Topic Author
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 7:36 am

Extender Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:00 am

Good Morning,

I use Canon 5D Mark ii and the longest lens I have is 70-200. Most of the time I take photographs near Istanbul Ataturk airport, however I could not find a spot close enough due to the fact that security is really itchy around the airport. Nowadays the best place I found to take photographs is a park 800 meters south of the 18-36 runway.

Unfortunately, the aircraft taking of usually takes off much earlier so they are quite up in the air for me to take their photograph with 70-200. Since I dont have the funds to buy a 400 mm or upper lens I bought the 2x extender for the Canon. Last saturday when I went to take photographs with the extender for the first time, I was shocked to see the lack of sharpness in the images. I was expecting a bit of bluriness but just enogh to correct with the photoshop. However the images were really smudgy.

I did my best to correct the images, while transfering from RAW I began to sharpen and I used the unsharp mask at CS5 and sent one photograph to the screeners here at the airliners. Of course it got bounced by the screeners with a nice personal note of " vignetting,looks like oversharpened blurry original".

When I just use 70-200, from cropping and maximizing the image I get the same bluriness as I am using the extender.

At the moment I can't find a spot closer to the airport so the extender was my only hope, if you guys have any suggestions for sharpening or have a better way of using the extender please let me know,
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RE: Extender Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:43 am

Exactly which model/version extender did you get? And which version of the 70-200?

With the Canon 2x Mk2 or 3 it should be possible to get acceptable images, but certainly not as sharp as without the extender (or indeed a 1.4 convertor).

With no margin for error, your technique needs to be spot on. Handling a 400mm lens is quite different to a 200mm - you need to be very aware of camera shake (perhaps try increasing your shutter speed, and then gradually reduce until you find your comfort zone).

Focus is also much more critical as the depth of field is significantly reduced ... plus you need to open up more to get a usable shutter speed. Great though the 5D is, it's AF is not a strong point ... you may need to try a different technique to what you were using at 200mm


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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RE: Extender Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:28 pm

It's a lot down to technique like Colin says. Me and my 2x MkIII are really beginning to become good friends  
But, I have a 7D and don't suffer from vignetting to the extent that 5D does being FF, but the 5D sensor should be superior the the 7D's.

I just need to get my thumb out and upload some shots of departing planes shot from 1000-1200 meters distance. So far I only have 3 shoths in the DB shot with the combo, 2 of taxiing planes, distance 400m. One departing Norwegian, distance approx 1500m, cropped of course.
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RE: Extender Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:07 pm

Quoting LLA001 (Thread starter):
However the images were really smudgy

Another issue with using long lenses that needs considering is atmospheric conditions. If the air is humid or dusty, and on warm days turbulent due to heat haze, this can make photography at distance impossible. No matter what camera or lens you are using, if the air isn't clean, you'll not get a clear shot. It can be like shooting through a dirty window in summer with long focal lengths.

Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
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RE: Extender Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:40 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 1):
Focus is also much more critical as the depth of field is significantly reduced

Reduced to several hundred meters, he means. Is that really too little for a 5D?
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RE: Extender Question

Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:15 am

Quoting timz (Reply 4):
Reduced to several hundred meters

If you assume the lens is focused at infinity, and not front focusing (either due to poor calibration, or misfocus). I do love the 5D dearly, but by current standards the AF is crap. If you are relying on full area focus with a teleconvertor, the peripheral focus points are not very reliable. What may have worked with a straight 200 - either because the focus was more accurate, or you had greater margin for error - may not work with the telecon.

As an intial step towards solving the problem, I would switch to central point focusing (if you haven't already).


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 7:36 am

RE: Extender Question

Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:00 am

Good Morning again,

Colin, Jonh, Darren, Tim, thank you for your replies,

I have 70-200 f2.8 USM L - it is pretty old I got in 2000 but it still produces fine images,

for the extender I got the Canon Mark 2, i was going to get Mark 3 but a lot of reviews wrote that Mark 2 is better compatible with older lenses.

As you have all suggested, I will re-think about the techniques I will use. Last saturday it was the first time I used the extender. Fortunately, since I am at least a kilometer away from take off point, the aircraft taking off are relatively slow from my view so shutter speed and focusing shouldn't be a big problem. However, this weekend I will do some tests on some static objects in the distance so I can determine whether shutter speed and autofocus was the cause of the problem or not. If they are then I will adjust my settings but if I push the shutter speed to high, in these low winter day lights it will be a problem as well since my f2.8 lens becomes f5.6 with the extender.

The humidity and haze levels which are usually high around Istanbul is relatively in good levels in december, so I dont think it is a big factor at the moment but certainly by may or june it will effect my photography at the distance.

Well I will let you know of the results, I hope I can manage to improve my images by your suggestions, I had maybe 25 rejections in the past two years and only two got accepted because I was close enough to the aircraft,

Thanks again

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