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Messages - AlanF

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Lenses / Re: Quick Comparison: Canon's new 400mm Options
« on: December 22, 2014, 05:18:38 PM »
TDP has a second copy analysed on its website
Slight differences in the corners. It's a pity the measurements are not quantitative as you can't tell improvements from looking at images above a certain level.

Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: December 22, 2014, 11:08:01 AM »
My first BIF with the 100-400 II on the 7D II, iso640, f/5.6, 1/2000

Lenses / Re: Quick Comparison: Canon's new 400mm Options
« on: December 22, 2014, 09:00:10 AM »
Roger of lensrentals is by far the most reliable person when it comes to testing lenses. He understands lenses, takes them apart, puts them back together and importantly handles thousands of them and understands statistical variation. He tested four copies of each for the 100-400, and won't give his final opinion until he tested 30. The other sites usually do only one of each, which why many of us like trawling through as many sites as possible to find the common factors and not rely on one report.

TDP is an excellent site. However, his report of the Tamron 150-600mm at f/8 having abysmal corner resolution doesn't square with my own experience of the lens or the actual measured mtfs by ePhotozine. Maybe ePhotozone and I lucked out with our copies.


I put it down to sample variation. Conversely, my copy of the old 100-400 mm much softer than TDP charts suggested, and measured by lensrentals on many of their copies.

Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm II - first impressions
« on: December 21, 2014, 06:02:27 PM »
My 7D II arrived yesterday, and I did a series of experiments to decide when to use it rather than the 5D III and with what lenses and with or without TCs.

First I did a series of shots with the iso12233 chart at distance where 100-400 II on the 5DIII was on the verge of being resolved (not close up like with TDP, and all the shots were from the same distance, and not at different distances as done by TDP for the chart to fill the frame). I compared the 300mm f/2.8 with the 100-400.
a) The bare 300mm on the 7DII outresolved the 100-400 on the 5DIII, as expected, as did the 100-400 on the 7D II.
b) The 100-400 is not as good as the 300/2.8 + 1.4xTC, but is still a very good performer.
c) The 100-400 + 1.4xTC outresolved the bare 100-400.

The next question is as the 100-400 + 1.4xTC outresolved the bare 100-400 on the 7D II, should I always use the TC for bird photography? For the 300mm on the 5DIII, I always use the 2xTC at 600mm and f/5.6. But, there are real differences for the 100-400 on the 7DII - addition of the TC increases the f number to 8, affecting the AF and gives a very narrow field of view from the equivalent of a 900mm on FF. In the next collage, I compared the effect of the TC closer to the iso12233 chart where resolution was not as critical. There isn't much difference between the 100-400 + 1.4xTC (at f/8) and the bare 100-400 (f/5.6) upresolved 1.4x using PS. So, I argue that using the bare 100-400 I would be losing a small amount of resolution but would be gaining 1 stop in iso, better AF, less effects from camera shake and, also very important, a wider field of view. My conclusion is that I will use the 100-400mm bare on the 7D II, with a fov of a 640mm on a FF.

Edit - I posted this reply to weixing within seconds of wickidwombat's - and clearly agree with him. My combos are going to be the 5DIII + 300mm+2xTC for optimal (for me) or the 7D II +100-400 II for longer hikes or travel, what luxury!

My 7D II arrived yesterday morning and I spent about 5 hours with Focal calibrating my telephotos. First, I had to upgrade to Focal 1.9.10 to be compatible with the 7D II. But, that took about an hour before it would accept my password or the data provided originally by Riken. Then, the program kept crashing on the Mac. Sometimes it would quit after a few shots, sometimes at the end. And, it was freezing cold in the garden where I was using natural light. My wife asked if everyone had to do this with their lenses, clearly thinking I was obsessive. Anyway, the AFMA worked fine in the end.

Anyone else have problems upgrading Focal? When it works, it is great.

Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: December 20, 2014, 01:11:05 PM »
I think it's been rushed out. They haven't tested it on crop yet, which they normally do.

Reviews / Photozone review of 100-400 L II
« on: December 19, 2014, 02:50:20 PM »
The review I have been waiting for:

The measured MTFs are just so good. It is exceptional in the centre at 100-300mm, and still very high at 400mm. At 200mm, it nearly out resolves the 5DII sensor with a score of 3700 LW/PH out of a maximum of 3800, far better than the 70-200mm IS II. At 400mm, it resolves 3450 LW/PH. The sharpest aperture is f/5.6.


Comparing with the Mk I, it is way ahead for 100-300mm and significantly better in the centre at 400mm.



It's even better than the 400/5.6.

Lenses / Re: Canon 100-400 ii Image Quality Review Posted at TDP
« on: December 18, 2014, 03:06:41 PM »
I have been doing my own iso1223 chart tests. First, my conditions aren't as well controlled as The-Digital-Photograph and I don't have Bryan's very high quality chart but just a laser print. However, he positions the camera so that the chart fills the sensor so that he has his measurements at different distances and he does not show fine details. What I do is to stand further away so that the tests are more stringent as the centre is much smaller and the lines are effectively closer together, and I can shoot comparisons at the same difference. Here is an updated collage from what I have posted in another thread.

The protocol is to use DxO plus prime and no sharpening, then export into PS where I crop and keep the original but also do a copy with sharpening at 0.9 px and 100% USM. Comparisons are with the 300.2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTCIII and the 100-400 II and the Tamron 150-600mm.

1. The 100-400 has much more focus breathing than the Tamron, and has and effective focal length of only 370mm at a distance of 8-10m (but it is 400mm at far distances). The extra focal length of the Tamron gives it an edge as the line separation is on the limits of being resolvable at 10m. Moving in to 8m with the 100-400mm gives a comparable image. I think the Tamron thus has a slight edge in the centre at shorter distances but that should even out further away.

2. The 100-400 with the 1.4xTC is a revelation. Even with the focus breathing and an effective focal length of only 520 mm, it is sharper than the Tamron.

I am a great fan of the Tamron and think it's a great lens. But, I sold mine for the 100-400mm II. The clincher for me is its phenomenal IS - I got hand held shots at much lower speeds that I couldn't get with the Tamron - it feels 2 stops faster. The Tamron, according to Lenstips data, is nearly a stop better than the Sigma. The weight and poorer IS of the Sigma makes it more of a tripod lens.


This is all beside the point anyway, as all it takes is ONE step, or even to stand up or start standing up, and your target could flee. Birds of the heron family in particular, for example, are extremely skittish birds. If you manage to get close enough to get a decent shot at all, then smaller pixels are going to be a bigger friend to you than getting closer. I can't count how many times just seeing my head barely rise over the top of a ridge was enough to make every heron and egret in the area fly off. Hawks are similar...they can be perfectly content with you sitting there watching them if your not moving. The moment you stand up, they'll leap off their perch and fly right over your head! :P (I've had this happen a few times.) Deer are content to get right up in your face so long as your sitting on the ground...stand up, they'll dance around and huff a few times, then wander off. Outside of wearing a ghillie suit, even in camo deer will spot me. If I stand up, they at the very least stand rigid and take notice. Start moving towards them, and they will often bolt.

It's not necessarily always as easy as taking a few steps closer to your target.


I have a startling inability to walk on water so zooming with my feet rarely works.....

Obviously you need a duck boat with a blind on it. The old FF with a boat blind vs the crop on the bank debate.

Then there is the opposite question, how do the animals react when you have to get up and run away from them because you are framed to close with a crop body.

Use a zoom - the new 100-400.

Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm II - first impressions
« on: December 18, 2014, 08:37:00 AM »
Thanks for the tests and so far so good though I am hoping 400mm is as stated at longer distances.
Would be great to see comparisons with the Mk1 and 400 f5.6 prime

It is 400 at longer distances.

Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm II - first impressions
« on: December 18, 2014, 05:27:18 AM »
The comparisons are now out on The-Digital-Picture site - no full review but the iso1223 crops.

vs 400/5.6


nothing between them

vs 200-400 @ 200


Nothing between them

vs 200-400 @ 400


very little between them

vs 200-400 @ 560


200-400 has edge in corners

vs 200-400 @ 800


200-400 significantly better in corners and will AF

vs 100-400 I @ 400


Mk II significantly better.

vs 100-400 I @ 560


Mk II significantly better.

So, the new zoom is as sharp as the old favourite 400/5.6 and has 4 stops at least of IS and zoom. It stands up well against the 200-400 at 5x the the price (and a multiple of the weight).

Anyone who has the 400 5.6 and the new 100-400 - which one is superior at 400?

I don't have either but the shots I've seen taken with the 100-400 and 400 both I would say the 400 is superior in sharpness and light transmission.  However the 100-400 gives you the zoom capability.  Though how much are you really going to use it at less than 400?

If you already have the 400 5.6 I would say keep it unless you really need the zoom for what you shoot.

Are you talking about vignetting when you say superior light transmission?

The stunning IS of the v II is really useful for handheld shots in low light. But, if you take only birds in flight or use a tripod etc, then I suppose that feature is not important and you can stick to the 400 5.6.

Edit: Just seen that TDP has the image quality data on its site. There seems nothing between the 5.6 400 and the vii


Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm II - first impressions
« on: December 17, 2014, 02:03:20 PM »
Sorted out the problem why 400 mm seemed soft. The focal length of the 100-400mm at that distance from the target was 370mm, compared with a true 420 for the 1.4x300 with the prime. The smaller focal took the size of the central rings of the chart below what could be resolved. So, I repeated the shots at 400mm (= 370mm) closer to the target so the image is the same size as that from the 420mm. The rings are now very nicely resolved (phew!). Here are the comparisons with my usual procedure. RAW, DxO 10, PRIME noise reduction, exported into PS. On the left there is zero sharpening, on the right 0.9 px at 100% USM.

I am much happier now.

...so at what distance did you actually take your readings?

If the effective focal length is reduced from 400 to 370 it looks as if it is at close range.

8-10 m

I'll check out the focal length at infinity soon.

Canon General / Re: Canon USA Addresses the Gray Market
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:59:59 PM »
There are fake 800Es circulating (for those for whom the real ones weren't bad enough). A warning has been issued by Nikon.


Lenses / Re: EF 100-400mm II - first impressions
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:18:33 PM »
AlanF sorry to hear how unwell you are, not able to work! ;)  Reminds me of my kids years back.


It's the first time I have been ill for ages and am meant to hosting a 120 people at a party tonight. Everything now depends on the therapeutic efficacy of my wife's chicken soup.

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