Canon Community Canon Community
 


Reply
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

Okay, so it could be me - I'm not a total noob, but who knows. Been shooting with my Canon Rebel T3i for several years. Mostly used my 55-250 kit lens and at times I got some tack sharp photos from that lens

 

Regarding my new 100-400 vii lens, I have yet to get a crisp shot - the shots are just okay to me. Granted I am hand holding the camera and lens when  trying to take photos, and it is a bit heavy (mostly of birds and wildlife) but I do have the IS on.  I usually shoot on M but lately I've been using TV mode - my photos are okay but they just are not sharp enough.  I have it on AF - and sometimes it takes a few seconds to focus.

 

Even with my tripod, again, the shots are okay - some are passable, but I know what sharp is as I've taken a few with my 55-250 and so far I'm not cutting it.  

 

I usually have the lens to full zoom at 400 and I try to keep the shutter speed at least 400 as I've read the focal length should be reciprocal to the shutter speed.  My histogram looks great quite often...

 

Question/Issues:  Perhaps I am too far away from my subject? Birds are so skittish so I usually stand maybe  20 feet away.

 

 I thought with the larger zoom that meant I wouldn't have to be as close to my subject .  

 

So am I too far away?

 

If someone has a few moments, perhaps I can get some advice or point me to a great website....Thanks very much.

 

 

 

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎05-19-2017

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

[ Edited ]

Because of manufacturing tolerances you may need to do an AFMA. Your camera does not support Auto Focus Manual Adjustment. The best thing you can do is return the lens in exchange for another and hope you get one that matches your camera, or upgrade to a camera that supports AFMA. Your lens is a good lens, it just needs help matching you camera.

 

What AFMA does is allow you to change where you are focusing in relation to the subject. If you are focusing slightly in front of or behind the subject you'd be able to make an adjustment to be spot on.

 

Even with a pro level camera, sometimes AFMA must be done to match lens and camera. This isn't a problem with the camera or lens. This has to do with manufacturing tolerances.

 

The good news is that maybe you are able to upgrade the camera to one that supports AFMA.Smiley Happy As far as IS goes... I recommend leaving it off for moving subjects. Also, try using AP mode instead of TV. For birds, especially small ones, you need a faster shutter than 1/400. Much faster. Set for widest aperture in AP mode, have good light, and see what happens. 

Spoiler
 

 

5D Mark III, Tamron SP 15-30 DI VC, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, EF 35 f/1.4L II, EF 135 f/2L, Rising standard pinhole, EF 2X III, ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT x7, Flashpoint Streaklight 360ws
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,769
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

[ Edited ]

Summerlee340 wrote:

Okay, so it could be me - I'm not a total noob, but who knows. Been shooting with my Canon Rebel T3i for several years. Mostly used my 55-250 kit lens and at times I got some tack sharp photos from that lens

 

Regarding my new 100-400 vii lens, I have yet to get a crisp shot - the shots are just okay to me. Granted I am hand holding the camera and lens when  trying to take photos, and it is a bit heavy (mostly of birds and wildlife) but I do have the IS on.  I usually shoot on M but lately I've been using TV mode - my photos are okay but they just are not sharp enough.  I have it on AF - and sometimes it takes a few seconds to focus.

 

Even with my tripod, again, the shots are okay - some are passable, but I know what sharp is as I've taken a few with my 55-250 and so far I'm not cutting it.  

 

I usually have the lens to full zoom at 400 and I try to keep the shutter speed at least 400 as I've read the focal length should be reciprocal to the shutter speed.  My histogram looks great quite often...

 

Question/Issues:  Perhaps I am too far away from my subject? Birds are so skittish so I usually stand maybe  20 feet away.

 

 I thought with the larger zoom that meant I wouldn't have to be as close to my subject .  

 

So am I too far away?

 

If someone has a few moments, perhaps I can get some advice or point me to a great website....Thanks very much.

 

 

 


1/400 is way too slow of a shutter speed for bird photography. The 1/focal length applies to camera shake, not moving.

subjects. 

 

I normally use 1/1600 for bird photography and Mode 3 on the IS.

 

A00A1697-3.jpg

 

A00A7360.jpgA00A7887.jpgA00A8938.jpg

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,932
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

[ Edited ]

Now for the correct answer.

First AFMA does NOT make a lens, any lens, sharper. It simply moves the critical focus point forward or backward.

 

The reciprocal of the lens is a good idea but it is only a starting point, or a minimum if you will.  You said 1/400 or better.  But remember your 400mm on your T3i is acting like a 640mm lens.  Now you need to keep the lowest suggested SS to at least that. 1/1000 is better.  640mm is some serious focal length and it will bring all the benefits and faults of 640mm with it.  Everything, not just the subject is magnified the same amount. 

 

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens is a very good lens. As good or better than any out there.  I would suggest it is your technique that is letting you down.  A simple way to determine this is to mount the camera/lens on a sturdy tripod and shoot a stationary subject.  Something with some detail in it.  Do it outside on a nice day and try several distances and apertures.  This way you will know exactly what your gear can do.

 

Now as for IS.  IS is a crutch, it isn't a cure all.  It also has a degrading ability, meaning the farther away from perfect, the less it helps.  For instance, you will get the best help, or result, from it with say a 1 stop error.  If the miss exposure is say 4 stops the results won't be as good.  In short the more perfect things are the more perfect IS can be.  Also remember IS is gear oriented not subject oriented.

 

Birds are small.  The closer the better.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,932
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

Summerlee340,

 

"The best thing you can do is return the lens in exchange for another and hope you get one that matches your camera ..."

 

This is a last, very last option.  If the lens simply, no matter what, will not preform call Canon Support before returning.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎05-19-2017

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

Nice shots!!!
5D Mark III, Tamron SP 15-30 DI VC, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, EF 35 f/1.4L II, EF 135 f/2L, Rising standard pinhole, EF 2X III, ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT x7, Flashpoint Streaklight 360ws
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎05-19-2017

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

[ Edited ]

Canon support can't help with machining tolerances unless they are out of tolerance. Returning to the purchase point and exchanging might. That is what I would do in that situation. I think she's smart enough to figure out the order of my advice. You did. Didn't you?

5D Mark III, Tamron SP 15-30 DI VC, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, EF 35 f/1.4L II, EF 135 f/2L, Rising standard pinhole, EF 2X III, ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT x7, Flashpoint Streaklight 360ws
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎05-19-2017

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

Nobody said or implied that AFMA makes a lens sharper. It is a function of the camera... as stated in the post.

5D Mark III, Tamron SP 15-30 DI VC, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, EF 35 f/1.4L II, EF 135 f/2L, Rising standard pinhole, EF 2X III, ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT x7, Flashpoint Streaklight 360ws
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,058
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

"I usually have the lens to full zoom at 400 and I try to keep the shutter speed at least 400 as I've read the focal length should be reciprocal to the shutter speed. My histogram looks great quite often...

 

Question/Issues: Perhaps I am too far away from my subject? Birds are so skittish so I usually stand maybe 20 feet away.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

You say that you're 20 feet away.  That's roughly 7 meters, or the length of a full size, pickup truck.

 

Pay attention to the Focus Mode switch on the lens, the one that sets a focusing distance..  It can mean the difference betweeen almost sharp and tack sharp. 

 

I have also found that using a minimum shutter speed of 1/1000 when shooting wildlife raises my keeper rate.  I like to shoot in Manual Mode with ISO set for Auto.  I zoom down to 100mm, and set the f/stop and the minimum, f/4.5.  Now I am ready to shoot.  The f/stop will vary between f/4.5 and f/5.6, the minimum aperture, as I vary the focal length.

 

That combination of settings may result in the ISO getting set too high for your tastes.  You can set an upper limit on what the camera can use in the menus.  I would try 3200, and see how that looks to you.  But, first try it without any limit set.  If the camera hits the limit, the viewfinder exposure settings will flash, which means you must slow down the shutter to stop the flashing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

Great photos,TTM. Thanks for your reply. Right now I am not trying to get action shots of the birds - I am after crispness so I've been taking photos of them when they are stationary (which doesn't last that long!) and then looking at my photos to see how they look. Do you think I should still up my shutter speed even though I am taking them when they're still?
powered by Lithium

LIKE US on Facebook FOLLOW US on Twitter WATCH US on YouTube CONNECT WITH US on Linkedin WATCH US on Vimeo FOLLOW US on Instagram SHOP CANON at the Canon Online Store
© Canon U.S.A., Inc.   |    Terms of Use   |    Privacy Statement