KelvinCJ
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Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:22 pm

Hello,

Recently I decided to purchase a new Canon 100-400mm l lens, but since its arrival have only been disappointed with it.
Unfortunately, I fear it may be something internally wrong with the lens. I have compared it against my Tamron 70-300mm USD and can literally see no difference, at all, in terms of quality or sharpness. I have tried different apertures to no avail and am thinking perhaps a visit to the Canon service centre is best?

I will have it for the next 2 weeks regardless of hoping to send it in for repair or not - and was hoping in that time to be able to test it further. Unfortunately at the moment I am unable to post examples - it just seems to me that the entire focal range is soft, no matter what I try. I have heard of some lenses having misaligned inards due to the design / shipping process but have not heard of any actual individuals affected by such an issue?

Some people I have observed find the difference when using a filter; I have tried with and without and have unfortunately observed nochange in image quality.

Thus leading me to believe that it is something with the lens? It seems to focus okay however I have not tested this fully yet.

I wanted to post here to ask if anyone has had any similar issues and their course of action?

Finally, I know I could be at fault here, as indeed some have claimed their lenses faulty then had good shots with it etc. after a few outings - which is why I wanted to allow a 2 week 'testing period' to ensure it is the lens and not myself at fault?
 
hrtsfldhomeboy
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:43 pm

something is wrong with your lens. canon didn't make the 100-400 a popular lens cause it poduced the same quality as a lens 1/5th the value.

FedEx that puppy to a canon service center. Include your warranty information too.
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:06 pm

Thank you for the reply.

I am hoping to send both the lens and my camera in for repair should it come to that. Unfortunately, by having a 500D and no micro focus adjustment that is another downfall I fear.

The best example I can give, of what I see is from: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/598361

The best I have obtained is the first examples at f5.6 and f6.3. I have been unable to achieve anything close to the filtered f7.1 or f8.0, let alone the non-filtered images.
 
RCoulter
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:25 pm

The best results with my and a lot of other 100-400's are in the F/8-F/10 range in my experience without a filter.
 
addew1
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:00 pm

Quoting RCoulter (Reply 3):

Totally agree with RCoulter. My 100-400 performs at its peak at the same settings without filter
 
ckw
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:10 pm

I think the first thing to establish is whether the lens is damaged in some way, or if it (or the camera!) simply need calibration. Here's how I'd go about it (and get rid of the filter, it will only confuse things!)

First, make sure IS is turned off! - this is a potential problem, so eliminate it from the test.

1 - put the lens on a tripod (needs to be unmoved) and focus on a target - at around miday distance. (neither too close nor at infinity

2 - turn AF off, and focus on the target manually - you will need good light to do this accurately.

If the results from 2 are better than one, then the lens simply needs calibrating. Not a big deal. Otherwise you have a problem with the elements in the lens. Fixable, but more pricey.

If both sets of results look OK, perhaps the problem was with the IS unit. Repeat the tests above, except this time take alternate shots with the IS on and off. If you see a difference, the IS unit needs replacing.

To be throrough you probably need to repeat the testing at different zoom settings, though your problem sounds severe enough that it will be apparent at any focal length.

Finally, it is worth considering whether your technique is at fault (not knowing your range of experience). The lens is much bigger and over twice the weight of your Tamron. Shutter speeds which worked for you with the Tamron may not be fast enough for sharp images from the Canon just yet. Again, the tripod test will help determine if this is the case.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:52 pm

Thank you all for the replies.

I have undertaken the Colin test and can report that I did not really see any difference - the only difference found between 2 and 1 was that via my manual focus I could read the text surrounding the area of interest a little easier.

The problem I seem to be getting is that noise and grain, together with,'soft' text which makes for a less than appealing image. I can say, however, that by removing the filter images appear less blurred and text is slightly clearer. However, I do not seem to be anywhere near the clarity expected. To me, it seems to work fine but the optics (camera or lens) are the letdown.

In simple terms it seems like viewing an image with no quality filtering such as no anisotropic filtering. It just does not seem sharp regardless of the focal length or aperture. I would consider myself a novice however.

The company I ordered from have no more in stock so I cannot easily return for a replacement.

It just seems to lack the HD factor.

[Edited 2012-06-15 09:54:44]
 
ckw
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:12 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 6):
The problem I seem to be getting is that noise and grain, together with,'soft' text which makes for a less than appealing image.

Noise/grain is a different matter altogether, which would not be related to poor focus. However it is possible that a defective lens is not responding to exposure data sent by the camera resulting in underexposure.

But without examples, its a bit hard to diagnose.

Essentially, if you have carried out the tests I suggested and no images are sharp, the lens would appear to be defective and needs to be replaced, rather than calibrated.

The fact that the company had no more in stock makes me a little suspicious (this isn't a rare lens). Perhaps you've been sent an old returned item. Personally I would request a refund and buy elsewhere.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:27 pm

If you bought online the seller should offer a 30-day, no qualms refund policy if you aren't happy with the item. I purchased my 100-400 from Park Cameras (London) and returned the first example as it was very soft one side towards the extreme telephoto end. Its replacement (my current 100-400) arrived without fuss and is absolutely amazing; come winter it takes over the job of primary lens from my (ultra-sharp) 70-200 f/4.

A lot of bad experiences with the 100-400 come from either crap filters or people expecting it to produce wonderfully sharp images at 400mm over a distance of two miles at mid-day in Bangkok in summer! Of course in your case it genuinely appears that there is some sort of fault, so for peace of mind I'd just get it replaced. It is your entitlement and when paying over £1,000 for a lens one expects it to do the task for which it was intended!

Karl
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:19 pm

Thank you for the replies.

I trust the retailer and would rather send it to Canon - afterall, the retailer has done nothing wrong and Canon are at fault here not the retailer. They said they would have more stock in about 2 weeks.

The lens itself is only a few months old - manufactured in March of this year.

I really do not know what the problem is? From the LCD screen I see no difference between the quality at any aperture at the same focal length - the whole image appears almost blurry. In fact, the LCD portrays this kind of quality:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...1019&message=41394076&changemode=1

For the initial non serviced shots.
I think I will keep trying for 2 weeks anyway, but at the same time doubt it will resolve itself.

It seems as if it might be something as simple as the focus but as my 500D has no micro focus adjustment I would need to send it for repair anyway.

Thank you all for your help and advice.
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:42 am

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 9):
I think I will keep trying for 2 weeks anyway,

No offense, but this the absolute wrong thing to do. If the lens is broken, box it up and send it back to the retailer. They can deal with Canon. After all, isn't that what their job is?

If you keep the lens you risk damaging it.

Rereading your story does not seem to make much sense, actually. If you bought the lens, retail, and it is duff, send it back. Get a refund.

If you want to rule out your camera, try the lens on another body. Take it to the shop and ask them what they think. Pretty much do *anything* except what you are saying you are going to do.
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:58 am

Couldn't have put it any better myself Royal.

If you bought a car that claimed to do 100mph but only did 20mph would you continue to 'try' and get it to go 100mph? Or would you return it sharpish?

I know what I'd do.....

Karl
 
aussie18
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:19 am

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 6):

The company I ordered from have no more in stock so I cannot easily return for a replacement.

Did you order it online and does it come with warranty,I know you can buy discounted new camera gear and lenses online which come with no warranty or short term warranty which doesnt cover certain things.It can be the risk you take for a cheaper price.

As Royal mentioned above I would agree that you should take it back and either get a refund or replacement depending how long you have to wait for it,I would either go out if you have time over the weekend and take some shots(If weather is good) and if there is no improvement than send it back straight away next week.

You paid for a brand new lens so it should be in good condition,It shouldnt be your responsibility to send it to Canon and pay for it to be re-calibrated or repaired.

Cheers Mark
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:01 pm

Thank you all for the replies.

After reviewing others' images etc. I am sure my problem is similar to whatever Ryan (Silver1SWA) encountered.

I saw on Ryan's profile the two different bird images and must admit, the kind of quality I see is the same as in the worst example. Last night I tried some jpeg with camera sharpening and the images appeared closer to the better image example.

Furthermore I looked at some 738 comparisons and can only note at full crop or there abouts that the windows appeared slightly sharper on my LCD screen.

I will try some more tests today but RAW images look like they were taken from my Tamron. Using jpeg did improve quality somewhat using in camera sharpening but I have not yet tested jpeg against the Tamron. I can try and post some examples of the screen later today as I presently do not have computer access.

[Edited 2012-06-16 06:02:15]

Sorry I forgot to add it does come with a warranty and was indeed bought online. Another slight issue I imagine is that the warranty card states 'USA and Canada Only' but from what I have read online Canon UK or Europe can / will still service it under warranty as it is only currently 3 months old out of the 12 for warranty anyway? - Perhaps that is incorrect?


[Edited 2012-06-16 06:13:07]
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:16 pm

Irrelevant. Just take it back to the shop. As the seller it is partly their responsibility.

Or you can keep testing it 'til the 30 day 'cooling-off' period is over.......

If there's any doubt just take it back. You obviously aren't a novice and it's not that complicated a piece of equipment.

Karl
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:18 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 13):
After reviewing others' images etc. I am sure my problem is similar to whatever Ryan (Silver1SWA) encountered.

I saw on Ryan's profile the two different bird images and must admit, the kind of quality I see is the same as in the worst example. Last night I tried some jpeg with camera sharpening and the images appeared closer to the better image example.

The shots of the bird posted in my profile were for a thread comparing my results using the 100-400 vs the 70-200 2.8 ISL + 2x teleconverter. The poorer examples you refer to are from the 70-200 + TC combo. That's not a good sign if that's how your shots are looking.

Please post samples at full resolution. That's really the best way for us to make any kind of judgement.

As I've made clear in this forum many times, I have a love-hate relationship with that lens. I was initially unhappy with my copy and went back to the camera store where I purchased it and they let me try out a few different copies to run some tests. There was no conclusive evidence that I had a bad copy and even though they were willing to swap it out for a new one, I opted to keep my copy thinking maybe I either had high expectations or my issues were related to user error.

Some things I have learned using that lens...

Air quality and temperature is extremely important. At 400mm you are peering through a lot of air and distortions due to things like heat haze will ruin your day, even if heat haze isn't obvious with the naked eye.

At the long end, you really need to stop down for best results and your subject will need to be close enough to full the frame. Cropping power at 400mm is weak. At 400mm, my best results are at f/11. At 100mm-250mm f/6.3-f/8 is the sweet spot and results will be sharpest.

I have gotten in the habit of setting in camera sharpening at the highest setting, I think 7. I shoot raw so this can be adjusted later, but especially for reviewing on the LCD, in camera sharpening all the way up helps.

The lens struggles to lock focus when shooting burst in servo when the subject is changing it's distance from you. Not sure if that's my lens, or the just the 100-400 and it's older technology.

With all that said, I'm now selling my 100-400. I've had had some good times with it, some bad...but it's just not needed anymore and I want to upgrade to full frame. It's time to go...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:40 pm

Thank you Karl and Ryan for the replies.

I'm sorry to drag you both into this - but I do greatly appreciate your time and information.

I think given my present situation - while returning the lens is the easiest option, it could also be the wrong option.

I think I have a good chance of being called the boy who cried wolf, especially as I have not yet viewed any images on my computer.

I have read most people start off feeling disappointed with this lens - after-all, I am merely basing my opinion and view on what my 500D lcd screen is showing me. While some people claim having theirs serviced made all the difference, as I have no others to presently compare to - making all of this fuss could be a red-herren.

I like the retailer I dealt with and would loose money by sending the lens back - with no guarantee of getting a better one either.

I think all-in-all I should wait a while or get some camera shop staff to take a look at it. I will of course be happy to post evidence of what I have been mentioning here - when I can get access to my computer again.

In summary, at the present I feel a little let down by the complete lack of clarity, sharpness and in general difference that I was expecting to see on the lcd screen of my 500D between using my Tamron and the Canon L glass, especially at full crop. I think perhaps the problem could be with me pinning my
interpretation on a 3 inch screen rather than a monitor and specialist software.

I would like to thank you all for your contributions and assistance.
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:06 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 15):

Thanks for the tip Ryan - I have just tested in camera sharpening at 7 ( originally at 3 ) while shooting RAW and it has made a significant difference to the readability of text. I did not think it would have any effect as I was not using jpeg but it has certainly enhanced the image I was seeing in the lcd screen. Thank you.

[Edited 2012-06-16 15:08:06]
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:48 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
I think given my present situation - while returning the lens is the easiest option, it could also be the wrong option

I'm not sure why you would come to such a conclusion. If I buy something I'm very disappointed with, my instinct that there's a fault is usually right and I don't hesitate in returning the offending item. I don't see what's wrong with returning it and trying another one; when you spend such an amount on a lens it needs to do what you want it to do properly.

Even if there is no fault, it's obviously not delivering the results you desire and you are quite within your rights to return it, claiming dissatisfaction.

Incidently, I was very impressed with my current 100-400 when I first used it, and the clarity is good even when in-camera sharpening is set to 0.

Go with your instincts as hanging around until it's too late will do you no good. I'm not sure what else you want any of us to say - most people have voiced similar opinions to me.

If the next one is just as bad, you can safely say it's either down to your camera or your technique. At least you'll know and have peace-of-mind.

Karl

***EDIT***

Just to add.....

You say a lot of people feel disappointed with this lens at first. This is usually down to poor technique - folks thinking they can shoot across huge distances in humid air and still get crisp, sharp results. It won't happen, whatever lens you use! Any lens must be used within environments limitations to achieve successful results.

[Edited 2012-06-16 15:51:09]

[Edited 2012-06-16 15:52:38]
 
dazbo5
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:51 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
especially as I have not yet viewed any images on my computer.

Before you do anything else, I suggest you do just that. You can't really form an opinion until you've got all the information you need. The small LCD screen on your camera is only a preview really.

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
I think all-in-all I should wait a while or get some camera shop staff to take a look at it.

That needs to be done sooner rather than later, ie Monday morning! You don't need to take it in to a shop to do that either. Post a photo or two here. There's enough experience and expertise here to know a duff lens when we see one. It's an expensive piece of kit you're dealing with. If you aren't happy with it, get it looked at.

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
In summary, at the present I feel a little let down by the complete lack of clarity, sharpness and in general difference

You've answered your own question really, you need to get it sorted.

Darren
Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:32 pm

Thank you for the replies.

Karl - I can confirm that my situation seems like your first 24-105mm l predicament. All my images appear soft and almost out of focus as well. I do not know how they can call these L glass lenses?!

I will try the retailer for a refund as the lens is defective and would rather order from elsewhere - such as Park Cameras.
Failing that, if I cannot get a refund / replacement I will send it to Canon.

Thank you all for your help and advice. When my computer is working again I will be sure to post examples here illustrating the problem experienced.
 
Stealthz
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:28 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
I think I have a good chance of being called the boy who cried wolf,

Highly likely, as you...

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 16):
have not yet viewed any images on my computer.

Relying on what you see on the camera viewfinder is hardly going to enhance your status as an expert witness.

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 20):
I will try the retailer for a refund as the lens is defective

Not absolutely convinced we have established that!!

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 20):
and would rather order from elsewhere

From your earlier comments regarding the retailer, what you may lack in photographic expertise you make up for in your mastery of the art of mixed messaging!
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:44 pm

If your issue is anything like my first experience with the 24-105 f/4 L then you have a defective lens and must return it as soon as possible. You really do, however, need to look at the results on a large screen before you can be sure of a fault; although having said that I occasionally find images that looked sharp on my camera's LCD screen are somewhat soft.

The difference therefore is that I looked at the images my 24-105 was producing very closely on a larger screen, and in no situation was the lens producing sharp images. My second example was nowhere near as bad but was very soft left-hand-side, so I (reluctantly) tried a third and it was fine. Perfect in fact!

That's why I recommend you try another example - if not from the same retailer, from somewhere else (Park aren't quite the cheapest but their after-sales service is pretty good).

Karl
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:47 pm

Quoting stealthz (Reply 21):your mastery of the art of mixed messaging!


Finally - something I am good at for a change! - I do of course apologise for this.

I know it may seem silly but given what I have seen and have not seen - namely any improvement between the two lenses, and perhaps the repeated messaging about returning for a refund - it all seems to have made me decide to pursue a refund.

Furthermore - reading Karl's post about his 24-105mm L experience seemed to confirm my suspicions. I seem to be getting the same results as he and he found it to be defective - so by my line of reasoning: if my results appear similar and his lens was indeed at fault - then it is highly likely my lens is the culprit here.

[Edited 2012-06-17 08:48:32]

In all seriousness I do greatly appreciate all the help and advice you all have given me.

I know without looking at the images on the computer it may be risky and indeed not at fault. But it seems that way to me.
It is certainly a lot poorer than I was expecting and I have unfortunately found no image close to the 'worst' 100% crops I have seen and I have found no sharp images from it at all - no matter the focal length, aperture or object of interest. Every image appears soft.


[Edited 2012-06-17 08:57:41]

[Edited 2012-06-17 09:00:38]

Either way I will not be doing anything until tomorrow.

I know that if I return it I can always try again from elsewhere - which seems the better option to me. I could of course simply send this lens in for repair at Canon if it is indeed at fault as I suspect - but I do not know how that would pan out, especially given the USA and Canada only warranty card.

Based on what I have seen from my camera - I either have an extremely soft copy of the lens or it is defective.


[Edited 2012-06-17 09:16:43]

[Edited 2012-06-17 09:18:32]

[Edited 2012-06-17 09:22:00]
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:33 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 23):

I honestly don't know how you can claim the lens is defective without seeing the images on the computer. You can do whatever you want, but I wouldn't take any action until the shots can be reviewed on a computer first. I'm sure Canon and/or the retailer would prefer that as well.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:15 am

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 24):
I honestly don't know how you can claim the lens is defective without seeing the images on the computer.

      

I use the LCD on my camera ONLY to do a quick check of if I'm in the right ballpark for exposure, and to see if sharpness is either terrible or possibly acceptable. That's as accurate as I can get with the LCD alone. Even zooming all the way in, I've found that you simply cannot rely on the LCD as an indicator of the sharpness of your shots. Example: I've had shooting days when most of my shots looked pretty good on the LCD, so I was happy. Get home, upload to the computer, and 75% of them are badly heat-hazed. I simply couldn't see it on the LCD.

I can't stress that enough - if all you've done is looked at the images on the three-inch LCD on your 500D, you are missing a vast quantity of info about the images that viewing them on a computer would provide.

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 23):

Furthermore - reading Karl's post about his 24-105mm L experience seemed to confirm my suspicions. I seem to be getting the same results as he and he found it to be defective - so by my line of reasoning: if my results appear similar and his lens was indeed at fault - then it is highly likely my lens is the culprit here.

That line of reasoning doesn't work, because Karl was likely viewing his shots on a computer screen.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:32 am

Thank you for the replies.

Unfortunately it does not seem likely that I will be able to view the images on my computer, before the timescale for a refund shuts based purely on dissatisfaction. So I need to make a decision without that beneficiary.

I understand the LCD is no good-but it is all I have to go on.

To me, the sharpness / quality produced by my tamron and this lens are exactly the same. I can see no difference between using either lens and certainly do not see any 'sharp' images from either of the lenses. Whether this is because of shooting in RAW or, just viewing images on the LCD - though I have never found any images appear sharper on a computer screen than an LCD screen?

If I can send it to Canon UK and get it looked at / serviced for free - then by all means - it seems best to keep it.

But, given that I could be charged £323 for a check up, with no guarantee of any improvement - I am not sure what is best to do?

If I return it I will lose about £50 but have the possibility of getting another version. Although again I have no guarantee of any improvement.

If I can see no difference between my tamron and this lens - could I be at fault here?

[Edited 2012-06-18 04:37:14]
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:41 pm

Quoting KelvinCJ (Reply 26):
I understand the LCD is no good-but it is all I have to go on

While LCD screens are not particularly useful for guaging the quality of an image, it stands to reason that if an image looks terrible on such a small screen, it will most likely look even worse on the big screen at home. There are times I've thought I've got a decent enough image, then when I get it on the monitor at home I find it's soft or, worse, slightly blurry. I do, however, have a 50D, which has a 1mp screen. It is probably much harder to assess an image on a 500D.

I definitely think it'd be beneficial to get them onto a computer monitor to be doubly sure. If this isn't possible, just offload it as soon as you can, because it does sound like there is a problem with it to me.

Karl
 
sovietjet
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:17 pm

I usually have in camera sharpening and noise reduction off, as I find dedicated software such as photoshop can achieve better results and gives you much more control. If it comes out of the camera already oversharpened and/or too much noise reduced then you kind of screw yourself. I don't always shoot RAW either but even if I did what's the point of sharpening in camera just so I have to undo it later during processing...

Regardless, with a good 100-400 you should be getting very sharp images without sharpening in camera. My first 100-400 was very good until something went wrong with the autofocus and I was getting extremely soft, almost blurry like photos especially at 400mm and the effect was very pronounced on the edges of the frame. I ended up getting a new 100-400 which is tack sharp.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 15):
Cropping power at 400mm is weak.

I beg to differ   . I know I've posted this before but it shows what can be done with a good copy

From this:



to this:


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Silver1SWA
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 28):

Wasn't that with a 5Dmk2? Regardless, that's quite impressive but I'd consider that an exception not the rule. There is no way I could crop that much on my 7D and get the shot accepted here.

As for in camera sharpening, when shooting RAW you can set whatever you want and remove it later. I set in camera sharpening all the way up for LCD viewing purposes, but when I open in ACR a different set of settings are applied by default including a lower sharpening setting.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
sovietjet
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:15 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 29):

Wasn't that with a 5Dmk2? Regardless, that's quite impressive but I'd consider that an exception not the rule.

Indeed it was, but don't forget that even though the 7D has a few less megapixels to crop from it also has the 1.6x sensor so if you were standing next to me when I took the photo your shot would have more of the frame filled up and require less cropping in the first place.

I agree with you though this is the exception, and I don't normally crop that much but decided it was worth a try. I just wanted to demonstrate to the OP the limit of what is possible with a 100-400 which seems his copy can't reproduce.
 
Stealthz
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:55 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 29):
There is no way I could crop that much on my 7D and get the shot accepted here.

Tend to doubt Sovietjet and his 5d could either if it was a 737 or 320 at LHR or SYD.

No disrespect to Sovietjet, I look forward to his pics of rare(photographically) Eastern Bloc warbirds

Cheers
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:59 pm

Thank you all for the replies.

It would seem to be an autofocus issue that has caused these problems. While I am still no wiser as to the quality aspect - while conducting some more tests I found that the autofocus was completely off. The sides were sharper than the area of interest (focus) and I imagine I had overlooked this before as it was not my point of interest.

Hopefully though that is all the problem is but alas a trip to a service centre is still warranted as my 500D cannot help me with its lack of MA.

Oddly enough - this focus issue seems persistent even in manual focus to an extent - perhaps the optics have been misaligned?

Thank you all for your help and advice though.
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:31 pm

I'll say it one last time.....

Take it back and get the shop to replace it. It's their responsibility, not yours. If that doesn't work (God knows why it wouldn't), get Canon to look at it under warranty.

No offence, but you seem to be making this awfully difficult for yourself. You compare your situation with that of my 24-105 - well guess what I did with it the moment the images were unsatisfactory? That same night it was in the box, packed and on its way back.

The 100-400L is well over £1,000, so it's not unreasonable to expect the shop to work a bit for their slice of that. You need to exercise your rights more instead of worrying about what someone might think. I for one wouldn't settle for an inferior £1,000+ product simply through fear of offending someone or sounding pushy. An old adage that says something about the customer always being right.......????

Karl
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:37 am

What's with the "woe is me, I got a bad lens, so I guess I will just hope for the best" routine? Do you think the shop will somehow be out your money if you exchange it? They will simply send it back to Canon, Canon will fix it, and it will be resold as a "refurbished" lens.

I hate to be blunt (well, actually I don't, but I understand some are sensitive) but you haven't even looked at the images on a computer, yet you want advice (which you are choosing to ignore)?

Does that sum it up?

One last time:

Using the LCD to judge the quality of a lens makes zero sense.

Being afraid to exchange or get your money back makes zero sense.

"Hoping it gets better" makes zero sense.

In short, other than the opinions you have gotten from others, this thread makes, wait for it, zero sense (unless you are a troll).

My advice would be to get your dosh back, buy a 70-300 IS or 70-200 f/4, and use the difference to take some photography courses.

If you need help posting images for us to look at, please contact me and we will get you sorted. I see you have a photo in our database, so it appears that you are familiar with getting images out of your camera and onto the site.

Hope this helps.

[Edited 2012-06-18 17:39:44]
 
GPHOTO
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:22 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 33):
You need to exercise your rights more instead of worrying about what someone might think.

He's British, what do you expect?  

We are not traditionally good at complaining about poor goods or service. But back to the matter in hand!

I've had my share of problems with soft photos from my Canon 100-400L and other times it's fine. By careful work and study, I'm pretty sure my issues are down to failings with my technique. You have to respect the sweet spots of this lens and some of the quirks of it's design.

I found some of my problems were due my hand interfering with the focus ring during use. Unfortunately this ring is placed just at the natural hand position for typical use.

Others were due to the push-pull mechanism allowing movement during the focus/shot take period. The problem is you want it to move easily when tracking an approaching target, but that can bite you at the moment of shutter release. You can of course adjust the tension and that is worth experimenting with. Using continual focus rather than the 'one shot' setting on your camera really helps here too.

Finally, others were due to incorrect aperture (too open) or shutter speeds (open too long) for the conditions and wanting to shoot in ISO100 or 200 all the time. By increasing the ISO, I was able to shoot more in the f8 aperture region and with shutter times that were shorter, which reduced movement due to wobble. Even with the IS on (either mode) I am still not a very steady photographer and this lens can be a handful when fully extended. I'm working on my panning technique which is also helping.

By addressing all the above, bit by bit, I'm now getting images more what I would expect from my lens, at the expense of a little more grain on grey days which is sorted in post processing. Rubbish British weather does not help here, but on sunny days, my results are much better.

In short, the problems I was having seem mainly because the lens outstrips my ability. I need to catch up with the hardware and I'm getting there slowly!

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:37 pm

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 35):

You absolutely nailed it with your assessment. I discovered every point you covered through trial and error and once I learned how to use the lens, my results were much better.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:05 am

Thank you all for your responses. I decided to hold on to the lens as I got a good deal and did not want to ruin that, coupled with the advice of viewing images on a computer etc. I hope to dispatch my camera + lens to a Canon service centre today.

Unfortunately, the examples that I wanted to show are on my camera memory card inside my camera, heading off to the service centre. However, I did take some pictures at LHR yesterday after going away to the States for a short trip - also took my setup with me there - hence my absence for a while.

One of the better photos captured yesterday (before the Police helicopter was sent for me! [I was taking photographs from one of the car parks, bad idea with a long zoom lens]) - This was taken at 400mm (640mm on a full sensor) at 1/500 sec at f5.6. While I know the 1/500 shutter speed was a bad idea, I am just trying to post some examples.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8019/7486114844_0e1a5ed4a1_b.jpg

100% crop:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8013/7486115126_78a7de77c2_b.jpg

I captured this via the viewfinder - given the situation I have had with the lens, I have found that using Live View works best for focus. I will post some more examples if anyone is interested.

As an edit, I will post another example below. This time, with 1/1000 sec shutter speed.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7486193064_a61503e2d3_b.jpg

100% crop:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7274/7486193376_8dab702a79_b.jpg

Both sets of images have had colour changes via Photoshop No other changes. 'Standard' setting was used in camera for image processing.

[Edited 2012-07-02 04:16:42]

The image below was taken at MIA via Live View this time:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8026/7486273472_952eb54894_b.jpg

100% crop:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7107/7486273924_ac1d68fb33_b.jpg


[Edited 2012-07-02 04:34:33]

Obviously neither of the other examples are as bad as the Swiss picture, but the point I am trying to make is that 95% of the images appear as the Swiss do - mainly just plain out of focus. I have tried Servio and one-shot AF focus with no better results and am not / was not holding the lens at the focus adjustment point. I was supporting it via the tripod attachment point - so it is not as if I was inadvertently adjusting the focus.

Live View did give me better results, so something must surely be wrong with the autofocus of the lens? However, I am wondering whether anything else is wrong with the lens?


[Edited 2012-07-02 04:41:39]
 
sovietjet
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:41 pm

Shooting at f5.6 with this lens will almost always give you soft results. I tend to avoid that aperture unless I REALLY need the extra 1/3 stop. Frankly, I'd rather bump the ISO one up than stop down to f5.6 with the 100-400...
 
RCoulter
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:31 pm

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 38):
Shooting at f5.6 with this lens will almost always give you soft results. I tend to avoid that aperture unless I REALLY need the extra 1/3 stop. Frankly, I'd rather bump the ISO one up than stop down to f5.6 with the 100-400...

Same thoughts here, I even rarely am below f7.1...

Also, make sure you are using just the center focus point, sometimes the camera will pick the wrong area to focus if you let it go about it on its own.
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:03 pm

If you look back to my post early in this thread, I explained that you must stop down with this lens especially at 400mm.

I'm not convinced that anything is wrong with your lens. There is a learning curve and you seem to be making common mistakes with the lens that are behind the poor results.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 15):
Some things I have learned using that lens...

Air quality and temperature is extremely important. At 400mm you are peering through a lot of air and distortions due to things like heat haze will ruin your day, even if heat haze isn't obvious with the naked eye.

At the long end, you really need to stop down for best results and your subject will need to be close enough to full the frame. Cropping power at 400mm is weak. At 400mm, my best results are at f/11. At 100mm-250mm f/6.3-f/8 is the sweet spot and results will be sharpest.

I have gotten in the habit of setting in camera sharpening at the highest setting, I think 7. I shoot raw so this can be adjusted later, but especially for reviewing on the LCD, in camera sharpening all the way up helps.

The lens struggles to lock focus when shooting burst in servo when the subject is changing it's distance from you. Not sure if that's my lens, or the just the 100-400 and it's older technology.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:18 pm

Thank you for the replies.

I had bared all that was said in mind. I was shooting at f5.6 because anything above and especially at f8 was blurry / out of focus all of the time. Can inner focus rings be misaligned? Especially for some examples I had taken earlier (since deleted).

I have sent the lens + camera off to a service centre today. Even if there is nothing wrong with the lens - at least they can be calibrated together - something that I am unable to do.

I was using only the centre point for AF and was using Servio at the time for the LHR shots above.

I am pretty sure there is an auto-focus issue of sorts but will have to wait and see what the repair centre says.

- If nothing is wrong with it - feel free to say 'I told you so!' etc. However, at least having it confirmed as 'okay' would leave me feeling more reassured than my personal judgement alone.

Perhaps I was expecting too much of a difference between my Tamron and this lens.

I can clearly see a difference in quality between the default Canon 18-55mm IS and this but the difference between my Tamron and this are less obvious to me personally.
 
JakTrax
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:27 pm

That Eurofly image isn't bad for 400mm at f/5.6 and 1/500th. The engine and gear door look a little soft but I'd say that's about right given the conditions and settings. The Swiss just looks soft rather than OOF, but I can't really tell at that size. The light's no good and it's overexposed, which won't help. The CO at MIA is heat-hazed, so you can forget basing any assumptions on that.

The 100-400 is a great lens but you MUST use it to its strengths - which means avoiding long-distance shooting in summer and, to a certain extent, avoiding poor light. With all due respect, like the others I think the problem is far more likely to be your technique than the lens. I wouldn't like to use the 100-400 in any of the conditions or at any of the settings you've demonstrated above. It's not a miracle tool and requires the user to do some homework before using it successfully.

Karl
 
KelvinCJ
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 42):
With all due respect, like the others I think the problem is far more likely to be your technique than the lens.

I would tend to agree. I think it is great when used via the Live View (after editing those pictures in Photoshop) - but I have had far too many issues when using the viewfinder and AF for me to believe it is fine in that respect. Perhaps it is just MA needed, or again, perhaps it is me at fault.

Anyway I guess I'll just have to wait to see whether it is me (as I suspect) or the lens (as I hope) at fault.

I would like to greatly thank you all for your contributions and assistance and even though it may not look like it, I have taken in all that you have said and do greatly appreciate all of your inputs.

Thank you.
 
KelvinCJ
Topic Author
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:06 pm

Well, I have heard back from the repair centre today.

I apologise to those of you who wish not to read this - however I want to update this thread with my findings so that if anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation they know what to do / not do etc.

The repair centre say that: 'the scope of repair required is beyond goodwill', so I will (as a present estimate) be paying £154 for a dismantling of the lens, reset of the focus points etc and calibration of the lens from the reset as well as cleaning of my camera body and testing of the end result.

If any other faults are discovered, or replacements are required, then it will be more money - but hopefully not money wasted.

I will update this thread once more when I have received the camera and lens back from the service centre and give my opinion of the final result.

Of course - the repair centre could just be trying to get some more money, but if they think there is a problem that warrants payment then I hope that the repaired lens will be what I was expecting and not what I initially received.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:58 pm

I'm a bit confused - it seems you bought this lens somewhere around a month ago; isn't it under warranty?
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
jrowson
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:52 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 45):
I'm a bit confused - it seems you bought this lens somewhere around a month ago; isn't it under warranty?

^^ This

A brand new lens should have at least a manufacturers warranty which should entitle you to get the lens fixed free of charge if it has any faults. Unless you caused the damage yourself i'd be demanding it be fixed free of charge. There's no way i'd be paying for it and would be taking it elsewhere. If it is a canon authorised repair centre you sent it to you should just be able to provide them with proof of purchase to get the work done. Where did you get your lens from?

You do however say that that charge includes cleaning your camera, and I do remember paying about £120 a few years back to have one of my bodies completely overhauled. Mind you it came back immaculate.
James Rowson. Canonite and lover of all things L. JAR Photography.
 
KelvinCJ
Topic Author
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RE: Another 'Canon 100-400mm L Problem'

Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:11 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 45):
it seems you bought this lens somewhere around a month ago; isn't it under warranty?
Quoting JRowson (Reply 46):
A brand new lens should have at least a manufacturers warranty which should entitle you to get the lens fixed free of charge if it has any faults.

Thank you for the replies.

Indeed, it is a new lens - however, the fault is my own regarding payment. Though I have not damaged it and would like to think I took care of it, the warranty card that it came with specifically states 'USA and Canada ONLY'. I contacted the service centre regarding this issue before sending the lens and they very kindly said that they will endeavor to assist under warranty or out of goodwill free of charge. But they did state that technically Canon UK ONLY does warranty repairs on UK / EU equipment and as such, should the repair be anything major - as seems to be the case - regrettably they would have to charge me.

I do not fault them as - let's be honest - why should they do anything 'major' for free on something they should charge for?

Unfortunately, I couldn't send the lens to Canon USA as they do not accept or send international shipments.

However, hopefully this means the lens will be better adjusted to my camera, something that buying a new lens would not achieve in itself, and - if the cleaning is as good as you say James - then hopefully that fixes my grain issues too.

All in all - I do not mind paying for it - should the end result be what I was initially expecting.

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