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Thread: Canon 100-400 Ghosting problems

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    Default Canon 100-400 Ghosting problems

    Hello Everyone,
    I have owned a 100-400mm lens for a few years now. I used it mainly for bird shots both static and flight along with the Canon 20D. The main problem that I found with it was that it would give a faint outline that was slightly offset from the main subject. Zoomed out this manifested itself as the image always being soft. I beat myself up thinking that it was just inexperience on my part. I tried all different combinations of shutter speed and F-stops but I could never seem to get the sharpness in the photos that I wanted. I ended up going to a 500 F/4 and never looked back as my photos improved drastically.

    To make a long story short, I bought a 50D recently and tried the lens out on it hoping that maybe it was my 20D that had the problem. I still get the same results. I can see results from people here on BPN that own the 100-400 and some of them are amazing compared to what I got. Just wondering if any of the folks out there have had similar problems and were able to cure them?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Steve

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    BPN Viewer Rocky Sharwell's Avatar
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    Steve,

    What shutter speeds are you shooting at and having this problem?

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    Alfred Forns
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    Hi Steve

    Would suggest to test you lens Its easy. Set up a target like a newspaper and check results. Would try wide open and stopping down always with enough shutter speed. btw test both close up and far away ... there could be a variation.

    Mine is very sharp and have no problem acquiring focus for bif. Have been nailing purple martins !!! btw the lens will even produce sharp results with converters contrary to popular belief.

    When the lens first came out, years ago, there were some that were soft. Current crop seems fine.

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    Default Thanks for the reply

    Hi Alfred and Rocky,
    Thanks for the quick reply. Just got back from a trip with the lens this past weekend. I was at a look out point on one of the local islands and photographed Turkey Vultures and got the same result.

    Rocky, the shutter speed was 1/2000 at F/8, still that tell tale ghosting around the wing and face. I really don't think that it is a focusing problem as much as a stability problem. Some have commented that using a UV filter can cause something like this but I have not done any testing with my UV filter off (your thoughts?).

    Alfred, I know what you mean about being a good BIF lens. That is why I really would like to persue a fix for this problem. It is much easier in the Spring and Summer to use a lens such as this because most of my subjects are relatively close. I am also considering getting a bush hawk to save my shoulder because now I spend quite a bit of time lugging a Wimberly and tripod around for the 500 F/4.

    Steve

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Large View Post
    Some have commented that using a UV filter can cause something like this but I have not done any testing with my UV filter off (your thoughts?).
    I was going to suggest that too, especially if it's an el-cheapo filter. Doesn't cost you anything to try some tests without it!;) I use the 100-400 on a 40D with more than satisfactory results, and I used it on a Rebel XT for 3 years before that with the same great results.

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    Hi Daniel,
    Yes indeed. I have noticed your results with your 100-400. I will try a more extensive test without the filter on. If this doesn't produce good results I will ship it off to Canon for the once over. Before I might have blamed myself for the soft images but now I know that it is too regular a problem to be user error.

    Thanks for your input,

    Steve

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    Alfred Forns
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    Steve regarding the filter I would suggest not to use one !! Don't have a UV filters on any of my lenses at any time.

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    I second the filter comment. With a particular filter (can't remember the name) results with my 100-400 were as you describe. Problem went away with removal of filter and almost went away with a quality filter such as Hoya. I'm with Alfred on this one- throw the filter away!

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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Quote Originally Posted by John Chardine View Post
    I second the filter comment. With a particular filter (can't remember the name) results with my 100-400 were as you describe. Problem went away with removal of filter and almost went away with a quality filter such as Hoya. I'm with Alfred on this one- throw the filter away!
    Hi Alfred and John,
    I did some experientation in the back yard tonight with some common finches as my subjects without using the UV filter. There was a definite difference in quality over the results from the weekend. I will still leave my final decision for after I try some BIF shots to confirm. I can notice it much more easily with a bright sky background. Here is a post of one of the shots in the back yard from tonight.

    Thanks,

    Steve

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    Steve, what type of UV filter were you using? Cheers,

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    Well Steve, that's about as sharp as it gets! Don't see a problem here without the filter.

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    BPN Viewer Rocky Sharwell's Avatar
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    I would bet it is the filter--based upon what have seen online it seems that the 100-400 is particularly susceptible to focus problems with a filter. Not a scientifically based conclusion but it just seems that way.

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    Steve (or anyone else with filters that compromise image quality).

    I am doing a study of filters on image quality and would like examples of known filters that compromise image quality. I have one polarizing filter that does that and I found the two sides of the filter are not parallel. So if anyone has such filters and would like to donate them to my study (which I will put on my non-commercial web site), please contact me off-thread. I would like to see if any of these filters have characteristics people could quickly assess before buying. You can find other articles on my web site regarding image quality.

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    Roger- I remember now that the problem filter on the 100-400 was made by ProTama. I sent it right back for a refund so do not have the filter anymore but I think I kept the test images. If I have them I'll post or send.

    This was a good lesson and now I only use Hoya or B+W pro-grade filters, but would not use any on the 100-400.
    Last edited by John Chardine; 05-14-2009 at 11:53 AM. Reason: added note

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    Steve, I have had a 100-400 for nearly two years, and my images are pin sharp, with both my 20D and 50D.
    I believe if you take off your filters, your problem will be solved. The image above is pin sharp, so lets hope you are sorted. BTW, if you use your filter as a protection for the front of the lens, the lens hood does the same job or better, as there's no way anything is going to damage the front of the lens with the hood on.

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    Hello again everyone,
    Thanks for your comments and interesting information on this thread. Jay and Roger, the filter used was an OPTEX UV filter.

    It's funny, when I started out in photography one of the first things the guy behind the counter advised was to buy a UV or neutral density filter to protect the front of the lens. It sounded logical so I had just carried over that practice through the years to every new lens that I bought. I wonder how many images I could have had much sharper as a result of not having those filters on?

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Large; 05-14-2009 at 10:22 AM.

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    Steve Patterson
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    I have read several times to not use filters with the 100-400. I do use a CP sometimes with good results, but do not use any other filters. I am not much of a tester, so these are only comments I have seen elsewhere. They seem to agree with other posters here, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Large View Post
    Hello again everyone,
    Thanks for your comments and interesting information on this thread. Jay and Roger, the filter used was an OPTEX UV filter.

    It's funny, when I started out in photography one of the first things the guy behind the counter advised was to buy a UV or neutral density filter to protect the front of the lens. It sounded logical so I had just carried over that practice through the years to every new lens that I bought. I wonder how many images I could have had much sharper as a result of not having those filters on?

    Steve
    Many photo stores up their margins by selling you a filter for $100 that cost about $5 to make.

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Bowie View Post
    Steve, I have had a 100-400 for nearly two years, and my images are pin sharp, with both my 20D and 50D.
    I believe if you take off your filters, your problem will be solved. The image above is pin sharp, so lets hope you are sorted. BTW, if you use your filter as a protection for the front of the lens, the lens hood does the same job or better, as there's no way anything is going to damage the front of the lens with the hood on.
    Stuart, I really do not believe that solves the entire problem and one of the significant reasons to use a professional UV filter.

    I have ordered the following from http://maxsaver.net/; more expensive than a Tiffen; hopefully the extra price justifies the use:

    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 77 77mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>

    :p>:p>
    1:p>:p>
    $46.90:p>:p>
    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 82 82mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>

    :p>:p>
    1:p>:p>
    $60.50:p>:p>
    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 67 67mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>

    :p>:p>
    1:p>:p>
    $31.50:p>:p>


    The hood only protects from impact damage - shielding the lens from the sun is not an issue because even with the filter you will use the hood.

    The unsolved problem when you do not protect the front element with a good UV filter is dirt and grime when shooting in less than desirable circumstances.

    For example, I am going to be in Antarctic region for a month. Almost without warning we could be dealing with rain and wind, some salty air spray - simply a more heavily ladened salty air, who know what else?

    As Roger has written elsewhere, do you want to constantly be cleaning a filter or a front element?

    I can understand removing the UV filter on a nice day; however, what do you suggest when shooting in less than ideal conditions?

    And, if the filter is "good enough" for less than ideal conditions, then why not use it all of the time?

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    Alfred Forns
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    Jay there is no need to use a UV filter I'm sure no one is going to persuade you otherwise so go ahead and use the filters. If you front element gets dirty clean it ... no big deal.

    Many years ago I was photographing with a friend and he was a Lecia factory rep. Saw me using a UV filter over the lens and said "why do you think we make lens caps" Took a while to have those expensive (very) bare but never had a problem since !!! Your UV is adding another glass surface and can't say much for that !!!

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    Agree Alfred, just clean properly- no rubbing your shirt-tail in a circular motion over the front of the lens (which I have seen done by more than one prominent photographer)! V. important to remove all dust before wiping. Some dust particles are harder than the coating on the lens and will produce a micro-scratch. Clean without removing dust enough times and you will scratch the lens.

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    I remember years ago when I was using Leicas, I read in the Leica manual that you should never use a filter on a lens unless you need the effect of that filter. Simce then I have never used a filter other than for the effect it provided.

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    Alfred Forns
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    John for cleaning I have found the best way is to get rid of dust firs then use a cotton with a drop of lens clens !!! Works like a charm. I think is in one of Artie's bulletins !!!

    Mike they did make a big deal of the UV filter and they have a point !! Interesting I have never damaged the front element of a lens !!!

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    Whoa, this one puts a smile on my face. I have been advising for more than a decade that folks NEVER put a UV filter on a telephoto lens. It degrades quality and often kills AF performance. See same in ABP II.

    Best part is as I was reading the thread I never even thought UV filter... It's a basic.

    I wonder how many of the interet experts trashing the 100-400 have/had UV filters (recommended by their friendly camera store salesman) on their lesnses...

    Man, you gotta love it.
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    Since finding this site I have removed the uv filter from my 100-400, even though I never had a problem that I thought was caused by the filter. Should I damage the front element, any idea on what it would cost to replace?

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    The front elements of these lenses are not optical glass and are cheap to replace....

    OK, you found the site and removed the filter. Is the problem 100% gone???
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    No I still have problems, I have just removed the possibility of the filter as the cause. I Know where most of my photography problems lie and I am generally the cause, not my equipment.

    The only problem I have a ever had that was 100% equipment problem was with a cheap circular polarizer on the 100-400. The lens would not focus with the filter. When I bought a Hoya it focused fine, but not with the cheapo.

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Forns View Post
    Jay there is no need to use a UV filter I'm sure no one is going to persuade you otherwise so go ahead and use the filters. If you front element gets dirty clean it ... no big deal.

    Many years ago I was photographing with a friend and he was a Lecia factory rep. Saw me using a UV filter over the lens and said "why do you think we make lens caps" Took a while to have those expensive (very) bare but never had a problem since !!! Your UV is adding another glass surface and can't say much for that !!!
    Al, I guess everyone has to rely on their interpretation of gathered and personal experiences, and in this particular case I have decided to rely on Roger - a scientist and photographer - who has stated to me:

    Regarding the statement that UV filters are not a good idea to put on digital cameras is more BS. If it was a good idea for film, it's not going to hurt digital.If there was a big cost difference between a UV versus a protective filter I would choose the protective, but there is not. Thus I would choose the UV. UV light breaks down organic molecules (e.g. all paints, plastics), so protecting the inside of a lens and camera from UV is a good idea, especially for lenses you intend to keep for decades.
    Obviously, if a particular chosen filter is causing a problem that is demonstrated by removing the filter, then you remove the particular filter. The fact that some UV filters cause focusing problems should not be an indictment of all UV filters.

    I have finally been cleared by the saw bones to start playing at photography - hopefully I will shortly start posting unprocessed images in the ETL Forum. For comparison purposes I might post some with and without a filter too.

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Large View Post
    Hi Alfred and John, I did some experientation in the back yard tonight with some common finches as my subjects without using the UV filter. There was a definite difference in quality over the results from the weekend. I will still leave my final decision for after I try some BIF shots to confirm. I can notice it much more easily with a bright sky background. Here is a post of one of the shots in the back yard from tonight. Thanks, Steve
    Steve, I am confused. Are you saying that the ghosting is present in the image that is in this pane above? It looks perfectly fine to me.
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    Steve, where is the ghosting in the posted image? The fine line around the beak? Could you post an image that you took with the filter on that you believes shows significant ghosting? I agree with Artie that the posted image looks perfectly fine.

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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Attached is what happens when you work in an area with water spray. This is an example of ocean spray and can happen in a few minutes (even seconds). The problem with these scenarios include: the water, whether salty ocean air, or clean water from a waterfall reacts with any dust spec on the filter. That reaction can weld the dust to the coating making it hard to remove. The reactions destroy the coatings. This will also happen on a lens surface. The attached image is from ocean spray on the Oregon coast and happened in seconds.

    Contrary to popular belief, the front element of all lenses I have seen/examined are optical elements ;). So it is important to keep the surface clean or you will suffer reduced contrast and increased flair. But it matters not if the lens is curved or not; as anywhere light is passing through must be high optical quality. Filters too should be high optical quality.

    If you work in dirty situations, the lens will get dirty. Coatings will degrade. So you can choose to send your lens in to have the front element replaced periodically, or use filters, or for big telephoto lenses, always use the hood.
    Hoods do not help much on wide angle lenses.

    Roger

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    Alfred Forns
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    Roger If someone is working in such extreme condition I can see the use for extra protection. For normal shooting there is no need to stick a UV filter on the front of a lens.

    Using this logic I can make a point the you should always use waterproof cover like Think Tanks Hydrophobia.

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    Hey Roger,

    You were right about the front elements and I was wrong. Thanks for letting me know. Below is an e-mail from Chuck Westfall of Canon. (Emphasis mine as it may be relevant here.)

    Hi, Artie:

    The front elements of current EF IS super-telephoto lenses* are meniscus lenses made from optical glass with Canon's SSC multicoating. (SSC stands for Super Spectra Coating.) They are mainly intended to be protective elements, and as such they are fully gasketed. But the meniscus shape is also important in eliminating ghost images when used with EOS Digital SLRs. The front elements of the older pre-stabilizer FD and EF super-telephoto lenses were also gasketed and multicoated, but they were flat rather than meniscus-shaped, and prone to ghost images when used with digital SLRs. In all of these lenses, the front elements provide some protection against UV wavelengths, but nothing special.

    *including:
    EF200/2L IS
    EF300/2.8L IS
    EF400/2.8L IS
    EF400/4 DO IS
    EF500/4L IS
    EF600/4L IS
    EF800/5.6L IS

    Other white lenses like the 100-400L, 70-200L's, 300/4L's, and 400/5.6L accept screw-in filters (as you know), and their front elements are also multicoated but typically not gasketed. Canon does not officially recommend using UV filters on any lens, but they can certainly come in handy on telephoto lenses for impact, dust/dirt and moisture protection as well as varying amounts of haze reduction. I usually tell customers that if they're going to use a UV filter, make it a good one from a well-known manufacturer rather than a cheap no-name brand, keep it clean and be sure to use a lens hood whenever it's practical.

    Best Regards,

    Chuck Westfall
    Technical Advisor/Professional Products Marketing Division
    Consumer Imaging Group/Canon U.S.A., Inc.
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    I have had the front elements of many of my intermediate telephoto lenses doused with salt water and salt spray and have never had a problem after wiping the front element dry with the t-shirt I was wearing....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Forns View Post
    Roger If someone is working in such extreme condition I can see the use for extra protection. For normal shooting there is no need to stick a UV filter on the front of a lens.

    Using this logic I can make a point the you should always use waterproof cover like Think Tanks Hydrophobia.
    Al, while I do not know what "normal" shooting is, perhaps a very dry clean environment, why is it necessary to go to the extreme and suggest a waterproof cover when it is definitely not needed.

    I do not think that shooting along the coast where there is spray is "extreme". When ever you shoot at the beach the air is significantly heavier with salt; shooting in the area of waterfalls there is more moisture in the air.

    If you are going to use a high quality UV filter when it is "extreme", and you obtain high IQ results when shooting in the "extreme" then there is no reason to remove the filter when it is not "extreme".

    If the filter does not lessen image quality in the "extreme" then it does not lessen image quality in the non-extreme. Just my "take" from all I have read and experienced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Hey Roger,

    You were right about the front elements and I was wrong. Thanks for letting me know. Below is an e-mail from Chuck Westfall of Canon. (Emphasis mine as it may be relevant here.)

    Hi, Artie:

    The front elements of current EF IS super-telephoto lenses* are meniscus lenses made from optical glass with Canon's SSC multicoating. (SSC stands for Super Spectra Coating.) They are mainly intended to be protective elements, and as such they are fully gasketed. But the meniscus shape is also important in eliminating ghost images when used with EOS Digital SLRs. The front elements of the older pre-stabilizer FD and EF super-telephoto lenses were also gasketed and multicoated, but they were flat rather than meniscus-shaped, and prone to ghost images when used with digital SLRs. In all of these lenses, the front elements provide some protection against UV wavelengths, but nothing special.

    *including:
    EF200/2L IS
    EF300/2.8L IS
    EF400/2.8L IS
    EF400/4 DO IS
    EF500/4L IS
    EF600/4L IS
    EF800/5.6L IS

    Other white lenses like the 100-400L, 70-200L's, 300/4L's, and 400/5.6L accept screw-in filters (as you know), and their front elements are also multicoated but typically not gasketed. Canon does not officially recommend using UV filters on any lens, but they can certainly come in handy on telephoto lenses for impact, dust/dirt and moisture protection as well as varying amounts of haze reduction. I usually tell customers that if they're going to use a UV filter, make it a good one from a well-known manufacturer rather than a cheap no-name brand, keep it clean and be sure to use a lens hood whenever it's practical.

    Best Regards,

    Chuck Westfall
    Technical Advisor/Professional Products Marketing Division
    Consumer Imaging Group/Canon U.S.A., Inc.

    Artie, thanks for bringing Chuck Westfall into the - should you use a UV filter - discussion. I was in the process of writing an email to one of Chuck's fellow Technical Advisors - Erik Allin - regarding this issue.

    In the first place Canon sells UV filters for their products; if they are not necessary, why sell them to the public?

    Secondly, Chuck says:

    Canon does not officially recommend using UV filters on any lens
    That is double speak and very misleading. Be clear: you are not misleading - Chuck with that comment is very misleading.

    The opposite of we do not "officially recommend" is that we "unofficially recommend".

    Either they do or do not recommend.

    Lastly,

    I usually tell customers that if they're going to use a UV filter, make it a good one from a well-known manufacturer rather than a cheap no-name brand
    Why isn't Chuck recommending Canon's UV filter? Perhaps because Canon's sells an expensive copy of a Tiffen inexpensive UV filter made by Tiffen and embossed with Canon on the filter.

    Frankly, we spend thousands of dollars on Canon lenses, and in a nonscientific way we debate whether a UV filter does or does not negatively impact the use of the lens.

    Artie, based upon years of experience, you believe they should not be used. Roger, based upon years of experience and scientific testing believes that high quality UV filters should be used and do not degrade IQ.

    Me - I am stuck in the middle along with the masses.

    Me - I am a Canon customer that expects more than an "unofficial recommendation".

    I would greatly appreciate your sending this post to Chuck and sharing his comments.

    I intend to push this with Canon for an "official official" response on the use of UV filters.

    Cheers,

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    As a follow-up to this issue - I simply do not believe in leaving stones unturned - I have sent the following email to Erik Allin, a member of Canon's Technical Information Group, Professional Products Marketing Division:

    Hi,

    I obtained your email address from an email pertaining to moisture problems in Antarctica that was forwarded to me by my brother, Steven Gould.

    I too will be on that Antarctic trip.

    My question pertains to Canon’s position/recommendations regarding the use of UV filters.

    Canon sell UV filters under their own name – it is my understanding that the Canon filters are actually inexpensive Tiffen filters.

    For my 16-35, 24-105, and 70-200 lenses I use the following:

    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 77 77mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>

    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 82 82mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>

    NEW HOYA PRO1 D Digital 67 67mm UV(0) Filter DMC THIN:p>:p>



    I am a member of several very avid photography forums including BirdPhotographersNet and Photography On The Net.

    On these two forums there are countless debates regarding the use of UV filters.

    Most recently, Chuck Westfall wrote an email regarding the use of UV filters that was published in the BPN Forum; I wrote a lengthy response which included the pertinent quotations. It is set forth at the end of this email. http://www.birdphotographers.net/for...d=1#post261674

    Frankly, I truly believe that Canon owes a duty to their customers to issue an official statement regarding the use of UV filters and whether Canon believes that Canon’s UV filters do not have any negative impact on IQ or any other aspect of photography.

    I look forward to hearing from you in the near future – I assume that the resolution of this issue will require some discussion within the Technical Information Group.

    For your information this email has been posted on the two mentioned forums; I look forward to posting your/Canon’s official response.

    Cheers, Jay Gould

    Last edited by Jay Gould; 05-17-2009 at 05:57 PM.

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    Hey Jay, You asked me several times why Chuck would say this or that. Here's a tip: ask Chuck!

    I am the guy who never uses a UV filter and recommends the same to all.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Hey Jay, You asked me several times why Chuck would say this or that. Here's a tip: ask Chuck!
    Artie, please send me Chuck's email address and I will forward my Erik email to him. cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by rnclark View Post
    Steve (or anyone else with filters that compromise image quality).

    I am doing a study of filters on image quality and would like examples of known filters that compromise image quality. I have one polarizing filter that does that and I found the two sides of the filter are not parallel. So if anyone has such filters and would like to donate them to my study (which I will put on my non-commercial web site), please contact me off-thread. I would like to see if any of these filters have characteristics people could quickly assess before buying. You can find other articles on my web site regarding image quality.

    Roger,

    I was recently told digital camera sensors do not fair well with fliters. The reasoning... lens elements are miniscus and filters flat, causing back-scattering of light.

    Chas

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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Interestingly, further to Chuck's comment that Canon does not officially recommend a UV filter which is also called a UV Protective Filter, the image from my 16-35 manual specifically contains a cautionary warning from Canon about the risk of not using a protective filter. If you do not use a protective filter and as a result you get dust and water inside the lens, have you voided your warranty?

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    I have a friend who uses Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens to photograph birds. A while back he contacted me about problems of misfocussing he was having with the lens, despite having had the lens serviced and calibrated. I suggested be borrow similar equipment from another friend and try substituting bodies/camers to try and isolate where the problem might lie. It didn't take him long to work out that the problem was being caused by the UV filter he had recently attached to the lens. He removed the filter and his misfocussing issues evaporated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Whoa, this one puts a smile on my face. I have been advising for more than a decade that folks NEVER put a UV filter on a telephoto lens. It degrades quality and often kills AF performance. See same in ABP II.
    I'm so glad I read this thread.

    I have been so disappointed with the IQ of photos from 100-400 lens I was getting ready to ship it to Canon for callibration. Just checked and it does have a B&W UV filter on "for protection". Too late to test it tonight but hoping that the problem was a simple as the filter effecting focusing!

    Fingers crossed!

    Debi Kral

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    This has been a wonderful thread and the totality of the discussion including the below email from Erik Allin, Canon Professional, has caused me to compromise my use of a UV filter. In clean environments I will no longer use a UV filter; in questionable environments - shooting near the surf, waterfalls, places where the air is heavy with water, very dusty Australian locations :-), and most of the time in Antarctica - I will use a UV filter.

    Due to the vast differences in build and image quality amongst the different UV and protective filters on the market, you will not find any more of an “official Canon” response than what you have already received or read in a manual. The idea that “Either they do or do not recommend” and the search for a blanket, all encompassing Canon statement on the matter is unrealistically simplistic.

    As such, I will NOT be giving you an official Canon position, but my own official PERSONAL position on the subject.

    ANY and ALL UV/protection filters have some degree of negative impact on image quality. Some more than others. With some extremely high-quality multi-coated UV filters – typically very expensive – the IQ impact is so negligible as to be unnoticeable in the finished printed image to most people. Most UV filters exhibit some IQ degradation that can be seen to some degree in the image. Some UV filters can be quite bad.

    If you should choose to use a UV filter, the need for one of a high quality is far more important with digital than it ever was in the film days.

    Canon recommends the use of a filter, to enhance the weather-resistant characteristics on certain weather-resistant lenses– the EF 16-35, 2.8 L II as an example where the front of the lens moves while focusing or zooming in relation to the barrel of the lens. Canon has no such filter recommendation on lenses where the front element does not move and the barrel can be better sealed – the EF 70-200, 2.8L IS as an example. To one of your emails, and a comment on the forum you quote from, Canon has not “downgraded their recommendation”; the lenses are different in their mechanical design, and as such the recommendation is different.

    In this case the recommendation of the use of a filter is based solely on the weather-resistance characteristics of that specific lens and not on enhancing the image or protecting the front element from impact or damage.

    I personally do not use any UV filters.

    In terms of protecting the lens – or “your investment” as the camera store sales person will phrase it – a matched lens hood is far more protection from damage and impact than any filter ever will be. And a lens hood has NO negative impact on IQ, and in most instances has a positive impact on IQ. Buying, AND USING, a lens hood is the best investment one can make on protecting “your investment” and improving the IQ of your images.

    Buy the matched Canon lens hood, and use it.

    Canon’s branded UV/protection filters are OK, but nothing special. They are provided in the catalog as a convenience so that some smaller camera dealers that carry Canon product, but may be too small or out of the way so that a sales representative from a filter company may not visit, can have filters to sell, should they chose to.

    To the question posed in your emails “if they are not necessary, why sell them to the public?”: because some people want to buy them and some stores want to sell them.

    Having said all that, Canon brand Circular Polarizers are exceptional and are probably some of the best filters on the market from any company – again, personal opinion.
    I asked Erik whether in "dirty" environments and especially with lenses that have a moving front element whether he uses a UV filter. I will provide his answer.

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    email from Erik Allin:
    "
    ANY and ALL UV/protection filters have some degree of negative impact on image quality. Some more than others. With some extremely high-quality multi-coated UV filters – typically very expensive – the IQ impact is so negligible as to be unnoticeable in the finished printed image to most people. Most UV filters exhibit some IQ degradation that can be seen to some degree in the image. Some UV filters can be quite bad."

    I agree with this statement with one caveat: for a high quality filter the IQ degradation is usually not measurable within the noise of the image except in rare circumstances. I'll remove protective filters when I'm doing photography that includes bright subjects, like a moon in deep twilight, or lightning. I do a lot of night city scene images, especially when I'm on travel. (e.g., Hey Jay, check out my Sydney Opera House image at http://www.clarkvision.com/photoinfo...ht.photography it was used by a Sydney advertising firm--funny, it seems like they could have gotten their own image). Since switching to multi-coated filters, I've not had a problem, so sometimes I forget to take off the filter and have never had reflections or other problems.

    But this thread has been illuminating. I'll try some tests over the next few weeks with filters and see if I can find problem filters. I have a variety of test methods that I can design that anyone can use.

    The problem people seem to be observing with filters on telephoto lenses is probably due to the following. Filters are very thin, and on small lenses, the apertures are very small. A filter must be flat and uniform to at least 1/2 wavelength of light--that's about 1/5 of a micron. A 50 mm f/1.4 lens has an aperture of 35 mm but image quality is limited by other aberrations. Stop down to f/8 and the aperture is only 6.25 mm, so the filter performance needs to be 1/2 wave only over a 6.25 mm spot, which is fairly easy (good quality window plate glass meets that spec). But a 400 mm f/5.6 lens has a 71 mm aperture, so the 1/2 wavelength criterion is over a much larger area and harder to achieve. It is this larger area of required flatness that probably creates the problem, rather than the magnification of the long focal length.

    So again, if anyone has a filter that they believe is causing a problem of soft focus, I would like to examine it. I'll even return it if you wish. Contact me by email or PM.

    Roger

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    Great discussion, thanks to all who have contributed. Interesting to see the emphasis being placed on the use of the lens hood to protect the lens. I can't help but wonder if the individual who recently decried the use of lens hoods on this forum - yes, we all know who you are! - will be changing his position and habits!:D

    Best,

    Gerald

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    Cliff Beittel
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    I don't think the only potential problem here is the 100-400, use of filters, or lack of lens hoods. On my last two trips I've had images with ghosting like this from both the 400 f5.6 and 500 f4L IS--no filters (other than the one built in to the 500), lens hoods always used. I discussed it with Canon yesterday, and it sounded as if they've had other ghosting reports. The technician I spoke with mentioned reflections from water as a possible factor, and indeed, the images where I've noticed ghosting (mostly flights shots) were all shot from a shore or ship. Since at least two lenses were affected, I suspect the camera (1Ds mark III). I sent a sample image, hope to know more today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Kelberg View Post
    Great discussion, thanks to all who have contributed. Interesting to see the emphasis being placed on the use of the lens hood to protect the lens. I can't help but wonder if the individual who recently decried the use of lens hoods on this forum - yes, we all know who you are! - will be changing his position and habits!:D Best, Gerald
    Hi Gerald, Are you referring to me? :D
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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    (e.g., Hey Jay, check out my Sydney Opera House image at http://www.clarkvision.com/photoinfo...ht.photography it was used by a Sydney advertising firm--funny, it seems like they could have gotten their own image).
    Roger, you know that image is sheer artistry far beyond what is in the camera. Of course they could have gotten the traditional image of the House; however, they would not have even thought to combine the House with the Great Andromeda Galaxy superimposed in the image.

    However, a nit just for you: IMHO I think you should have removed a 1/4" from the LHS and completed the perimeter on the RHS. I removed the tiny bothersome part; it will take one of the magicians to add to the RHS unless it is contained in Roger's original uncropped image. :D

    PS: Roger's website regarding this image is a good tutorial about night photography - the nonscientific part anyway :-)
    Last edited by Jay Gould; 05-22-2009 at 03:03 PM.

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    Roger, If I knew as much as you do about photography I think that I would have a headache all the time.... Killer image BTW. Thanks to Jay for posting it for us lazy folks.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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