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Respected Contributor
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Registered: ‎02-26-2015

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


Summerlee340 wrote:
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?

Yes, you should up your shutter speed, bird are seldom truly still even when they are sitting in a tree.

Minimum shutter speed should be 1/800 and since you're not use to holding that large of a lens closer to 1/12000. 

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

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

Thank you! I will definitely try that with my tripod. I did think about doing that - I so prefer hand hold though, but I will check out your suggestion. What do you mean by "miss exposure is 4 stops".
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Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

I just tried your suggestion (took photo of a squirrel hanging out on my bench) did 1/1000, Manual, Auto ISO, zoomed to 100 set to 4.5 as you said. The photo at 100 was decent and the one at 400 was much better than I have been shooting. Is it really that simple? I will keep trying this with birds next, except they tend to fly away when they see that humongous lens. Regarding your second paratraph, are you speaking about the little window on the lens that shows the distance in "ft" and "m"?Can you explain a little more as to the focus mode on the lens and why it makes a difference. Also, if you have time for this question - should I set the switch on the lens to "full" or "infinity"?
Respected Contributor
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Re: Canon 100-400 vii lens - Pictures could be sharper Need help!

I would stick to Av or Tv mode.  Especially if you are already having other issues (sharpness) to work through I don't think there's any reason to take on all the variables you have to handle on Manual just to get a proper exposure.   Let the camera handle exposure while you concentrate on getting your sharpness and technique dialed in.  

 

Especially if you are out in lots of light you can still indirectly control aperture in Tv mode; slow the shutter and the camera will compensate by stopping down. Speed up the shutter and the camera will compensate by opening up the aperture.   

Scott

Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

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Posts: 4,723
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

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


Summerlee340 wrote:
I just tried your suggestion (took photo of a squirrel hanging out on my bench) did 1/1000, Manual, Auto ISO, zoomed to 100 set to 4.5 as you said. The photo at 100 was decent and the one at 400 was much better than I have been shooting. Is it really that simple? I will keep trying this with birds next, except they tend to fly away when they see that humongous lens. Regarding your second paratraph, are you speaking about the little window on the lens that shows the distance in "ft" and "m"?Can you explain a little more as to the focus mode on the lens and why it makes a difference. Also, if you have time for this question - should I set the switch on the lens to "full" or "infinity"?

Yes, it can really be that simple. 

One rule of thumb to always get sharp photos is to grab as much light [wide aperture] as you can, as quickly [fast shutter speed] as you can, and with as lilttle effort [low ISO] as you can.  Using ISO 100 applies the least amplification to the image sensor signal, which means the least noise.  Higher and higher ISO settings mean more and more amplification, which means more and more noise.

Be familiar with the depth of field of the lens, too.  Once I set a shutter speed and an aperture, I typically don't want to change them, most especially the aperture.

http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html

The switch on the lens sets up focus over the full range, from the minimum of 1 meter to infinity.  Or, you can restrict the lens to just 3 meters to infinity.  One setting is best for close subjects, while the other setting is best for subjects more than 10 feet away.  I would try using the second setting in your "12 feet away" example.

 

What focus point are you using?  Manually select the center AF point, because it is the most accurate.  Don't let the camera choose an AF point for you.  If your distance to your subject isn't changing, then you may want to use One Shot mode. 

 

Use AI Servo mode if your subject's distance is changing so much that it leaves your DOF.  AI Servo can work for stationary subjects, too, but I think One Shot works best in those scenarios.  Using AI Servo effectively takes practice, and good grasp on how it dynamically adjusts focus.  On some camera bodies, the differences between the dynamic focusing modes can be as subtle as they can be complex, especially when the body has dozens of AF points.

 

 

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Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,705
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

Of all the good/bad suggestions you have received so far, this one is probably the most important; "Don't let the camera choose an AF point for you."  Select just the center point and turn all the others off.  Your technique is one of the most important aspects of photography.  Setting up the gear correctly for the conditions is next.  Lastly, you absolutely have to have a good post editor.

 

Take Scotty's advice and use either Tv or Av.  I prefer a fixed ISO and for normal daylight, I like ISO 800. Adjust as necessary.  Most of the time I fix the tele one stop down from wide open.  One other thing that may help is high speed shutter.  Even slight changes in birds activity can make a big difference in sharpness.  Also, nobody gets 100% keepers.  Everybody misses from time to time.

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,723
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

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

[ Edited ]

ebiggs1 wrote:

Of all the good/bad suggestions you have received so far, this one is probably the most important; "Don't let the camera choose an AF point for you."  Select just the center point and turn all the others off.  Your technique is one of the most important aspects of photography.  Setting up the gear correctly for the conditions is next.  Lastly, you absolutely have to have a good post editor.

 

Take Scotty's advice and use either Tv or Av.  I prefer a fixed ISO and for normal daylight, I like ISO 800. Adjust as necessary.  Most of the time I fix the tele one stop down from wide open.  One other thing that may help is high speed shutter.  Even slight changes in birds activity can make a big difference in sharpness.  Also, nobody gets 100% keepers.  Everybody misses from time to time.


There you have it. Two votes for using Tv or Av with fixed ISO.  Two votes for using M with Auto ISO.  There are good arguments that can be made for any shooting mode, and how much you allow the camera to set for you.

 

Which mode is best is mostly personal choice, and the shooting scenario.  One thing the suggestions all have in common, though, is that the camera is being allowed to adjust only one leg of the exposure triangle automatically, which are shutter speed, aperture setting, and ISO value.

You have a choice, in this regard.  You can let the camera adjust any one, any pair, or all three settings.  Letting the camera adjust only one gives you the most control, and frees the shooter from constantly checking and adjusting exposure during a sequence of shots.  Your attention can be on the subject, instead of being distracted by operating the camera.

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,692
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

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


Summerlee340 wrote:
I just tried your suggestion (took photo of a squirrel hanging out on my bench) did 1/1000, Manual, Auto ISO, zoomed to 100 set to 4.5 as you said. The photo at 100 was decent and the one at 400 was much better than I have been shooting. Is it really that simple? I will keep trying this with birds next, except they tend to fly away when they see that humongous lens. Regarding your second paratraph, are you speaking about the little window on the lens that shows the distance in "ft" and "m"?Can you explain a little more as to the focus mode on the lens and why it makes a difference. Also, if you have time for this question - should I set the switch on the lens to "full" or "infinity"?

Yes, it really is as simple as using a fast enough shutter speed. Since there seems to be some question, I use Manual with Auto ISO also.

 

The focus mode on the lens should be set for 3m-infinity except when focusing on something closer than 3 meters. The lens will focus much faster when set to 3m-infinity than it does when set to full.

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Posts: 766
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

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


Summerlee340 wrote:
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?

Two things that, to me, are the most important to get sharp photos...

 

1. The closer you are the better - fill the frame

2.  As high a shutter speed as possible (1/2000 or faster if at all possible)

 

Do these two and you still have problem with sharpness then start thinking there's something wrong with the lens or other equipment. 

 

When I first got my 400mm f/5.6L lens I couldn't get a single sharp pictures for the first 3 days even on a tripod...I was close to returning the lens until I properly learn to use it.  Prior to using the 400mm FL, I was using the 70-200mm, sometimes with the 1.4X extender with razor sharp results...400mm is a whole another level, especially on a cropped sensor.  I had a cheap $50 tripod...it was no help at all as it was quivering in the wind and under the weight of the lens.  You need to invest in a more decent tripod.

 

For unmoving subjects, minimum shutter speed should be at least 1/1000...and remember the faster the better...In time you can slow down but it will take practice.  I can now shoot at 1/320 with decent results but that's after many years of practice using proper breathing techniques.

 

Also, I'm willing to bet that for most of your very sharp pictures @ FL250, most are taken at close range.  You simply get more details closer in - so get as close as possible.

 

Here is what the 100-400mm v II can do.  This was taken with a 7D Mark II handheld @ 400mm, 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 500.  I adjusted clarity, vibrance and saturation in photoshop but otherwise unsharpened.

 

33498164942_a54c9e80f2_c.jpg

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Thank you TTMartin. I appreciate it.
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