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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-21-2017

Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

Going to see the solar eclipse. Taking my 5D III and my trusty 11 year old 100-400L. I know that having a full size sensor and at 400, I won't get much. However this is just a one off trip for me, so not wanting to break the bank for it. Just wanting to get some nice shots of my own, then buy a good one from one of the folks who is better equipped.

 

I can pick up a used Canon 2x II for half the price of the III. However have no experience using an extender. Would the older model do the job, or would the newer one make that much difference? 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,776
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

Ken rockwell (I can't directly link, but google Ken Rockwell Canon Extender) says that the II is probably good enough.

 

Other than that, I couldn't say.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,417
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III


Robinpow wrote:

Going to see the solar eclipse. Taking my 5D III and my trusty 11 year old 100-400L. I know that having a full size sensor and at 400, I won't get much. However this is just a one off trip for me, so not wanting to break the bank for it. Just wanting to get some nice shots of my own, then buy a good one from one of the folks who is better equipped.

 

I can pick up a used Canon 2x II for half the price of the III. However have no experience using an extender. Would the older model do the job, or would the newer one make that much difference? 


I'll make two points:

 

1)  What you should buy depends on how you'll use the extender after the eclipse. If it will spend the rest of its (or your) life on a shelf gathering dust, then the cheaper one makes more sense. But if not, you may get enough enjoyment out of it to justify the newer model.

 

2)  B&H is selling the 2x III new for $429. So the largest price difference you could be talking about is $214.50. Given that you're going to have to travel and that restaurants and hotels are jacking up their prices for this event, it's possible that the price difference, as a percentage of the cost of your whole trip, would be in the nature of roundoff error.

 

OTOH, if your experience with a total eclipse turns out to be like mine was, you'll probably wish you'd chucked the whole idea. We went to watch the 1963 eclipse in Orono, Maine, where my uncle was hosting the American Astronomical Society in his capacity as chairman of the astronomy department at the University of Maine. We set up my brother's 2.4" refractor in a field on the campus and waited for the main event. But as totality approached, clouds rolled in, and it was obvious we were out of luck where we were. Twice we dumped our gear into the car and relocated downwind, but it was to no avail. When totality arrived, the only indicators were that everything went black and birds twittered in confusion.

 

A colleague at work, who had gone to Acadia National Park instead, got beautiful pictures under a clear sky. (BTW, he wasn't nearly as well equipped as you will be, no matter what extender you use.)

Bob
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,790
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

"Taking my 5D III and my trusty 11 year old 100-400L."

 

Using the lens and extender after the eclipse is not a good idea.  I doubt it will even work at all.  For the eclipse you can manual focus which is desirable.  But normal use it is not a desirable thing.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-21-2017

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

Think it will be the II. I just don't see using it that much. Figure in the last 11 years there has been only three times I wished I had more than my lens could do for me.  

 

Love the food for thought! Spending $400 then have Mother Nature mess things up would be the ultimate salt in the wound. I'm luckly for this event, less than a days drive, had hotel points.  The trip itself will be less than $100. More about enjoying the event with grandson and hope to at least have a few good shots for him to remember our little outing. 

 

As as far as the wonderful shot, I'm leaving it to the folks who have dropped the bucks for the heavy duty equipment. The photos they will be selling will be far cheaper in money, time and effort. 

 

Thanks so so much for the suggestions!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,790
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

"Think it will be the II."

 

Just keep in mind the 2x and your 100-400mm first version will not work in AF.  Ever !  Don't know what few times you thought you needed more FL but the 2x isn't likely to help in any normal situations.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-21-2017

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

The few times I wished I had one was in Yellowstone with a bear, Africa with a leopard the third time was a super moon.  Don't have any plans at this time to return to either place, and manual focus isn't a big deal for moon shots. 

 

I was lucky and got to travel for just over 10 years, seeing most of the places I had always dreamed of. Now my wings are clipped, so what I photograph is now very different.  Figure if I ever get to Yellowstone or AK again, I'm just going to rent a nice big prime. As for Africa, if I ever get to go back the odds are the 2x IV will be out, and I will have retired my push/pull lens. ;-)

 

Thanks again for the heads up! Auto focus would have been important a few years ago. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,893
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III


Robinpow wrote:

The few times I wished I had one was in Yellowstone with a bear, Africa with a leopard the third time was a super moon.  Don't have any plans at this time to return to either place, and manual focus isn't a big deal for moon shots. 

 

I was lucky and got to travel for just over 10 years, seeing most of the places I had always dreamed of. Now my wings are clipped, so what I photograph is now very different.  Figure if I ever get to Yellowstone or AK again, I'm just going to rent a nice big prime. As for Africa, if I ever get to go back the odds are the 2x IV will be out, and I will have retired my push/pull lens. ;-)

 

Thanks again for the heads up! Auto focus would have been important a few years ago. 


Having AF is still important today.  It is likely that you wil get sharper images using either no extender, or the 1.4x extender, and cropping the shot, when compared to manually focusing with a 2.0x extender.  It is almost a guarantee that a 2.0x will introduce more distortion than a 1.4x extender.  

Any extender contains lens elements, which can only serve to degrade the image, not improve it.  How much degradation is introduced depends upon the quality of the extender, and how much degradation you are willing to accept.  For me, a cheap Vivtar 2.0x extender is sufficient for VERY carefully focused moon shots, but very little else.  It takes too long to get the focus set just right

I also want to point out that if the AF system won't work with a a 2.0x extender, then the Image Stabilization system can become just as unreliable, if not flat out useless.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,931
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

A 5D III (with latest firmware) can still use auto-focus at f/8 - but no higher.

 

You can use the 100-400mm with a Canon 1.4x extender and still have working auto-focus in viewfinder mode.  If you use a 2x extender then it drops the focal ratio beyond what the camera can handle (but you can still manually focus or use live-view).

 

The 2x tender would be useful with any lens that has a native focal ratio of f/4 or lower.

 

As for the difference between the version II vs version III...

 

I own the 2x version II... but not the III.  I own the 1.4x version III, but I never had the II.  So I've never compared the version II or III side-by-side myself... but like you, I wondered if it was worth selling my version II and buying a version III.  So I did some research.

 

What I found were comparison reviews noting that the version III was certainly better, buy they weren't certain is was enough of a difference to justify a new purchase.  

 

Some comments from reviews were that the sharpness in the center of the frame was nearly identical.

Sharpness near the edges & corners were better in the version III if the photo was shot at a lower focal ratio (near wide-open) but difficult to discern a difference at higher focal ratio.

 

The author concluded that whiel the III was better... he didn't think it was enough to justify replacement of a version II extender.

 

BTW, he also compared the Kenko extender and said that it's optics compared more closely to a Canon verion I extender.

 

 

 

I should mention a few other things...

 

You'll need a filter for the camera.  At this point, some filter companies have run out of pre-made filters (Thousand Oaks Optical says they've (a) run-out of all in-stock pre-made filters and (b) have taken the maximum number of back-orders that can be filled before the eclipse and that (c) any back-orders they accept as of now wont arrive before the eclipse.  BUT... they DO have the solar filter film that would let you make your own filter (it comes in sheets or rolls... find a cardboard tube large enough to fit over the front of your lens, and use that to make a filter using the film.  It wont win any awards in the art department... but it will work and it will be safe (btw, solar film need not be tight like a drum-head... most solar filters are slightly loose and may even have some wrinkles... these will not show up in images.)

 

A filter is required for all phases of the eclipse *except* for totality.  During totality you don't want any filters on the camera.

 

You can remove the filter as early as 20 seconds prior to totality ... but NO SOONER than 50 seconds prior to totality.

 

If your camera is on a stationary tripod (not a tracking mount), then you should do a final frame & focus check PRIOR to removing the solar filter (do NOT look through the camera unless there's a filter on the lens).

 

The "diamond ring" effect will likely be roughly 9 seconds before (and again after) totality.

The "baily's beads" effect is maybe 1.5 seconds prior to totality (the last bits of light peeking through the gaps between the lunar mountains and it creates a bead-like effect around the edge of the moon.)

 

During totality, you'd want to capture roughly 10-12 stops of bracketed exposures.

 

Here's a link to Fred Espenak's tips on photographing an eclipse (and the solar corona during totality):

 

http://www.mreclipse.com/SEphoto/SEphoto.html

 

Fred is a retired NASA physicicst and he's the guy who still produces their eclipse predictions (all those maps across the country showing where the shadow will be and at what time... that's all based on Fred's predicctions).  You'd be hard-pressed to find someone with more knowledge or experience on eclipse photography than Fred.

 

 

BTW, I don't think Fred mentions this but the Sun & Moon are both roughly 1/2º (30 arc-minutes) in angular width from edge to edge and the Earth spins at a rate of 15 arc-seconds per second.  When you do the math, that means the Sun & Moon will move roughly 1.25x their width in the time-span of totality (if you're viewing from a location that gets about 2.5 minutes ... which is roughly the longest amount of totality for this eclipse.)

 

This means I would frame the Sun/Moon so it's just slightly left of the center of your frame and during totality they will slowly migrate to being just slightly to the right of your frame... but everything will be near the middle.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-21-2017

Re: Solar eclipse Use 2x II or III

Tim, thanks for all the info and tips! I do have my filter, and several pairs of glasses. Figured filters would sell out, so didn't wait. Will be taking out tomorrow for the first of a few practice sessions with the sun. 

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