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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 31 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 07:54
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100-400 with 2X Converter - Not happy

 
dhornick
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Jan 31, 2018 07:54 |  #1

So, I'm not gonna lie. I used my 100-400 along with my brand new Canon 2x converter for the very first time and I'm disappointed. Shooting the Super Blue Blood Moon early this morning and the clarity is just not what I had hoped. The pictures were technically correct in the exposure and white balance but the sharpness, focus, clarity is just not what I wanted.

This is the first time using the 2X converter never having even taken it out of the box until this shoot.

One of the things I've noticed over time and never liked is that when using the 100-400 by itself it is very difficult to get pin sharp focus because when you're zoomed into 400mm and have even used the camera's 10x magnify on the live view display while on the best of tripods, when you simply touch the focus ring there is so much lens shake you never really get to that pin point tack sharp focus spot. Couple that with a 2X converter and it's simply impossible to focus sharply.

I wished Canon would introduce a fine tune focus knob adjustment on their long lens.


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Jan 31, 2018 08:05 |  #2

Are you focusing while having the IS engaged? Lens shaking isn't a Canon thing, that is a tripod or technique issue, I would think. Also manually focusing is also something more the responsibility of the individual. There are tricks to create a better push/pull MF on a lens where you can have finer control than using the lens ring itself.

https://nofilmschool.c​om …focus-easier-cost-less-10 (external link)

I guess I don't see where this is an issue of the Canon product?

We unfortunately had nothing but clouds here, so I missed this rare event. :(

I have doubled up a 1.4x and 2x on a Sigma 150-500 for moon shots in the past, and manually focus them while balancing the lens on the back of a chair and have not had issues in the past personally. I am shooting at a FF equiv. 2688mm with this combination, so my comments above are tempered with my own personal experiences for what they are worth.


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dhornick
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Jan 31, 2018 08:18 |  #3

TeamSpeed wrote in post #18553216 (external link)
Are you focusing while having the IS engaged? Lens shaking isn't a Canon thing, that is a tripod or technique issue, I would think. Also manually focusing is also something more the responsibility of the individual. There are tricks to create a better push/pull MF on a lens where you can have finer control than using the lens ring itself.

https://nofilmschool.c​om …focus-easier-cost-less-10 (external link)

I guess I don't see where this is an issue of the Canon product?

We unfortunately had nothing but clouds here, so I missed this rare event. :(

I have doubled up a 1.4x and 2x on a Sigma 150-500 for moon shots in the past, and manually focus them while balancing the lens on the back of a chair and have not had issues in the past personally. I am shooting at a FF equiv. 2688mm with this combination, so my comments above are tempered with my own personal experiences for what they are worth.


I didn't mean to imply that it was a Canon issue other than the quality is not what I had hoped for and I have no doubt that it was mostly my fault. I do have a very heavy duty stable tripod, the IS was turned off as well as AF (the AF doesn't work with the 2X anyways). If you ever research telescopes, the higher end models will almost always have a separate fine tune focus knob. I just think that would be so beneficial here.

I also am still very much interested to use this lens and the 2X in daylight to shoot wildlife and see I'm happy then.


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Jan 31, 2018 08:43 |  #4

is it a mark 1 or mark 2 100-400 ?
I always understood that the mark 1 version wasn't suitable for using teleconverters and mk2 only limited use in good light.

vibration will be magnified (as I am sure you already know and understand) when zoomed right in on subject and with a TC it will be magnified again by same factor as the TC and in LV at 10x you will magnifying vibration by another 10x all of which adds up to make focusing difficult - I agree fin focus control woul be very handy on such lenses especially when trying astrophotography....


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dhornick
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Jan 31, 2018 09:11 |  #5

birderman wrote in post #18553246 (external link)
is it a mark 1 or mark 2 100-400 ?
I always understood that the mark 1 version wasn't suitable for using teleconverters and mk2 only limited use in good light.

vibration will be magnified (as I am sure you already know and understand) when zoomed right in on subject and with a TC it will be magnified again by same factor as the TC and in LV at 10x you will magnifying vibration by another 10x all of which adds up to make focusing difficult - I agree fin focus control woul be very handy on such lenses especially when trying astrophotography....

It is the mark 1 version and again it's probably just me but yes it is very hard to focus properly. I think I'm going the make a secondary support from a second tripod just to support the barrel of the lens. And I might even hook up my laptop or an iPad to my camera for a better (bigger) LCD screen.


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Jan 31, 2018 13:52 |  #6

The MKI is a bit soft and could be part of it. I know many were happy with that lens, but I found even the Sigma 50-500 was better than the 100-400 at the long end. I think I would even put the Sigma 150-600 against the old 100-400 for IQ.

That could be part of it, and newer lenses have smoother focusing rings, I feel.

For moon shots, I always keep IS on though, despite the stability of the camera/lens. I halfpress, and let the IS settle down, then do my focusing in Liveview from that point forward, then snap the shot. I find that works well for me when shooting things over 26 miles away. :)


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Jan 31, 2018 14:35 |  #7

dhornick wrote in post #18553204 (external link)
So, I'm not gonna lie. I used my 100-400 along with my brand new Canon 2x converter for the very first time and I'm disappointed. Shooting the Super Blue Blood Moon early this morning and the clarity is just not what I had hoped. The pictures were technically correct in the exposure and white balance but the sharpness, focus, clarity is just not what I wanted.

What were you expecting?

It is a pretty well known fact that tele-extenders generally work best when used with the really huge, super-expensive primes like the 400 f2.8, 600mm f4, and 800mm f5.6.

You are making a huge compromise when you take a lens like the 100-400 v1 zoom, which is already not so great optically, and then you magnify all of those optical imperfections by putting a 2x extender on it.

.

dhornick wrote in post #18553204 (external link)
One of the things I've noticed over time and never liked is that when using the 100-400 by itself it is very difficult to get pin sharp focus because when you're zoomed into 400mm and have even used the camera's 10x magnify on the live view display while on the best of tripods, when you simply touch the focus ring there is so much lens shake you never really get to that pin point tack sharp focus spot. Couple that with a 2X converter and it's simply impossible to focus sharply.

I wished Canon would introduce a fine tune focus knob adjustment on their long lens.

dhornick wrote in post #18553225 (external link)
I didn't mean to imply that it was a Canon issue other than the quality is not what I had hoped for and I have no doubt that it was mostly my fault. I do have a very heavy duty stable tripod, the IS was turned off as well as AF (the AF doesn't work with the 2X anyways). If you ever research telescopes, the higher end models will almost always have a separate fine tune focus knob. I just think that would be so beneficial here.

dhornick wrote in post #18553271 (external link)
It is the mark 1 version and again it's probably just me but yes it is very hard to focus properly.

I don't think that Canon designs this lens to be manually focused, because it is an autofocus lens that is usually used for sports and wildlife, two genres that are largely dependent on autofocus.

Because you are using a 2x extender, you are not able to use autofocus. . So it is rather apparent that Canon didn't really design the 100-400mm to be used with a 2x extender. . The extenders - especially the 2x - are really designed to be paired with the very long, fast supertelephotos.

You are trying to use your gear in a manner that is different than that which it was designed for. . They are not going to design their 100-400mm zoom to have fine-tuned manual focus so that use with a 2x is optimized, because they don't design the lens to be used with a 2x extender in the first place. . They think that people who are very serious about shooting at 800mm are going to buy a legitimate 800mm setup. . The same thing with macro - they do not design the 100-400mm zoom to have focusing that is optimized for macro use with extension tubes, because they think that serious macro shooters will buy a proper macro lens for their macro photography needs.


.

dhornick wrote in post #18553225 (external link)
I also am still very much interested to use this lens and the 2X in daylight to shoot wildlife and see I'm happy then.

.
Wildlife! . Now you're talkin' my language!

I don't think you'll be at all happy with any wildlife photos taken with the 100-400mm v1 and the 2x extender. . It's a focusing nightmare. . And it is also a really poor optical combination, compared to other ways of getting to the 800mm range (or close to it).

I do A LOT of wildlife photography, and my most useful lens is my 100-400mm zoom. . But I don't use it with extenders. Just the 100mm to 400mm range is plenty of reach for many wildlife scenarios. . I take more quality wildlife photos with my 100-400mm zoom than I do with my longer lenses, which include a 400mm f2.8 and a Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 .. That's right - more times than not, there is no need for more than 400mm.

So my point is that I think you can use your 100-400mm for wildlife the way it is, without putting any extender on it, and that you will do very well with it and find that you are actually able to fill the frame with the animals and not have to crop. . Of course, there will be times when 400mm is not enough ...... but if I were in your shoes I would be content to just let those situations slide away and not bother shooting them until you can get a longer lens. . What good is a photo if it is not going to be nice and clear and sharply detailed? . You can't make caviar out of feces (or whatever the saying is).

Overall, I think that what I've said here is a big positive for you, because it means that you can use your lens the way it is intended to be used (without an extender), and still get great results.


.


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digital ­ paradise
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Jan 31, 2018 15:36 |  #8

You have to wait till the vibration stops. At 10X someone down the street can sneeze and you can see it vibrate. You have be to be quick too and have a good shutter speed because at 10x you can see the moon moving on the LCD.

Last summer with that same lens, Canon 5D4 and a Sigma 2X. Manual focus, LV, 10X and a loupe and remote release.


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3 or 4 years ago. This is with my 7D2, 300L F4 IS, Canon 2X stacked with a Sigma 2X. Same process.


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Jan 31, 2018 15:49 |  #9

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18553506 (external link)
What were you expecting?

It is a pretty well known fact that tele-extenders generally work best when used with the really huge, super-expensive primes like the 400 f2.8, 600mm f4, and 800mm f5.6.

You are making a huge compromise when you take a lens like the 100-400 v1 zoom, which is already not so great optically, and then you magnify all of those optical imperfections by putting a 2x extender on it.

.

I don't think that Canon designs this lens to be manually focused, because it is an autofocus lens that is usually used for sports and wildlife, two genres that are largely dependent on autofocus.

Because you are using a 2x extender, you are not able to use autofocus. . So it is rather apparent that Canon didn't really design the 100-400mm to be used with a 2x extender. . The extenders - especially the 2x - are really designed to be paired with the very long, fast supertelephotos.

You are trying to use your gear in a manner that is different than that which it was designed for. . They are not going to design their 100-400mm zoom to have fine-tuned manual focus so that use with a 2x is optimized, because they don't design the lens to be used with a 2x extender in the first place. . They think that people who are very serious about shooting at 800mm are going to buy a legitimate 800mm setup. . The same thing with macro - they do not design the 100-400mm zoom to have focusing that is optimized for macro use with extension tubes, because they think that serious macro shooters will buy a proper macro lens for their macro photography needs.

.

.
Wildlife! . Now you're talkin' my language!

I don't think you'll be at all happy with any wildlife photos taken with the 100-400mm v1 and the 2x extender. . It's a focusing nightmare. . And it is also a really poor optical combination, compared to other ways of getting to the 800mm range (or close to it).

I do A LOT of wildlife photography, and my most useful lens is my 100-400mm zoom. . But I don't use it with extenders. Just the 100mm to 400mm range is plenty of reach for many wildlife scenarios. . I take more quality wildlife photos with my 100-400mm zoom than I do with my longer lenses, which include a 400mm f2.8 and a Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 .. That's right - more times than not, there is no need for more than 400mm.

So my point is that I think you can use your 100-400mm for wildlife the way it is, without putting any extender on it, and that you will do very well with it and find that you are actually able to fill the frame with the animals and not have to crop. . Of course, there will be times when 400mm is not enough ...... but if I were in your shoes I would be content to just let those situations slide away and not bother shooting them until you can get a longer lens. . What good is a photo if it is not going to be nice and clear and sharply detailed? . You can't make caviar out of feces (or whatever the saying is).

Overall, I think that what I've said here is a big positive for you, because it means that you can use your lens the way it is intended to be used (without an extender), and still get great results.

.

Great response. Thank you very much.


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Jan 31, 2018 15:51 |  #10

digital paradise wrote in post #18553530 (external link)
You have to wait till the vibration stops. At 10X someone down the street can sneeze and you can see it vibrate. You have be to be quick too and have a good shutter speed because at 10x you can see the moon moving on the LCD.

Last summer with that same lens, Canon 5D4 and a Sigma 2X. Manual focus, LV, 10X and a loupe and remote release.

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3 or 4 years ago. This is with my 7D2, 300L F4 IS, Canon 2X stacked with a Sigma 2X. Same process.
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Very very nice and this is indeed what I was hoping for. Very well done.


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Jan 31, 2018 16:16 |  #11

Cropping because you won't get that close so careful PP is important as well.


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Jan 31, 2018 16:37 |  #12

Here are a couple of examples using Canon Extenders with two set ups: the Canon 100-400 Mk II+ Extender 1.4 EF II (7D Mk II) and Canon 400mm F5.6L + Extender 2.0 EF II (EOS M3). They have been "pumped" in post to display the full tonal range, an almost HDR effect.

These were taken on a tracking mount and focused in Live View Mode tethered to a Laptop PC.

The tracking mount is heavy (16kgs) and I took 15 frames with each system and then Aligned and Stacked the frames in an astronomy image processing application which improves the signal to noise ratio. Basically, the real data (Craters, Mountain ranges, Maria, etc.) adds up whereas the random noise averages out so the overall IQ is superior when compared to just a single frame.

I was very pleased with the results from the x2 Extender noting that the set up was solid and Remote Live View guaranteed the focus without having to touch the camera.

The Moon was also quite high above the horizon so the IQ destroying effects of our atmosphere were greatly reduced.

Cheers

Dennis


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Jan 31, 2018 16:43 |  #13

my experience,,,the 100-400 ver i plus 2X extender do not make for a happy couple. You'll get great shots,,,just not many. A 1.4X will get better results,,more often,,,but technique and good light is much much more important then just shooting the 100-400 by its self.


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Jan 31, 2018 16:43 |  #14

Darrel, if it makes you feel any better to know, I would consider myself to be something of an expert on the care and feeding of Telelconverters, I use them a lot for wildlife,. I've pressed them into service with lenses that they aren't best with including the 100-400mm,. with moving subjects etc..

And yet, I do not have a single example of one of the highly detailed moonshots as posted in this thread by others. I can do pretty well with the tip of a giraffes nose, but I have always failed with "shooting the moon"

In the end you not only chose a very difficult combination of equipment, ie: the older 100-400mm and a 2X, but also a very difficult (for some anyway) subject to master at the same time.

A 1.4x is a much better way to wade into T-Con territory. And a fast prime in good lighting even more likely to be successful when testing the t-Con waters.


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Jan 31, 2018 16:49 |  #15

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18553586 (external link)
Darrel, if it makes you feel any better to know, I would consider myself to be something of an expert on the care and feeding of Telelconverters, I use them a lot for wildlife,. I've pressed them into service with lenses that they aren't best with including the 100-400mm,. with moving subjects etc..

And yet, I do not have a single example of one of the highly detailed moonshots as posted in this thread by others. I can do pretty well with the tip of a giraffes nose, but I have always failed with "shooting the moon"

In the end you not only chose a very difficult combination of equipment, ie: the older 100-400mm and a 2X, but also a very difficult (for some anyway) subject to master at the same time.

A 1.4x is a much better way to wade into T-Con territory. And a fast prime in good lighting even more likely to be successful when testing the t-Con waters.

Hah - I'm quite the opposite!:-)

I can crank out good Moon shots because I have a heavy motorised tracking mount, so it's as if I am shooting in a laboratory or studio with everything under my control whereas out in the field, my results are much more hit and miss.:-)

I do get more hits though, with static subjects, excellent light, heavy tripod and fastidious technique. And then there are those days when everything just goes to mush no matter what you try.:-)

Cheers

Dennis




  
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100-400 with 2X Converter - Not happy
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