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Archive 2013 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X
  
 
skibum5
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p.3 #1 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


andrewsk wrote:
OK here are some more. CANON is always on the right, SIGMA is on the left, F4, ISO 400, 400mm
. No PP.


Canon looks much better, but it is clear that the Canon is putting the focus farther back. What happens if you do 10x liveview manual focus best of 6-10 attempts from each? Or at least try a little MFA on the Sigma?



May 31, 2013 at 09:54 PM
skibum5
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p.3 #2 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


andrewsk wrote:
ROCKS


Interesting. Anyway it seems like the Canon would be sharper regardless of any MFA, from this one I think you can tell that since it doesn't seem like any rock there looks as sharp as any at any depth on the Canon side. Very interesting is that the Sigma seems to have a touch less DOF, although the fact that the Canon is placing the AF a trace deeper makes a bit tough to judge. Maybe Sigma half way between f/4 and f/4.5 would be more like the Canon ata f/4?



May 31, 2013 at 10:01 PM
skibum5
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p.3 #3 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


mitesh wrote:
Skibum, you really should read the posts before yours, buddy- your questions were answered above


Well the which version question one was true. It takes so long to read a multi-page thread and then go back and track back to each post to respond to if needed though. I do see that other people also think the focusing and DOF are different, but it doesn't hurt to add my claim to that to give it more weight.

I think he needs to do best of 6-10 trials with 10x liveview AF on a highly detailed and contrasty object, flat can be easier to focus the same way on. Although I guess it seems clear the canon will be at least some degree, maybe much, better than the sigma with the 1.4x tc on it.



May 31, 2013 at 10:07 PM
mitesh
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p.3 #4 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Don't worry, I was just joking with you


May 31, 2013 at 10:10 PM
PetKal
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p.3 #5 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Ron, you have had the lens in your possession for over 24 hrs, and we do not even have an elementary sharpness test shot yet ? Such as a shot of a wine bottle, a cereal box, or a dollar bill, taken at 400mm and 560mm, wide open, perhaps 12-15 ft focusing distance (so that you could do it indoors if need be). Show the original, and then 100% crop. As simple as eating a square pie.


May 31, 2013 at 10:20 PM
andrewsk
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p.3 #6 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Ill do dome more tests this weekend and see if I can tweak the FOCUS ADJUSTMENT on the SIGMA a bit. Ill also do and F4 compare @ 300mm with no TC on the SIGMA.

The SIGMA is VERY good without the TC on it. IF I was a betting man (And I am ) I think that it will be too close to call with the 200-400.



May 31, 2013 at 10:21 PM
PetKal
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p.3 #7 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Here's a couple of shots by a fellow on POTN, although I am afraid one can not learn much from those, and if they appear soft, that is probably owing to the photographer's technique.


Jun 01, 2013 at 12:12 AM
mogud
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p.3 #8 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Peter - my reaction as well....they do appear soft. I too am anxious for some serious shots with this beast.

BTW, I had the "beast" in my hands at the Henry's show this afternoon attached to a 1Dx. It's very handholdable and balanced. These old arms did have some difficulty zooming and holding however.



Jun 01, 2013 at 01:07 AM
rscheffler
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p.3 #9 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


acoll123 wrote:
I looked up the compare tool on TheDigitalPicture.com and compared the old version Sigma 120-300 OS to the Canon 300 2.8 IS version I (which is what I currently have) and there is a noticeable difference in image quality between the two.
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=803&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=5&API=0&LensComp=249&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

I have been trying to decide if the new version of the Sigma would be worth exchanging my canon for. I still plan to wait for more test results but right now it doesn't look like I will make the trade . . .


While that site is helpful, looking at test charts only tell you a 2d story at a fixed distance. Real-world use will offer a broader range of information from various shooting distance, AF performance for the types of photography you do, foreground/background rendering characteristics, etc.

PetKal wrote:
Ron, you have had the lens in your possession for over 24 hrs, and we do not even have an elementary sharpness test shot yet ? Such as a shot of a wine bottle, a cereal box, or a dollar bill, taken at 400mm and 560mm, wide open, perhaps 12-15 ft focusing distance (so that you could do it indoors if need be). Show the original, and then 100% crop. As simple as eating a square pie.


Yes Peter, that is true, however, as I indicated in my opening post, I'll be shooting with it over the weekend. I've had other obligations to attend to today and have just been checking in from time to time. Patience my friends!

But since you asked so nicely, I was able to step out late this evening for a few impromptu shots, though less than ideal conditions because it was getting dark...

The following images were made from a tripod, 1DX, aperture priority, ISO 400, live view contrast detect AF, 10-second timer, processed in Lightroom 4 at the defaults, though WB was set to the same for each scene and exposure compensation set to attain a pleasing exposure and minor tone curve tweak for a touch more contrast.

At about 17 feet:






















100% crops:

200mm






280mm (w/1.4x TC in place)






400mm






560mm











There are two crops above from 560mm... I believe the first was by just flipping the TC in place and not refocusing, the second one was refocused. There is a slight difference but I didn't test this extensively to determine whether there is a consistent difference.

The following were of the neighbour's driveway across the street. I forgot to check the distance, but would guess around 20m.












100% crops:












If you desire, you may download the full-rez files from this link.

I still plan to shoot the lens against my 400 IS v.1, but so far I don't think the zoom beats it. Sharpness should be similar, though the zoom at 560 might be a tad better than what I get with the prime and the v.2 1.4x TC. I haven't tried the v.3 TCs yet (is there much difference with the 1.4s?). With the zoom's TC in place, my impression is contrast drops a touch and perhaps also a slight change in WB/tint. In the shot across the street, you can see a bit of SA edge blur in the out of focus leaves in the background towards the edges (in the full-rez files linked above). My guess, and based on Canon's MTFs, the lens will probably have a central sweet spot for best wide open sharpness. BTW, the files look better with more sharpening applied, but I just left it at the defaults. The crops have not be sharpened, but the full frame images sized down to 1000px have had some sharpening applied by Photo Mechanic.

And lastly, draw what you will from these images. By no means was it a scientific test with multiple repeats to minimize all undesirable variables. Hence, I'm really looking forward to using it this weekend at an actual event.



Edited on Jun 01, 2013 at 01:45 AM · View previous versions



Jun 01, 2013 at 01:39 AM
PetKal
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p.3 #10 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


mogud wrote:
BTW, I had the "beast" in my hands at the Henry's show this afternoon attached to a 1Dx. It's very handholdable and balanced. These old arms did have some difficulty zooming and holding however.

Morley, that is to be expected, especially if the zoom ring is too stiff for a reasonably low effort "two finger spin", thus presenting a hindrance in handheld use of the zoom.
How much of a hindrance can that be, that is not easy to say because we do not have experience with such a heavy EF zoom.

The 70(80)-200mm f/2.8 lenses are not a problem to shoot handheld and zoom in a seamless fashion, but those lenses are relatively light. Conversely, with 100-400 I can not track a bird and zoom at the same time, because the push-pull zooming action destabilizes my handhold and aim.

However, IMO that is not a deal breaker. What would be a deal breaker in my eyes is if the lens IQ is not aligned well with the other refractive supertelephoto lenses, and I just do not trust Canon in that regard.



Jun 01, 2013 at 01:40 AM
 

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PetKal
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p.3 #11 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Thank you very much, Ron......the bare (i.e., no TC) lens looks good to my eye. I am not quite sure about 560mm, but it doesn't look bad by any means.

Edited on Jun 01, 2013 at 01:55 AM · View previous versions



Jun 01, 2013 at 01:47 AM
rscheffler
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p.3 #12 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


I'm also a bit unsure about 560mm. Something looks slightly off in the plant/leaves. But it was also a slow shutter speed.

I borrowed the 70-200/2.8 IS II from CPS for a day-long shoot that was many thousands of images and a lot of zooming.. and its zoom ring also had a fairly high amount of resistance, very much unlike my f/4 IS's very fluid feel. By the end of the day my fingers were quite sore. The 200-400 reminds me of this somewhat. This is a lens where a power zoom feature would have been very useful, but of course would have added size, weight, complexity and cost. I'm also thinking a pushbutton activation/deactivation of the TC would have been very slick. Maybe that will come in the Mark II PZ (power zoom) version...

Regarding image quality: as I believe I've mentioned before, the zoom is going to be a compromise. It's slower, heavier, and optically a lot more complex. All of that glass can't defy physics. The benefit for some (hopefully me) will be a one-lens solution that offers more flexibility while still addressing client expectations. So far I haven't seen anything to indicate it won't.



Jun 01, 2013 at 01:55 AM
PetKal
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p.3 #13 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


I would also agree with you that 400mm shot seems a bit inferior to what my 400 f/2.8 IS MkI could do.......for example, the latter lens would have probably resolved the coarser texture of the label paper. The MkII is quite similar in that regard.


Jun 01, 2013 at 02:09 AM
dehowie
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p.3 #14 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


So given the lens almost resolves as well as what in many peoples opinions is he best super tele the 400/2.8 either its a brilliant lens or peoples expectations are ridiculous.
I get the impression people are expecting it to be as sharp or sharper than a prime.
I think even he most ardent Canon fan would be drawing the line there.
Looking at the crops i dont see anything to complain about at all with no real visible issues.
Like to see it shot against some hard edge print like a street sign which has a hard edge making softness easily visible.
If it gets close to my 400 ill be more than happy because very few lenses can..



Jun 01, 2013 at 02:33 AM
PetKal
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p.3 #15 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


dehowie wrote:
I get the impression people are expecting it to be as sharp or sharper than a prime.
I think even he most ardent Canon fan would be drawing the line there.


Why not ? 70-200 f/2.8 IS MkII is sure primelike when it comes to IQ. Some people say 24-70L MkII is also at least as sharp as 24L and 35L.

What I would find ridiculous is the acceptance of the 400 f/5.6 grade IQ in a $11,800 lens, be it a zoom or a prime.



Jun 01, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Doctorbird
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p.3 #16 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


At least we know from these preliminary results that the lens doesn't seem to be a slouch.

If the MTF characteristics are any indication, and they ought to be, it's predictable performance, at the center at least, is near but not quite up to that of the super tele primes but as good or better than anything else. The lens also seems to be engineered for optimal performance towards the tele end.

This is just my theoretical meanderings regarding IQ.

Db

Edited on Jun 01, 2013 at 03:00 AM · View previous versions



Jun 01, 2013 at 02:58 AM
skibum5
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p.3 #17 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


mitesh wrote:
Don't worry, I was just joking with you


I always worry .



Jun 01, 2013 at 02:59 AM
skibum5
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p.3 #18 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Does it let you assign a different MFA with TC in place and without or just one for the lens?
(again not that I am personally likely to be using one soon hah, it does seem like it a cool lens for some things)



Jun 01, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Liquidstone
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p.3 #19 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


PetKal wrote:
What I would find ridiculous is the acceptance of the 400 f/5.6 grade IQ in a $11,800 lens, be it a zoom or a prime.


Which reminds me of another dear lens. From the sample images I've seen, the 1200 mm f/5.6L's IQ is closer to 400 f/5.6 grade than 400 2.8 IS grade. This probably explains why it didn't fly off the shelves at USD 80-100K a pop.


Edited on Jun 01, 2013 at 10:53 AM · View previous versions



Jun 01, 2013 at 03:44 AM
rscheffler
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p.3 #20 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


My feeling is the constantly focal length limited, TC using and stacking, high pixel density crowd is probably not going to be overly impressed with the 200-400

skibum5 wrote:
Does it let you assign a different MFA with TC in place and without or just one for the lens?
(again not that I am personally likely to be using one soon hah, it does seem like it a cool lens for some things)


Good question! Yes it does! And you can flick the TC in/out of position while in the menu and it switches automatically to the correct MFA parameters.


Liquidstone wrote:
Which reminds me of another dear lens. From the sample images I've seen, the 1200 mm f/5.6L's IQ is closer to 400 f/5.6 grade than 400 2.8 IS grade. This probably explains why it didn't flew off the shelves at USD 80-100K a pop.


I agree, the MTF from it never really looked that impressive. I guess what you got was one more stop than a 2x on a 600 at the time, which on film and early low rez and noisy high-ISO digital would have been more critical than now.



Jun 01, 2013 at 04:02 AM
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