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-   -   Considering hiring a lens (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=33306)

jamespetts 9th June 2014 03:41 PM

Considering hiring a lens
I had a day out to the London Wetlands Centre yesterday, which is rather an excellent place for photography. However, whilst I managed to get good photographs of the captive ducks with my E-M1 and 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 and 1.4x teleconverter:

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3873/...488675e3_b.jpgSmew by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3846/...0e476f39_b.jpgEuropean goldeneye by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3851/...8b8a1cb0_b.jpgTufted duck by James E. Petts, on Flickr

and one or two lucky strikes with a tern and some herons:

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5119/...e5741071_b.jpgCommon tern, diving by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3868/...194a00f5_b.jpgHeron by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/...0c3950f2_b.jpgHeron by James E. Petts, on Flickr

many of the birds were so distant as to be a little small even at 283mm:

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2937/...21de6596_b.jpgGreat crested grebe, nesting by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3869/...5806bf93_b.jpgPlover by James E. Petts, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3857/...ac797fdc_b.jpgUnknown bird by James E. Petts, on Flickr.

I was thinking of going back some time and hiring one of the very large Olympus Four Thirds lenses, either the 300mm f/2.8 or the 90-250 f/2.8 with the 2x teleconverter.

Has anyone had experience doing this and have any useful tips?

Zuiko 9th June 2014 03:48 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
No experience of using those lenses but I do know that they are very big and heavy and are probably best used with some form of support. The hire service is excellent. The shots you have posted using your current set up are very impressive. :)

StephenL 9th June 2014 03:54 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
I tried these lenses for a few hours at an Olympus day many years ago, on an E510. Excellent quality, heavy, but not uncontrollable. Well worth hiring.

jamespetts 9th June 2014 04:10 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Thank you for your feedback. I had guessed that they would be heavy - I had brought a tripod with me yesterday, too, and spent most of the time using that: although the 50-200 works well hand-held, it is difficult, even with stabilisation and a fast shutter speed, to get a sharp image with the teleconverter, and the tripod made things much easier. The Wetlands centre is happy for people to use tripods (a goodly proportion of their visitors are photographers; I saw quite a few people with very sizeable lenses).

gazza95 9th June 2014 05:21 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Have hired the 300m and several other lenses, great service! The 300mm is heavy so transport cost both ways needs to be factored in, if not close enough to Hemel Hempsted to pickup/return in person.

However image quality is very good even with 1.4 converter. I did not have 2x convertor. As its a f2.8 lens it does help to get higher shutter speeds needed for sharp images.

I find using these heavy lenses with monopod makes them much more manageable, although BIF is some what tricky.

Certainly worth trying.


jamespetts 9th June 2014 05:58 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Ahh, thank you for the helpful tips. I had not considered transport; I had imagined that (although not really considered in detail whether) it would be possible to collect and drop off the lens, but I suppose that that depends on where the facility actually is and whether they accept in person collections. Looking at the price list post, I see that only shipping by post is mentioned. How much was shipping when you used the service? How practical is post for shipping for a 3 day hire?

StephenL 9th June 2014 06:03 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Can I suggest you PM Ian Burley? I feel sure he will be amenable to you collecting, and I don't think it will be too far for you!

Ian 9th June 2014 09:01 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Hi everyone, yes we can arrange collection and return in person. We received one lens back today this way.


jamespetts 9th June 2014 09:50 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Ahh, splendid. Of course, that will only work for me if you are conveniently located; where are you based?

Ian 10th June 2014 06:36 AM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
We're based in Apsley, Hemel Hempstead on the London Road (A4251).


Melaka 10th June 2014 07:15 AM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
My experience is that the IQ of the 300 + 1.4 is excellent but not so good with the 2. On a separate thread my Sigma 135-400 is for sale and another option is the Bigma if you need that much reach, as you often do at Barnes.

jamespetts 10th June 2014 11:02 PM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Thank you both very much for your responses. Ian - I have no car, but Hemel Hempstead is on Thameslink, which is a convenient railway route for me; but the reference to a place called Apsley suggests that it is away from town centre and therefore probably the railway station; are these inferences correct? If so, is there a 'bus?

David - that is useful information. Do you happen to know of any samples taken with the 300mm and the 2x teleconverter? I had thought that the 300mm worked with the 2x converter well, but perhaps I had misapprehended the position.

The "Bigma" lens (a Sigma zoom lens with a maximum focal length of 500mm if I remember correctly) does not seem to be available to hire from Ian's service, as it seems to offer only Olympus lenses, which might be a difficulty with that option.

gazza95 11th June 2014 05:58 AM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
James, I'm sure Ian can provide more travel information.

Ians office is on opposite side of London Road to Apsley Station, which is one of two stations serving Hemel. Looks like Ian office is just a short walk from the station.


Ian 11th June 2014 07:19 AM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
Indeed, Apsley Station is on the West Coast Main Line from London Euston although only the 'slow' London Midland trains stop (usually twice an hour each way) at Apsley. With Thameslink you will probably need to change at Watford Junction but we're less than ten minutes up the line (two stops).

Once at Apsley you only need to cross the road and walk around to our building. You could also visit us by canal barge :) about 50 yards from our office is the Grand Union Canal.


Melaka 11th June 2014 07:24 AM

Re: Considering hiring a lens
This is a pack of wigeon taken at Barnes with the 300/ec20 using a bean bag from the tall tower with no PP oyher than resizing. The IQ isn't bad but not IMHO as good as with the ec14. Partly, of course, that is because you're using 1200mm equivalent instead of 850mm. I can't say I entirely mastered using such a huge focal length off a bean bag and that too will have affected the IQ.


In the past there have been some very good photos posted here taken with the Bigma but it's a 10x zoom and that is bound to compromise the IQ somewhat. Notwithstanding that you'll see plenty in use at Barnes, albeit on other makes of camera.

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