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Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS
« on: August 17, 2011, 03:30:44 PM »
Edwin, I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. My comment on a 200-400 range being a short zoom range remains. Yes, the 200-400 extender would mitigate that by the built in extender, so overall we're about a 3x zoom then.

I never said the zoom ratio was a significant indicator for image quality. It may be a compact camera marketing spec dream, but even in DSLR-land it has some use. As a generalisation, for a given general quality level, if you want faster, you get less zoom range. Primes get the biggest apertures but no zoom. f/2.8 zooms have a short range. f/4 zooms get a bit longer. At f/5.6 you can get pretty much as much as you want. That was my point in looking at the zoom ratio. For a f/4, the 200-400 is a relatively short range. Maybe they wanted to make it extra special? Or it was required to make the extender work better.

On the 100-400L vs the 400mm fast primes, that's not exactly comparing like with like is it? Does a zoom really have much of a chance keeping up with something of fixed focal length and big aperture with price tag to match? If you want much better you have to pay for it. The 100-400L is still very competitive for the focal length range and cost.

My interest in these longer lenses is for wildlife. Sure, many times I wish I had something longer than a 400, but the 100-400L does the job well. The two sticking points for me with the more exotic teles is not the price, but a combination of them being prime and the weight. The weight can't be helped, but the prime doesn't sell it for me. I had a 300/2.8 for a while, but didn't find myself using it as it lacked flexibility. Even the short zoom of the 200-400 extender would help a lot there I think, even if it wont help on the weight side, and I'm not looking forward to finding out how much Canon want for it!

On the "dust pump" I've never had a dust problem with the lens or sensor and I do use the 100-400L a lot. Probably over 80% of my lifetime photos are taken with it. You can tell the front isn't sealed, as the pressure when pumping it does change with a filter fitted compared to without. I found that air vent handy actually as it helps dries out the lens elements faster when I get condensation inside. Stick a cap on the back end and pump away!

Hypothetically, if they remade a future 100-400L in the style of the 70-300L I would be disappointed. The 70-300L just isn't as good to zoom with, although it has its charms like not needing me to dry out its insides like I do on the 100-400L...

Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS
« on: August 17, 2011, 07:51:27 AM »
200-400 isn't a "short zoom," it's a very useful focal range - just as 100-300 is (or 70-300, or 120-300, to name a few other focal length ranges found in real lenses).
A short zoom is a short zoom. 2x is nothing for a zoom and we only really see that sort a range on more exotic lenses like wide angle lenses nowadays. But I didn't say it couldn't be useful. If it couldn't, then prime users would need serious help! Of course, by short I'm not referring to the focal length, but the zoom ratio.

Sigma has a competitive option out for just 2/3 the price, and the only weakness of that lens is the optics.  I don't really understand why the 400mm focal length is getting abandoned like this; the 70-300mm L is admittedly a nice lens but it's no replacement for a 100-400.
For a lens, optical quality is rather important, at least for the price point it sits at. As much as I love my 100-400L, I wouldn't say no if a truly better replacement came along. But it remains a good lens amongst the Nikon/Sony equivalents.

Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS
« on: August 15, 2011, 07:40:40 PM »
Push-pull is just one of those love-hate things I guess... I'd be sad to see it go. Twist zoom is just so much slower.

Landscape / Re: Old sensor - broken pixels or noise?
« on: August 15, 2011, 04:17:42 PM »
Can't argue with that logic :D

Landscape / Re: Old sensor - broken pixels or noise?
« on: August 15, 2011, 04:02:56 PM »
Even newer cameras will produce those bright spots on a very long exposure. Just learn to process them out :)

Landscape / Re: Old sensor - broken pixels or noise?
« on: August 15, 2011, 03:06:49 PM »
That looks like classic "long duration noise" to me. Not sure if the 300D has it, but more recent cameras can remove it if you turn on the long duration noise reduction. What that does is take a 2nd exposure of the same settings but with the shutter closed. It then subtracts that from the 1st one. Bit of a pain as it doubles an already long exposure... You can do a manual dark shot with the lens cap too, and use an image editing program to do a subtraction. Note that way you might instead end up with black spots!

Another practical difference (think I already mentioned this) is that the 70-200 II + TC is weather-sealed (when used with a 7D), whereas the 100-400mm lacks the mount gasket (although the switches and extending zoom/focus ring are sealed).
Just to chip in there, regardless of what sealing the 100-400L has, I'd consider it unsealed as far as wet weather usage is concerned. On more than one occasion using it unprotected in persisting moderate-heavy rain, I've had water ingress probably via the pump-zoom action which re-dispersed as condensation on the elements. My fix for that was getting the 70-300L in addition and in heavy rain testing so far that has held out. I considered going the 70-200II route too, but that just seemed unnecessarily expensive for a shorter zoom range where I have no need for possible faster apertures.

This is a question I asked myself in a slightly different way , but one possible direct comparison is here. You can play with the settings a bit depending on the scenario you want to model. At a quick glance, there's not a lot in it comparing 280mm f/4-f/5.6 to 300mm f/5.6, but at 400mm each the 100-400L is more clearly better. However they used extender II not III so I don't know if that will make any significant real world difference.

Lenses / Re: Which 50mm Macro lens is a better buy?
« on: August 09, 2011, 03:21:42 AM »
I have the Zeiss 50/2 makro. Outside of macro uses it's roughly comparable to the Canon 50mm f/1.8 in image quality in the middle, but it is better corrected as you go further out so maintains it better. For macro, again it is still well corrected. Not very good with glare. Bokeh is nice and round and flat. Touch of longitudinal CA to worry about. And if you want to use it through the viewfinder, I found I had to use AF micro-adjust on the 7D to get focus assist in the right place. It back-focused otherwise. Yes, I know it's MF only! 99% of the time I use it in live view so that's not a big issue.

I do wonder at times if I should just have got the Canon 50/2.5... can't be that bad, and a LOT cheaper... obviously the Zeiss is rather unique in speed and macro abilities, while not being over-specified in either.

Software & Accessories / Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« on: July 27, 2011, 02:13:09 PM »
To me HDR is just another tool to help out. How it is used and abused is up to the artist. I think it is an area that goes beyond photography after a point.

I guess I could sum it up in 3 levels: natural looking, dramatic, and overcooked.

Natural is what camera HDR tries to do, get you a decent amount of detail in both shadow and highlight regions.

Dramatic is turned up a notch. It's beyond real, but without looking too fake. I love the threatening cloud effects you can get out of that, used in moderation. It can be a fine line between dramatic and the next category...

Overcooked is beyond that again. Too much saturation. Fake, artificial colours, and the biggest eyesore to me: haloing. Just say no!

Lenses / Re: why????
« on: July 24, 2011, 01:38:30 PM »
given nobody makes such fast zooms, it must be difficult to get decent image quality out of them, even with a smaller (APS-C) sensor

Kinda - if you go to the slightly smaller sensor FourThirds world, they have two f/2 zooms: 14-35mm and 35-100mm. Sit down before you look at the price though.

I've also seen some long f/1.4 or was it f/1.8 zooms in C-mount (think it was a Sony 18-100mm) which was tempting me but someone else beat me to it. They cover an even smaller image circle than 4/3 though.

I think f/2 zooms in APS-C are very possible, but they would be of even shorter range than existing f/2.8 zooms and the price would be rather insane. So overall you might as well stick to the f/2.8 zooms or get the faster primes.

As for the long term survival of APS-C DSLRs, that depends entirely on what happens with mirrorless systems. Can they gain enough traction to displace APS-C DSLRs, leaving only full frame DSLRs taking a niche at the high end. Or will mirrorless fail to make an impact, where APS-C DSLRs will remain a sweet spot for a long time? We'll have to wait and see.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 16, 2011, 07:38:17 PM »
I like a nice headshot :)

Harris Hawk


Snoozing Swan

Lenses / Re: 14-24L & 24-70L II Talked About Again
« on: July 12, 2011, 03:30:58 PM »
If I can reasonably hand hold it, I'd buy a 400-800 :P that's the only reason stopping me from looking seriously at the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 and strapping an extender on it. The 200-400 extender will be close enough in practice though.

Lenses / Re: 14-24L & 24-70L II Talked About Again
« on: July 12, 2011, 02:20:14 PM »
I'd just like to know how bad the price for the 200-400 will be...

United States / Re: Heat Waves
« on: July 11, 2011, 07:39:27 AM »
I know not everyone would want to shoot a lot of IR, but it was about the only idea I could come up with.

And thanks for the info on that photo. I kinda guessed it was either a zoo or somewhere more wild. I've got closer before in captivity but can certainly appreciate the increase in difficulty of shots in more open areas.

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