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

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

Thank you Wadizzle. I will check out the link you noted. I use the manual center AF point and I almost always use One Shot mode. I have used AI Servo when shooting flying birds and it definitely does take practice. For now I am trying to perfect my stationary subjects.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Thank you, ebiggs. I definitely use the center point. I just started switching to TV and AV - normally I used manual. I recently started going down two stops from wide open to try to get a larger dof and I read that two stops from wide open can be a lens' sweet spot. Thanks for the comment about "nobody gets 100% keepers". I am very hard on myself. Next I'm going to set up the lens on my tripod and either press the shutter button or perhaps try a remote. I have PhotoScape which is on my laptop. I may try Lightroom - I heard good things about it.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Thanks again, ebiggs. So true about freeing the shooter from constantly checking etc. I was using manual mode constantly when I used my 55-250 and I'm liking using TV or AV. I will practice all these modes.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Gorgeous shot, diverhank. I happen to love hummingbirds and have a bunch of photos of one that showed up at my feeder last year. They are certainly a challenge. I read all your suggestions and I thank you. I have a Manfrotto tripod. It seems pretty sturdy to me. That will be my next project. I really hope it's me and not the lens!!!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Thank you canonfanboy!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎09-17-2016

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

Hello diverhank,

 

Here are three unedited uncropped photos that I took after I read everyone's comments today about upping the SS, etc. Still handheld (next stop, use tripod). Settings: 1/1000, Manual mode, 400mm Auto ISO. They still do not look tack sharp. Perhaps I should take tons more as several people have mentioned not every photo is a keeper. Thanks again.

IMG_7633.JPGIMG_7643.JPGIMG_7655.JPG

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

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

I think that those are pretty good shots. 

Jittery critters like squirrels are hard to capture in focus.  They make appear to be sitting still, but many times they are trembling like a tuning fork, which caues their bodies to be out of focus.  Comparing the squirrel to the stationary object, like the tree, shows the focus is pretty much equal.  I'd say you did fairly well.

The other two shots are even better.  You're dealing with creatures that are relatively stationary compared to the squirrel.  

 

That is good advice about needing a good tripod.  IMHO, you can never have a tripod that is too sturdy, not in my book.  The load ratings on tripod legs and tripod heads must be taken with a grain of salt.  There is no standard for determining how much load something can support. 

Some manufacturers seem to rate their products conservatively, while others seem overly optimistic, almost to the point of being flat out false.  Most tripods are rated with the center column fully lowered.  Raising the center column only destabilizes the tripod, reducing the maximum load it can support, because the entire setup can become top heavy and tip over.  YIKES.

Nice shots, though, once again.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,705
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

Summerlee340,

Those shots are nice.  Well on your way.  Experience is the best teacher.  You mentioned Lightroom and I think you should get it or at least use the DPP that came free with your camera.  LR is better but DPP is better than none!  Here is why, these two post editors have Canon lens correction built in.  This is a correction I apply to all my shots.  It is done automatically in LR as they import.  All lenses need this, even the best and the most expensive!  Doesn't matter.

 

I have a couple reasons why I don't like Auto ISO. First you are not truly in manual mode.  Second I don't like it going too high.  I know you can set limits on how high or low is can adjust but them why?  Just set it where you want it and be done with it.  Probably because I grew up when cameras were truly manual, not semi-manual.   Cameras can guess at what you want but isn't it better to decide for your self.  I think, yes it is.

 

Try setting the camera to high speed shooting instead of One Shot.  No to Ai-servo.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 766
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

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


Summerlee340 wrote:

Hello diverhank,

 

Here are three unedited uncropped photos that I took after I read everyone's comments today about upping the SS, etc. Still handheld (next stop, use tripod). Settings: 1/1000, Manual mode, 400mm Auto ISO. They still do not look tack sharp. Perhaps I should take tons more as several people have mentioned not every photo is a keeper. Thanks again.


Hello Summerlee340...the sample pictures you posted are sharp...but may not be where they need to be sharp.  I think the problem here is not sharpness but rather where the focus was at.

 

At 400mm, the Depth of Field (DOF) is rather thin and therefore the focus has to be precise.  I'm not sure what your focus mode was...for this type of shooting, you need to use a single focus point, aimed squarely at the critter's eye.  If you use more (like auto focus point), the camera will usually grab something, usually the closest part but not always.

 

Via DPP you can tell where the focus point was for each of the picture. I suggest you take a look at these.  On the first one, it's hard to tell where but it looks like the main focus was on the tree bark behind the squirrel and its eye wasn't quite in focus.  On the second one, it might be focusing on the bird OK except the bird was dark and was small...it's hard to get a razor sharp image for something that small and in the shadow.  On the third, it looks like the focus was on the flower slightly in front of of the butterfly.

 

All in all, these aren't that bad at all...as people correctly pointed out, for this kind of shooting, the keep rate is quite low.  Consider yourself really good if you get one keeper out of ten which is currently my keep rate on a good day.  There is no substitute for good lighting and cooperative subjects...in many cases, it's not always possible and hence the lower keep rate.

 

Just keep in mind that focus has to be precise and aim for the eye.  Be disciplined and do this for every shot and soon it will become second nature.   If it's too hard, just place the eye right smack in the middle and crop for composition later.  For non-moving objects and critters, you can move the focus point to the eye.  I usually just aim right smack in the middle...after a while, I don't shoot non-moving critters anymore...and the moving kind is too fast to mess with moving focus points.

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,705
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

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

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
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