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Soft Images From Canon 100-400  
User currently offlineDLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1910 posts, RR: 19
Posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 10073 times:

I've had my 100-400 for 8 years and over the last year I've noticed many of my photos taken over 250mm to be rather soft. Also the last few times I've used the lens, when I focus on a plane against a blue sky and higher focal length, the lens searches for a while and has trouble focusing. I called Canon and they recommended I send it in to be looked at. I've never had the lens worked on or professionally cleaned. I read online about lens calibrations. Does this sound like something that might help my lens? Has anyone on here had their lens calibrated and had successful results? What was the cost?

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineclickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9633 posts, RR: 68
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 10062 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Justin - as a complex piece of machinery, with lots of wear and tear, a lens can get out of spec pretty easily. There should not be a cost to adjust it, but for best results they will also want the body you use it on. My experience is that it will come back in better order than which you sent it.

User currently offlineUnited_fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7496 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9759 times:

Where does one send theirs in to?


'Empathy was yesterday...Today, you're wasting my Mother-F'ing time' - Heat.
User currently offlineDLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1910 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9752 times:

Quoting clickhappy (Reply 1):
There should not be a cost to adjust it, but for best results they will also want the body you use it on.

Thanks Royal! I sent it in but it is going to cost. $268 to be exact. Not cheap but I figure I've made it this long with no work done to it. At least this isn't a yearly maintenance cost. Just hope it comes back looking better. I won't be a happy camper if I'm still having softness issues after I get it back.

Quoting United_fan (Reply 2):
Where does one send theirs in to?

I used http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...r/standard_display/consumer_repair

And then sent it to Newport News, VA.


User currently offlineclickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9633 posts, RR: 68
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9738 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Not sure how often you use the lens (most likely your most used?) but $300 is well spent, it will come back better than new. Keep us posted, will love to hear the end result.

User currently offlineUnited_fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7496 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 9732 times:

Thanks,Royal. I've had my 100-400 for probably 7 years. Need a tune up,I'm sure.


'Empathy was yesterday...Today, you're wasting my Mother-F'ing time' - Heat.
User currently offlineDLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1910 posts, RR: 19
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 9434 times:

Got my lens back 9 days after I sent it to them! Pretty pleased with the turn around time!

Repair Details read: "Your product has been examined and it was found that the resolution was poor causing the focus to operate improperly. Adjustments were carried out on the AF assembly and product functions were confirmed." So I guess my autofocus was in need of repair.

Of course, I loved watching the FedEx driver pull up to my apartment building, open the back of the truck, toss my box a couple feet in the air, watch it fall back to the ground and then bring it to me nice and dented. I confronted him about it and he asked me to open it to check for damage but of course the true potential damage wouldn't be visible on the outside of the lens. I called FedEx to complain and talk about damage claims with them. I tried the lens out and it appears to be focusing like new again and images appear rather sharp but the lens will get it's true test this weekend if I take her out to the airport and put her to work. If I start to notice malfunctioning that could have resulted from Mr. FedEx delivery driver's mishandling, I have 9 months from today to file a damage claim with FedEx. Let's hope it doesn't come to that...


User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5055 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9322 times:

I sent mine in back in 2009, it cost $300+ and they said focus was reset to specs. For a little while I noticed it seemed to be slightly better, but overall since then......not a huge difference at 400. And if this lens is going to need calibration every 12-18 months at $300 a pop, that isn't worth it.

From others I've read, this is an issue with many of these lenses. I'm not too impressed with Canon. After all, this is one of their "L" series and is supposed to be the best of their line. I've seen images from a Tamron 200-500 on a Nikon body that look better.

This "L" series lens is also a dust-magnet for the sensor - again, for a product that has been on the market for a dozen years (or more) you would think they'd improve on it and its performance. The in-body dust removal feature is useless. Totally.

Bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineNPeterman From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 179 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9294 times:

Have you actually had a dust issue with your 100-400? I hear the dust magnet name thrown around with this lens all the time, but it seems that very few people actually have that issue. I have shot with mine in Arizona sandstorms, California Wildfires, and throughout the Southwestern USA, end not had any dust issues whatsoever.

While some people may have had "dust-pump" experiences, it certainly isn't every lens that does.


User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5055 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 9275 times:

Yes, dust is getting to my sensor regularly.

Bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 740 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 9241 times:

The lens is a very old design - the push pull action dates from the need to focus manually, so it is perhaps not surprising that dust prevention is not up to DSLR requirements.

Its also one of Canon's oldest IS implementations ( maybe the first, though I think the 300f4 might hold that honor), so again, one might expect performance to be below current standard - the IS system will of course impact on image quality whether you use it or not, as it is another set of lenses.

What is surprising is that Canon has taken so long to update such a popular lens. It is rumored that a replacement is in the works (in addition to the 200-400 with built in 1.4 convertor). But I doubt it will be this year, or less than 3-4k when it does appear.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinetopgun3 From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9235 times:

Just sent my 3 year old Canon 70-200mm 2.8 non-IS for service due to a forward segment getting loose....already picked up a newer 70-200mm IS USM mark II version to keep me going. Can't wait to see what the Canon guys do with the older lens.


I'd rather be flying.
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9230 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 10):
The lens is a very old design - the push pull action dates from the need to focus manually, so it is perhaps not surprising that dust prevention is not up to DSLR requirements.

Unfortunately, that's the most convenient aspect of it - the push-pull zoom design is very fast and easy to use. I've tried this lens with a 7D and been amazed at how good it was for hand-held panning type shots. The one I tried was extremely sharp - surprisingly so give all the comments I'd seen and heard.

Quoting Bruce (Reply 7):
This "L" series lens is also a dust-magnet for the sensor - again, for a product that has been on the market for a dozen years (or more) you would think they'd improve on it and its performance. The in-body dust removal feature is useless. Totally.

If you find the dust being a common problem, you can use Eclipse fluid and some Tiffen lens tissue or Silbon paper wrapped around a narrow implement like a long wooden skewer used in cooking (use the blunt end of it). How to do it:

1. http://youtu.be/fPcvaJl-eS4
2. http://youtu.be/h2yfZL0edqs

Before doing any wet cleaning, use a blower! And follow those instructions to the letter!

As a side note, pick up the lens tissue with a metal tweezer - do not touch the working end of the paper with your fingers (they can be oily). Keep your hair tied back or covered (whichever is appropriate) - and work in a very clean environment. And for the fluid, just normal eclipse fluid works well. But don't use too much of it - or you'll get streaks. Generally, no more than 2 drops to the end of the tissue is enough.

Another tip - a doctors magnifying lamp is very helpful when doing this. This is the method I use - I've had no troubles so far, and it saves me a lot of money using cheap lens tissues.

[Edited 2012-06-01 19:42:17]

[Edited 2012-06-01 19:46:50]

User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4811 posts, RR: 25
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9165 times:
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Quoting Bruce (Reply 7):
This "L" series lens is also a dust-magnet for the sensor - again, for a product that has been on the market for a dozen years (or more) you would think they'd improve on it and its performance. The in-body dust removal feature is useless. Totally.
Quoting NPeterman (Reply 8):
Have you actually had a dust issue with your 100-400? I hear the dust magnet name thrown around with this lens all the time, but it seems that very few people actually have that issue. I have shot with mine in Arizona sandstorms, California Wildfires, and throughout the Southwestern USA, end not had any dust issues whatsoever.

I jokingly refer to my 100-400 all the time as the "dust pump", however I have never had a dust issue using the lens. I have only needed to clean a sensor once, on my 40D a couple of years ago. My 7D never has any issue with dust even when paired with the 100-400. I think the internal sensor cleaning system is actually being effective.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9162 times:

Does anyone know if the 100-400 is actually par-focal by the way? Interesting to note Ryan's comment about the push/pull being handy for framing a subject fast - it would therefore seem a bit of a contradiction if it wasn't par-focal.

Karl


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 740 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 9110 times:

No its not par focal. But if you think of this as a design for manual focus cameras, that's not really surprising - afterall, the odds of changing the zoom range without altering focus are pretty low (obviously with AF systems, the focus is adjusted for you).

I think whether the push pull design is a plus or a minus is a matter of personal preference, but I'm not aware of any zoom lens which features a single zoom/focus control since autofocus cameras became the norm.

I can't recall what happens with the 100-400, but the norm with current L zooms is that changing the focus ring overrides the AF - which can be a useful feature, but not something you'd want to do in error (while zooming).

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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