November 26, 2014, 06:08:23 PM

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Messages - AlanF

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226
I certainly read doubts about the AF, especially off the center point. 

However, the effusive praise, perhaps well deserved, won't light a fire under Sigma to address the AF problems.

The AF problems are isolated meaning some lenses are perfect some are junk. This is much better than all lenses being slightly off. I don't mind buying multiple copies from multiple retailers (to ensure they come from different batches) and connecting them with multiple bodies if it means I will get a perfect setup.

I bet the dealers mind your deliberately wasting their time and money.

227
Lenses / Re: Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Lens - Sharpness
« on: June 08, 2014, 04:15:14 AM »
The major websites such as TDP, Lenstip etc are all in agreement over the performance of the 300mm f/4. Lenstip has a lot of data. Here are the collated data for competitive lenses. Compare the data for the 300mm f/4 with 1.4xTC with the 100-400L and Tamron at 400. For a small lightweight very versatile lens at nearly 300mm, the 70-200mm f/4 L with 1.4xTC II at 280mm is pretty good, and is the one I throw into my camera bag. The 70-300mm L is an exceptional lens. If you want extreme sharpness and excellent image with stabilisers, then I am afraid the 300mm f/2.8 II is the real answer for those tiny crops. On my 100s of trips for bird photography, by far the most popular lens I see is the 100-400L, then the really keen birders use the 500L, there are a few 400 f/5.6, 1 or 2 300mm f/4, and I have yet to meet up with a fellow 300mm f/2.8.

I must emphasize that all these lenses produce superb images when used within their limits.


228
Lenses / Re: Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Lens - Sharpness
« on: June 07, 2014, 03:00:55 PM »
It's a great lens. I use it with a Canon 1.4x Extender III all the time for birding and other wildlife photography. I have admittedly been toying with the idea of trading it in for a Tamron 150-600mm but I doubt that I will. I would like the extra reach, but I'm having a hard time justifying the move on any other grounds. I guess I'll just have to find ways to get closer to my subjects. I've attached a couple of pictures taken with this lens and the extender.

The Tamron is significantly sharper than the 300/4 + 1.4 xTC according to lenstip and TDP and has much better IS as well as being as sharp at 300mm and having a zoom from 150-600mm. It is also cheaper than a 300/4 plus TC new. The 100-400L is sharper than the 300+TC. The 300/4 was a fine lens for its time but is now another Canon dinosaur, still OK to use and still a favourite for some but it could be so much better still and is expensive for what it is. I suppose a really good 300/4 would dent the sales of the 300/2.8.

229
Lenses / Re: Need a 600mm. Don't want to pay for one
« on: June 07, 2014, 08:01:46 AM »
For comparison, here is one at a similar low light level to the emerald dove, a kingfisher with the Canon 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III on the 5DIII. Iso1250, f/5.6, 1/320s, hand held. As with the others, they are taken in RAW with the only processing being DxO PRIME noise reduction followed by sharpening with USM in PS by 0.9 pix.els at 100%.

230
Lenses / Re: Need a 600mm. Don't want to pay for one
« on: June 07, 2014, 07:16:48 AM »
The Tamron is not as good as my Canon lens. For extreme crops under poor conditions I use the Canon. However, the Tamron is good enough for most of the time. Here is a selection i took with the Tamron, going down the page at 309mm, 450mm, 600mm and 600mm. They might not be up to your standards, but they are good enough for me.

ps - they are all 100% crops. The EXIFS are on the images and you can download to read.

Thanks for sharing, Alan.  Yeah, the 309mm shot is fine for me.  The 450mm is not a disaster, but the 600mm for me would be unacceptable, and looks similar to what I got with the 300 f/4 IS + 2x TC: washed out color, low definition.  Reminds me of a bunch of shots I had to toss from a wildlife safari trip with that combo, where everything with IS or a TC went in the trash bin.  :(

You obviously have high standards. The emerald dove was taken in terrible light, f/6.3, where the lens is at its weakest, iso1250, which is higher than I like to go, and 1/250 s, hand held. Here are a couple of better examples. The mandarin duck was a f/6.3 again, but iso640 and 1/1250 s. The wigeon was at f/8, iso640 and 1/1000. Both at 600mm and hand held.


231
Lenses / Re: Need a 600mm. Don't want to pay for one
« on: June 06, 2014, 04:58:41 AM »
I own both the Tamron and the Canon 300/2.8 II + TCs and can say from considerable experience with both that the Tamron is a "respectable" 600mm.  Remarkably, the Tamron stacks up very well against the 300/4 from Canon as seen on TDP and MtF measurement on Lenstip and is far better at 400mm than the 300/4 with a 1.4 xTC

My comment was about 600mm if he needed that focal length--most amateur zooms do better when not racked out, and from what I've seen of posted photos I don't consider the Tamron consistent for anything more than about 450mm.  Beyond that the color and contrast are too low for me, which is the same reason I stopped using a TC with the 300 f/4 (except as a spotting scope).  I would consider the Tamron for the same application I got the 300 f/4 for, which is telephoto for backcountry backpacking trips where weight is a limiting factor.

With tele zooms, most amateurs want to shoot at the longer end more often than not.  Unfortunately, the typical amateur expects a "really good" X --> Y tele zoom to be good at focal length Y, when it is typically good only at focal lengths X --> (Y - (Y-X)/4).

Your post doesn't state clearly whether your Tamron is equivalent to your 300 f/2.8 II + TC at 600mm.  I would be surprised if the Tamron did that well, but if you have some side-by-side comparisons to share I'd be interested in seeing them.

I do wish a manufacturer would step up with a 250-500mm or 300-600mm that is tack sharp with rich color at the long end.  2x ratios seem to be more manageable lens designs, and 500-600mm would be enough for most birds and other wildlife.

The Tamron is not as good as my Canon lens. For extreme crops under poor conditions I use the Canon. However, the Tamron is good enough for most of the time. Here is a selection i took with the Tamron, going down the page at 309mm, 450mm, 600mm and 600mm. They might not be up to your standards, but they are good enough for me.

ps - they are all 100% crops. The EXIFS are on the images and you can download to read.

232
Lenses / Re: Need a 600mm. Don't want to pay for one
« on: June 05, 2014, 12:50:57 AM »
Personally, I would opt for the Canon 300/4 L IS with a Canon 2x extender. The IQ from this combo is surprisingly good, as you can see at The Digital Picture ...

I own this combination, and wouldn't recommend it.  But then I also wouldn't recommend either of the options the OP is considering if the OP requires a respectable 600mm.  If those are his only choices, the Tamron is probably the better one (though I have no experience with it).

Owning the 300mm f/4 IS, I've learned to use my feet and develop skills approaching wildlife when possible.  People seldom consider skill development to make up for gear... though if you're really interested in something like birds it won't help you nearly enough.

Renting perhaps if you only use the lens occasionally?

That's my $0.02.

I own both the Tamron and the Canon 300/2.8 II + TCs and can say from considerable experience with both that the Tamron is a "respectable" 600mm.  Remarkably, the Tamron stacks up very well against the 300/4 from Canon as seen on TDP and MtF measurement on Lenstip and is far better at 400mm than the 300/4 with a 1.4 xTC

http://www.lenstip.com/403.4-Lens_review-Tamron_SP_150-600_mm_f_5-6.3_Di_VC_USD_Image_resolution.html

http://www.lenstip.com/211.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_300_mm_f_4L_IS_USM_Image_resolution.html

In agreement with you about developing skills, what are you supposed to when you spot something on the other side of a lake - swim on your back using just your feet and holding the 300/4 above your head?

233
Lenses / Re: Need a 600mm. Don't want to pay for one
« on: June 04, 2014, 09:41:15 PM »
Read the OPs question. He wants an opinion on two particular zooms for use in zoos that will extend to 600mm,  not a general debate on all 600mm alternatives.  I'd recommend the Tamron.  It performs very well indeed, it is much cheaper and is lighter than the Sigma with an extender. 

A 600mm prime or doubled 300mm would not be my first choice for a zoo.

234
Thanks again to the CR stalwarts for your advice.
Alan

235
Thanks for the info. 

236
I have been taking some bird photos with the 300mm f2.8 + 2xTC on 5DIII where I have had to hold the kit at about 45 deg. The 4 kg or so gets a bit tiring after a while and so I have just ordered a Manfrotto carbon fibre monopod. It's a very good deal and a 234RC tilt head is thrown in for free. The stated load bearing for the head is 2.5 kg. I can see that if you clamp the base of the head to a rigid support and then tighten the head so that the camera is held rigidly then the maximum load bearing is crucial. It seems to me, however, that if all I am doing is to hold the camera and just use the tilt head as a loose hinge on a support and don't tighten it, then it should easily cope with the 4 kg as I am sharing the load and I am not putting stress on the bearings.  Does anyone have experience of 'overloading' the 234RC in this way?

237
Lenses / Re: purchasing 70-200 f4 IS now?
« on: June 02, 2014, 04:40:36 PM »
I really don't know why they would update it but who knows. It's an amazing lens. The latest IS system. Niggling between the Sony and the Nikon and Canon is like counting flecks of dust to pass the time. Every review in history says it's amazing. Mine is great. I'd say get one now if you need one. If you're in the States I'd highly recommend buying refurb off the Canon store website, but wait for one of their 15-20% off refurb sales and keep a watch out for stock to come in. You can probably get it for $900. Full warranty, good as new.

+1

lens is only 8 years old. It had rave reviews.

Photozone
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/196-canon-ef-70-200mm-f4-usm-l-is-test-report--review?start=2

Every now and then EOS, the goddess of mercy, seems to speak to the Canon lens designers and this time they listened carefully. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 USM L IS may well be the very best tele zoom on the market today - it is certainly the best Canon zoom lens tested locally to date.


Slrgear, also says it is as good as L primes.
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/999/cat/11

It isn't easy to improve on an almost flawless lens like the Canon 70-200mm f/4L, unless you add 4-stop Image Stabilization without degrading any of the optical or build qualities. This lens tests and performs as well, or better than, any lens tested recently. It is quite sharp across its entire aperture-focal length spectrum; chromatic aberration, vignetting, and distortion are all quite reasonable; focusing is fast and accurate; the build is L-class; and the new 4-stop image stabilization is downright startling in its effectiveness.

Even Saint Ken loves it:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/70-200mm-f4-is.htm

The Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS is just about the sharpest zoom I've ever used, exceeded only slightly by the 70-200/2.8 L IS II. Not only that, but the ergonomics and operation are flawless, so flawless that I can shoot and zoom with only one hand.
Of all the Canon Teles, as of June 2014, this is one I own and use the most.


238
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: May 31, 2014, 05:48:50 PM »
I had a day of a committee meeting (yes, on a Saturday for an organization of which I am hon treasurer) but managed to nip out for an hour to the University Library and catch the peregrine falcon for a second time on its tower some 45m above the ground. The light was better than last week and the images much better, especially showing the eyes. I took 334 photos of which 330 were tack sharp - a tribute to the 5DIII attached to the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTCIII hand held at f/8. Processed in DxO with no PP except 0.9 pixel at 100% sharpening of RAW. Here are three of my favourites. All are 100% crops, with the bird occupying only 400x400 pixels. What an incredible lens.

239
Lenses / Re: Tamron 150-600 with 2X converter? any success?
« on: May 30, 2014, 04:36:17 PM »
I don't need to have experience with that particular lens and any 2x extender. I don't need to bother with the question wether that will focus or not. I can tell from what has been said about the quality of the bare lens at 600 mm that putting a 2x extender on it doesn't make any sense, except maybe for shooting video.

There are few lenses where a 2x Extender makes sense at all. Without any extender, those have to outperform the camera sensor. From what I hear, the Tamron 150-600 doesn't do that at 600 mm. So with a 2x extender you are basically magnifying the image, but won't record any additional information.

And by losing 2 stops, you probably will add some motion blur to the image.
The first time I tried teleconverters on the 150-600 was today to see if they would focus. Although the will focus SLOWLY in "live view", the degradation of the images is such that you can resolve more detail without them. In short, I agree with Aichbus in that it does not make any sense.

If you are going to use a teleconverter, you need a VERY sharp lens. Even a 70-200 degrades with a 2X teleconverter.... you need a $5000+ "big white" to get any real value from them.....

+1

240
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon 1D Mark IV or 1Dx?
« on: May 29, 2014, 02:32:19 PM »
I upgraded from 1D4 to 1DX earlier this year and must say that the 1DX is the better camera - however I wish I would have kept the 1D4 as back-up body as I miss the in-built 1.3x teleconverter whenever I am using a big white...

The teleconverter factor depends on the megapixel density, not the relative field of view. The sizes of the pixels on the 1D4, IDX and 5DIII are 5.7, 6.9 and 6.25 ยต, which gives a 1.21x TC for the 1D4 over the 1DX and 1.096 over the 5DIII.

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