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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 15 Apr 2012 (Sunday) 07:19
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EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and IS with tripod

 
juhapertti
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Apr 15, 2012 07:19 |  #1

Hello
I just got the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. I´ve jused it hand held and on a tripod with a gimbal with and without extenders with Canon 7D. The IS seems to work well when shooting hand held, but when I used the tripod with gimbal with rather slow shutter speed on a dark day with 2.0 extender I got blurred images. I used IS mode 1. The user manual tells that depending on the kind of tripod and shooting conditions it may be better to turn off the IS. I am afraid that even with the tripod I can`t have the camera stable enough.
What should I do to get the best results when using the camera in low light conditions: use it without the IS, use it in another mode than 1 ( maybe 3?) or what?

Thank you for advice
juhapertti




  
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Mjolnir
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Apr 15, 2012 07:23 |  #2

What ISO did you use?


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Eos 7D, 300mm F/2.8 L IS, 100-400L, 24-105L, 70-200L II IS USM, Sigma 150mm OS, Sigma 10-20mm, Canon 60mm Macro, Canon 50mm F/1.8.

  
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juhapertti
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Apr 15, 2012 08:36 as a reply to  @ Mjolnir's post |  #3

I used ISO 200 and were taking pictures of birds walking on wet land.




  
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howiewu
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Apr 15, 2012 09:31 |  #4

What shutter speeds did you use?

It's very hard to tell from your description. IS does nothing to stop motion blur, if the birds are moving rapidly you will need high shutter speed to eliminate or reduce the motion blur.

Better still, if you can post some 100% crops with technical info that would help.


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amfoto1
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Apr 15, 2012 09:39 |  #5

Hi and welcome to POTN,

If you are panning with the subject, try using IS Mode 2. This mode corrects movement in one direction only (the vertical axis, no matter what orientation the lens and camera are in). However, birds walking are not a fast moving subject, so you aren't likely to get background blur effects anyway, which is the primary purpose of IS Mode 2. It's most often used with rapidly moving subjects, for blur background effects such as this....

IMAGE: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2375/5755855869_d618d35a53_b.jpg
TR4, Autocross 2009 Triumphest, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
EF 70-200/2.8 IS lens at 200mm and f16. EOS 50D camera at ISO 100, 1/50 shutter speed. Handheld, avail. light (no flash).


Mode 3 is "instant IS", doesn't operate until the very moment of exposure. My lenses are older models that don't have this, so I cannot say anything about the nuances of it. But it shouldn't be needed in an situation such as this. AFAIK, it's basically the same as Mode 1, but only operates after you have pressed the shutter release. Mode 1 should work okay, though, if you are slowly following the subject as it walks.

You mention using a 2X teleconverters along with a fairly low ISO and a a slow shutter speed... how slow? Could the blur you are seeing be subject movement blurring? If faster moving parts of the bird, such as it's legs, are more blurred, then it's likely you are just using too low a shutter speed for the subject. IS can't help with this.

This is some strong subject motion blur, due to slow shutter speed...

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7198/6807715972_91da38cdbf_b.jpg
T. Wright & Herke B Hossmoor Dressage Show 2009
EF 300mm f2.8 IS lens at f5.6. EOS 50D camera at ISO 100, 1/25 shutter speed. Tripod with ballhead & gimbal mount. Ambient light, no flash.


Notice how the horse's hooves are more blurred above, they're moving faster than the rest of the subject.

The other possibility is that effective 600mm at f5.6 makes for pretty shallow depth of field, particularly if your subject is pretty close. Some focus error along with shallow depth of field might be another reason for image softness.

In the image below, the horse''s face and neck are within the plane of sharp focus.... just barely... while the rider's gloves and everything else goes soft. The closer the subject, the shallower the depth of field...

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6068/6144395151_d04cde9dd3_b.jpg
Sadie... after the dance
EF 300mm f2.8 IS lens at f2.8. EOS 30D camera at ISO 640, 1/500 shutter speed. Tripod with ballhead & gimbal mount. Ambient light, no flash.


The only real reason to turn off IS when a lens such as yours is on a tripod is if you want to conserve battery power. IS uses a little power when it operates. Not a lot though. And, when the manuals (which aren't online yet for download, AFAIK... I looked at the US, Canadian and UK websites) mention using the lens on a tripod they are referring to using it locked down to prevent any and all movement... This is not referring to using a gimbal mount for tilt control and loose panning axis to following moving subjects. I've been using IS lenses this way for ten+ years and I practically never turn off IS.

These lenses, the ones with the more advanced forms of IS, will turn it off themselves automatically, if it's not needed.

On very rare occasions over the years, I've seen IS not work properly... it appeared to add more blur, rather than reducing it. It might have been "user error", me shooting too fast. I try to track moving subjects, locking on AF and spinning up IS well in advance, than after a moment gently press the shutter release to take images. Doing this means anticipating and/or concentrating on keeping the AF point right on the critter.

Depending upon what camera you are using, your focus mode is another thing that can get you in trouble and cause soft shots. First, be sure you are in AI Servo. That's essential with moving subjects. Next, I use Single Point the majority of the time, along with Back Button Focusing (external link). This leaves me in full control of where the AF system focuses... so any mistakes are down to me.

It would be very helpful if we could see your images, with the EXIF intact or noted separately. If you can't post an image here yet because you just joined, perhaps you could give us a link where we could go to look at it.

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
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Silverfox1
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Apr 15, 2012 09:42 |  #6

juhapertti wrote in post #14268724 (external link)
I used ISO 200 and were taking pictures of birds walking on wet land.

For a test starting point using the 2x extender at f5.6 with the ambient lighting you describe shoot with your 7D in AF mode around ISO 1200 - 1600 to get the shutter speed up to at least 1/400 on a slow moving subject. Practice on stationary targets in low light conditions. There is nothing wrong with your new lens.

Regards, Ron ;)


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juhapertti
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Apr 15, 2012 13:21 as a reply to  @ Silverfox1's post |  #7

Thank you so much for your immediate replies
I am really new here.
I was shooting with the 2.0 extender attached. The weather was bad. The attached picture was shot with f/5.6, ISO 200 and 1/160 s. I had the IS mode 1. I didn`t want to use higher ISO values to prevent noise and that`s why I used rather slow shutter speed. The birds were moving very slow or were almost stationary. Because I have got quite sharp pictures from stationary birds with these rather slow shutter speeds when taken hand held, these unsharp pictures with tripod and gimbal made me suspect that the lens somehow automatically swithces off the IS when installed on a tripod. I used to have the Sigma 120-300 2.8 model with image stabilisation and I didn`t notice similar effect when used with the tripod. So if the Canon lens automatically against my will switches the IS off when on a tripod can I somehow force it to use the IS, because my tripod working doesn`t seem to be stabile enough.
juhapertti


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mileslong24
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Apr 15, 2012 13:39 as a reply to  @ juhapertti's post |  #8

Looks like a really overcast day, which means shooting at ISO 200 will be hard. I would have at least bumped that up a stop or two. You're also using an extender, which can make for soft images anyway.....plus they work even less efficient in low light. I would start there before thinking its the IS. Thats a beautiful lens, I'm saving for it now.




  
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kawi_200
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Apr 15, 2012 13:44 |  #9

juhapertti wrote in post #14269907 (external link)
Thank you so much for your immediate replies
I am really new here.
I was shooting with the 2.0 extender attached. The weather was bad. The attached picture was shot with f/5.6, ISO 200 and 1/160 s. I had the IS mode 1. I didn`t want to use higher ISO values to prevent noise and that`s why I used rather slow shutter speed. The birds were moving very slow or were almost stationary. Because I have got quite sharp pictures from stationary birds with these rather slow shutter speeds when taken hand held, these unsharp pictures with tripod and gimbal made me suspect that the lens somehow automatically swithces off the IS when installed on a tripod. I used to have the Sigma 120-300 2.8 model with image stabilisation and I didn`t notice similar effect when used with the tripod. So if the Canon lens automatically against my will switches the IS off when on a tripod can I somehow force it to use the IS, because my tripod working doesn`t seem to be stabile enough.
juhapertti

You can bump the 7D to at least ISO 640 and be noise free. Maybe you should try shooting at the same time of day and change the ISO around a little bit to see what you think is your actual usable limit on the 7D.


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jhayesvw
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Apr 15, 2012 15:57 as a reply to  @ kawi_200's post |  #10

I would bump it up to ISO 800 or above to get a decent shutter speed.
also, as AMFOTO said, let the IS spin up for a second or 2 before you take the shot.

that lens is amazing and you should be able to get very good shots with it, even in low light.



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Billginthekeys
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Apr 15, 2012 17:33 |  #11

I think you are discovering that only in a perfect world can you shoot at ISO200 all the time. sometimes you just have to bump up the ISO. You really shouldn't have any problem bumping up to 800. Better to get a properly exposed and motion free shot with a higher ISO, than a crappy shot with a low ISO. Even with a tripod, I wouldn't shoot at that MM and shutter speed without locking down the head, and using a remote release and mirror lock up; and that would be with a stationary target.


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howiewu
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Apr 15, 2012 17:42 |  #12

For moving birds, 1/160s is too slow. I would use 1/320s or higher.

Of course, it is hard to say which shutter speed is appropriate categorically. For perched birds that happen to be resting at the moment, perhaps even slower shutter speed is possible.

But in your situation, the ducks are clearly moving, unless you are panning (which you weren't), 1/160s is too slow for sure.


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Tapeman
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Apr 15, 2012 20:58 |  #13

According to Canon to improve accuracy the 1.4x slows autofocus by 50% and the 2x by 75%. The 300still will focus pretty quickly even with the 2x. (Which I use often)

Long lense require good technique and my experiance with the 300 & 2x has been that you need good light to get a lot of keepers.


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Apr 16, 2012 06:19 |  #14

You're shooting at 600mm yet those Wigeon are still tiny in the frame. They must have been a hell of a long way off. Even if you'd have been able to get a faster shutter speed* you'd still have been fighting against the atmosphere. Any tiny bit of heat haze will ruin a picture at those sorts of distances.

You really did need faster than 1/160 - ISO800 and 1/640 would have given better results - ISO1600, 1/640 and f8 would probably have been even better. Remember, there are things you can do to help fix noise. There's nowt you can do for motion blur.


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juhapertti
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Apr 16, 2012 07:31 as a reply to  @ hollis_f's post |  #15

Thank you again for all the useful advise.
I was obviously pushing too hard when using such a low ISO value and slow shutter speed in that particluar weather. The answer to my original question about Canon lenses`automatic shut down of IS when used on a tripod seems to be that this only happens if the lens is very stable. It doesn`t happen in my application when using it on a gimbal. Is that a correct interpretation?
juhapertti




  
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