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Author Topic: Canon EF300mm f4L IS USM - Help  (Read 9726 times)
Ray
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2006, 08:48:01 PM »
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I wonder though how many people never realise they have a copy of a lens that is not as good as it should be.
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Probably quite a few. If you don't already own another lens that covers at least part of the range, it's difficult to be aware of where the new lens lies on that manufacturer-defined QC range from 'barely acceptable' to 'exceptionally good'.

When I bought a Canon 400/5.6 prime some time ago, I already owned a 100-400 IS zoom, so I knew that the prime had to be better than my zoom fully extended. It wasn't, so I returned it and got a refund. If I hadn't had the zoom as a standard, I would have been unaware that my copy of the 400/5.6 prime was actually substandard, at the bottom of the QC range. I would just have assumed that that was the quality of a Canon telephoto lens in that price range.

When I bought my first wide angle zoom, the Sigma 15-30, I was fortunate that the store also had in stock the Canon 16-35, so I was able to compare them. I found the Sigma to be just as sharp as the Canon and decided to get the cheaper product. I've been very satisfied with the performance of the lens. At 20mm it's only a tad less sharp than my Sigma 20/1.8 prime.

When I later bought the Canon EF-S 10-22, I insisted on comparing it with my Sigma 15-30 at 15mm and had trouble finding one as sharp. In fact, since 15mm is in the middle of the range for the 10-22, one might expect the lens to be slightly better than the Sigma at 15mm, but it isn't.

If you have the opportunity to test and compare a lens before buying, you should always do so.
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Sheila Smart
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« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2006, 04:02:27 AM »
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I have long thought to trade my 300 for the 100-400 but just cannot part with this lens.  It comes into its element at f/4 and as I have never used a tripod, the IS is handy.  My gallery with my 5D can be found here
http://www.pbase.com/sheila/canon_300_f4l_is_with_5d

and my wildlife shots can be found here http://www.pbase.com/sheila/wildlife
Cheers
Sheila
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Ray
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« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2006, 09:33:33 AM »
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I have long thought to trade my 300 for the 100-400 but just cannot part with this lens.  It comes into its element at f/4 and as I have never used a tripod, the IS is handy.
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Hi! Sheila,
Lovely photos! It seems we have access to the same subject material. I've also got lots of shots of Cockies, Lorikeets and King parrots, mostly taken with my 100-400.

I can see your problem. The 300/4 gives you an extra stop which is useful for hand-held shooting and blurry backgrounds. The 100-400 gives you f5 at around 250mm, f4.5 at 100mm, but f5.6 at 300 to 400mm.

However, on the issue of quality, I don't see that the 300/4 is necessarily better than the 100-400 at 300mm, according to Photodo results below. This is exactly  the sort of situation where you would need to compare your 300/4 to the 100-400 at the same focal length. There would be no doubt, however, that the 100-400 would be better than your 300/4 if the subject required the use of a 400mm lens.

I don't find close-ups of wild life useful indicators of the quality of telephoto lenses because it's not always clear the degree to which the image might have been cropped and it's virtually impossible to duplicate the same shot with another lens for comparison.

The following images, taken with my D60 have all been cropped, so one is looking at an effective focal length well in excess of 560mm.

[attachment=891:attachment]   [attachment=893:attachment]   [attachment=894:attachment]  

[attachment=895:attachment]
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ARD
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« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2006, 11:43:16 AM »
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Both sets of photos are good, and it probably is more a matter of taste over which lens to go for.

After comparing my lens to others and the pictures taken, I am sure I have a bad copy, so another is on its way.

I'm going to take pictures with both of the same subject at the same settings then decide.

The EF400mm f5.6 LUSM might be another option as this is supposed to be the unsung hero of Canon

Code:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/forgotten-400.shtml
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akclimber
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« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2006, 07:20:06 PM »
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No way is the 300/f4 as sharp as the 70-200 (one of Canon's sharpest lenses, zoom or not). Check Photodo, 300/f4 mtf = 3.4, 70-200 mtf = 4.1. Note that the non-IS version of 300/f4 tests 4.3. My own feeling is that photodo's rating on the 300/IS may be a little pessimistic, but it would be an exceptional example that would be sharper than the 70-200.

- DL
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My 300 f/4 IS seems to indeed be that sharp.  That Photodo test is way off.  Perhaps I'll borrow a friend's non IS 70-200 and shoot some tests.  In my experience the 300 f/4 IS is an exceptional lens.  As I said, it compares very favorably with my 500 f/4 IS, another of Canon's sharpest lenses.

CHeers!
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Ray
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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2006, 07:23:24 PM »
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The EF400mm f5.6 LUSM might be another option as this is supposed to be the unsung hero of Canon
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I can confirm that this lens is also subject to QC variability. It's a real problem which is exacerbated by the practice of cherry picking. Somebody is always going to end up with someone else's rejects. But, hey!, maybe that's just a fact of life.

The lack of IS of the 400/5.6 prime is not necessarily a big disadvantage, depending on the use. If you are shooting moving wildlife, you probably need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the subject movement, which will also freeze the camera shake. Since ISO 1600 is now usable (with Canon cameras), you are not always going to be restricted to use with a tripod.
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ARD
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2006, 03:40:05 PM »
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Got a replacement lens today, and still have the original. I took a few shots at the same settings. I think the new lens is better, sharper and more contrast.

Have a look
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2006, 06:54:15 PM »
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Got a replacement lens today, and still have the original. I took a few shots at the same settings. I think the new lens is better, sharper and more contrast.
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On the basis that you've given us all the image information of a small crop and that the jpeg compression is maximum quality, I think you are kidding yourself here. I see no significant difference between the new and old lens.

Of course, it could be that your target does not contain fine enough detail. I generally find that the written word is a useful target. Arrange the distance to target and the size of the lettering so that at least some of the words are almost illegible. If the better lens makes them legible, then that can be considered a meaningful improvement.
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jimhuber
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2006, 10:15:05 AM »
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Of course, it could be that your target does not contain fine enough detail. I generally find that the written word is a useful target. Arrange the distance to target and the size of the lettering so that at least some of the words are almost illegible. If the better lens makes them legible, then that can be considered a meaningful improvement.
That's the point I was trying to make earlier:

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My preference is not to shoot bricks, but rather books, CDs, or DVDs because I find judging the sharpness of text written on the spines easier and there are many more colors present to judge. Shelves of such media are typically indoors, too, so the light can be controlled from shot to shot, or even duplicated at a later date.
I could've been clearer, I suppose, by saying a shelf of books, CD cases, or DVD cases. CD and DVD cases work particularly well at close distances because their depth is consistent. Book spines don't tend to be all on the same plane so focus and depth-of-field issues overshadow lens differences. There is also almost always some white somewhere on some of the spines to set white balance from.
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ARD
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« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2006, 12:08:01 PM »
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Thanks to all who helped me out with this one, the new lens if sharper, but my example pictures didn't show it well.
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