January 31, 2015, 11:30:47 AM

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Messages - AlanF

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1
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: Today at 10:47:36 AM »
Cog, you have inspired me to upload a Phalacrocorax carbo portrait!

2
Cog - great shot! Shows what the good old 400/5.6 can do!

3
Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: Today at 10:01:05 AM »
I have to say this lens is great, coming from the 400 5.6, this is a much more dynamic and useful lens. You can check out a few pictures with the new 100-400 here, sadly I don't have too many since its brand new and I am now in the dead of winter in upstate NY :( https://www.flickr.com/photos/puertoricanwildlifephotography/

Have you done any side-by-side IQ testing vs. the 400/5.6?  I'm looking to buy either the 400/5.6 or the 100-400 II.  Obviously the zoom is much more flexible, but expect to shoot mostly at 400mm anyway.  I'm trying to decide if the zoom versatility and IS is worth the extra $1K.

There have been several comparisons on the web - there isn't much between them in IQ at 400mm. The MTFs etc on photozone.de favour the 100-400, TDP has them very similar on FF, but the 100-400 seems to gain a bit on crop. Tony Northrup has the 100-400 the winner. I wouldn't worry about the difference in IQ. The 400mm is an excellent lens and very good value. The 100-400 is much more versatile and the IS enables a much wider range of possibilities. I'd miss about 80% of my shots if I didn't have IS, but that's the way I use it.

4
Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: January 29, 2015, 01:06:50 PM »
Yes indeed. "The great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is a member of the grebe family of water birds noted for its elaborate mating display." Wikipedia And they certainly were doing a bit of foreplay. However, they were not spotted and they weren't in woods but on a river.

5
Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:42:23 AM »
Very good point about the 1.4xTC. I think that the I00-400 II + 1.4xTC at f/8 is about the same at the centre as Tamron at f/8 but sharper as you go out, and is highly recommended. My initial reservations about the 1.4xTC plus 100-400 on the 7DII were  wrong and it does give slightly better resolution than the bare lens and is not difficult to handle.

Here are 3 shots. Top is a 100% crop of two grebes starting courtship, from the 100-400 on 5DIII. The birds occupy a tiny 600x280 pixels. Below is a shot at the same time with the 300/2.8 + 2xC on 7DII. Despite being a much larger 1400x670 pixels, it is far less contrasty (wh ch can be corrected) and not much more detailed. Bottom is a buzzard hovering taken with the 7DII + 1.4xTC + 100-400 II. Despite being f/8 and only the centre point AF, the focussing was very fast and accurate (I tend to use the centre point spot focus even when the others are available).


6
Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: January 29, 2015, 07:37:38 AM »
Tony Northrup in a sickly review on Youtube has a supposedly a double blind comparison of the Sigma 150-600 and the Tamron 150-600 both at f/6.3 and 600mm vs the 100-400 II and 400/5.6 at f/6.3, scaled up. According to I think an audience vote, the 100-400 II came first, the 400/5.6 second, the Sigma 3rd and the Tamron a poor 4th. However, this test was flawed in many different ways.

1. There wasn't sufficient fine detail in the chart used, which was against the true 600mm lenses.
2. It was very unfair on the Tamron because it improves greatly on stopping down to f/8.
3. It was unfair on the 100-400 II as it is sharpest at f/5.6.

My feeling from my own shots is that the 100-400 II at f/5.6 and 400 mm on the 7DII is better than the Tamron at f/8 and 600mm on the 5DIII. And I would not use the Tamron at 600mm on the 7DII as it is not as good on crop as FF, but others might disagree with that. The 100-400 II on the 5DIII is not only exceptionally sharp but very contrasty and brings out colours superbly. I do regret having sold my Tamron, which I could use on occasion, but I do prefer the 100-400 II.

7
Lenses / Re: canon 7D2 with 100-400 ii lens with 1.4 Extender for birds
« on: January 28, 2015, 06:45:46 PM »
I am going to eat some of my words. Yesterday, at the end of some miserable attempts to photograph birds at a reserve, I stopped off at the visitor centre where you could see a Swarovski target that had been placed for an exhibition and had been left behind, a 100 or so  metres away. Here is a shot of the target with 420mm on the 5DIII, to get a feel for the scene. Next, is an unsharpened crop from RAW of the target with the 100-400mm on the 7DII at 400mm f/5.6 (the crop is close to 400 px wide at 100%). Below that is at f/8 and 560mm (about 560 px wide). At the bottom it's at 800mm f/11 using live view (close to 800 px wide). On going from 400mm to 500mm, there is a little improvement in resolution. But, on going to 800mm, it becomes much clearer and you can even read the numbers in the circle. I was so flabbergasted on getting home, that I checked my focus just in case live view was better than AF - it wasn't. It is just that you need to get to 800mm to resolve the fine details, and below that they are merged (below the Nyqvist limit).

So, the 100-400mm II takes the 2xTCIII very well, and the 7DII focusses really well in live view at f/11. I can't wait to photo the moon with the 7DII/800mm, and I am drooling at the thought of a 400 DO II with a 2xTC!

The first relatively clear night. It was still hazy, but I tried out the 7DII + 2xTCIII + 100-400 II. I processed in DxO, PRIME with clearview to help remove the haze. The performance was creditable, and compared not too badly with a shot with the 300mm/2.8 + 2xTC (below).

8
Reviews / Re: Impressions from 7DMkII and Comparison to 7D
« on: January 28, 2015, 04:52:21 PM »
Such low level screen dumps are close to useless for comparisons.


What do you mean with low level? The resolution is limited ba the moderators. I do this the first time. In my blog they are full resolution... This means that I have to treat them diferently for this forum. right?


And you can see what is important: The 7D2 shows at each Iso level a higher level of contrast as well as color depth.


The images were taken as jpg. because at the time I shot them no Raw engine was available..

You posted these months after raw engines have been available.  The rest of us manage to post 100% crops etc that can be evaluated on this site.

9
I want to take a week's break at the end of March for bird photography in Cyprus, most probably in Paphos. Any suggestions for a hotel etc and advice, please?
Alan

10
Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: January 27, 2015, 06:59:17 AM »
Great Horned Owl. All taken with 5DMkIII and EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first one at 1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 640, 200 mm. The 2nd one: 1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 1250, 200 mm, and the 3rd one: 1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 800, 200 mm.

How did you get so close to take those shots at 200mm? I need a lesson.

11
Reviews / Re: Impressions from 7DMkII and Comparison to 7D
« on: January 26, 2015, 05:17:31 PM »
Such low level screen dumps are close to useless for comparisons.

12
Lenses / Re: I'm conflicted please help
« on: January 26, 2015, 11:17:15 AM »
The thing is the difference between 400 and 500 is 2-3 steps.

Yes, if your subject is 8-12 steps away.  Whatever the distance, you need to get 25% closer to your subject with the 400mm lens to match framing.  That can often be quite a challenge with wildlife.

You need to get 20% closer, not 25. :)

Fair enough.  In that case, you can be 25% further away with the 500mm lens.  Potayto, potahhhto.   ;)

Reminds me of Robert Maxwell's suggestion that they should increase the list price by 25% and then offer a 29% discount to get the same selling price. It took a while to convince him that he would lose 6.25% that way.

13
Lenses / Re: I'm conflicted please help
« on: January 26, 2015, 10:00:10 AM »
The thing is the difference between 400 and 500 is 2-3 steps.

Yes, if your subject is 8-12 steps away.  Whatever the distance, you need to get 25% closer to your subject with the 400mm lens to match framing.  That can often be quite a challenge with wildlife.

You need to get 20% closer, not 25. :)

14
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 26, 2015, 09:05:54 AM »
AlanF, from time to time don't forget to give your evaluation of the 7D2 from personal experience.  I'll be on the fence until March or maybe early April.

Jack

For us bird fanatics, the 7D II is a huge leap forward from the 7D. Firstly, the AF has been improved beyond recognition. On Sunday, I was standing next to a guy with the 300/2.8 II +2xTC on the 7D, and it wouldn't autofocus, which is the reason I ditched the 7D. Also, the AF is far more consistent, 1 shot after another spot on whereas before I would have to take a batch to get a keeper. Focussing at f/8 is still excellent, and the dual pixel AF in live view works very well at f/11. Secondly, it is noticeably sharper. It also fires very rapidly at 10fps and relatively quietly. The 7D II and 100-400 II seem made for each other. However, the 5DIII plus 1.4xTC +100-400mm II at f/8 is a match for the 7D II + 100-400. I am in camera-lens heaven at the moment.


15
Lenses / Re: I'm conflicted please help
« on: January 26, 2015, 02:20:39 AM »
It depends on how you operate.  If you like sitting in a hide (blind) and use a tripod or sitting in a car with a beanbag, then the 500 + 1.4xTC would be suitable or the 300 II + 2xTC would give you nearly as much reach and quality.  If you don't use a tripod and you like walking/hiking, then the much lighter 300 is the clear winner, as it is also for sports etc.  The new 400 DO II also adds to the dilemma, as does the 100-400 II. 

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