Well, if you don’t ask, you
don’t get. I’d go for the
mid-sized option in Novo’s
range of Explora tripod kits, namely
the Explora T10. It’s certainly sturdy,
with a maximum load rating of 15kg,
and has a generous maximum
operating height of 172cm, while
still folding down to just 49.5cm.
That’s mostly thanks to adopting
the popular recent ‘travel tripod’
trend, in which the legs swing
upwards and the feet surround the
head for compact stowage.
The kit is cleverly designed and
nicely engineered, with eight-layer
carbon fibre for the leg sections
and centre column. One leg can be
unscrewed and connected to the
centre column for use as a monopod.
The ball head is of similarly high-
quality, with an Arca-Swiss quick-
release plate, pan-only release
and adjustable friction damping.
Considering the quality and durability
of the kit, it’s ace value at £249/$339.
I’ve tried various
zooms, but sharpness
seems lacking at the
long end. Would an
80-400mm with a tele-
converter be better?
To ny P o p p le
It’s always a struggle
retaining sharpness at very
long focal lengths, partly
because keeping the camera free of
vibrations becomes critical. Mirror-
bounce and even shutter-shock can
cause problems. However, you’re
better off with a good super-telephoto
zoom, rather than adding a tele-
converter to an 80-400mm lens.
Based on our lab tests and real-
world experience, the Sigma
150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Sports is the pick of the crop,
although it’s weighty at nearly 3kg.
Next up is the Nikon AF-S
200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR, although
this has a shorter maximum focal
length, closely followed by the
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di
VC USD G2, which is sharper at the
long end than the original edition of
the lens. The Sigma 150-600mm
f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
has slightly less long-end sharpness.
If I apply exposure
when I’m using the
Manual shooting mode,
will it have any effect on
shutter speed, aperture
If you’re using a manually
set ISO value, exposure
compensation will have
absolutely no effect in Manual
shooting mode. The aperture and
shutter speed values remain exactly
as you set them.
However, if you’re also using the
Auto ISO setting, the sensitivity will
be altered whenever you apply
positive or negative exposure
compensation, to give brighter or
darker photographs respectively.
Even so, the aperture and shutter
speed will still remain fixed.
I’m after a macro lens, but
don’t plan on using it
very often, so I’d like to keep
the cost down. What’s a
good secondhand option?
Our experts at MPB recommend...
For superb performance on a budget, we’d
recommend the Sigma 105mm OS HSM.
It predates the company’s ‘Global Vision’ line-up, so
there are some great used models to choose from.
offers a next day
warranty on all
Sigma Macro 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
THIS LENS IS GREAT FOR EXTREME CLOSE-UPS
AND IT ALSO WORKS WELL FOR PORTRAITURE
PRICE NEW: £359/$469
BUY AT MPB TODAY:
Sigma’s 105mm OS HSM
macro lens delivers full 1.0x
magnification at its closest
focus distance of 31.2cm.
This enables huge
enlargements of tiny bugs
and other small objects,
microscopic levels of detail.
Not just for close-ups, the
lens also works perfectly as
a fast telephoto prime, with
its f/2.8 aperture rating and
4-stop optical stabilizer.
On a full-frame camera
body, the focal length is a
good fit for portraiture. On a
DX format body, the crop
factor gives an effective
focal length of 157.5mm,
which is useful for shooting
sports and wildlife, aided by
the fast and whisper-quiet
- Internal focus
It doesn’t extend at shorter
distances, and the front does
not encroach on subjects.
- Optical stabilization
The 4-stop optical stabilizer
has two switchable modes.
Mode 1 is for static shooting
and Mode 2 is for panning.
- AF range limiter
The limiter switch, which
can lock out distances
either side of 45cm, avoids
Full-frame compatible: Ye s
Effective focal length
Min focus distance: 0.31m
Max magnification: 1.0x
Diaphragm blades: 9
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions (dia x length):
The Sigma 150-600mm Sports is currently the top super-telephoto
zoom for outright image quality, but it is rather a hefty beast.