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Author Topic: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8  (Read 13807 times)

bdunbar79

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300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« on: April 14, 2013, 11:11:40 AM »
I have a technical question to ask the forum.  I already have some ideas on what is going on, but I don't really know for sure and wanted to ask, since many of you are so knowledgeable.  In advance, thanks.

I tested my 300 f/2.8L I IS vs. my 400 f/2.8L I IS yesterday at a track meet.  I felt that I had more OOF shots with my 400 and wanted to see if that was really true or not.  So I set up at the end of the back straightaway, and shot runners running towards me (from curve up to about 20-30 yards away from me).  I set the lenses both to f/2.8.

I shot with the 300 and the hit rate was unbelieveable.  The faces were razor sharp almost everytime.  My settings were 1/5000, f/2.8, auto ISO.  I was in Servo mode on a 1DX.

I then shot the same settings and the hit rate was much less with the 400.  A lot of the focus was missed (can see another area in focus just slightly to the right or left on another runner) or the faces were just soft and there was no real apparent focal point anywhere in the photo.  However, it did hit a lot of photos, and again, those were incredibly sharp.

I did realize of course that with the 300 the runners are closer to me when I fire the shutter, vs. the 400, which could matter. 

Is DOF (f/2.8 is pretty thin) more difficult to manage at longer focal lengths?  Remember up until this year I had only used a 300 for sports and didn't buy the 400 until last July.  Is IS more of an issue, even at 1/5000?  Does the lens focus slower or not as accurately as the 300?  I was thinking it's not AFMA since when I shoot golf with it I never have any OOF shots, ever.  Of course they are not moving much in golf, so I'm afraid the track problem could be my bad technique with the 400. 

Just thought I'd ask since of course as you can imagine, it's sort of frustrating.  Thanks a lot!
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300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« on: April 14, 2013, 11:11:40 AM »

Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2013, 12:27:35 PM »
Hi bdunbar79,

Sorry I can't help answer your question but I thought you might be able to help with mine.  And since we're talking the same lens I'm pretty confident you'll have a comment. 

Less than two months ago I bought the 6D 300 F2.8 II and both extenders III.  I only had my Nikon D5100, AF-S 70-300 to compare with (450 eq field of view and not up to Canon L quality) and that lens was not very expensive (maybe $600 compared with $7K) so I was expecting to be impressed and I wasn't.  That's not to say that there is nothing better about the 300 2.8 II such as DOF at 2.8 etc. but I was so disappointed with detail sharpness, I interacted with Canon and two weeks ago sent those items back with my 6D body.  It's driving me nuts worrying that things won't improve because I don't have any previous experience dealing with Canon, although I hear good things.  The issue is not AFMA, it's the resolution in the focused region, sharpness.

So I'm wondering if, with your experience, you'd be able to offer what you think of what I'm getting, or alternately share something that illustrates the detail that you get.  The 6D is 20 MP compare to 18MP crop so I guess the D5100 may actually match the resolution of the 6D relative to pixel density - I would have never thought so but .....

I'm not sure if the 6D vs 1Dx would make comparison difficult.  Here is one moon shot with the 300 X1.4 from tripod that I took that didn't seem to cut it.  I used live view WiFi remote to get focus as close as humanly possible at the highest magnification.  Hope this interjection into your post isn't out of place.

Jack
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raptor3x

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2013, 12:32:42 PM »
Could the AFMA be off on the 400?
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bdunbar79

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 12:40:10 PM »
Could the AFMA be off on the 400?

No, I tested it.  That was my first thought, and so I shot a golf tournament and hit just about 900 out of 900 razor sharp with the lens.  Usually with AFMA you get a random distribution of OOF and in-focus shots regardless of what you are shooting.  Thanks.
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bdunbar79

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2013, 12:41:22 PM »
Jack,

I will get to your points shortly.  I wanted to demonstrate when the 400 does get it right, as in Photo 1, triple jump and when it doesn't as in Photo 2, the Women's 1500m run.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 12:51:50 PM »
Here is one moon shot with the 300 X1.4 from tripod that I took that didn't seem to cut it.

You're right. That doesn't cut it. I've gotten much better results with the 300 f/4 and the 1.4X II on a 5DII.

It could be post-processing, though, or atmospheric haze, or other sorts of things. It'd be a good idea to start with some of the classic test shots, such as the proverbial brick wall at high noon. Sturdy tripod, mirror lockup, the works.

Cheers,

b&

dolina

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 01:11:07 PM »
Are both lens of the same generation?

If they are both Series II white primes then are they both updated with the latest lens firmware?

Are both lens in tip top condition?

Are both lens set with the same switch settings?

A smaller angle of view is more challenging to shoot with than a lens with a wider angle of view.

It could be operator error, you mentioned having more face time with the 300 than with the 400.

Having not shot anything for nearly half a year I do commit rookie mistakes. :)
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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 01:11:07 PM »

Apop

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 01:19:59 PM »

I had a similar experience when i came from nikon to canon.

I used a d800 and 200-400 vrII, and had really good hit rates with 9 point dynamic focus (or center 5)

When i got a used 1dmkiv and used 500mmf4 IS, i expected to do atleast equally good, since it was a ''pro'' body and a prime lens.

I had a lot of issues to get images in focus both static and ones on the move.
Now things are improving and i use center point only instead of using an expansion with it.

But I think i may have been romanticizing the nikon experience a little bit also ( I had missed focus with that one on some important moments also), and maybe expecting too much of the new camera+lens instead of my needed improvement because it was less forgiving

(DOF calculator showed major difference between d800+400f4 and 1dmkiv with 500 f4 / 700f5.6.)

1dx+300 2.8 @ 30 meters gives :Total     1.68 m 
In front of subject     0.82 m (49%)
Behind subject     0.86 m (51%)

1dx 400 2.8 @ 30 meters gives:Total     0.94 m
 
In front of subject     0.46 m (49%)
Behind subject     0.48 m (51%)

Quite a big difference !

For me it was even bigger of a difference:
Total     0.65 m
 
In front of subject     0.32 m (49%)
Behind subject     0.33 m (51%)

Now , and previously

Total     1.33 m
 
In front of subject     0.65 m (49%)
Behind subject     0.68 m (51%)


It's about half what i was used to , so my error(and the camera error) is less forgiven.


I used : http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html  for the DOF numbers.


As for the moon shot, i think atmospheric conditions play a major role there !, bad seeing can even make a 400 f2.8 look bad compared to a 120-400 sigma lens

bdunbar79

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2013, 01:27:09 PM »
Thanks guys!

I will meticulously go through what I've been doing with your ideas in mind.

And holy crap regarding the DOF!  See I knew somebody would know this.  Thanks.
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bdunbar79

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2013, 01:29:06 PM »
So here's another problem.  If the subject is coming towards you, and Servo mode can't keep up with that shallow DOF for the 400 lens at f/2.8, the runner will move right out of the focal plane.  This is something else I was considering regarding technique.
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Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2013, 02:07:34 PM »
I understand the moon isn't the best sample but it was a perfect night for clarity FWTW. 

Because I have modest means I did my best to check things out at the photo shop before purchasing and here are some comparitive shots we did.  I've cropped to decrease the file size and downsized as little as possible in a couple that were over 4 MB.  The shots are with the 300 F2.8 II plus extenders and the other is the D5100 with 70-300 @300.  Shouldn't I be getting better relative to the D5100 with the Canon 6D and these expensive lenses??

Jack
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Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2013, 02:12:14 PM »
300 F2.8 II
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Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2013, 02:16:35 PM »
300 F2.8 II and 1.4 III
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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2013, 02:16:35 PM »

Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2013, 02:22:21 PM »
300 F2.8 II and X2 III
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Jack Douglas

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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2013, 02:27:59 PM »
BTW Focus was on "Liquor Depot".  Now that I've posted this I sense that I should have started a new thread - my appologies.  I'm new to this and my thought was simply to make contact with bdunbar79.  Feel free to clue me in if I've committed the unpardonable sin  :-[

Jack
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Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2013, 02:27:59 PM »