Using 7d with 100-400l looking to upgrade glass for nature and sports?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by richard_moran, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. I'm currently shooting a 7d with a 100-400l. Success rate of shots isn't that good, I'm not getting many sharp pics as hoped for. I've
    seen reviews of 7d not getting good results with this lens so I'm considering going to 500 f/4 and selling 100-400. All input is appriciated
    as I'm no pro. I'm interested mainly in wildlife and also some sports. I often shoot hand held and shoot from my kayak.
  2. The 500/4 is a great lens, but it is very heavy for hand held work, though it isn't impossible. I have no idea how you would shoot from a kayak with such a rig. A 7D + 500/4 will weigh over 10 pounds and will be about 18 inches long.
    You might spend some time analyzing the unsharp photos to see if technique could fix it. Why are they not sharp? Is the lens not sharp, was the focus wrong, shutter speed too slow, IS ineffective?
  3. I have 7D, 100-400 and 300/f2.8. The pictures I got using 300/f2.8 are sharper than 100-400, but not of huge difference.
    I suggest you put the 100-400 on tripod, use live view 10X to focus manually, and shoot a non-moving target. If you are not satisfy with the sharpness, then it is your 100-400 that causes problem.
  4. I had so much fun and such a high success rate shooting with my 7D and 100-400mm on my Bald Eagle trip in the Skagit Valley, from a raft.
    But I can totally imagine how it is even harder from a kayak!
    I didnt get the shot I wanted but I blame that totally on me. The Servo on the 7D works so great and the combination with the 100-400 is perfect. I'd practise a bit harder and, ideally, try another sample of the same lens (a friend?) to see if it's your lens or yourself. Good luck!
  5. Whenever I hear someone say a particular lens doesn't produce good results, it usually means one of three things.
    1) The lens is bad (poor optical quality)
    2) The lens is out of tolerance and needs adjustment
    3) User error
    My 7D w/100-400L combo produces extremely sharp images. If you're not getting that, then take a look at 2 and 3.
  6. Sorry for the double post. Here's a tight crop from the above image.
  7. Wow, I'm all thumbs this morning. My apologies again. One more time.
  8. Please post an example with the EXIF intact, if possible. There have been too many threads about 7D issues that turned out to be user errors. My combo of 7D and 100-400 produces perfectly sharp images. What shutter speed were you using, was the IS on, what AF mode did you use, how were your custom functions configured, what IS mode did you use (1 or 2) etc. etc.
  9. I was beating myself to death wondering what happened to my lenses or my technique when I bought a 5Dm2. But when I set the proper microadjustment to each lens it brought the WOW factor back. I believe the 7D has MA capabilities also. Worth a try. Good luck.
  10. If you are not consistently using shutter speeds over 1/1500 of a second you are not going to be getting sharp images.
    You must do the micro AF adjustment.
    Test yourself not in a kayak, shoot images hand held of a road sign, what shutter speed are you getting sharp images at?
  11. I am not a great fan of the 100-400 (partly due to the one touch design and partly the slow speed of this lens). I know (from others) that they have a poor hit rate on fast sports (primarily ski racing and ice hockey). While some of this may be technique I think that some of it may be due to the slower AF performance of the lens. For slower moving subjects the three people I know well who shoot this lens do not have a big issue (for reference none of them use the 7D, one used a 1DIII, one a 30D / 40D pair and the third a 50D).
    If your issue is with fast moving / or random moving subjscts then it may be the lens that is at fault. Is the issue when you shoot these types of subjects or is it when you shoot fairly static subjects?
    If it is static subjects then it is possibly AF adjustment as I do not think that the lens is a lot softer than some of the others. It is clearly softer than the primes (300 f2.8 / F4, 400 F2.8 / F5.6 and 500 F4) as you might expect but especially with a crop body should not be that much worse.
    If it is fast / random motion (e.g. dogs etc ...) then it is likely to be the AF response of the lens and the body. Here from what I have seen at sports events the 100-400 is fairly sluggish compared to lenses like the 70-200 f2.8, 300 f2.8 and 300 F4. If you notice you will see bulk of sports shooters using these lenses (or exotica like the 400 f2.8 and 500 F4).
  12. I agree with those who say:
    • it's important to identify which part of the system (body, lens, photographer) is responsible for the problem before spending money replacing the lens, because if it isn't the lens that's the issue, then you'll have spent a bunch of money and not fixed the problem.
    • the 500/4 is dramatically larger and heavier than your 100-400. Unless you're built like the governor of Kah-lee-foah-nee-uh, you'll probably get tired of handholding it pretty quickly. Make sure you have tried holding this thing before buying it.
    • Also, how are you judging this? Let me tell you a little story that illustrates what I mean by that question.
      One thing I've noticed since upgrading from an 8 MP 20D to the 18 MP 7D is that, viewed at 100%, I have a lot more pictures that are at least somewhat soft than I used to. This doesn't mean my lenses have suddenly become garbage or that I've suddenly become a totally incompetent photographer (I'm pretty sure I'm just as partially incompetent as I used to be); the problem is that the extra resolution of the 7D's sensor makes a lack of sharpness more visible when viewing at the pixel level. At an equal print size, the problem at least partially goes away; if I'm making a print that only needs the resolution of the 20D, then the unsharpness visible in the 100% view of the 7D photo shrinks to the point where it's not really an issue in the print, and if I'm making a print that needs the full resolution of the 7D, well, the 20D picture wouldn't look so good at that size, either, because the sensor simply can't provide the necessary resolution. Does that make my question make sense?
  13. Thanks for all the great replies. When shooting out of my kayak i'm usually shooting(morning) on manual at iso 400-600, f/6.3 , and 1/1000. Im also using a canon 1.4x 11 teleconverter at times. Ill post a few pics for feedback. How do you do micro adjustments. Im going to try to bump the shutter to 1/1500 on the next shoot. Most targets are birds in flight.
  14. Richard,
    From a kayak with a 1.4 TC 1/1000 is too slow, even with IS. Even 1/1500 might not be enough. Try 1600 iso and see what shutter speeds you get. Micro adjustment is best done with the methodology in this link.
  15. Thanks for the link. Ill give it a try. Again I'm new to photography and really interested in wildlife, so more reach would be nice but it sounds like the problem lies with me. But i'll do some more tests to be sure. The af is slow as i had to tape the pins to achieve af with this set up.
  16. Thanks for the link. Ill give it a try. Again I'm new to photography and really interested in wildlife, so more reach would be nice but it sounds like the problem lies with me. But i'll do some more tests to be sure. The af is slow as i had to tape the pins to achieve af with this set up.
  17. From a kayak with a 1.4 TC 1/1000 is too slow, even with IS.​
    For this lens at 400mm on a 7D (CF of 1.6) with a 1.4 TC gives you an effective focal length of just under 900mm. That means the minimum shutter speed without IS that you should use is about 1/1000. Canon says the IS is good for 3 to 4 stops. With my slightly shaky hands I get 2 stops (on my 5D MkI without a TC). With IS 1/1000 should be enough (Even if the TC degrades the IS performance to only 1 stop).
  18. Steven,
    I wasn't talking from a theoretical background, I was talking from a knowledgeable one. Here is a shot from a few days ago, the Swan Regatta. It was taken with a FF and a 300mm f2.8 IS, I was in a small boat and the waves were not bad, IS was on, shutter speed is 1/1250, there is unacceptable camera motion blur in it. Try shooting from a moving boat with a 900mm lens, it is just not going to happen.
  19. This on the other hand was taken with a 1.3 crop camera with the same lens, so effective 390mm hand held at 1/80 sec, but I was on solid ground. On water movement is horrific from a camera shake point of view, you can even see how calm it was in the previous posted shot, but it is ruinous.
  20. If I recall corrrectly, IS works on repetitive motion. It builds a pattern of the motion (such as the rapid forward/backward/up/down) of shake and uses that to calculate a remedy. Boats will often have a more gentle roll so the IS will be less effective with it than with shake.
    Scott: looking at the letters on the yellow bouy I am not sure I see "unacceptable camera motion". Even the decking on the crop looks OK to me.
  21. Mike,
    For some jobs that image could be sharpened up. This is an example of what is acceptable in most of my work though, obviously before sharpening, if you can't tell the time in their watches or see what type of screw head is used it isn't going to cut it.
  22. Richard,
    100-400 is a good lens for perched brids but not for flight, if you are interested in flight shots get the 400 f/5.6L instead which is a lot faster to focus and track. Also forget about using a TC with 100-400 and taping the pins, it will not work well, there is a reason Canon disabled AF at first place. of course 500 f/4 IS is the bread and butter of birding, offers highest image quality and fastest focus but does need experience hand holding and panning. In either case you need a lot of practice getting razor sharp flight shots is not something everybody can do, you need to practice to improve your reflexes and consistency between eye, brain and mussels, it will improve over time, to start use shutter speed of 1/1600sec or faster, crank up the ISO if necessary.
    Here is the method I have devised for microadjusting my lenses :
    Good luck
    P.S. for specific advice regarding BIF shots also checkout BPN forums lots of tips and tricks about how to improve your photos.
  23. Canon says the IS is good for 3 to 4 stops.
    Not for this lens. The 100-400 uses an older generation of IS for which Canon claimed 2 stops.
    I have no idea how effective IS is for the types of motion you might get in a canoe. IS is designed to counteract handheld unsteadiness: relatively small amplitude and a certain frequency range. If your canoe is being jostled around by the wake of a boat, the frequency might be in a reasonable range but the amplitude is likely to be well beyond what IS can handle; if you're bobbing gently on a calm lake, the amplitude may be within range but the frequency is likely to be below what IS can effectively correct. Or maybe it will work as well as you might think; never having tried IS in a canoe, I don't know from personal experience. All I'm saying is that I suspect IS may be less effective at counteracting your canoe's motion than your hand's motion, and it might be wise to set your shutter speed as if you weren't using IS rather than counting on it to save the day.
  24. The 100-400 is F5.6 at the long end, with a 1.4 TC it becomes an F8 lens. The 7D AF is not designed to work with F8 lenses so even with high shutter speeds you may still get AF issues. Even if it works the AF will be very slow.
  25. I shoot with this lens all the time, with a Rebel xSi, and have found I have to shoot ISO 800 to get enough speed for wildlife and handholding. I love this lens. I would think a 7D would perform a lot better than my xSi.
  26. For the eagle shot, the 400/5.6 would be your best choice, perhaps with the 1.4x teleconverter. This lens is fast with focusing, and light enough to handhold. The combination works well with the 7D.
  27. Scott - point taken on the sharpness ! That is impressive.
  28. One key, forgotten several on this thread, if you're shooting on the water in a boat or kayak, you need IS. I've got the 400mm f/5.6L, but it's got no IS. I think that the 300mm 2.8 with a 1.4TC will probably best suit your needs. The 500mm f/4L IS is a great, incredibly sharp lens, but a handful. In full disclosure, I'm getting one, but I'll mainly use it on a tripod or bean bag on the car window, while shooting birds and wildlife.
  29. Interesting read here, thanks Guys. I'm using this lens (100-400Lis) on my trusted XSI! Just out for a shutter repair after 50620 shots. Will get it back next week.. after a firkin 6 weeks delay because the part was not avail from Canon! Today tested my 100-400 on a 7d for only half an hour :( They had no rental avail. Seems pretty ok as a combination but that was full daylight. Currently i live in Africa where the light is plenty! Check out my shots at flickr look for gipukan. We will move back to Europe where the light mostly is dull! Thus i thought of going 7d to get the better iso the xsi is lacking when moving back. I will try to post some shots 7d 100-400 combination if i can rent one to try morning hours and evening hours.[​IMG]

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