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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 08 Sep 2011 (Thursday) 23:31
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100-400 focus question

 
topshot
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Sep 08, 2011 23:31 |  #1

I have an 100-400 that I use on a 60D for wildlife. I have been spending quite a bit of time in a prarie dog town taking photos of the dogs and burrowing owls. On my last trip I also took a 7D body that I had rented to compare to the 60D. I got real flustrated with the quality of my photos as most appeared very soft. The dogs were anywhere from 15 yards to 75 yards. I focused on the head, the eye if they were close enough. Both cameras had the same result. I finally tried putting the focus on the ground right at the dogs feet and it was like night and day as far as sharpness is concerned. The photos became sharp enough to count the wiskers on the dogs. Has anyone else experinced this with the 100-400? I really like the range, size and quality build of the 100-400 but have noticed lots of bird photos were not very clear. I tried using the MFA on the 7D and the best setting for the 100-400 was 0. Shots were taken in bright light, Iso 200, shutter speed in the 1000-1200 range with f7.1 to f8. Would like to figure this out as there is often not enough time to find a close item to focus on.

Thanks
Bob




  
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phreeky
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Sep 09, 2011 00:17 |  #2

When you did the MA using the 7D did you do it at the same sort of subject distance as your real-life shots? I suspect not, and this is where it's going wrong. Focus might be spot on at a metre or two but the 100-400 could be back-focusing at greater distances.




  
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krb
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Sep 09, 2011 00:20 |  #3

I had to send my 100-400 in to Canon for calibration but it has been great ever since.


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Snydremark
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Sep 09, 2011 00:36 |  #4

Prairie Dogs are awful small targets to be trying to focus on at those distances; it sounds like the camera's having trouble grabbing focus on the dogs themselves, whereas the ground is a much larger target.

Since the actual focus point area is larger than the little box drawn in the viewfinder, it's likely that you're just not getting enough of the subject covered by the active focus point. Can you try a larger subject at the same distances and see if you get similar results?


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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umphotography
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Sep 09, 2011 09:37 as a reply to  @ Snydremark's post |  #5

My guess is you were frustrated with the 7D pics because the camera was not set up right for what you were trying to do. 100-400 does a great job. Needs light and needs shutter speed, which you had plenty of. Cameras have to be set up right for what your were trying to do.


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bpark42
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Sep 09, 2011 11:15 |  #6

Example pics would be helpful




  
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topshot
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Sep 09, 2011 12:52 as a reply to  @ bpark42's post |  #7

Thanks for the imput on my question. I have taken some very clear photos with the 100-400 but as I think about it they were items with sharp contrasting edges. It seems the items with soft surfaces are the things the lens has trouble focusing on. I can snap a picture of a electric meter on a pole at about the same distance as the dogs and it comes out very clear, snap the dog and he is out of focus. I have also taken photos at a distance of our dog which weighes about 100lb and is about the same color as the praire dogs. Most of these are soft also. I have never posted photos before so not sure how to post them to this site. I think that I will send tlhe 60D and 100-400 to canon as they are both still under warranty. Any thoughts as to which canon service center would be best?

Thanks for the help,
Bob




  
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Snydremark
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Sep 09, 2011 13:51 |  #8

Can't hurt to have them look; but yes, the standard autofocus method of these cameras requires good contrast to achieve proper focus.

Just call Canon, tell them what you want done and they'll give you a service center to send your stuff to.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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100-400 focus question
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