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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 19 Dec 2013 (Thursday) 05:02
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Issues with 100-400L Series - Help?

 
Birdsfurandfins
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Dec 19, 2013 05:02 |  #1

Hello all, I just indulged myself with an early christmas present, my first L series lens (100-400mm). I am not overjoyed with the results sadly, a rare bright day and birds happily standing for me and still I was not getting sharp images. Frustrated I tried all I know, turned off the IS, put it on a tripod, speed at 1250, all else auto, still not the WOW factor image I was after.

I have been wandering the forums while the rain and wind batters the windows looking for answers to my question, is it technique or do I have a duff lens which needs to go back? I've tried test shots but with the weather being so rough the light is terrible and so it is not fair to judge the results.

I bought the lens second hand from Mifsuds (they are great to deal with and are happy for me to return it) by post.

All comments and help gratefully received.


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Wallace ­ River
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Dec 19, 2013 06:02 |  #2

Birdsfurandfins wrote in post #16539163 (external link)
a rare bright day and birds happily standing for me and still I was not getting sharp images. Frustrated I tried all I know, turned off the IS, put it on a tripod, speed at 1250, all else auto, still not the WOW factor image I was after.

It mght boil down to technique. My 100-400 was my favourite birding lens until I bought the 500. With your camera on a tripod and 1/1250 shutter speed you should be getting sharp images, if your focus technique is accurate. For sitting birds, are you using single-point focus? Whatever you do, don't use any of the zone or all-point focus methods or you'll never get sharp shots. Now, for birds in flight against a clear sky or simple background, centre point expanded usually works best for me. Failing that, I'd ship it back and ask it be replaced.


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apersson850
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Dec 19, 2013 06:11 as a reply to  @ Wallace River's post |  #3

I have an EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM which most of the time has delivered mixed results. Sometimes the pictures look good, sometimes they are kind of blurred in a peculiar way. I've never had it investigated by any service center, but it could be that something isn't perfectly centered in my particular lens. Perhaps you're suffering from something similar?


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Scott ­ M
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Dec 19, 2013 06:47 |  #4

Do you have any kind of filter on the lens? The 100-400L is notorious for producing poor results with filters attached.

With that shutter speed and using a tripod, you should be getting very good results with this lens. I get great results shooting wide open at 400mm as long as I use proper techniques and shutter speeds with my 100-400L -- both on a 7D and 5D3.


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S.Horton
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Dec 19, 2013 06:58 |  #5

Mine is perfect.

Use no filters.

Check to see if you have a smear on the lens, clean it.

Turn IS back on.

Set your camera to center-point only on AF with assist points on (if you have that feature)

My guess is you have camera shake (pronounced at 400+) and/or you're just missing focus.

If you eliminate those two, you may have a bad copy, sadly. It does happen.

So, what to do........

Set up on a tripod, pick a target which is not moving, use a remote release cable, see what you get. If that's sharp, it is your technique or settings which is costing you good results.


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commonjunks
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Dec 19, 2013 07:22 |  #6

Do you have any sample to show?
After buying 4005.6L i sold in a month because of bad result but it was not lens but it was technique (and that was my first lens), Since then i have used 600L and it was breeze. So like Sam mentioned, take a stationary target and use cable release and see how the result comes out.
BTW 100-400L is not a bad lens at all.


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EOS5DC
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Dec 19, 2013 07:57 |  #7
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My 100-400L is excellent at 400mm and f/5.6. My initial problems with it were me, not the lens. As mentioned, do NOT shoot this lens with filter. Also:

Always use a hood with this lens.
Always use center AF-point with this lens.
This IS on this lens is old-style - turn it off when shooting from a tripod.
When shooting from a tripod, USE A REMOTE SHUTTER RELEASE.
With this lens, ISO is your best buddy. For a shaky old man like me the IS helps with the viewfinder. It does little to nothing for the image at 400mm. Keep your ISO high enough to get 1/640.
And the biggest tip of all: PRACTICE. This lens has a learning curve.


Bodies: 60D, 6D.
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S.Horton
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Dec 19, 2013 07:58 |  #8

Actually, I try never to shoot it under 1/1000, and, in good light, 1/1500 or higher. IS is always on, even on a tripod. (My tripod is not that good, so….)


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Birdsfurandfins
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Dec 19, 2013 08:56 as a reply to  @ S.Horton's post |  #9

Wow, thank you all so much for your help. Brilliant.

So, yes, I do use the center focus only, turn off the IS when on a tripod (does make a difference) and have tried again today with faster shutter speeds again but still no joy. I also tried putting it on a tripod and using the remote release. Still not what I would have expected from this lens. Perhaps I ask too much?

Attached are two cropped and compressed images, one was on the tripod (I assume trees don't move much), shutter speed 320, full zoom, remote release, ISO 1600. The other was in the field (or the sea rather) and was at full zoom, speed 1600, ISO800, hand release but with the lens stand on a rock and IS on function 1. Both on centre focus. Both with subject more or less the same distance away. I think they are both what I would call soft but I would bow to your combined knowledge if you tell me I am expecting too much!

Thanks again.


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Lowner
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Dec 19, 2013 09:02 |  #10

Don't expect super crisp wide open aperture images, that's not the 100-400's strength. Its an excellent motorsports lens at sensible f/numbers and with a monopod. Birding is not my thing so I have never tried it on that subject.


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EOS5DC
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Dec 19, 2013 10:22 |  #11
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Those photos are sub-par for a properly working 100-400L. I believe Lowner is selling the lens short. 24-70 II, it ain't! But it turns in a quite respectable performance at 400mm f/5.6. I'll post some shots when I get back to my own computer.


Bodies: 60D, 6D.
EFs: 15-85, 10-22
EF: 28-75, 35 f/2 IS, Σ70-200 OS, 100-400L
Flash: 580EX II, 430 EX II

  
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Lowner
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Dec 19, 2013 10:27 |  #12

EOS5DC wrote in post #16539672 (external link)
Those photos are sub-par for a properly working 100-400L. I believe Lowner is selling the lens short. 24-70 II, it ain't! But it turns in a quite respectable performance at 400mm f/5.6. I'll post some shots when I get back to my own computer.

I'm not a critic, I love my 100-400L.


Richard

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EOS5DC
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Dec 19, 2013 10:32 |  #13
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Lowner wrote in post #16539688 (external link)
I'm not a critic, I love my 100-400L.

Well, apologies then. I guess we just have different interpretations of 'crisp'. I am happy with mine at f/5.6. It could be better, no doubt, but I can't afford the 400 2.8! No offense intended.


Bodies: 60D, 6D.
EFs: 15-85, 10-22
EF: 28-75, 35 f/2 IS, Σ70-200 OS, 100-400L
Flash: 580EX II, 430 EX II

  
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Birdsfurandfins
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Dec 19, 2013 10:56 as a reply to  @ EOS5DC's post |  #14

It is not really about criticising the lens, I think it is a great lens, the question is, is it working right?


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brianh4204
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Dec 19, 2013 11:20 |  #15

I would guess that the lens or body are not going so good. If your other lenses produce good images on your T1I, may be time to take the lens back. May be a good idea to try the replacement in the store before taking it home.

Unless you are a mile away and cropping aggressively, you should definitely get better results.




  
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Issues with 100-400L Series - Help?
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