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Thread: Field Tested: the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II

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    Default Field Tested: the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Artie-Morris-hand-holding-300-bpn.jpg  

    I have--thanks to the kindness of the folks at Canon Professional Services (CPS)--especially Paul Ng, been field testing the same Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II for more than two months. I first used it on my amazing Cheeseman's Southern Oceans trip, then on the SW FLA IPT, and finally on the Japan IPT. It will be returned by Fed-X the afternoon that I get back to the office on March 13th.

    I have long given the 300 f/2.8 lenses short shrift. In the original The Art of Bird Photography I wrote something to the effect that the 300 f/2.8s were favored by many of the world's best raptor photographers but that I saw little need for one. In the all new follow-up, The Art of Bird Photography II (16 pages on CD only), I totally ignored these lenses but did include a few Homer eagle images made with one that I had borrowed from CPS. I've learned recently of the incredible potential of the 300 f/2.8L IS lens/1.4X III TC as a flight photography combination.

    On my recent Antarctica trip the 300 IS II with the 2X III teleconverter served as my long lens (see the image immediately below) and I used it a lot with and without the 1.4X III TC both on landings and on Zodiac cruises. Carrying it on the long hikes was a pleasure when compared to the long lenses I am used to carrying.... I used the lens sparingly on the SW FLA IPT but my erstwhile assistant Tim Kaufman made a killer image of a Great Blue Heron in flight with a large southern whiting in its bill with it while toting the lens for me at Blind Pass Beach. You can see that spectacular image here.

    When I sent a dozen or so JPEGs the image above to Christopher Robinson, editor of Outdoor Photographer, as part of a submission for an article on pros' favorite Canon lenses, he commented via e-mail, "By the way...your Macaroni Penguin image, in particular, is incredible. I think it shows the sharpness of that lens better than anything I've seen. It's an awesome lens and in your hands one can see why it's so highly prized."

    And that with the 2X III TC!

    What's To Like?

    What can I say. The lens is incredibly sharp. Sharp wide open. Sharp edge to edge. Sharp with the 1.4X And yes, sharp with the 2X. When I do everything right--which is often with this lens in my hands--the images seem to leap off the computer screen. At A.B pounds, the lens is just light enough (5.19 pounds, 13% lighter than its predecessor) to hand hold for extended periods of time even though I have had some problems with my shoulders for the past few years. When Peter Kes made the image of me above we were photographing Red-breasted Mergansers swimming and diving. For more than two hours. I held the lens elevated for extended periods of time. When I got back to the motel and took off my sweatshirt I could barely lift my arms; I was very much in pain. It was sort of like what I did by swimming too many laps when my pool was finished.... By the next morning I was fine. On the sea eagle boat trips in Rausu I made sure to rest the lens on the gunnels when I was not actively photographing; having a nice neutral rest position when hand holding relatively heavy gear is always best.

    With a maximum aperture of f/2.8, the lens is very fast. There were times on each trip that I was able to keep photographing in low light without going to crazy-high ISOs. Another benefit of all that speed is being able to work with either teleconverter and still have all AF points active. The lens is very versatile as it offers three focal lengths: 300mm, 420mm (with the 1.4X III TC), and 600mm (with the 2X III TC). I have not worked hand held with the 2X much but with enough shutter speed I am sure that competent folks would be able to create sharp action and flight images. For static work, however, it makes sense to be on a sturdy tripod like the Gitzo 3530 LS that I use every day topped by a Mongoose M3.6, the latter was absolutely made for the 300 2.8 lenses.

    Idiosyncracies

    All four of the Series II telephoto lenses have three Image Stabilization modes: IS 1, IS 2, and IS 3. Here's what Canon has to say about each:

    IS Mode 1: Corrects vibrations in all directions. It is mainly effective for shooting still subjects.

    IS 2 Mode: Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots (i.e., panning) in a horizontal direction, and corrects horizontal camera shake during following (i.e., panning) in a vertical direction. That means that if you hold the camera on end IS2 will realize what you are doing and stabilize in the correct manner.

    IS 3 Mode: Corrects vibration only during exposure. During panning shots, corrects vibration in only one direction same as IS mode 2. They continue: Since camera shake is stabilized only during exposure, following a subject is easier such as when shooting a fast and irregularly moving player during sports photography.

    With previous generation super-telephoto lenses I have I advised folks to set IS Mode 2 and forget it whether hand holding or working on a tripod and whether photographing stationary or moving subjects.

    On our first day photographing the Snow Monkeys I learned that the Series II super-telephoto lenses are completely different animals. When I set IS 2 Mode and pressed the shutter button while working on a tripod the image jumped all over the place. I thought that the lens might be defective right out of the box.... So I tried IS Mode 3 and all was well with the world. Since then I have left the camera on IS Mode 3 all the time both on a tripod and hand holding and been perfectly happy. If I were photographing a static subject hand held I would try to remember to switch to IS Mode 1. And then to switch back to IS Mode 3.

    I have not yet had the opportunity to test the new 4-stop IS system at very slow shutter speeds but I will assume that it will perform as well as it does on the 800mm f/5.6 L IS. (Note: I strongly advise turning IS off when working on a tripod with exposure times of 1/2 second or longer. )

    The location of the AF/MF and the limit range switches is odd and takes some getting used to. On the 300 IS II these switches are located to the behind the tripod collar while on all other Canon lenses that I am familiar with they are located in front of the tripod collar. I still reach to the traditional spot when I want go from full focusing range to limited focusing range as is recommended for flight photography; initial AF acquisition is much faster when the lens does not have to search all the way back to the minimum focusing distance.

    A final thought from me: for folks with 1.6X crop factor bodies like the EOS-7D and the EOS-50D the 300 2.8 II would not be a bad workhorse lens for bird photography. They would enjoy effective focal lengths of 672 mm with a 1.4X and 960 mm with the 2X TC....

    My Only Wish

    In an ideal world the tripod collar would be removable making the lens just a bit easier to hand hold. At my age every ounce matters!

    Wrong Again?

    Though it happens rarely, I never mind admitting that I was wrong. Again. The 300 f/2.8L IS lens is a superb tool for bird photography; it is light enough for most folks to hand hold, it is fast, it is versatile, and it produces stunningly sharp images with incredible fine detail.

    Canon's Overview of the 300mm f/2.8L IS II Lens

    A worthy successor to the popular Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS, the all-new Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM super telephoto lens is lightweight, weighing approximately 13% less than its predecessor, yet offers faster operation, improved image stabilization and superior optics. Incorporating Fluorite elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration plus a number of advanced coatings to minimize ghosting, flaring, and with a newly developed Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum, the EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM is ready to deliver spectacular images in an instant. With a third Image Stabilization mode (Mode 3) that activates IS only when the shutter button is fully pressed, and giving the equivalent effect of a shutter speed four stops faster, the EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM allows for easy panning and is ideally positioned for professional action photography. The EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM also features a new security slot for wire-type security locks.

    You can find links to more info here.

    The post was adapted from my March 9th blog post. You can read the original version and check out the eight images that accompany the post.

    That's me below hand holding the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS lens with the 1.4X TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV body alongside the fishing pier at the eastern end of Sanibel, FL. Photo copyright and courtesy of Peter Kes.
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 03-09-2012 at 06:57 AM.
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    Artie...What did you think about the autofocus speed when you had the 2x III attached? In December, I tested the 400mm II with the 2x III and found the autofocus speed was rather slow. In other words, it took longer to acquire the target...quite a bit longer when compared with the 1.4x TC.

    Thanks,

    Alan
    www.iwishicouldfly.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Stankevitz View Post
    Artie...What did you think about the autofocus speed when you had the 2x III attached? In December, I tested the 400mm II with the 2x III and found the autofocus speed was rather slow. In other words, it took longer to acquire the target...quite a bit longer when compared with the 1.4x TC. Thanks, Alan
    Initial AF acquisition will always be slower with a 1.4X TC than with the prime lens alone and initial AF acquisition with a 2x TC will always be slower than with the 1.4X. Why? AF needs light to function. The 1.4X TC robs one stop of light, the 2X TC two stops. Combat that by making sure that you have set the limited focusing range and that you pre-focus manually.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Hi Artie,

    I understand that TC's slow down the autofocus more-so with the 2x but there are variations with certain combinations of TC's and lenses. For example, the 70-200 f/2.8 II lens with a 2x TC is quite fast at acquiring focus whereas the 400mm f/2.8 II lens + the 2x is not very fast.

    Thanks,

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Stankevitz View Post
    Hi Artie, I understand that TC's slow down the autofocus more-so with the 2x but there are variations with certain combinations of TC's and lenses. For example, the 70-200 f/2.8 II lens with a 2x TC is quite fast at acquiring focus whereas the 400mm f/2.8 II lens + the 2x is not very fast. Thanks, Alan
    I disagree. I would say that initial AF acquisition with the 2X III TC/70-200 f/2.8L IS is very much on the slow side. And again, I have not used the 300/2.8 II with the 2X for flight....
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Why does AF slow down with TCs attached?

    The commonly cited reason is the loss of light. (Side note: technically, there is no loss of light by adding Tcs. instead the image is magnified so the light is spread out more.) Consider the light levels from full sun to sunset, which is a many stop range. If one does not have a TC on, the speed of AF over that many stop range will not change. It may finally slow down when light gets very very low. Now put on a 2x TC in bright noon sun. AF is slower, but there is more light with that lens+TC at high noon than no TC at sunset. So there must be another reason.

    Let's say you rotate the focus ring 10 degrees to focus with no TC, and that moves the focus position in the camera by Z mm. Now add a 2x TC and for that same target, rotating the focus ring 10 degrees results in 2*Z mm focus shift. So commanding the focusing stepper motor, the rate that the motor moves the focus increases when adding TCs. If the signal chain and computer can't handle the increased data, the motor rate would need to be slowed. But it only needs to slow the focus rate equivalent to the same speed as with no TCs. But there is another problem. As you add TCs, the f/ratio increases, making the phase difference between the two sides of the lens a smaller difference. Thus, it is more difficult to determine the correct position. In the original AF systems, they probably slowed the system down with added TCs to maintain accuracy. It is clear that f/5.6 and f/8 and beyond is harder to determine and track focus fast and accurately. So they slow it down.

    But the computers in DSLRs have gotten faster, and I would think the AF sensors have gotten better too. I see no reason why the improved cameras we have today have the same slowdown with TCs they've had since the film era. Perhaps they are running an old algorithm from the 1980s?

    Then the question for the new supertelephoto users: is AF speed with the new lenses worse or the same as the old lenses? It would be nice to see some real numbers. Here are some numbers with the version one 300 f/2.8: move focus too the minimum focus point, then focus on a very distant target.

    1D Mark IV + 300 f/2.8 (version 1): about 2/3 second

    1D Mark IV + 300 f/2.8 (version 1) + 2x TC: 2 to 2.5 seconds, so about 3 times slower than no TC.

    Roger

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    Thanks for the detailed info, explanation, and correction. I was able to follow most of it. I am pretty sure that what you wrote explains why it is important to pre-focus in many situations when using teleconverters.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Thanks for the detailed info, explanation, and correction. I was able to follow most of it. I am pretty sure that what you wrote explains why it is important to pre-focus in many situations when using teleconverters.
    Hi Artie,

    Yes, exactly!

    Roger

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    :). Hey Roger, Here's a related question for you: I feel comfortable recommending the 1.4X TC with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens for folks with pro-sumer bodies like the 7D and the 50D but not the 2X TC but have no compunction recommending the 2X for folks with pro bodies like the MIV. Is there any scientifically justifiable reason for that or have I been wrong all along? (It seems likely as the AF motor is strictly lens related and has nothing to do with the camera body...)
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Canon stated in earlier White Papers a slow down in AF acquisition of 60% with the 1.4x, and 70% with the 2x. The new lenses and converters still slow down AF acquisition, but perhaps not as much.
    I have used 1.4 and 2x converters with my older 300 and 400 f/2.8 lenses for years, both are razor sharp and stellar performers with the converters, as are the new 300/400 f/2.8 II lenses and converters used. Mostly, because the 300/400 f/2.8 lenses have had much higher MTF than the 500/600 lenses from the get go. Converter use has always required you get on the subject at greater distance, thus providing greater time for the AF to acquire and lock focus. And, this remains the same. As Artie mentioned... pre-focus is extremely beneficial (almost a necessity) when using converters. The new IS in these lenses is AMAZING!!!

    Canon's advanced IS, AF, and low noise capability will allow us to create images we would never have considered possible in the past.
    I am greatly looking forward to embracing the new cameras, lenses, and flash technology.

    I can not agree more... the 300 f/2.8 II being lighter and with better IS than its predecessor is a most valuable tool in a bird photographers arsenal.

    Best,

    Chas
    Last edited by Charles Glatzer; 03-10-2012 at 09:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    :). Hey Roger, Here's a related question for you: I feel comfortable recommending the 1.4X TC with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens for folks with pro-sumer bodies like the 7D and the 50D but not the 2X TC but have no compunction recommending the 2X for folks with pro bodies like the MIV. Is there any scientifically justifiable reason for that or have I been wrong all along? (It seems likely as the AF motor is strictly lens related and has nothing to do with the camera body...)

    Hi Artie,

    Yes there is some scientific justification, though probably a somewhat gray area. For example here are more numbers of AF speed with 2x TC (I posted these a year or so ago on BPN):

    Experiment to determine focus acquisition speed: Time to move from minimum focus to infinity and lock on a target at infinity.
    Canon 300 mm f/2.8 L IS lens with canon 2x TC.

    1D Mark II: 4 to 5 seconds
    5D Mark II: 4 to 5 seconds
    7D: 4 to 5 seconds
    1D Mark IV: 2 to 2.5 seconds.

    So AF speed with 2x TC's is not great pre 1DIV (I didn't have a 1DIII to test).

    A second factor is that the crop sensors have smaller pixels, so will be affected more by image quality degradation than the larger pixels of a 1DIV or 5DII.

    But having said that, a 2x TC, especially on a 300 f/2.8, or other f/2.8 lens, can give more pixels on a subject, so if the AF can lock on, it might still be work the effort.

    Roger

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    Thanks Roger. It seems that my gut feelings are correct. I am left wondering though, since the AF motor is in the lens what in the real world does the camera have to do with the speed of initial focusing acquisition??? In other words, what inside a MIV makes it focus faster than a 7D for example???
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Thanks Roger. It seems that my gut feelings are correct. I am left wondering though, since the AF motor is in the lens what in the real world does the camera have to do with the speed of initial focusing acquisition??? In other words, what inside a MIV makes it focus faster than a 7D for example???
    That is a good question and I do not know the answer. The answer could involve the speed of the computer. If the camera monitors the AF position while the motor cranks, the faster computer and electronics in the 1DIV may make the difference (remember the 1DIV has 2 digic computers).

    Roger

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    Thanks Roger, I will write Rudy Winston at Canon and see what he has to say.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Here's a quote from Canon's Chuck Westfall regarding the new 1.4x and 2x TC's:

    "As with previous EF Extenders, usage of Series III EF Extenders lowers AF drive speed to improve AF performance. When Extender EF 1.4X III is used, AF drive speed is reduced by 50%. When Extender EF 2X III is used, AF drive speed is reduced by 75%. This may seem like a drawback, but in reality subject tracking performance remains quite high when Series III Extenders are used with IS II lenses. This is due to improvements in AF precision made possible by the new microcomputer in the extenders."

    So it appears that the new microcomputers in the Mark III extenders increase precision and not speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Thanks Roger. It seems that my gut feelings are correct. I am left wondering though, since the AF motor is in the lens what in the real world does the camera have to do with the speed of initial focusing acquisition??? In other words, what inside a MIV makes it focus faster than a 7D for example???
    DIGIC is actually not used for AF calculations, the 1D/7D have a dedicated RISC processor in the AF module that runs the AF sub system.

    The 1D series high capacity battery pack can provide more current to the servo motor in the lens for faster AF drive speed.
    Last edited by arash_hazeghi; 03-11-2012 at 02:39 PM.
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    Thanks Arash. That makes sense.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Stankevitz View Post
    Here's a quote from Canon's Chuck Westfall regarding the new 1.4x and 2x TC's: "As with previous EF Extenders, usage of Series III EF Extenders lowers AF drive speed to improve AF performance. When Extender EF 1.4X III is used, AF drive speed is reduced by 50%. When Extender EF 2X III is used, AF drive speed is reduced by 75%. This may seem like a drawback, but in reality subject tracking performance remains quite high when Series III Extenders are used with IS II lenses. This is due to improvements in AF precision made possible by the new microcomputer in the extenders." So it appears that the new microcomputers in the Mark III extenders increase precision and not speed.
    Having used the 1.4X III with the 300 2.8II and a Mark IV I gotta say that I personally cannot see any big differences in AF precision with birds in flight. When I do everything right, get the sensor on the bird early, and keep the sensor on the bird the images are usually very sharp. My biggest problem is doing that with birds flying right at me. I seem to do better in those situations--with the bird flying right at me--with either a 7D or a 5D MII. That's one reason I am looking forward to getting a 5D III.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    This has been a really useful thread. As mentioned in an earlier thread I am looking at the new 300/2.8 II instead of the new 500/4 II for a variety of reasons- size and weight, transportability, hand-holdability, flexibility, and cost amongst them.

    So here's a direct question- if you did not have a Canon super-tele (but had the version III TCs), and could only own one super-tele, right now, would you pick up the 300/2.8 II or wait a little for the 500/4 II?

    Thanks in advance for any insight here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Chardine View Post
    This has been a really useful thread. As mentioned in an earlier thread I am looking at the new 300/2.8 II instead of the new 500/4 II for a variety of reasons- size and weight, transportability, hand-holdability, flexibility, and cost amongst them.

    So here's a direct question- if you did not have a Canon super-tele (but had the version III TCs), and could only own one super-tele, right now, would you pick up the 300/2.8 II or wait a little for the 500/4 II?

    Thanks in advance for any insight here.
    Hi John,
    There are many factors here and each can be a game changer.

    Plus side:

    The new 500 f/4 is lower weight so closer to existing 300 f/2.8 which is already pretty easy to hand hold.

    The new 500 f/4 MTF charts (see Canon's web site) are almost perfect!!!!!

    With today's DSLR with smaller pixels, one can get great images of distant subjects with the shorter focal length (except with the 1DX which is not
    small pixels, and will not AF at f/8).

    Minus side:

    As we get older and weight become more of an issue, the new 300 looks better

    The MTF chart for the new 300 versus the old 300 aren't very different (as opposed to the 500)

    Both lenses are substantially higher in price.

    So for the photographer looking for a new purchase, cost may still be a factor, but a 300 f/2.8 coupled with smaller pixels, like 1DIV or 7D or even 5DII or III still provides great detail.

    The MTF specs and weight of the new 500 make me want to upgrade (but the price inhibits me). Ignoring price, I would choose the new 500 if it was my only supertele purchase. But from what I see in the MTF specs for the new 300 f/2.8, while a little better than the old 300, I will not upgrade. -- Just my opinion.

    Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Chardine View Post
    This has been a really useful thread. As mentioned in an earlier thread I am looking at the new 300/2.8 II instead of the new 500/4 II for a variety of reasons- size and weight, transportability, hand-holdability, flexibility, and cost amongst them. So here's a direct question- if you did not have a Canon super-tele (but had the version III TCs), and could only own one super-tele, right now, would you pick up the 300/2.8 II or wait a little for the 500/4 II? Thanks in advance for any insight here.
    If I liked birds, I'd probably go for the 600 II.... All else being equal. That raises the question: which camera body??? When using the 2X III TC with an f/4 Series II super-telephoto with the 50D, 7D, MIV, 5D II, 5D3, or 1DX you will not enjoy AF..... You will have central sensor only AF only with the pro bodies, the MII series, the MIII, and the MIV....

    While that is no big deal to many it is important to note that about 40% of the images in ABP II were created with either the 500 or 600 f/4 with a 2X TC.... It has long been my belief that skilled competent photographers with good sharpness techniques should be ale to consistently create sharp images with either the old 500 or the old 600 and a 2X at shutter speeds as slow as 1/60 sec.

    Here's a relevant excerpt from BAA Bulletin #400:

    An e-mail conversation with Rudi Van Minnebruggen:

    AM: Hi Rudi, re:

    RVM: In your post: “Will the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS Soon Become Obsolete?” you stated: “In my humble opinion folks who purchase expensive super telephoto lenses would be best using a Mark IV body with it for a variety of reasons. I will try to remember to do a blog post on that soon”. I am very much interested in your humble opinion, so I have been searching your website, blog, bulletins etc etc but could not find anything.... Would you please be so kind to send me the link to the article.

    AM: Well, I never followed up on that; here is what I was/am thinking:

    With any Canon body that focuses only to f/5.6--including the 50D, the 7D, the 5D MII, and even the new pro body--the Canon EOS-1DX--coming sometime this year--if you have the 800mm f/5.6 you have only one focal length. You cannot get AF with any teleconverter because the lens is (already) at f/5.6.

    With a Mark IV (and previous generation pro bodies) you get AF with the lens alone and with the 1.4X II TC. This gives you limited flexibility--two focal lengths--but it is better than being stuck with only one focal length.

    The 300 and 400mm f.2.8L IS II lenses suddenly become much more attractive especially for folks who live in areas with lots of tame birds and wildlife or those who travel to places like the Galapagos or the Southern Oceans. That said the 400II with a 2X II TC is nothing to sneeze at in terms of focal length. And with each of these lenses any of the above-mentioned cameras will AF with both the 1.4X and the 2X TCs; this will give you three focal lengths.

    With the two new Series II super-telephotos--the 500 and 600 f/4L IS II lenses will have AF with the aforementioned bodies only with the 1.4X TCs. Therefore, if you want to use either of these new lenses with a 2X TC and have AF you will need to hold on to a Mark IV body or two....
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 03-12-2012 at 01:21 AM.
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    Avian Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    I agree with Artie, 600 is THE ultimate birding lens and the new one weighs as much as the old 500 making it perfectly hand-holdable. A 300mm lens is just too short for general bird photography unless you shoot at the zoo or captive birds. There is no way of getting around this fact. If it was possible to even get close to the performance of 600mm or 500mm prime with a 300 and 2X TC that's what everybody would do...you may not be very critical about pixel level sharpness but AF will be painful no matter what generation lens/TC/camera body you use. Slow is the word.

    As for body I am going to skip 1DX as the resolution is too low for my application as the primary body. My goal is to nail faster and faster birds in flight so I want to use the naked lens as much as possible for maximum AF performance. The 1DX will kill all the extra reach I will get from my new 600 and put me back where I am with MKIV and 500 today so it also defeats the purpose of the extra 8 grand I am spending to upgrade my primary lens.

    I will wait until Canon can makes a high speed and high resolution FF sensor with at least 27 Mpixel (equal to MKIV pixel size) to upgrade my 1D4. In the mean time if I like the 5D3 AF I will use it as my backup body for low-light conditions, similar AF but more resolution than the 1DX. I think MKIV is still the best overall birding camera.
    The 1DX is just not a birding camera IMO (well, unless the AF is SO much better than the MKIV making up for all other short comings and justifying the 7-grand MSRP)

    Although 1DX and a 600 would be fun to handhold from a boat or when standing in the water in Tampa bay, almost 20 grand in your hands so you will hold tight ;)
    Last edited by arash_hazeghi; 03-12-2012 at 02:20 AM.
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    I agree 100% with everything that Arash says above but for the fact that for many folks an 8 1/2+ pound lens is not perfectly hand holdable. I will be trying out the AF on both new camera bodies asap :).
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Forum Participant John Chardine's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the replies. A few points:

    - you can't make a 600 into a smaller focal length lens, but you can make a 300 into a longer lens. In other words the 600 is less flexible.
    - the 500 and 600 would be much more prone to low quality air and shimmer because of the larger camera-subject distances.
    - weight/mass is one aspect of size but bulk is another and this is a growing problem if you fly in smaller or restrictive aircraft with your equipment, like I sometimes do. And no, I am not prepared to check a 500 or 600!
    - I am as picky as the next person about "pixel-level sharpness" so maybe the 300/2.8II and the TC IIIs won't cut it. However, Artie in the first post states that the lens is "sharp" with the TCs and in a later post Chas says it's a "stellar" performer with the converters. If they consider the combinations sharp, they will be sharp enough for me.
    AF speed may be an issue with TCs but pre-focusing may solve the problem to some degree.

    Maybe I should rent the new 300/2.8 and see how it goes.

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    Hi John,

    re:

    - you can't make a 600 into a smaller focal length lens, but you can make a 300 into a longer lens. In other words the 600 is less flexible.

    The 600 Series II is not less flexible when hooked up to a Mark IV. Each gives you three focal lengths to choose from..... 300, 420, and 600 for the 300 II & 600, 840, and 1200 for the 600 II.

    The 500 and 600 would be much more prone to low quality air and shimmer because of the larger camera-subject distances.

    In my 28 years of working with long lenses I have come across that problem perhaps once or twice.....


    Weight/mass is one aspect of size but bulk is another and this is a growing problem if you fly in smaller or restrictive aircraft with your equipment, like I sometimes do. And no, I am not prepared to check a 500 or 600!

    I fly everywhere with my 800 and lots of other lenses and three bodies in my big Think Tank bag. Everywhere.

    I am as picky as the next person about "pixel-level sharpness" so maybe the 300/2.8II and the TC IIIs won't cut it. However, Artie in the first post states that the lens is "sharp" with the TCs and in a later post Chas says it's a "stellar" performer with the converters. If they consider the combinations sharp, they will be sharp enough for me. AF speed may be an issue with TCs but pre-focusing may solve the problem to some degree.

    Maybe I should rent the new 300/2.8 and see how it goes.

    Good plan but bird photographers always want longer lenses.... In the original ABP I wrote, bird photographers should always choose a longer slower lens over a shorter faster one... That advice still holds here.

    Respectfully posted.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    BPN Member Roger Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post

    Good plan but bird photographers always want longer lenses.... In the original ABP I wrote, bird photographers should always choose a longer slower lens over a shorter faster one... That advice still holds here.
    Hi Artie,
    Note though, that with digital, and in particular the latest range of digital cameras: pixel size changes the game. For example, here is little difference between a given lens on a camera with small pixels as the same lens with larger pixels and TCs. Not that long ago, the top Canon camera was the 1D Mark II with 8.2 micron pixels. Now we have a 7D with 4.3 micron pixels, so we have the detail with the 7D with a bare 500 mm that with the 1DII needed 950 mm (so a 2x TC) to get the same detail on a subject. And with the improved pixel efficiency, the 7D would actually have better signal-to-noise ratios given the same shutter speed. And better AF because you would be working without TCs. So with a 300 mm f/2.8 and a camera with small pixels, people can do better than the top gear using TCs of only 5 or 6 years ago. There are a couple of threads in the BPN gear forum on this subject I started over the last couple of months, and I've started writing up the concepts here:

    Telephoto Reach, Part 2: Telephoto + Camera System Performance (A Omega Product, or Etendue, Advanced Concepts)
    http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/...m.performance/

    (Warning: this is more technical than my usual stuff! And note this is a new article I'm still refining. Once I have more examples, I'll make an article for BPN.)

    I also have been using my 300 f/2.8 more. It is now the main lens I will take on safari to Africa. But I still like then 500 too.

    Roger

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    Forum Participant John Chardine's Avatar
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    Thanks again Artie and Roger.

    Regarding shimmer, I live in a coastal area where the water is usually a lot cooler than the air. Also winter runs from Nov-Mar. These conditions create shimmer for me at least several times of year. It almost always happens on sunny days so it's pretty easy to avoid but every now and then it happens. What I meant about flexibility is that 600mm would be way too much in many situations I shoot, and you can't just take a hacksaw and cut it in half to get a 300mm lens but you can make a 300mm into a 600mm lens. I realise with the 300mm you lose the long reach of the 600 with TCs.

    I owned the Canon 500/4 until it was stolen last August. It was a dream for me to own for 3+ years and it still hurts to think about it gone! I know, it was only a "thing", but it was a very nice "thing"! So I am familiar with both the advantages and disadvantages of a long lens. I am now starting from scratch so to speak and the new version II 500 has complicated the future decision. This is why I am toying with the 300/2.8 II. All the very positive reviews and comments on the lens, including the OP here has just got me thinking more.

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    BPN Member Ian Cassell's Avatar
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    I just want to throw a wrench into this discussion from an amateur who can't even dream of owning one of these super-tele's (although I keep buying powerball tickets). This question is addressed to those who have been using the 300/2.8 with TC's. Last year, Sigma updated their 120-300/2.8 and the price is far below the Canon 300. Has any one of you given it serious consideration? Why or why not? (I know the Sigma 300-800/5.6 has some strong followers, so I assume it is not just because of an intrinsic bias against 3rd party lenses). I keep thinking it might be the only way some of us could afford to get an AF 600mm. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    Forum Participant John Chardine's Avatar
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    Hi Ian- In a sense the comparison is Apples and Oranges because the discussion is about primes and you are talking about zooms. By all accounts the Sigma long primes are quite competitive IQ-wise and still a lot cheaper than the Canon or Nikon super-teles.

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    BPN Member Ian Cassell's Avatar
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    Yes and no, John. That all depends on how far superior the IQ of a 300 prime is to the IQ of a 300 zoom, right? Does the Canon 300/2.8 prime run circles around the Sigma zoom (my guess is the answer is Yes, but I've seen nothing to document that fact)?

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    Ian,

    Many moons ago I owned the Sigma 300-800/5.6 lens. This is an incredible lens. It's downfall however is that the autofocus is slow due to this lens not having a focus-limit switch. Trying to do any birds-in-flight is very hard to do. The only way to get this to work is to prefocus manually, then autofocus.

    I believe the Sigma 120-300/2.8 also does not have a focus-limit switch on the version II with OS. I know for sure the first version did not and therefore I would not waste my time with it. Also, back about 8 years ago, some Sigma lenses had compatibility issues with the newer Canon bodies. Some lenses Sigma "rechipped" while others weren't as lucky. I had a 400 f/5.6 that was not capable of being "rechipped" and had to sell it for a loss. Both the lack of a focus-limit switch and incompatibility issues with Canon bodies has left a bad taste in my mouth and I will not touch them.

    Canon L lenses are an investment and rarely go down in value. I know they are extremely expensive, but you do get what you pay for.

    Alan
    www.iwishicouldfly.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Cassell View Post
    I just want to throw a wrench into this discussion from an amateur who can't even dream of owning one of these super-tele's (although I keep buying powerball tickets). This question is addressed to those who have been using the 300/2.8 with TC's. Last year, Sigma updated their 120-300/2.8 and the price is far below the Canon 300. Has any one of you given it serious consideration? Why or why not? (I know the Sigma 300-800/5.6 has some strong followers, so I assume it is not just because of an intrinsic bias against 3rd party lenses). I keep thinking it might be the only way some of us could afford to get an AF 600mm. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    BPN Member Roger Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Cassell View Post
    Yes and no, John. That all depends on how far superior the IQ of a 300 prime is to the IQ of a 300 zoom, right? Does the Canon 300/2.8 prime run circles around the Sigma zoom (my guess is the answer is Yes, but I've seen nothing to document that fact)?
    Ian,
    Check lensrentals.com: they have MTF charts for all (most) tele lenses. I look at the sigma zoom MTF charts from another thread here, and like typical zoom (not offending an manufacturer here), it is soft compared to the fixed focal length lenses. So if soft and slower AF, then one has to weigh those factors against continuing to save for a better lens (again independent of manufacturer).

    In general, telephoto zooms have been softer and AF slower, but we can hope that will change with new designs. The Nikon 200-400 narrowed the gap between zoom and fixed FL lenses; will the new Canon? We need the gap narrowed and the price reduced.

    Roger

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    Thanks Alan and Roger for your input. Yes, the lack of the limiter caught my attention. I use it constantly on my Canon 400/5.6 and, frankly, was surprised when Sigma didn't add one. I agree with your statement, Roger -- we need the gap narrowed and the price reduced (although the Nikon 200-400 is not an inexpensive piece of glass). All of the hearsay about the new canon 200-400 does not suggest that the price will be low :|

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post
    Hi Artie,
    Note though, that with digital, and in particular the latest range of digital cameras: pixel size changes the game. For example, here is little difference between a given lens on a camera with small pixels as the same lens with larger pixels and TCs. Not that long ago, the top Canon camera was the 1D Mark II with 8.2 micron pixels. Now we have a 7D with 4.3 micron pixels, so we have the detail with the 7D with a bare 500 mm that with the 1DII needed 950 mm (so a 2x TC) to get the same detail on a subject. And with the improved pixel efficiency, the 7D would actually have better signal-to-noise ratios given the same shutter speed. And better AF because you would be working without TCs. So with a 300 mm f/2.8 and a camera with small pixels, people can do better than the top gear using TCs of only 5 or 6 years ago. There are a couple of threads in the BPN gear forum on this subject I started over the last couple of months, and I've started writing up the concepts here:

    Telephoto Reach, Part 2: Telephoto + Camera System Performance (A Omega Product, or Etendue, Advanced Concepts)
    http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/...m.performance/

    (Warning: this is more technical than my usual stuff! And note this is a new article I'm still refining. Once I have more examples, I'll make an article for BPN.)

    I also have been using my 300 f/2.8 more. It is now the main lens I will take on safari to Africa. But I still like then 500 too.

    Roger
    Hi Roger and thanks. When it comes to pixels size and pixels on the subject I am very confused. I thought that larger pixels were better for controlling noise. And when it comes to image quality it seems that you are saying that the 7D is great. If that is true than why has everyone been bitching about lack of image quality and noise with the 7D for years?

    I will skip the link thank you very much :). When I try to read those threads my brain hurts. I try a new camera, look at the images without blowing them up to check for sharpness, and work the images. If I like what comes out then I like the camera.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Chardine View Post
    Thanks again Artie and Roger.

    Regarding shimmer, I live in a coastal area where the water is usually a lot cooler than the air. Also winter runs from Nov-Mar. These conditions create shimmer for me at least several times of year. It almost always happens on sunny days so it's pretty easy to avoid but every now and then it happens. What I meant about flexibility is that 600mm would be way too much in many situations I shoot, and you can't just take a hacksaw and cut it in half to get a 300mm lens but you can make a 300mm into a 600mm lens. I realise with the 300mm you lose the long reach of the 600 with TCs.

    I owned the Canon 500/4 until it was stolen last August. It was a dream for me to own for 3+ years and it still hurts to think about it gone! I know, it was only a "thing", but it was a very nice "thing"! So I am familiar with both the advantages and disadvantages of a long lens. I am now starting from scratch so to speak and the new version II 500 has complicated the future decision. This is why I am toying with the 300/2.8 II. All the very positive reviews and comments on the lens, including the OP here has just got me thinking more.
    YAW. Obviously you will be losing a lot of reach with the 300 not the 500. 25 to 9 is how I calculate the size of the bird in the frame with the two, the square of the focal length....

    Birds too close? That's why I always have the 70/200 usually with a 1.4X on a Black Rapid RS-7 strap with me at all times.... Or the 300 carried the same way as I did in Japan.

    Sorry to hear of your loss. One thing that you might consider with your next piece of big glass is equipment insurance.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: 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 Ian Cassell View Post
    I just want to throw a wrench into this discussion from an amateur who can't even dream of owning one of these super-tele's (although I keep buying powerball tickets). This question is addressed to those who have been using the 300/2.8 with TC's. Last year, Sigma updated their 120-300/2.8 and the price is far below the Canon 300. Has any one of you given it serious consideration? Why or why not? (I know the Sigma 300-800/5.6 has some strong followers, so I assume it is not just because of an intrinsic bias against 3rd party lenses). I keep thinking it might be the only way some of us could afford to get an AF 600mm. Thanks for your thoughts.
    I have seen the images that Robert O'Toole produces with various Sigma zooms. The quality is amazing and the versatility of his 50-500 with stabilization often has me thinking about quitting photography. And very light weight too. If I can wiggle around my Canon contract I would very much like to try one of those....
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
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    ps: to Johh. You might wish to consider renting the new Canon 200-400 w/TC for your Africa trip depending on the timing. Or a 70-200 if you have the 300 2.8 or a 500 by then.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post
    Ian,
    Check lensrentals.com: they have MTF charts for all (most) tele lenses. I look at the sigma zoom MTF charts from another thread here, and like typical zoom (not offending an manufacturer here), it is soft compared to the fixed focal length lenses. So if soft and slower AF, then one has to weigh those factors against continuing to save for a better lens (again independent of manufacturer).

    In general, telephoto zooms have been softer and AF slower, but we can hope that will change with new designs. The Nikon 200-400 narrowed the gap between zoom and fixed FL lenses; will the new Canon? We need the gap narrowed and the price reduced.

    Roger
    Again we get to the "How sharp do your images need to be under a microscope and why?" question. I have seen the RAW files that Robert O'Toole creates of birds in flight and action with various Sigma zooms. They are astounding. And sharp. And the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II L IS trumps the in general comment. At least for me. But I don't use a microscope. :) And I have never once in my life looked at an MTF chart. There are many who say that MTF charts should be viewed as advertising only as they are created by the guys who make the cameras....
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
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    Thanks for your input, Artie. I have also been impressed with Robert's images and, in fact, was going to drop him a line for his input and to see if he's had a chance to try that particular lens. When I went to LensRentals.com, Roger, I saw that they do have the lens. I might try renting it and evaluating it myself (although, I must admit, my evaluation at my stage of development would be limited and I would love to see the results in the hands of someone really good!)

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    Artie- The equipment was insured of course, but as anyone can attest who has been through a total loss like I did, the insurance never covers it. Many factors here not the least of which are price hikes and cheaper models being replaced by more expensive ones. Of course you are right about switching to another lens in tight situations. I decided to replace the 70-200/4 with the 70-200/2.8 II so have that one in hand. Roll on spring, summer and fall!

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    This thread has taken on many facets...as far as insurance is concerned... please be sure to review your policy every year and increase the value of your equipment accordingly. If equipment needs to be replaced, it should always be insured for its replacement value. For instance, I upped the value of my 600mm lens just a few weeks ago because if I have to replace it, it will be with version II. This raises my premiums a bit, but I always know my equipment is insured for full replacement value.

    Alan
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    Hi Alan- Unfortunately this option is not available from my insurance company. They do not allow self assessment of value above the amount you paid and supported by the invoice. If you need to up the value of your equipment you need to have it appraised by a professional, and this is clearly not something you are going to do every few months. I am fairly certain this is how all Canadian insurance companies work but if I'm wrong then I need to find another company. You can see why they do business this way- in your system what is to stop you from insuring an item for three or ten times the amount it is actually worth?
    Last edited by John Chardine; 03-12-2012 at 06:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Cassell View Post
    Thanks for your input, Artie. I have also been impressed with Robert's images and, in fact, was going to drop him a line for his input and to see if he's had a chance to try that particular lens. When I went to LensRentals.com, Roger, I saw that they do have the lens. I might try renting it and evaluating it myself (although, I must admit, my evaluation at my stage of development would be limited and I would love to see the results in the hands of someone really good!)
    Skill levels aside you can always put the lens on a tripod and shoot newsprint to check for sharpness. No microscopes please.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Good point, Artie (although it wouldn't tell me much about AF).

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    Robert's images tell me all that I need to know about Sigma zoom lens AF. Not convinced? Shoot moving cars on the street hand held at at least 1/1600 sec.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Again we get to the "How sharp do your images need to be under a microscope and why?" question. I have seen the RAW files that Robert O'Toole creates of birds in flight and action with various Sigma zooms. They are astounding. And sharp. And the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II L IS trumps the in general comment. At least for me. But I don't use a microscope. :) And I have never once in my life looked at an MTF chart. There are many who say that MTF charts should be viewed as advertising only as they are created by the guys who make the cameras....
    Hi Artie,

    You said: "And the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II L IS trumps the in general comment." to my comment that telephoto zooms are not as sharp as fixed focal length lenses. You are right, I usually say telephoto zooms above 200 mm are not as sharp and I forgot to add the above 200 mm part. Below and equal to 200 mm the 70-200 is an excellent example of sharp lens design (from more than just canon).

    "How sharp do your images need to be..."?

    Some of my image get enlarged quite a bit, 16x24, 20x30 and shown/sold in galleries, used in advertising, sold to private individuals/businesses and other uses. A 1DIV image is 4896 x 3264 and if printed at 20 x 30 inches is 245 pixels per inch. At that level, the image must be sharp at the pixel level or the print suffers. If the original image needed to be cropped, then it is an even more critical problem to have pixel level sharpness if one wants a large print. I agree that if one only wants web or magazine size (e.g. about 8x10 inches), requirements get relaxed and original pixel to pixel sharpness is not as much of a factor.

    Regarding MTF charts, "they are created by the guys who make the cameras." Nah, they are created by the guys and gals who make design and make the lenses .

    Actually I find MTF charts quite accurate and they tell a lot about performance regarding image quality. From Canon's published MTF charts, I bet people will find the largest improvement in image quality with the new 500 in comparison to the old 500 and that the image quality difference from the other new versus old superteles will be less. The new 500 looks like a near perfect lens for astrophotography (the original reason I bought my 500 over a decade ago). Stars are the toughest test for any lens and if it does well on stars it will do well on any subject.

    I also have a sigma 150-500 and find it sharper than my canon 100-400. My 100-400 can deliver an image that makes a nice 8x10 inch print, but not the level of detail the fixed focal length lenses can in larger prints. Compare the MTF charts for the 100-400 versus a 300 f/2.8 or the new 500 f/4 and we see a big difference:

    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum..._5_5_6l_is_usm
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...2_8l_is_ii_usm
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...f_4l_is_ii_usm

    Only look at the thin gray dashed and solid lines: that is the fine detail (but at the several pixel level; they don't show the pixel level as it is much worse). The closer the dashed and solid lines are together the better (otherwise stars look like little comets and find detail in bird feathers suffers) and the higher up these two lines are the better. Left to right on the graphs is center to the corner of a 35 mm frame. The 500 II MTF is well above 90% all across the frame (amazing--no other lens in the canon line-up is that good), compared to the 100-400 which drops down to 25% and separates the solid and dashed lines, make stars into little comets, and is about 10 to 15 times worse image quality at the edge. But whether it is important to anyone is up to them to decide.

    Roger





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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Hi Roger and thanks. When it comes to pixels size and pixels on the subject I am very confused. I thought that larger pixels were better for controlling noise. And when it comes to image quality it seems that you are saying that the 7D is great. If that is true than why has everyone been bitching about lack of image quality and noise with the 7D for years?
    Yes, I am saying there is great performance with a 7D versus larger pixel cameras. People complained about noise because they were mixing two (or more) things that affect noise. For example, a comparison might be 500 mm on a 7D and 1DIV, same f/ratio, same ISO, same shutter speed. But the 7D image shows more detail. The proper comparison is to add a 1.4x TC on the 1DIV then the pixel size on the subject (e.g. bird) is almost the same as the 7D + 500 (no TC). Then shoot at the same lens diameter (not f/ratio) (e.g. shoot wide open) and at the same shutter speed. Then the 7D and 1DIV images will be almost the same: same detail, same noise. No advantage to larger pixels. Larger pixels at a given focal length simply trade less detail for less noise.

    Pixel size is interchangeable with focal length. Increasing focal length by adding a TC or changing a camera to one with smaller pixels can produce the same result in image detail and noise. This is a paradigm shift for photographers but is a trade space done all the time in remote sensing instrument design (e.g. spacecraft and aircraft imaging systems).

    The game is changing. What formerly could be done with a large pixel camera and 1.4x TC on a 500 mm f/4 lens can now be done with no TCs and a 300 mm f/2.8 lens. Choose the camera with the lens. it is all part of the system design.

    Roger
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 03-12-2012 at 08:53 PM.

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  51. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post
    Hi Artie,

    You said: "And the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II L IS trumps the in general comment." to my comment that telephoto zooms are not as sharp as fixed focal length lenses. You are right, I usually say telephoto zooms above 200 mm are not as sharp and I forgot to add the above 200 mm part. Below and equal to 200 mm the 70-200 is an excellent example of sharp lens design (from more than just canon).

    "How sharp do your images need to be..."?

    Some of my image get enlarged quite a bit, 16x24, 20x30 and shown/sold in galleries, used in advertising, sold to private individuals/businesses and other uses. A 1DIV image is 4896 x 3264 and if printed at 20 x 30 inches is 245 pixels per inch. At that level, the image must be sharp at the pixel level or the print suffers. If the original image needed to be cropped, then it is an even more critical problem to have pixel level sharpness if one wants a large print. I agree that if one only wants web or magazine size (e.g. about 8x10 inches), requirements get relaxed and original pixel to pixel sharpness is not as much of a factor.

    Regarding MTF charts, "they are created by the guys who make the cameras." Nah, they are created by the guys and gals who make design and make the lenses .

    Actually I find MTF charts quite accurate and they tell a lot about performance regarding image quality. From Canon's published MTF charts, I bet people will find the largest improvement in image quality with the new 500 in comparison to the old 500 and that the image quality difference from the other new versus old superteles will be less. The new 500 looks like a near perfect lens for astrophotography (the original reason I bought my 500 over a decade ago). Stars are the toughest test for any lens and if it does well on stars it will do well on any subject.

    I also have a sigma 150-500 and find it sharper than my canon 100-400. My 100-400 can deliver an image that makes a nice 8x10 inch print, but not the level of detail the fixed focal length lenses can in larger prints. Compare the MTF charts for the 100-400 versus a 300 f/2.8 or the new 500 f/4 and we see a big difference:

    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum..._5_5_6l_is_usm
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...2_8l_is_ii_usm
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...f_4l_is_ii_usm

    Only look at the thin gray dashed and solid lines: that is the fine detail (but at the several pixel level; they don't show the pixel level as it is much worse). The closer the dashed and solid lines are together the better (otherwise stars look like little comets and find detail in bird feathers suffers) and the higher up these two lines are the better. Left to right on the graphs is center to the corner of a 35 mm frame. The 500 II MTF is well above 90% all across the frame (amazing--no other lens in the canon line-up is that good), compared to the 100-400 which drops down to 25% and separates the solid and dashed lines, make stars into little comets, and is about 10 to 15 times worse image quality at the edge. But whether it is important to anyone is up to them to decide.

    Roger
    Agree and thanks a lot. The fact that we rarely make large prints (other than canvas) and sell our images primarily for we, book, and magazine use explains a lot. But when I hear folks talk about large prints I often wonder if they take viewing distance into account or if they are back to their microscopes.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.
    BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours: we cost more because you get more and learn more.






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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post
    Yes, I am saying there is great performance with a 7D versus larger pixel cameras. People complained about noise because they were mixing two (or more) things that affect noise. For example, a comparison might be 500 mm on a 7D and 1DIV, same f/ratio, same ISO, same shutter speed. But the 7D image shows more detail. The proper comparison is to add a 1.4x TC on the 1DIV then the pixel size on the subject (e.g. bird) is almost the same as the 7D + 500 (no TC). Then shoot at the same lens diameter (not f/ratio) (e.g. shoot wide open) and at the same shutter speed. Then the 7D and 1DIV images will be almost the same: same detail, same noise. No advantage to larger pixels. Larger pixels at a given focal length simply trade less detail for less noise.

    Pixel size is interchangeable with focal length. Increasing focal length by adding a TC or changing a camera to one with smaller pixels can produce the same result in image detail and noise. This is a paradigm shift for photographers but is a trade space done all the time in remote sensing instrument design (e.g. spacecraft and aircraft imaging systems).

    The game is changing. What formerly could be done with a large pixel camera and 1.4x TC on a 500 mm f/4 lens can now be done with no TCs and a 300 mm f/2.8 lens. Choose the camera with the lens. it is all part of the system design.

    Roger
    Thanks. That's about as close to understanding that stuff as I have ever come. I will need to keep coming back and studying.

    If folks under-expose images created with a small pixel camera like the 7D will the noise levels be worse than with a Mark IV for example.

    On a related topic, a Canadian landscape photographer with a pretty good eye, Darwin Wiggett, absolutely trashed the image quality of the 7D when it first came out. I mean trashed.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
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    ps: I tried to find the trashing on his site using the search feature with no luck. Off to the gate!
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.
    BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours: we cost more because you get more and learn more.






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