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5D Mark III and 100-400mm IS II images never sharp


Hi Experts,


I need some help. I've tried everything I know. I've done the AF Microadjustments test and it came out great. Both wide and telephoto. I've removerd the filter. I've shot on a tripod with and without the IS on my lens. I don't know what else to do. I have attached a photo of an eagle that I cropped. It was approx 100 yards away. He was still and I was resting on a fence. As you can see, it's not very sharp. All my pictures come out like this, not tack sharp. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.


Eagle Test.jpg



At that distance I suspect you've cropped away a big part of the file. We'll need a lot of info on how you take your photos. ISO, SS, Aperture and mode used, weather conditions (humidity, wind etc). Shooting RAW or jpg? Method to post process etc.  

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Thank you cicopo for responding so quickly.

Yes, I've found out with this full frame, I crop away a lot when bird shooting. I use Lightroom 5 to PP and shoot RAW. The eagle shot was sunny day with little wind. Approx 11:30 am so sun was high at the eagles left.

1/1000 @ f/8 400 ISO 560mm(400mm + 1.4x)  I was approx 75-100yrds away, hand held with IS on the lens.

I would say it's the distance but it seems anytime I shoot over 25-30yds, I lose a lot of sharpness. Even when I shoot with my 24-70mm lens, I don't get that tack sharpness. Maybe I expected more from the 5D Mark III. The camera is brand new, 2 months old. Thank you.

Can you retry at ISO 100 or 200?  Higher ISO not only produces grain but it also lowers the amount of detail captured. ISO 800 is not all that high on a 5d3, but you are cropping aggressively which will expose any lack of detail.  


I don't have a full answer/solution but I do know that getting closer (or a longer lens) so you crop a whole lot less will help, as will shooting at lower ISO.  Avoid backlighting (tough for a bird I know) because the subject will be dim and lose detail and color and contrast. 


Canon 5d mk 4, 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

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

I'll suggest that you test your set up at what I call a reasonable distance before doing much else. Mount it on a solid tripod & shoot some samples from 60 feet & then about 100 feet with & without the TC. Carefully examine those & if they are soft it's gear or settings but if they are sharp distance to subject is your problem amplified by atmospheric haze & minute camera shake.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

You might find this helpful too.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

I have both Canon 7d and 5d mark iii, when using 100-400 lens all images from 7d tack sharp, all settings. However when using 5d mark 111 all images are soft, all settings.

Is there a software update for 5d markiii? Or particular setting that will correct.Very dissapointed with the 5d.


You might look into AFMA, auto focus micro adjustment.  Do a search on YouTube for "Dot Tune Focus Adjustment".

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Will do. Thanks,

I cannot imagine that combination would not yield very sharp pictures.


I use the 100-400 II for birding on my 6D. I realize it is a different body but I would think the cababilities of the Mark III would be great enough to provide you with spectacular pictures. Do you maybe have a freind that is a birder that you could have use your camera and see what kind of results they might get with it? That would eliminate any errors on your part anyway.


Just as an example I shot this one with my 6D and 100-400 II. He was probably 75-100 yards out and this is a crop of the original and I have never done any of the 'micro adjust voodoo' either. By the way, your example image above is very small and hard to see any kind of detail.


IMG_6185 PSCR.jpg