August 29, 2014, 02:43:51 PM

Author Topic: Is my copy soft or that's the average for the Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM?  (Read 4990 times)

banana joe

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I got the Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM as a last minute solution to an order screw up (had ordered the 100-400L), and I was stuck with this as my only telephoto lens for my safari in Kenya. I certainly didn't expect wonders, and sure enough I found it to be a quite soft lens if lighting conditions aren't perfect. Now I'm wondering if that's the average for this lens or it's just my copy, how can I determine that? I think I'll be keeping it until the new 100-400L comes out, so it'd be nice to have it working properly, within its limits. It also has a slight front focus problem, how does Canon handle this problems? Can I send it to fix under warranty?

Attached there's a photo example, thank you for the help!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 10:11:17 AM by banana joe »

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banana joe

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On another note, why is there written "PowerShot G15" under my user name?!

ajfotofilmagem

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It is difficult to judge at this resolution. Try putting a crop at 100% in order to analyze better. What camera was used?

The camera model that appears beside your name is proportional to the amount of messages of the user, and goes up as you put more messages. Getting to 1000 posts, you will 1DX next to your name.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 10:37:11 AM by ajfotofilmagem »

Sporgon

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Very briefly and talking FF: it should be very good across the frame when stopped down a little from 70 to about 120.

From 200 to 300 it should sharp in the very centre stopped down 2. But the mid frame will be soft. Don't even look in the corners.

It's overall performance is much more suited to crop sensors.

photonius

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I got the Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM as a last minute solution to an order screw up (had ordered the 100-400L), and I was stuck with this as my only telephoto lens for my safari in Kenya. I certainly didn't expect wonders, and sure enough I found it to be a quite soft lens if lighting conditions aren't perfect. Now I'm wondering if that's the average for this lens or it's just my copy, how can I determine that? I think I'll be keeping it until the new 100-400L comes out, so it'd be nice to have it working properly, within its limits. It also has a slight front focus problem, how does Canon handle this problems? Can I send it to fix under warranty?

Attached there's a photo example, thank you for the help!

It's a bit difficult to judge, as pointed out. However, based on the appearance of the DOF in this shot, i.e. how it gets unsharp in the back and front, indeed it looks as if you have some front focus.
I would test the lens using life view (with 10x mag) if you want to see how sharp your copy is.

Also, did you use a FILTER with that lens???  is so, which one?

privatebydesign

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Without the EXIF data it is impossible to say, but there is nothing sharp in your image, if you had a good fast shutter speed, the vehicle was stationary, no crappy filter, it isn't a huge crop, etc then I'd say you have a soft lens, but to test that you need to put it in a tripod and do some controlled exposures in both manual and auto focus. It does not look like a micro AF issue as nothing is sharp, not meaning you don't need to do micro AF, but that the issue you have is masking any additional micro AF issue.

Here is how I test my lenses for sharpness and element misalignment. This series showed me extreme misalignment at 35mm with a 16-35, even at this size you can see the image right paper is more blurred than center and left.

And a little sharpen and rework on your elephant shot too.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 12:14:18 PM by privatebydesign »
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banana joe

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Without the EXIF data it is impossible to say, but there is nothing sharp in your image, if you had a good fast shutter speed, the vehicle was stationary, no crappy filter, it isn't a huge crop, etc then I'd say you have a soft lens, but to test that you need to put it in a tripod and do some controlled exposures in both manual and auto focus. It does not look like a micro AF issue as nothing is sharp, not meaning you don't need to do micro AF, but that the issue you have is masking any additional micro AF issue.

Here is how I test my lenses for sharpness and element misalignment. This series showed me extreme misalignment at 35mm with a 16-35, even at this size you can see the image right paper is more blurred than center and left.

And a little sharpen and rework on your elephant shot too.

You're right, I didn't give enough information.

Shot with Canon EOS 7D

EFIX data:
f/6,3
1/1000 sec
ISO 800
275mm

The vehicle was stationary, it's almost not cropped at all and I had on the Canon protection filter.
So, if my copy is soft, will Canon fix it under warranty?

What software and tool did you use to retouch my photo? I like what you did, except for some artifacts in the sky.

Thank you all for your responses!
 

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silvestography

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There's a reason I replaced this thing with the 70-200 2.8 IS II (or maybe multiple reasons)...

Most of all on the long end, there's nothing sharp about the lens, especially when you're not stopping down a ton! I had to shoot Philadelphia's Welcome America Festival from a press platform over 100m from the stage, and this was my only long lens at the time. Here's a shot of Grace Potter @300mm, f/5.6. Not sure what I was going for with the editing but you get the idea.
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criza

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I wouldn't use the canon filter, it certainly degrades sharpness.

banana joe

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I wouldn't use the canon filter, it certainly degrades sharpness.
Really?! I thought buying their filter for their lens was a safe bet!
So you think no filter at all is better? Or do you suggest other brands?

albron00

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I use on all my lenses Hoya HD filters.
They are not cheap, but there is no reason to put crappie filters on expensive glasses.

mwh1964

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Get the 70-300L instead. You'll not regret. It's in a league of its own.
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The 70-300 (non-L) is known to be fairly soft at 200mm and longer. 

I wouldn't use the canon filter, it certainly degrades sharpness.
Really?! I thought buying their filter for their lens was a safe bet!
So you think no filter at all is better? Or do you suggest other brands?

B+W MRC or a high end Hoya.  Canon's protection filter is optically poor (they used to be rebranded low end Tiffen filters, not sure if that's still the case but they're not any better regardless).

Get the 70-300L instead. You'll not regret. It's in a league of its own.

+1 - I have one, it's an excellent travel zoom.
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Rat

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The 70-300 (non-L) is known to be fairly soft at 200mm and longer. 

This is the length and width of it. Sold mine, got the 70-200/4IS instead - because it has the same usable range as the 70-300 non-L. You really don't want to shoot at 300mm with this lens and yes, that's a structural problem. All L-telezooms are in a totally different league. Ditch this lens.
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LetTheRightLensIn

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The 70-300 (non-L) is known to be fairly soft at 200mm and longer. 

This is the length and width of it. Sold mine, got the 70-200/4IS instead - because it has the same usable range as the 70-300 non-L. You really don't want to shoot at 300mm with this lens and yes, that's a structural problem. All L-telezooms are in a totally different league. Ditch this lens.

It's hardly that bad to say you don't want to shoot with it at 300mm. It's pretty sharp there even if the large scale contrast is a bit duller there. It's way better than the old 75-300 IS and sigma 70-300 and 100-300 and all the other old ones (other than the 100-300L). Sometiems the focus can be a bit imprecise though.


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