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Blurry images with 70-300 IS lens

dcomiskey
Apprentice

Hi. New here. I've had a 70D for a couple of years now, and I will freely admit this is too much camera for me. It requires too much thinking and remembering on my end. That said, I can typically do fine with it. However, I've run into an issue that I think is just lens-based. I got a 70-300 IS a while back and it just refuses to take clear images. I did some tests compared to my EF70-200 and 17-40 USM. Of course, the 300 has the greatest zoom, which is what I prefer to use when taking pics of wildlife. I'm not sure what to do, as the lens is way out of warranty, despite not having a ton of use since I got it. Is there a way for ME to fix this, or does this call for a repair? IMG_5731.JPG

Taken with 70-300 IS

 

IMG_5740.JPG

Taken with 70-200 USM

20 REPLIES 20

https://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/camera_settings/shooting_modes.do

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


@jrhoffman75 wrote:

https://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/camera_settings/shooting_modes.do


Nice article.  Perhaps this is what I might have had in mind regarding minimum shutter speeds.  It is tied to Auto ISO.  

 

89F4D8E7-F48C-406E-BE93-B2A23FB3BB6A.jpeg

 

I could almost swear that focal length is used in setting SS in at least one of the shooting modes.  Maybe, it is a Basic Mode.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

garymak1
Enthusiast

In the form of reply I have a question.  A friend has this lens (75-300) and uses it with a Rebel T-5.  His images are often "not sharp." Part of this perhaps has to do with his familiar tremor.  I've encouraged him to up his SS, using at least the rule of "SS= 2x focal length."  His images are still "not sharp." (I am using that term specifically as it's often difficult to discern if it's movement of the camera, camera/lens IQ, etc.).

My questions:  In everyone's humble opinion, with this set up, given his tremor:

1) should the rule be SS= 3x focal length?"

HOWEVER-

2) Since this is a Canon crop camera, however, wouldn't the rule be instead, SS = (2 x focal length x 1.6)?  In other words,  on a full frame camera using a 300mm focal length with this lens, the normal rule would indicate a minimum SS of 1/600sec - but - as a crop camera, that would really be 300 x  1.6 x 2 = 960 or 1/1000 sec?  Even then, given his slight tremor, I'd go far as to suggest 300 x 1.6 x 3 = 1440 or 1/1500?

Thoughts? Views?

Thanks!

Hi. Rule of thumb is minimum SS of 1/FL. For a crop sensor camera it is rounded up to 1/2FL. But that is for typical use. In the case of your friend 3 or 4X might be required due to his condition. 

If that becomes too limiting then perhaps a monopod might help.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

OK, good. As I thought.  Thanks.

Yes, I've suggested monopod but for some reason that hasn't translated into getting/using one. I'll keep gently working on it. It's delicate of course.  "Nice photo but a bit blurry, don't you think?" is never a positive comment... especially on so many shots.  And if the photographer doesn't see it themselves and think, "darn, would've been a good shot but it's a bit blurry... wonder what I can do to make it sharper..." then, that's a challenge to help.  Also, I don't know the final IQ product of this lens and that camera.  To quote Jack Nicholson, "Is this as good as it gets?"  I don't know.

(I would add that for focal lengths <200mm, I would say that rule holds true, but for  more than that, particularly in the 300mm+ range, even on full-frames, 2x focal length for hand-held a/o moving subjects, is the safer "rule of thumb" option. You've got significant lens weight and length to factor in to holding it steady.  I couldn't image shooting 1/500th with a 500mm lens monster... I.S. or not.)

ebiggs1
Legend

" His images are often "not sharp." Part of this perhaps has to do with his familiar tremor.  I've encouraged him to up his SS, using at least the rule of "SS= 2x focal length."  His images are still "not sharp." "

 

This rule of thumb is for  a person trying to not shake and is trying to achieve sharp images. In other words,   person putting forth their best effort to make a sharp picture. If you have an impediment, other measures may need to be included such as a tripod or monopod.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

ebiggs1
Legend

"I've had a 70D for a couple of years now, and I will freely admit this is too much camera for me. It requires too much thinking and remembering ... . That said, I can typically do fine with it. ... I've run into an issue that I think is just lens-based."

 

It's well know this is not Canon's best effort in a super sharp lens. But it serves the market it is designed for very well. Large zoom range, lightweight and low cost. Focus is critical and wide open aperture is probably not the best to use.

Hight SS and lower ISO numbers, too. A SS in the 1/500 and 1/1000 is good and ISO in the 400-800 range is where you need to stay.

That said a good post editor can do wonders to even average shots. Let's look at your leaf.

IMG_5740.JPG

Same shot only with a levels adjustment, a color sat balance and a bit of unsharp mask. What do you thinki? Pretty nice I'd say!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

ebiggs1
Legend

You don't have a "good post editor", you say? Oh, but you do and it is free from Canon. You can d/l the DPP4 editor and start using it today. I use and prefer Photoshop but DPP4 is a capable editor and the price is right.

I will also suggest you choose Raw mode. Raw format will not make any of your shots any sharper but it does offer way more latitude in editing. Focus critically and use Raw are the two best things you can do to improve your photos.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

garymak1
Enthusiast
@ebiggs1 wrote:

High SS and lower ISO numbers, too. A SS in the 1/500 and 1/1000 is good and ISO in the 400-800 range is where you need to stay......You don't have a "good post editor", you say? Oh, but you do and it is free from Canon. You can d/l the DPP4 editor and start using it today. I use and prefer Photoshop but DPP4 is a capable editor and the price is right.

I will also suggest you choose Raw mode. Raw format will not make any of your shots any sharper but it does offer way more latitude in editing. Focus critically and use Raw are the two best things you can do to improve your photos.


Absolutely. Great advice. Ditto.

I would also suggest a program if you are on the Mac platform: GraphicConverter.  German-made. This was a program that Apple used to bundle with the Mac prior to their development of iPhoto 🤢.  It's been around a long time.  It is inexpensive and has good basic post-editing functionality - but tons more functions and should be in everyone's tool kit (at least if you are on a Mac.  I don't know if there is a good Windows equivalent.) It's inexpensive and upgrades (within the main digit releases) are free.  It's only $39 and major upgrades are less than that. It basically "does everything."  Features are too long to list but as a sample: basic image editing; Import, convert and export 200 file types; auto naming/renaming; numbering, slide show, EXIF file management, JPG/RAW file name pairing.. the list goes on.  Amazing program.  I use it everyday.  While its image edit functions are basic compared to PS, its image management functions are the best out there.  Then there's also Adobe Elements, a powerful but simplified junior cousin to PS.  Much cheaper, of course, and doesn't have all the features, but the basic features that it does have are the same as PS.  Lastly, as pointed out, there's Canon's own DPP. (🤢)  Good luck figuring it out.

And lastly, if I may be presumptuous and bold, you said initially, "I will freely admit this is too much camera for me." I think perhaps you are at the point where you've found that, at the very least, you want to get more out of your camera's functions or, perhaps, it come to the point where your camera is not enough camera for you now.  You are posting images to this forum asking how to improve them.  That suggests that you've got an eye for what your want to do better, and want to get some advice on tools to help you do that.  

One thing I would suggest is that you start putting your camera on "M" and telling it what to do instead of letting it tell you what's it's going to do decided it's going to do.  Experiment, note the settings and results.  After a while, you'll intuitively know what to set the SS, ƒ and ISO to achieve the results you want.  If you have a favorite subject, say perhaps these flora, you can save your setting to the custom mode "C" so that any time you come upon a similar scene, you change the dial to "C" and all your settings for that type of photo will be set, ready to fine-tune and adjust depending on the specifics of the day and lighting.

Good luck.

 

ebiggs1
Legend

"It's been around a long time.  It is inexpensive and has good basic post-editing functionality ..."

 

DPP4 is free!  You can't beat free and it is a very capable editor way more than the old Apple software.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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