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Archive 2012 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?
  
 
Doctorbird
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


I had somewhat of a bad day with the 500mm II lens on Saturday. The AF with the 2X III TC mounted on the 1DX was quirky leaving me with an abnormally low keeper rate. This also occurred once with the 400mm II. I haven't pinpointed the source of the problem yet. I went out again today with the same combo (500mm) to see whether this was reproducible. However, I had a lot more keepers (to my relief I suppose), as much as I would expect considering the maximum aperture of only f/8 and only the central AF point and the 4 assist points available to the 1DX.

The issue might have been the contacts between the lens, TC, and/or camera body even though all the components are relatively recent purchases.

Some of the images from the test today are posted here. The perched birds were about 200-250 ft away.

Curious as to whether anyone else has had such a 'bad lens' day.

EDIT: I might add that these images were all bare handed, and that the light on the second day was late afternoon and so was not as bright as on the first day.

Db




  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/3200s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/3200s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  



Edited on Nov 26, 2012 at 07:50 AM · View previous versions



Nov 26, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Doctorbird
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


.... a few more.

Db





  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/1000s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/2000s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  











  Canon EOS-1D X    EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +2x III lens    1000mm    f/8.0    1/2000s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 26, 2012 at 07:20 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


Db, that is interesting, but I can't really help.
I seldom do anything f/8, and even when I do, it is strictly on static targets, because my tolerance for "creeping" AF is very low. Similar to 800L, but worse, f/8 combos allow successful AF hit only when you are prefocused closely, or you are photographing a big/slow/high contrast bird which allows enough time for lens swings and creep, FTM focusing correction and similar screwing around.

As far as 400 II + 2xTC III is concerned, that has always worked reasonably well for me, no exception, thus I am not hesitant to use that one.

I like those shots you got at 1000mm, the egrets are really nice, and theat car-moron's background is very fine.

I also suspect you'd have a higher success rate (consistency) with the 500 II + 1.4xTC III combo, from the standpoint of the capture rate/performance as well as IQ.

Petkal a.k.a. Supertelemaster



Nov 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


Just out of curiosity, both of your lenses have the new firmware upgrade, correct? In addition to that, I am not sure to what extent this would make a difference but according to one of Canon guidelines of using the new Mark III TCs, but you are supposed to mount the TC on the lens first and mount the combo on your camera body afterwards to ensure the AF function of the combo to work as specified. Hope this helps.


Nov 26, 2012 at 01:38 PM
 

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kaycephoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


my guess is just that f/8 with the 2x extender just doesn't really do that well relative to f/5.6 with the 1.4x extender, even on 1-series bodies that allow f/8 focusing..

at the end of the summer, I was shooting almost every day with the 500mkI and the 1.4x III/2x III extenders on a 1D4 (i typically would hold onto the spot-AF button on the lens).. i definitely found the 2x to be frustrating on more than one occasion, especially when overcast.. even when pre-focused, it just didn't track at all with the level of consistency of the 1.4x at f/5.6 native aperture & a lot of times was slightly mis-focused.. sometimes i still got in-flight keepers with the 500+2x at f/8 native, but towards the end of my trip, I didn't really trust the combination the same way.. to me, the 500+2x combo is more suited to static-only targets

grain of salt - i'm sure skills had something to do with it as well, definitely not as experienced with birding as any of you guys..



Nov 26, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Doctorbird
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


PetKal wrote:
Db, that is interesting, but I can't really help.
I seldom do anything f/8, and even when I do, it is strictly on static targets, because my tolerance for "creeping" AF is very low. Similar to 800L, but worse, f/8 combos allow successful AF hit only when you are prefocused closely, or you are photographing a big/slow/high contrast bird which allows enough time for lens swings and creep, FTM focusing correction and similar screwing around.

As far as 400 II + 2xTC III is concerned, that has always worked reasonably well for me, no exception, thus I am not hesitant
...Show more

Peter,

Those are all points that I agree with. And thanks for the comments.

The success rate of the 500 II + 2x TC III was surprisingly good on the second day of shooting which I hope is typical for the setup, and in accordance with its MTF characteristics. The tracking, as you said, was easy for slow birds like Egrets and Pelicans and wasn't too bad at all for the somewhat more speedy Cormorants that tend not to be too erratic. I had a few keepers with some Terns which are much more difficult to track. 1000mm, even on a FF camera, is a lot of focal length with which to keep the bird in view and I hope to get better at it.

I did have to work the focus limiter switch a few times during the couple of hours of shooting that I had.

Yes, the 500 II + 1.4x TC combo was easier all around, but having the option to capture the bird at twice the size is nice too.

And the maximum aperture of 400 II + 2x TC combo is still a large 5.6 so that performs really well.

I'm really liking these super teles so far - and also uncovering and developing some super tele muscles to adapt to them.

Db



Nov 26, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Doctorbird
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


AGeoJO wrote:
Just out of curiosity, both of your lenses have the new firmware upgrade, correct? In addition to that, I am not sure to what extent this would make a difference but according to one of Canon guidelines of using the new Mark III TCs, but you are supposed to mount the TC on the lens first and mount the combo on your camera body afterwards to ensure the AF function of the combo to work as specified. Hope this helps.


AGeoJo:

The serial nos. indicate that the 400 II needs the firmware upgrade but not the 500 II. And yes I was careful to mount the TC on the lens before the camera and reversing the procedure when dismantling.

I remember wiping the contacts with a microfiber cloth on the good day, so perhaps that may have helped.

I appreciate the comments.

Db



Nov 26, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Doctorbird
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Temperamental 500mm f/4 IS II lens with 2xIII?


kaycephoto wrote:
my guess is just that f/8 with the 2x extender just doesn't really do that well relative to f/5.6 with the 1.4x extender, even on 1-series bodies that allow f/8 focusing..

at the end of the summer, I was shooting almost every day with the 500mkI and the 1.4x III/2x III extenders on a 1D4 (i typically would hold onto the spot-AF button on the lens).. i definitely found the 2x to be frustrating on more than one occasion, especially when overcast.. even when pre-focused, it just didn't track at all with the level of consistency of the 1.4x at f/5.6
...Show more

Kaycephoto: That's about my general feeling also, but the IQ keeper rate on my good day is sufficiently encouraging for me not to give up on the 2x III option. And this was in fading light at the end of the day. Some of the difficulty that i encountered when tracking is due to the 40% longer focal length over the 1.4x combo, the wrong preset focus setting, and also the lack of enough focus points with the 1DX.

And yes, Size and Skill matters.



Nov 26, 2012 at 09:00 PM





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