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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 11 Feb 2013 (Monday) 17:00
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Getting the most out of my 70-200 f2.8 IS II

 
adza77
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Feb 11, 2013 17:00 |  #1

Well, I took the bait and purchased this lens a number of months ago. However being amateur at photography, I'm getting the feeling that I've been making a number of mistakes with this lens. I'm the sort of person that doesn't mind learning from my own mistakes, but prefer to learn from others if I have the opportunity, so hence this thread. :)

I got a bit over excited with the large aperture and the bokeh. As such, I've taken a number of photo's (most) at f2.8 that have ended up been soft, or slightly out of focus. Trying to photograph my 2 y.o. daughter who never stops isn't easy. Having it on my 550D which doesn't have the fastest AF probably doesn't help either I'm guessing.

So I was wondering - does anyone have any hints / suggestions to get the most out of this lens - especially when it comes to portrait / people style photography?

I'm thinking from what I've observed so far that I should be shooting more at f4, or maybe f5.6 for sharpness in most situations, and only use f2.8 if the subject is either some distance away, and/or I'm only shooting one subject that is still so I have time to get the focus right. Does this sound about right, or does anyone have any other tips for getting the most out of this lens (or just using it correctly in the first place) ;)

Cheers

Adza


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln

  
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kfreels
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Feb 12, 2013 18:45 |  #2

So a couple points here. First, any lens, no matter how expensive, is going to be softer wide-open than a few stops down. That is the nature of light. Each lens has a sweet spot where the sharpness is maximized and then it softens in both directions. With more expensive glass this may be less noticeable but it is still there.

Next, you have depth of field to worry about. When you shoot wide open you are limiting the amount of area that is in apparent focus. When you focus on an eye at f2.8 at 200mm from 10 feet away with an APS-C camera, you only have about 3/4 inch of area in focus. This means the tip of the nose will be out of focus , the cheeks may be out of focus, the lips as well and certainly the ears. With a full frame camera that area is even smaller. And if the subject or the camera moves forward or back at all between the time you focus and the time you take the shot, nearly everything will be out of focus.

So what you need to do is use a depth of field calculator to get a good feel for how much depth of field you have at various apertures, focal lengths and distances. Make sure you give yourself enough room to get what you want in focus. That should solve most of your issues.


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adza77
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Feb 15, 2013 18:17 |  #3

Thanks kfreels,

That information is very helpful. I'll go chase up a DOF calculator to help me understand how to best utilise this lens.

It's a fanstastic lens - the big problem I think is that being such an amateur, I have a lot to learn to give it jusice. :)


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CalmAsToast
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Feb 17, 2013 02:06 as a reply to  @ adza77's post |  #4

I love mine, and I did the same thing when I first got it, shot everything at 2.8. Sure I missed focus on a few shots, but one of the main reasons I got it was to be able to shoot with the shallow depth of field. So practice practice practice and you will get better at making it work for you.

I use center point focus and recompose, plus I use back button focus. Both of these can make it harder to get accurate focus if there's any movement. But I have set up shoots where this is the only lens I use so that I can work on my technique and get better.

Like anything else in life, the more you work at it, the better you get. Have fun with it, it's a great lens.


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rsieminski
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Feb 28, 2013 11:03 |  #5

http://dofmaster.com/d​ofjs.html (external link)

I think in your situation it's a combination of things, the 550D AF, and your technique. I shoot fast moving sports all at f/2.8, and it rarely misses focus. Practice, practice, practice.


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joeburke
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Feb 28, 2013 13:19 |  #6

What shutter speeds are you using? Are you sure it's not motion blur?


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Tigerkn
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Feb 28, 2013 13:25 |  #7

rsieminski wrote in post #15661336 (external link)
http://dofmaster.com/d​ofjs.html (external link)

I think in your situation it's a combination of things, the 550D AF, and your technique. I shoot fast moving sports all at f/2.8, and it rarely misses focus. Practice, practice, practice.

Did you know that, if you have an Android phone, you can have the dofmaster calculator App. on the go for free. Not that you will use it on the spot but it is nice to have it handy at all time.

I like my 70-200 a ton b/c I always have distance to subject when I need it. I use it at f/2.8 all the time with no fear.


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dailydriver
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Mar 16, 2013 14:34 |  #8

I may be wrong, but make sure the focus switch on the side of the lens is set accordingly for accuracy. It says 1.2m to infinity and 2.5m to infinity. I did that when I first got mine too and was getting bad pictures. Trying to focus on kids too close when it's set for 2.5m. It seems to help focus. I get sharp pictures with every focal length.


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dballphotography
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Mar 18, 2013 11:12 |  #9

Thats actually really helpful, thanks for the info (sorry to thread hijack) I was shooting a wedding the other day (as a guest and not as official tog) and looking back at the images, most are shot around f/4 and a lot of them a soft.


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fashionrider
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Apr 07, 2013 05:01 |  #10

shooting at 2.8 still results in sharp images where the focus is set to. I honestly use my lens at 2.8 majority of the time... unless I'm shooting group photos.


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Mozes
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Apr 07, 2013 05:34 |  #11

adza77 wrote in post #15614465 (external link)
Thanks kfreels,

That information is very helpful. I'll go chase up a DOF calculator to help me understand how to best utilise this lens.

It's a fanstastic lens - the big problem I think is that being such an amateur, I have a lot to learn to give it jusice. :)

I use this one sometimes
android
http://nl.appbrain.com …alculator/com.a​imenrg.dof (external link)

iphone
http://dofmaster.com/i​phone.html (external link)


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mikeinctown
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Apr 11, 2013 07:56 |  #12

I found a couple awesome DOF calculators for Android One is called DOF calculator and the logo is grey with an F/8 on it. The other is called DoF Calc. the first is easier to use in my opinion.

Now as to the lens, if you have it at f2.8 and snaping at a non moving object, are the photos still soft? if so you may want to think about having the lens calibrated. I have an original v1 and after having Canon service it several weeks back, I cannot believe how sharp and in focus everything is, even at 2.8. The V2 should be even better. As mentioned, the cameras AF system may be also hindering you. I get far better photos with my used 5D2 than I did with my newer T3i.




  
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blu3ness
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Apr 17, 2013 22:29 |  #13

I think it depends on your artistic vision for the picture. If you really want to isolate the subject, say, for a headshot, then shooting wide-open will create a much more dramatic image.

There are cases where I think f4/f/5.6 would be better, for example sports or street photography




  
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newporthomie
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Apr 18, 2013 15:59 |  #14

This lens is pretty Sharp at 2.8 - it can not be better

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Moselem
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Apr 25, 2013 12:13 |  #15

I agree with the advice to practice with it. I have the previous version of the lens and find it pretty darn sharp. I'm sure choosing a two-year-old as your practice target didn't make things easier for you...lol. Might want to work with something a little more static until you're more comfortable with the lens.

Shot the image linked below with mine at f/2.8 this past weekend.

http://www.flickr.com …8680251619/in/p​hotostream (external link)


Josh Patterson Photography
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Getting the most out of my 70-200 f2.8 IS II
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