100-400L need help with technique

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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billorg Senior Member • Posts: 1,189
100-400L need help with technique

I am trying out the Canon 100-400 lens on my 5DMIII/6D cameras and I will mainly use it at 400 for birding/wildlife.  This morning I was shooting some Cardinals in a tree and of course there were some leafy branches, not super heavy, that I had to focus past to get the birds in focus - I had a clear shot to them but the lens was REALLY freaking out, hunting a ton even when it had the focus spot-on the birds.  So I'd ask it to release when it was in focus, but it refused, then started hunting OOF over and over - very frustrating.  I had to switch to MF a number of times and it's pretty unwieldy MF'ing at 400mm....

I know this lens is known to hunt, but is it always this much of a challenge?  I did set the distance to the 6.5 meter setting, but that really wasn't so much the issue.  I have never experienced jamming my finger down and seeing it in perfect focus while the camera refuses to take the picture!

I have considered the 400 prime, but I really can't see using 400mm without IS.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to best use this lens at 400mm?

Here are a couple of keepers.  The female Cardinal was calling and calling and the male swooped in and immediately started "kissing" her - mouthing each other back and forth.....till he saw me...Click to see them full size, thanks, Bill

5DMIII ISO 6400 1/160 f9 to f14

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