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Photography Question 
Emily Webster

Photographing Wildlife

I have a Canon EF 100-400mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens which I use with a Canon 40d. I find that this lens is slightly heavy to use as a hand held and even with IS my images aren't as sharp as I would like. Would you have any advice about a lens that might be lighter to use in the field but will give me good distance and image quality?

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4/29/2009 3:22:44 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Any alternative with same reach (EF 300 f/4L IS USM + 1.4x, Sigma 120-400 f/4-5.6 DG OS HSM ...) will be as heavy or heavier. Try to narrow down the source of unsharpness. If the image stabilization is not totally correcting camera shake because the lens/camera combination is too heavy, a monopod is relatively inexpensive and doubles as a walking stick on wildlife hikes. If you are using a "protective" filter, try without. These can add reflections and flare that reduce contrast. Use the lens hood. The 100-400L's performance is weakest at maximum zoom and aperture. Try stopping down even 1/3-2/3 stop to f/6.3 or f/7 instead of f/5.6.

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4/30/2009 4:02:47 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  P.S. also check your photos to make sure the camera is not misfocusing a little in front or behind your intended subject. If this misfocus is consistent, then the lens and/or camera can be re-calibrated by Canon.

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4/30/2009 4:06:07 AM

Marianne Fortin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/23/2006
  Emily, I use the same lens and camera and have found the lens to be very sharp. I find I can hand hold at shutter speeds around 100-150 and up. As far as the weight goes, I use a neoprene camera strap which does reduce it.

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5/1/2009 10:05:42 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  I prefer lenses that are heavier, and find them more stable when hand-help. Maybe you are holding the camera wrong. Try holding the camera "under the lens" rather than holding the body. This will shift the balance of weight. A monopod would also greatly help. One of my lens is a 28-300mm (on a Canon 50D that's the equivalent of 45mm to 480mm). This lens is very very very heavy, and I love it. I get sharp pics hand held.

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5/5/2009 8:59:50 AM

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