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Photography Question 
Lloyd Mr Letherbarrow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/28/2006
 

New canon 100-400 L series lens


 
 
Newbie...

Hi everyone. Just joined the site and was a point and push digital photographer until recently.

Decided to take it a lot more seriously so have purchased a 350D and New 100-400 canon L series lens.

This is the 1st session I have used it and wondered if anybody could give me a few tips on action photography as this is no where near as sharp as I would like. Took this picture with the following settings.

Shutter 1/80
Focal Lenght 400
Aperture f 5.6
iso 800

Thanks Lloyd L


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9/28/2006 4:06:44 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The photo didn't attach but a couple general thoughts...
(1) Many people coming from compact digitals are initially disappointed in images that come straight from a DSLR. All digital cameras have a "low-pass" or "anti-alias" filter covering the sensor that softens the image to counteract digital artifacts such as moire and stair-step diagonals. The camera then does digital processing of the image to restore Sharpness, Contrast, Color Saturation. Compact digitals do very aggressive post-processing in-camera automatically so that the images saved to the card are "finished" and ready to view or print. The default processing parameters of DSLRs do much less of this post-processing. The computing power built into cameras is extremely limited. The assumption is that more advanced users will do the post-processing with greater control and effectiveness on a computer. If you want the SLR to do more in-camera, then you'll need to adjust it's image processing parameter settings.

(2) The shutter speed of 1/80 is normally too slow for hand-held shooting of a 100-400mm zoom. Image Stabilization is a tremendous help, but you might have been at the limit of its ability to correct for shake. IS cannot correct for blur from a moving subject, so 1/80 may not have been a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion.


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9/28/2006 6:06:47 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I agree with Jon about the 1/80 especially if you're trying to capture surfers. if you look at my gallery you'll notice that I'm usually cranking the settings way faster especially for handheld when I shoot that type of action.


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9/28/2006 7:31:15 AM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  That lens will allow hand holding up to 2 stops from what you could normally hold a lens without IS. A general rule of thumb is to have a shutter speed equal or greater than the focal length of the lens. So if you are shooting 400mm you typically would need a shutter speed of at least 1/400 sec. to keep camera shake in check. Now with IS, that type of lens you are using it will allow a two stop deviation from the norm. So you could go as low as 1/100 sec and still get good results.

As Jon said, if there is action in your image then that slow of a shutter speed is not fast enough to freeze the motion. At 1/80 and the lens at 400mm sounds to me that you are just outside the "envelope" for the IS to effectively take care of any camera shake. If the problem is camera shake only and you do not want to tripod the camera, push the ISO to 1600 which is equivalent to 1 stop from your current setting of 800. This will allow you (or the camera) to boost the shutter to say 1/160 sec. That should put you into the IS range at 400mm to hand hold and dramatically reduce “camera shake”.

Ray


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9/28/2006 7:33:23 AM

 
Lloyd Mr Letherbarrow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/28/2006
  Thanks for the advice guys..

As I said I am very new to SLR and this lens. I was using a monopod and had the camera AF mode set to AI Servo. It was also getting very dark and was probably asking a lot..


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9/28/2006 7:49:43 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery
  More input though somewhat unrelated to what's been offered here. I don't know how the Canon 350D stacks up to the Nikon D70 but my Nikon 80-400 VR does not focus fast enough for action. I've asked members with professional cameras who do not have a problem with the camera focusing the 80-400 fast enough for action so I'm assuming the D70 just doesn't have a powerful enough motor to keep up.


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9/28/2006 9:18:45 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  On Sharon's point about focusing quickly. My 70-200IS lens has that feature to preset for distance...I'd definately read up because it make a significant difference when trying to capture something moving...especially at 100+mph.


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9/28/2006 10:06:44 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Manual focus.


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9/28/2006 10:41:51 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Yeah Greg...I read about that Manual Focus thingy someplace...whats that????? JK


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9/28/2006 11:13:07 AM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Sharon, its the lens. The Nikon 80-400VR lens is one of the slowest AF lens in the Nikon lineup. Great lens for general shooting, but you will be in for a challange with any fast action stuff. Here's a review from Ken Rockwell that sums it up: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80400vr.htm

Ray


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9/28/2006 11:53:48 AM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  If you want good acvice on surfing shots, ask Robert Bemus. He takes outstanding surfing photographs.

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?mem=100743


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9/28/2006 12:42:44 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery
  Thanks, Ray! I read all the reviews I could find on the lens before purchasing it, and speed isn't much of a consideration for me since I rarely shoot action. Ken Rockwell did mention Nikon D70 in that review and called it "pokey" so couple the 80-400 with the D70 it really is slow.


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9/28/2006 12:58:29 PM

 
Lloyd Mr Letherbarrow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/28/2006
  Wow.. Seems are have started a war on lense.. Thanks for the advice everybody.

It seems that it maybe difficult to get an good idea of the problems from such a small pic, so if anybody wishes they can download the original from here.

http://download.yousendit.com/7BCA64F34BC80993


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9/28/2006 2:59:30 PM

 
anonymous A.    Nice photo, Lloyd. Removing the people in the foreground and cropping has emphasized the problem which I don't think is really focus or camera shake. The image is low in contrast and noise has degraded the apparent sharpness even further.
The only way to capture a photo with these lovely tones is early morning/late evening, but backlighting is also likely to introduce flare, another image degrader; make sure you have the lens hood on!
Even allowing for compression from the long telephoto, this surfer seems to be pretty close to the shore. Moving down the beach towards the water might be an option: it would let you fill the screen at a shorter zoom range which means higher shutter speeds or smaller apertures (smaller apertures (larger f numbers) will also give a better resolution.


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9/28/2006 3:38:25 PM

 
anonymous A.    I don't know if this is the effect you were after, Lloyd, but I've straightened the horizon, run a noise filter, corrected the white balance and increased the contrast a fraction.
I think your lens is fine!


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9/28/2006 3:52:30 PM

 
anonymous A.   
 
 
I don't know if this is the effect you were after, Lloyd, but I've straightened the horizon, run a noise filter, corrected the white balance and increased the contrast a fraction.
I think your lens is fine!


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9/28/2006 3:52:40 PM

 
anonymous A.   
 
 
Damn thing won't upload! trying again, again.


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9/28/2006 3:58:12 PM

 
Lloyd Mr Letherbarrow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/28/2006
  Thanks David

I have learnt a lot from the people that have responded. (thank you) 1st thing I am going to do is read my camera manuals another 10 times!! Also from now on I will only shoot in raw. I have a 1.4X converter for this lens and will not get it out of the box for a while. Looking forward to adding some pics' to the gallery soon.

Thanks again
Lloyd L


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9/29/2006 6:25:20 AM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Hi Lloyd:

I own the 100-400 L lens also. It is a superb lens, provided you shoot under certain circumstances.
First off, it is certainly too big and heavy for hand held shooting at anything below 1/250 sec.
Secondly, this lens is pretty sharp at aperatures of f/11 or so. Shooting at f/5.6 or even f/8.0 sometimes will leave you with a slightly mushy image.
The USM focusing on this lens is pretty fast. Especially considering the size of the lens. And it does offer a focus limiter, so if you are shooting at a distance, you can limit the near focus to 6.5m instead of the normal 1.8m. This will speed things up going from near to far focus.
Also, this lens offers two settings for IS. Type one compensates for movement on both the horizontal and vertical axis. Type two compensates for movement in the vertical axis only, which is suitable for panning.
Best advice - Use a tripod or monopod whenever possible. For the sharpest images, shoot at least f/11, even if it means bumping up your ISO to maintain shutter speed. Better to have a sharp grainy image than a blurry one.
Custom function 8 in the menu will allow you to enable ISO expansion which will let you extend your ISO to 3200.
Not generally recommended, but if that's what it takes to get the shot!


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9/29/2006 2:15:58 PM

 
Lloyd Mr Letherbarrow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/28/2006
  Thanks Bob

I know I am going to have to do a lot of work with this lens to get what I want out of it.


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9/29/2006 4:00:04 PM

 
Jason A. Woodcock   sorry bob but there is no iso expansion on the 350d


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9/29/2006 9:02:50 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Thank you Jason. I stand corrected. Wasn't thinking of which model Lloyd was using, only of how to crank up the ISO setting if neeed be.


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9/30/2006 6:31:26 AM

 
Jason A. Woodcock   thats cool just dont let it happen agian J/K


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9/30/2006 6:19:22 PM

 
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