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ManuCH
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Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:32 pm

I currently own a Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT) with an el-cheapo Canon 75-300 f/4.0-5.6 III lens (no IS, no USM). I am starting to think that there's no hope in getting a decent picture quality out of that lens, at least not a quality good enough to submit pictures to A.net.

Almost all pictures I take are very, very soft, and lack of contrast. It's definitely not motion blur, and not out of focus either. I shoot in aperture priority mode at f/8. Even using the "JID workflow" doesn't help much.

The camera body itself isn't the problem - I can get really great pictures by using a 50mm f/1.4 prime, but this has obviously nothing to do with aviation photography. Heck, even the dreaded 18-55 kit lens is better than the zoom  Smile

What do you think - is the 75-300 a hopeless lens when trying to use it for A.net? Or is it just me? Do I have a bad copy? Is there anyone here taking good pictures with that lens?

As an alternative I've been looking at something more expensive... for example the 70-200 f/4.0L with a 1.4x extender. I understand that pictures with this combination are very sharp. The photographer at my local camera store recommends the Canon 70-300 DO IS. What do you think?

Thank you
-Manuel
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wietse
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:37 pm

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
The photographer at my local camera store recommends the Canon 70-300 DO IS. What do you think?

I think he wants to rip you off, or at least for what you intend to use it for. The DO IS lenses are much more expensive than the normal counterparts (75-300 USM vs. 75-300 DO IS) and the only reason for getting one would be the very compact size of those lenses. Otherwise, they are too expensive for the quality they deliver.

The 70-200 f4 is a great lens as is the 100-400 L IS. Both lenses are used quite extensively on A.net photos.
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sulman
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:45 pm

Manuel,

- What kind of subjects are you shooting, and where? Approach shots, small a/c, fast/slow moving?
- What sort of focal length - above 200mm?
- How many times have you been out with it?

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the 75-300 you mention. Yes it's a bit soft at the long end, but there's plenty of people here that have learnt to get good results with it. The other thing to remember is that you will get better results with practice.

You mention motion blur not being a problem. Don't be so sure; the 350D is very light, as is the lens, it can be very difficult to keep things steady.

Cheers


James
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javibi
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:52 pm

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
The photographer at my local camera store recommends the Canon 70-300 DO IS. What do you think?

Do not listen to him/her!! The 70-300 DO IS has several good points, it is conspicuous and light, it is very practical when traveling, but I can assure you that compared with the 100-400 L it is really soft. Unless size and weight is very important for you, go for the old 75-300 IS or even better the 100-400 L if you can afford it.

My two cents

j
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:57 pm

Thank you for your tips.

Quoting Sulman (Reply 2):
- What kind of subjects are you shooting, and where? Approach shots, small a/c, fast/slow moving?
- What sort of focal length - above 200mm?
- How many times have you been out with it?

I am trying to shoot approaching small a/c (mostly single engines at our local airfield in Locarno, Switzerland). I'm mainly using focal lengths around 200mm, sometimes 300mm but that's when things start to get *really* soft, so I try to remain under that, then crop.

I haven't been out with it too many times yet. Maybe practice will get things better. At least that's what I'll try to do before purchasing more expensive equipment.

And thank you for warning me of the 70-300 DO IS ... I'll stick with the 70-200 f/4.0L choice, which seems the least expensive way to get into "L" glasses. But again, maybe not now... I have to save up some more money first  Smile
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:07 am

Oh, one more thing I forgot to ask ... is the in-camera sharpening of the 350D really that bad? In other words, is it a must to turn this function off, then do all the sharpening with Photoshop's USM? Or can I leave it there? I know I could try and find out - but you seem all so experienced here that any help is appreciated.
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sulman
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:34 am

Manuel,

200-300mm isn't an easy range to get good results with..you will certainly do better with practice.

If you can get to an airport and work with larger aircraft at 75-150mm, you'll find the output a totally different story.

I use the 70-200 and I still have to make sure my hands are very steady at 200mm; with no IS camera shake is still a problem for me.

Cheers


James
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DLKAPA
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:37 am

It's best to keep the sharpening at a minimum in camera, I set mine to 0. Also, I've been using the 75-300 (no IS or USM) for about a year now, and I've learned to get some great results with it. First of all, the aperture MUST be set to 8.0 or smaller, usually between 8.0 and 11.0. Second, at 300mm it is going to be soft, but lately I've started seeing some excellent results between 70 and 200mm, results that rank right up with the 70-200f/4L that you've mentioned. In poor light, this lens definetly goes in the bag, but in good light you can do almost anything with it. Hell, yesterday I was out at DEN in high-noon lighting taking mosly backlit belly shots and they still turned out amazing.

In the long run, it will probably be to your benefit to go for the L glass, but i suggest working with this lens for awhile, learn its ups and downs that way you'll really get an ass-kicking when you use the L.
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Bruce
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:04 am

I used to have that same lens and i had a lot of trouble shooting the very smallest aircraft. its really not the best lens. However if you can use it for big jets it is not TOO bad.

bruce
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Brick
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:04 am

I used this same lens from about September 2000 to July 2004. Except for at the fullest zoom, I never had issues with the quality of images. I didn't use auto focus either (on a Canon 630 it couldn't handle the type of photography we do).
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jumbojim747
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:45 am

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
for example the 70-200 f/4.0L

IMO one of the best lenses on the market.
I would defiantly go with it.
I owned this lens and its very sharp even at 200mm .
Im sure the new owner is also happy as he is also an Anetter.
Cheers
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johndm1957
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RE: Canon 75-300 F/4.0-5.6 III - Any Hope?

Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:52 am

All my pictures 'in flight' dated 2004 were taken with a Canon non USM 75-300, but it does struggle at 300mm.

This one taken at 300mm


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Photo © John Myers






Regards
Canon 550D, 18-55, 50 1.8, 100-400L

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