Soft 100-400 or Expectations Too High?

Started Jan 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Soft 100-400 or Expectations Too High?
Jan 2, 2011

I need some opinions as to whether my 100-400 is soft, that it can't resolve enough detail at longer distances, that my expectations are simply too high or my technique is lacking. The root of my challenge with this lens may be that I am primarily shooting smallish birds from relatively long distances. I would say that the average distance for these shots was 40-50ft with a few being a bit further (Kiskadee in tree) and a few a bit closer (Yellow Rumped in water).

Obviously all have been cropped and re-sized but no sharpening or other PP has been done. Mostly I am not impressed with the focus, sharpness and lack of any feather detail. When sharpened way up in PP, they clear up but certainly no "pop" in re: to focus, sharpness or detail.

I think most were shot at pretty appropriate settings - that is to say that those subjects that were moving were shot at fast speeds and vice-versa. When I look at them in DPP, the focus point (single fine point) is over the eye in each case - sometimes just the head.

Do I need to step up and get a 500 f4?
Should I try another copy of the 100-400?
Other thoughts?

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Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 600D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +8 more
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