin
  • - Drape flash head over the edge of the housing
  • - Turn Subal Housing on/off switch to ‘On’
  • - Of the two knobs on the left hand side – switch the larger one to auto focus, Flick the smaller button up to ‘M’ for Manual Focus
  • - Switch the camera to manual focus
  • - Switch the camera on and remove the lens cap!
  • - Place camera into housing (on baseplate spokes) & flick down baseplate switch to secure
  • - Put flash head into hotshoe on camera and make sure its pushed in firmly until flush with the hotshoe
  • - Test switches (on/off & turn focus to C or S)
  • - To remove the o-ring, run thumbs over main o-ring until it pops out at the bottom or top.
  • - Clean the groove with a cotton bud
  • - Clean & slightly grease o-ting & check for little bits of grit or hairs or anything that might cause a leak!
  • - Place o-ring back into the groove at the top & push gently into place with thumbs
  • - Wait a few moments to make sure the o-ring doesn’t pop back out at the bottom (Ive seen this happen and it causes a leak if you don’t notice this)
  • - Clean the lid of any grime & place in position
  • - Click into place with two clips (with palm of hand or knuckles or thumbs)

Front of the housing:

- A flat port (like the 60mm macro port) is easier to put on before inserting the camera. A dome pot (like the Tokina fisheye) or a port for a lens that needs gears is possibly easier to put in place with the camera already inside.

- 60mm macro flat port

o Lightly greasy o-ring.

o Place back onto port by thumbing the o-ring back into the groove rather than stretching the o-ring back over (they stretch eventually anyway & need replacing).

o Hold the port so that the subal logo is at the nine o’clock position

o Place the port onto the housing & turn until you feel it drop into place

o Then push down hard & twist until locked into place (the Subal logo should now be at 12 o’clock at the top of the housing all being well)

- Fisheye for Tokina

o Put camera into housing (as described above)

o Put the extension ring onto the front of the housing (follow the instructions for the 60mm macro port above)

o Place the gear ring inside the housing onto the lens. Push it down into a position so that the teeth of the gear turn when the side knob is set to manual focus (this autofocus/manual focus knob is misleadingly named in this case. I am using the lens on auto focus but the manual focus level is zooming my lens for me).

o Once you can turn the lens with the knob you know the gear is on correctly.

o Grease the o-ring of the fisheye port.

o On mine there is no subal logo to line up but when properly attached the larger shades on the port should be at the top & bottom. So put the large shades at 9 o’clock & twist until it drops into place. The push hard & twist until the shades are at the top & bottom. One thing to note, be careful when twisting these that the extension ring is still locked into place with the logo at the top (and not twisting with the fisheye).

Ta da! Now go and watch for bubbles in the dunk tank before taking it diving! And try not to leave it unattended.

EDIT: see other posts in my ‘Subal Housing How To’ category for strobes, 105 VR lens and any additional updates… here

Getting started

Decided to stick with the 50ml until I’d learnt more about the camera controls. This lens has no zoom and no buttons – keep it simple.
Had a play with it on program mode (SLR speak for auto). Not that impressed with the focus but first impressions of the menus were that they were intuitive enough. Most of this first set of pictures were out of focus but that might have had something to do with the couple of glasses of wine I’d had ;)

What I bought & 1st Impressions

Nikon D300
18-200 VR lens (and filter to protect it)
50ml 1.4 lens (I already had this from Mikes abandoned D70)
Large capacity fast CF card
Didn’t need a spare battery since

Shiny new toys! :) Got it at lunchtime and couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and put it together. I had to check the manual to find out how to open the CF door but the battery seem simple enough. Attached the 18-200 VR and did some zooming. I’d seen Mike line up the dots on the lens before otherwise I’d have had to look in the manual for that too probably. Didn’t really want to take too many pictures of my colleagues though. Mike took this one of Amir: