Tripod shake with 896mm equivalent telephoto
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mrmitchell
Registered: Sep 01, 2005
Total Posts: 64
Country: Dominican Republic

I am attempting to take photos of slow-moving objects (ships across the harbor) from the balcony of my home.

I use a Canon 7D and a 400mm F5.6L with a Canon 1.4 III extender (F8 with the extender). In FF terms, I am trying to shoot at 896mm telephoto equivalent. I have mounted it on a 3-section carbon fiber tripod (brand unknown) with a Manfrotto 488RC2 ball head.

My problem is simple. When I try to manually focus in 10X LiveView (AF will not work at F8 or smaller) the image jumps around so much it is almost unusable and nearly impossible to know if I have nailed the focus.

My question is: Is this normal for such an extreme telephoto length or is my tripod or ballhead letting me down?



EricWinemiller
Registered: Jul 27, 2007
Total Posts: 30
Country: United States

Might be just the balcony. I cannot set up anything on my deck. Even a slight wind or movement from myself is enough to get the whole thing vibrating. You could check that by trying the same set up from the ground.

Good luck.



WesN
Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Total Posts: 2002
Country: United States

Yes it's normal.

Do you have access to a laptop? If so, you can use the Canon provided software to manually tweak the focus of the lens via the laptop and hence reduce vibrations.

Wes N.




mrmitchell
Registered: Sep 01, 2005
Total Posts: 64
Country: Dominican Republic

I haven't even installed the Canon software since my 10D days...didn't know I could control the 7d from a laptop. I will definitely give that a try.

Thanks to you both. I really appreciate the help.



TrojanHorse
Registered: Apr 04, 2008
Total Posts: 2747
Country: United States

Can you hang something heavy to hook under your tripod to hopefully make it more stable?

you MIGHT be better off shooting with your bare 400 and just cropping - obviously you are in a perfect situation to try it both ways and see which you prefer.



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9268
Country: United States

This is fairly par for the course with very long lenses. It doesn't take much at all to create noticeable vibrations with such a focal length, even if you are using a really solid bullhead and tripod. You might try making a shot and then checking the result at 10X on the screen and then adjusting if necessary.

I'd have to look up the ID of the ballhead you are using and the description of a no-name tripod is not encouraging - so you could have some issues there as well.

Dan

mrmitchell wrote:
I am attempting to take photos of slow-moving objects (ships across the harbor) from the balcony of my home.

I use a Canon 7D and a 400mm F5.6L with a Canon 1.4 III extender (F8 with the extender). In FF terms, I am trying to shoot at 896mm telephoto equivalent. I have mounted it on a 3-section carbon fiber tripod (brand unknown) with a Manfrotto 488RC2 ball head.

My problem is simple. When I try to manually focus in 10X LiveView (AF will not work at F8 or smaller) the image jumps around so much it is almost unusable and nearly impossible to know if I have nailed the focus.

My question is: Is this normal for such an extreme telephoto length or is my tripod or ballhead letting me down?