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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 18 Oct 2010 (Monday) 16:20
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Canon 100-400 L Sharpness Issue

 
Scott ­ M
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May 14, 2012 08:53 |  #106

BadBrad wrote in post #14428828 (external link)
I just purchased a Canon 100-400L last week and took it, attached to a Canon 7D, out this weekend for the first time to my son's baseball game. I attached a higher end Tiffen UV filter and a circular polarized of similar quality and was bitterly disappointed by the results- every photo was not sharp at all. See attached photo shot at 250 mm, F6.3, shutter at 1/160 and ISO 640. The attached photo is a good represenative of all the photos I took. I took the setup home, took off the circular polarizer and shot photographs of tall grass at a distance with only the UV filter on (shooting tall grass is a good method of checking for sharpness). I was simliarly disappointed if not totally aggravated with the obvious lack of sharpness with the lens open to 6.3 and shutter speeds above 1/500. My next step, when it stops raining, is to place the camera on a tripod, and shoot the tall grass with and without the UV filter. Hopefully, it is only a filter issue. It would be inexcusable for Canon to ship pricey "L" lenses that are not tested and determined to be completely sharp before leaving the factory. Note- the Canon 7D takes sharp photos with my Sigma 70-200 f2.8, OS. I Will keep the thread advised.

1. You need a much faster shutter speed than 1/160sec for this lens. I generally try to stay at 1/1000sec on my 7D, and will slow down the shutter from that starting point only if necessary. The IS system on this lens is older, and only provides 1-2 stops of image stabilization.

2. This lens is known to have problems when using filters. Keep the UV filter off. Also, the CPL filter will reduce your exposure by 1-2 stops, which will cut into your shutter speed. Keep the CPL off as well.

The 100-400L is capable of very sharp images, but you need to learn how to use it properly.


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BadBrad
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May 14, 2012 09:46 |  #107

I used it without the Polarizing filter (being aware of the f-stop loss), to test it after I had poor results with the polarizer leaving only the better quality Tiffen UV filter. I still had the same problem, even with the 1/500+ shutter speeds. However, your advice is well taken and the next sunny day, I am taking a focus poster outside, taking the UV filter off, Increasing the ISO and apeture for the fastest shutter speed possible and using a tripod and I will have a definitive result. I appreciate your imput.


Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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Scott ­ M
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May 14, 2012 10:46 |  #108

Make sure you shut off the image stabilization when using the 100-400L on a tripod. It's an older version of IS that does not sense when the camera is mounted on one.


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BadBrad
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May 14, 2012 11:38 |  #109

Scott M wrote in post #14429467 (external link)
Make sure you shut off the image stabilization when using the 100-400L on a tripod. It's an older version of IS that does not sense when the camera is mounted on one.

Will do and will post photos of a ISO 12233 chart @ 50 ft (assuming it will fill the screen at that distance at the longer focal lenghts), Thanks again. (I just got the lens and am hoping that it is indeed my error).


Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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DreDaze
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May 14, 2012 12:05 |  #110

BadBrad wrote in post #14428828 (external link)
I attached a higher end Tiffen UV filter and a circular polarized of similar quality

i don't think tiffen, and high end belong in the same sentence ever....


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BadBrad
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May 14, 2012 12:52 |  #111

DreDaze wrote in post #14429839 (external link)
i don't think tiffen, and high end belong in the same sentence ever....

Sorry- Its a Hoya "Super Multi-Coated UV" (from Adorama) If I remember correctly, Tiffen is a Tamaron product.


Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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May 14, 2012 20:21 |  #112

I have had this lens for about two months. When I first got it I was terribly disappointed - I could get better stuff from a cheap "nifty two fifty". I read everything that I could and discovered that it does have a learning curve. Every day I got a little better and now I would not be without one. The other day I hiked out to a cliff above an eagles nest to see if I could get some shots. The eagles were not around so I just shot some stuff of the town across the river for something to do. When I got home and looked at the shots I was quite amazed. The first shot is the track at the county fair ground. In the center of the photo, to the far right is a man sneaking his garbage into the dumpster. I can read the name of the hauler on the side of the dumpster - I can almost make out the plate number on the front of his car. The second shot shows the distance from the cliff to the dumpster - 1.3 miles. I see a future in this: Magoo, Garbage Detective.:) I know that this shot will look soft after "save for web @ 149k" but it is extremely sharp in the original file.

T3i, handheld, IS on, f/11, UV filter, warm beer.


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BadBrad
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May 15, 2012 07:03 |  #113

As described above, I removed the Hoya UV filter, used an ISO 12233 resolution chart, put the 7D on a Tripod, as it was cloudy, set the ISO to 800, and shot the 100-400 wide open with the IS turned off. Shutter was at 1/2500. I was pleased with the results as attached hereto. (although reducing the photograph size for posting probably will not accurate reflect the results). It is a little dark due to the cloudy conditions. Also, I have a great Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with the heavy duty joystick head. Unforunately, the weight of the 7D, the factory grip and batteries and the 100-400 made it unstable, hence the tilt. A new tripod head is on order.
If my prior sharpness issue was caused by use of a UV filter, I can accept not using a filter, but as I walk around, either for nature shots or at airshows, etc, it leaves the end of the lens vulnerable to accidental impact. Also, I prefer using a polarizing filter at airshows if it is a bright, sunny day (due to the f-stop penalty). I prefer a protective UV filter for "walking around". I use a BlackRapid camera strap which I find to be the best camera strap I have ever used. Carrying the camera that way protects the lens a bit, but with a long lens, it still sticks out.


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Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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Scott ­ M
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May 15, 2012 07:46 |  #114

I wouldn't worry about the UV filter. The lens hood will provide a lot of protection for the front of your lens. This lens has well-documented performance issues with filters attached, so if you want reliable results leave the filter off.

Personally, I only use protective filters if I am shooting in harsh conditions. I will use a CPL if the situation calls for it (but I've never tried one on the 100-400L). Other than that, I always shoot with no filter, but always use a lens hood for protection.


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May 15, 2012 07:47 |  #115

BadBrad wrote in post #14434073 (external link)
I prefer a protective UV filter for "walking around".

Exactly what do you believe the 100-400 needs protecting from that cannot be adequately handled by using the hood?


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BadBrad
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May 15, 2012 08:17 |  #116

hollis_f wrote in post #14434191 (external link)
Exactly what do you believe the 100-400 needs protecting from that cannot be adequately handled by using the hood?

Actually, with the hood, the lens then is substantially long. My 100-400L is new. But, I have taken other long lenses through the woods, up steep trails, down crowded streets and in crowded places squeezing between people and objects, etc. - chashing down photo opportunities. With the hood, the lens is even more bulky although wearing a Black Rapid strap helps as the camera points down under one's arm. Of course, I am willing to trade off the simple protection afforded by a UV Filter for better sharpness. Since buying my first serious SLR in 1991 (a Canon 10S), I have had only one UV Filter become broken as a result of an accidental impact. Nevertheless, breaking the front element on my 100-400L would bring a tear to my eye.


Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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May 15, 2012 08:37 |  #117

petef wrote in post #11121014 (external link)
Hello,
Just bought a 100-400 L and having tried it in the garden does not seem as sharp as some of the pictures others have posted when cropped 100%, though better at 5.6. Do I need to make changes withing the camera a 40D or does everyone sharpen with software. The lens has a kenko uv filter as protection though have read that these may cause issues

Using raw the pictures appear sharper when viewing with the Canon software, if anyone could offer help or things to try it would be very much appreciated.

Regards
Peter

I'd take off that filter.....I use a nice CPL once in while with that lens around water and I've never had any issues. F/5.6 seems to be where mine is very sharp as well and gives a really nice dof with wildlife still. Most of the time I shoot in AV mode at f/5.6 with it and adjust the ISO to control my shutter speed on the 5DII. Keeps it simple when I'm focusing on moving wildlife or a surfer :)


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BadBrad
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May 15, 2012 08:50 |  #118

Canon_Shoe wrote in post #14434361 (external link)
I'd take off that filter.....I use a nice CPL once in while with that lens around water and I've never had any issues. F/5.6 seems to be where mine is very sharp as well and gives a really nice dof with wildlife still. Most of the time I shoot in AV mode at f/5.6 with it and adjust the ISO to control my shutter speed on the 5DII. Keeps it simple when I'm focusing on moving wildlife or a surfer :)

I just brought the 100-400L and placed a good Hoya UV filter on it. Last weekend, I took it out for the first time to my son's baseball game and used the CPL filter over the UV filter and the results (sharpness) were terrible. I then shot it without the CPL and was not happy either. I then remove the UV filter as well and took some test shots of a ISO12233 chart to test sharpness. Without the UV filter, I got good results. I have yet to try it with just the CPL filter. Hopefully, other than f-stop loss, it will not affect adversely anything else. CPL filters are great for airshows. This is the first time I ever heard of sharpness issues caused by UV filters, even quality ones, but it seems to be a real issue.


Gear- Canon 7D; Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX; Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX; Sigma 170-500 5-6.3 APO; Sigma Tele.Con. 1.4; Canon 55-250 4.0-5.6 Canon 100-400L 4.0-5.6; Manfrotto 055CX3 w/322RC2 joystick; Manfrotto 498RC2 head.

  
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May 15, 2012 11:10 |  #119

BadBrad wrote in post #14434423 (external link)
I just brought the 100-400L and placed a good Hoya UV filter on it. Last weekend, I took it out for the first time to my son's baseball game and used the CPL filter over the UV filter and the results (sharpness) were terrible. I then shot it without the CPL and was not happy either. I then remove the UV filter as well and took some test shots of a ISO12233 chart to test sharpness. Without the UV filter, I got good results. I have yet to try it with just the CPL filter. Hopefully, other than f-stop loss, it will not affect adversely anything else. CPL filters are great for airshows. This is the first time I ever heard of sharpness issues caused by UV filters, even quality ones, but it seems to be a real issue.

I have the Hoya pro digital multi coated one and it's been just fine with that one. I don't have a UV filter for it though.


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May 15, 2012 18:46 |  #120

hollis_f wrote in post #14434191 (external link)
Exactly what do you believe the 100-400 needs protecting from that cannot be adequately handled by using the hood?

My dog likes to lick the front element of the lens. I am not kidding.


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