Sometimes your biggest zoom lens just can’t get you close enough. Today I’ve got three suggestions to get the zoom you need.

1.  Get a Teleconverter, teleconverters have a multiplication factor which increases your ability to zoom by that number. For example if you have a 200mm lens and add a 2x teleconverter, your working focal length is now the equivalent of 400mm: pretty much doubling the range of your lens.  The main problem with teleconverters is that, while increasing the ability to zoom in, they reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor (so you need to sacrifice aperture or shutter speed or ISO in exchange for that extra reach).

2.  Buy or rent a Mirror Lens (such as the 500mm ProOptic – reviewed on PopPhoto.com or 500mm Tamron– reviewed by BobAtkins.com). Mirror lenses are lighter, more compact and much cheaper than their traditional counterparts, but they also have a few drawbacks.  I have yet to find a mirror lens that has auto focus. Mirror lenses also must be used in full manual mode (no program mode or aperture or shutter priority or auto).  Mirror lenses require the use of a tripod for the sharpest image possible. I even recommend using a remote trigger or shutter release cable to further reduce camera shake. Mirror lenses are pretty good at scenery, nature or other still objects. They work especially well on cameras like the Sony Alpha series with sensor stabilization (instead of lens stabilization). 

3.  Shoot with your best lens for distance and use software specifically designed to enlarge photos.  There are two pretty good ones out there that I am familiar with.  The first one is OnOne’s Genuine Fractals 6, there is two tutorials on it on Kelbytraining.com and there are also tutorials on the OnOne website.  The other program is AlienSkin’s Blow Up 2. Once again there are tutorials on the website.  Both of these programs can be downloaded as demo versions so that you can take them for a drive before you buy.  Also, I believe both of these programs can be found at a discounted rate at AcademicSuperstore.com.

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