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I'm having trouble seeing any proof of Image Stabilization... help!
This is probably a two fold question, so here goes. I just purchased a Canon 300mm F4L IS USM lens for my 7D. I've been using a Canon 24 -105mm F4L IS USM and have taken several tack sharp images. Mostly with the assistance of a tripod. This weekend I used the 300 on a tripod, IS off, and hand held it, IS on, but still could not get sharp images. Is there something I am missing? And does a 300mm take tack sharp images anyway?

I started in the darkroom with photography in the early 70's. I am just getting into DSLR photography in the last year and a half. I do have the background knowledge of how cameras work, composition and experience behind the camera. I just need some answers (help)! :/
I am, therefore I shutter!

What shutter speed were you shooting with?
Canon stuff.
Hi, and welcome to Shuttertalk.

photohobo024 Wrote:This weekend I used the 300 on a tripod, IS off, and hand held it, IS on, but still could not get sharp images.
We do need a little more information, such as aperture and shutter speed, before we can have any specific insight. Also, if you can post a smallish image that we can see, we might have a better idea of what the source of the softness is.

In general, the Canon 300/4L should be a very sharp lens even when it's wide open. If you're getting soft images even on a tripod with the IS turned off, then it deserves an investigation.

- It's possible that your expectations of sharpness don't translate properly from film to digital. Being able to make an 8x10 print from a negative and seeing more details with a loupe is one thing, but checking pixels at 100% on a monitor is a completely different story. (100% magnification is about like looking at a print 50" wide.) Further, all digital images do require sharpening to fight the blurring filter in the camera and to help restore some of the fine contrast that gets lost when the image is being reconstructed.

- A light tripod may not provide much support; even a very good tripod and head can let some movement affect an image. If you're photographing between 1/2 and 1/30 of a second, make sure you use mirror lock-up; unless you're over 1/1000 of a second, the self-timer or a cable release can help prevent camera movement as well.

- The 300/4L uses Canon's first generation IS technology, where they claim a two-stop improvement in hand-holdable shutter speeds. Assume that this means one stop, or to be polite, one and a half stops. While everyone is different, the general rule is to assume that you can hand-hold the reciprocal of the focal length, which would be 1/300 on a film camera, but is actually 1/460 on a 7D. Round that up to 1/500, remove one stop or so for IS, and with decent technique you could expect to hand-hold 1/200 of a second. It is an improvement, but it's a modest one.

- It's also possible that your lens is defective, or even if it is within the quality control tolerance, it may not be a good match to your camera. You can adjust the AF system within your camera to compensate, or in the worst case they can go in for adjustment at the service centre.

(Sorry if some/all of this is basic or things that you already know, but search engines do like this forum and other people may be finding this discussion for years to come.)

I'd love to know more about your experience with film and the transition to digital – I'm one of those newer photographers who started digital and has adopted film. • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •
1/1000 @ 5.6 - 6.3 gimbal tripod while shooting seagulls fetching crackers in the water. 1/125 and 1/200 fixed tripod after a butterfly on German Daisies. 1/400 to 1/80 hand held on various flowers. 1/5 tripod on a North Carolina Saturday morning moon. 1/3200 handheld on a distant island shooting a pan. 1/160 1/320 and 1/640 hand held on three wild turkeys strolling by the side of the road.
I am, therefore I shutter!
Thanks guys and thank you very much for the welcome!

I do use both the 2 second timer and a cable release at least 75% of the time. I feel I am doing myself a disservice when simply handholding. In reality I tripod most everything because I want to see hairs and specs and detail galore. A self-analysis makes me think that, today particularly, I may have been wide open a little too much with the aperture. As soon as I learn to upload I will share a few images so you may help me visually.
I am, therefore I shutter!
If you are regularly in the habit of using a tripod, you may find that image stabilization actually interferes with sharpness. I don't know the lens that you are using, but in the Nikon world, they always tell you to turn image stabilization off when you are shooting on a tripod - that it actually makes focus worse - go figure.

1/1000 sec and 5.6-6.3 should net you excellent results hand-held - with or without IS. I'm going to go way out on a limb here now (and I know many will disagree) - but I don't really like the results of image stabilization - they don't compare with a tripod. If your normal workflow is to use a tripod or to shoot at high speeds, I'm not surprised that you are unimpressed by IS. Stick with what you know works.

BTW: welcome to Shuttertalk. Its refreshing to see an intelligent and well-thought-out question. We are a small but supportive community. I look forward to seeing some of your work.

Hey photohobo - just wanted to say, welcome! Hope you get some useful answers to your interesting question... Big Grin
photohobo024 Wrote:Thanks guys and thank you very much for the welcome!

As soon as I learn to upload I will share a few images so you may help me visually.
Welcome again photohobo024

Click on :-
Showcase section -Photo snapshots or photo showcase or Photo critique etc
You can use whatever you think suitable.
Click on "post new topic" RH side near the top

Fill in Subject
Write message
img upload (new window opens to your own PC) follow instructions and when done paste link to message box. Click submit and with a bit of luck you have posted a photo.
I usually resize to around 1000px

I you already know this then I apologise in advance, but many new members to boards find getting around a bit strange. Wink
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
Thanks ShutterTalk, I have many questions. I appreciate the experience others share and having crossed the threshold into this forum I look forward to receiving answers and possibly offering a tip here and there.

Currently, I have set up a small makeshift kitchen studio in an effort to shoot smoke streams for a class project. I found it very necessary to take a college curriculum course entitled "Photography 1" with 80% emphasis on Photoshop CS5. I've listed the equipment I have and use in the "What camera?" postings.

Regarding the final project, I chose smoke streaming since the professor told me pans and/or time lapse were not challenging enough for my level. And yes, I do enjoy shooting both. These smoke stream shots are hit and miss at best. Getting smoke in the right place with respect to aperture and positioning the off camera flash without backdrop flashes is a real challenge. In addition, the room is totally dark and the backdrop is jet black.

I am tripod mounted, IS off, in both portrait and landscape modes using my Canon 24-105mm F4L IS USM. I'm handholding the 580 EX II flash @ 1/128 power to illuminate the streams in motion, again hit and miss. I actually need a third arm to manipulate the flash, smoking stick and remote control cord. If anyone has any advice for aiding in successful shots please post. My test shots were OK just not what I wanted. I experimented with colored gels on the flash and see some evidence but nothing spectacular. Any advice?
I am, therefore I shutter!
Thanks also to Toad and NT73. I really appreciate your greetings!
I am, therefore I shutter!
It sounds like you're doing things right, so it may be an issue with the lens. It might be time to run some boring tests, such as photographing brick walls and receding lines to check for focus accuracy. It's not unusual for lenses to focus ahead or behind the intended point, and your camera can be set up to correct that automatically. • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •

Thanks Matthew. I spoke with the salesperson today about the lens I just purchased from KEH in GA, US. He was somewhat helpful but more concerned, of course, about the sale. At least I planted a seed of doubt about the integrity of the lens in the right field. I'll run some tests to try and solve the issue.

I spent the entire day taking images of smoke streams and then processing them in CS5. Amazing what you can find in smoke streams. more amazing is that I was able to pull out 5 images that speak to the story of Easter. I could not believe what I was seeing. One image captured a bowing angel with wings. Another image captured a Roman solder with helmet. A third image captured an Easter Lilly in full bloom. The fourth image captured a human figure with a head signifying man's carnal tunnel vision. The final image I processed showed Christ on the cross with head hung as if He had just died. I was able to brush in blood dripping down from His forehead and off the tip of His nose. The angle of Christ on the cross is from the back right side so I placed a skewed cross on the left side of the image. Amazing I tell you! Simply and sincerely amazing! Two more that I processed has one looking exactly like the head of a gazelle and the other is simply a neat pattern with twists and turns that look 3D.

It was all a pain to set up and break down but it was worth the effort. And no I am NOT crazy guys. The images are real.
I am, therefore I shutter!
Smoke is a fascinating subject primarily because of the randomness of the output. Its good that you were able to develop a theme from what you captured. I would be interested in seeing your results.

I hope the one signifying man's carnal tunnel vision doesn't look like me...
Thanks Toad. They are still in RAW .psd format right now. After class I'll post to regain some credibility on here. Tongue I'm sure I scared a few away. And to be honest, sadly, the one signifying man's carnal tunnel vision probably resembles all of us in some way. What a world!
I am, therefore I shutter!
less coffee will help

Big GrinBig Grin
Or more!
Double welcome by the way.

IS and tripods don't go, as said above.
If I've not read too quickly here, it does sound as if we've just got The Judders: vibration from the shutter resonating out and affecting the exposure.
Reasons: tripod too light and/OR tripod head too light: magnesium might be trendy and light...but it's light(for instance); mirror bounce(use the mirror lockup if there is one); shutter/ISO too slow; polariser or ND filter slowing the speed by up to 2 stops.
I say the above as when in Italy I put many a blurred shot down to either a naff lens or a poor x1.4 I was using; when I got rid of my polariser, handheld with I.S. and added speed by upping ISO to 400...BING!
I've also tried loading something heavy onto the tripod when taking the shot...but the light tripod head still transmitted the vibrations.

I've no idea about the smoke thing...but it sounds absolutely fascinating; really looking forward to seeing the results.
Jolly glad to have you aboard!
All my stuff is here:
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist:

Thanks Zig! Great photos my friend. I hope your life is as happy as your photography makes
it look. Your composition is outstanding. With regards to similar talents I play a little bass as
well, but drums were my passion. In fact, I just sold my fifth set over my lifetime. Roland electronics.
Just lost the desire. Guess you are in London tonight to shoot the wedding, eh?
I am, therefore I shutter!
Well, my man, thank's not, I'm afraid, which is why I try and make it look different! Ah a drummer: I do like the Roland leccy kits, and they hook up well to a Hansonic too, which I think is a marvelous pice of kit.
The wedding..?...the TV's good enough for me: I've spent my life happily avoiding the noise, superficiality and egocentric greed of London; also, we Brits can be quite parochial about distance: London is about 100+ miles from me: it's a long way away and they talk funny! Smile
All my stuff is here:
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist:
Zig Wrote:London is about 100+ miles from me: it's a long way away and they talk funny! Smile
100 absolutely un-breachable gulf of sophistication.... (a shot from the North American perspective). Chuckle..
I reckon that humans in a smaller geographical space do things mentally and physically that appear to increase distance: for example, the total insularity and almost nationalistic identity of Italian cities/towns...?
In the UK, this sense of "virtual distance" can shift about depending in what part of the country one is. In the north midlands where I grew up, small market and mining towns had developed completely different identities...along with accents and even dialects...that polarised or expanded this further. It was(and is) far more pronounced around "interfaces" of the old Saxon and "Viking" kingdoms, and accents and dialects from 1100-1400 years ago still persist.
Thus, my home town, being on the old Great North Road, has many a midland twang in its northern vowels, corresponding largely to the Saxon Mercian kingdom;... a mere 8 miles away northwest, and you find a completely different dialect, let alone accent: historically further away from the midlands in terms of communication, linguistically more "Scandinavian" or Danish in influence in the first millenium, and with a completely different feel and economy(mining as opposed to market town). This increases that sense of "virtual distance".
In London, therefore, they do definitely talk funny!
All my stuff is here:
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist:
Me Mum confirmed your logic! They do talk funny and 90 miles in the UK is NOT
the same as 90 miles in Eastern North Carolina.
For the record: Mum is my sweety's mother, so yes, my sweety is a half Brit!
I love it!
I am, therefore I shutter!

Top half, hopefully!Wink
All my stuff is here:
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist:
They only talk funny in a different area to your own. Right Zig. Big Grin Mind you, some of our own locals talk a bit queer. Rolleyes
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
I was in CS5 class last night when a fellow classmate mentioned he ran across a website
or blog stating how the newer cameras (Canon 7D) and the older prime lenses (the Canon
300mm F4L) are having trouble being amigos. He could not remember the site. With regards
to my original question, has anyone heard of this incompatibility? This goal post keeps
moving as I am playing the game!
I am, therefore I shutter!
"Incompatibility" is a pretty strong word; Canon (and Nikon) based their entire foray into digital cameras around the idea of backwards compatibility with their existing lens base. Digital sensors and film do have some important fundamental differences that have changed lens design requirements, and improved computer modelling and manufacturing does mean that newer lenses are (generally, objectively) better performers than older designs, especially on digital cameras. I'd be interested in seeing the source for the 7D/300f4 information, but I can't say that I've ever heard anything specific about that combination.

One concern that regularly arises is that modern sensors "outresolve" particular lenses. (If you want to make your head explode, read this.) Assuming that it's true – and different sensors and lenses will be affected differently, if it happens at all – all it means is that you would see no further improvement in resolution by increasing the pixel density. It doesn't follow that a sensor with lower resolution (or film) would give better results.

As far as image stabilization goes, all of the brains for it are in the lens. That technology has also gotten better over the past many years (which is a huge reason why it should be in the camera body, which gets replaced far more frequently and cheaply) but it also doesn't stand to reason that it's somehow worse with a newer camera. Again, I'd love to see the original source, but it doesn't match up with anything that I've seen or heard of before.

(It should go without saying that I can always be wrong.) • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •

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