70-400G lens

Started Feb 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
WaltKnapp Forum Pro • Posts: 13,857
Re: 70-400G lens

rob_b wrote:

A second question about RAW. I do shoot RAW a lot, and believe I know how to process RAW (using LightRoom 4). I do not believe that all of the superb shots on this forum have been through the RAW workflow, however?

RAW has almost nothing to do with sharpness.  Focus and motion control are virtually all that with modern cameras.  For me the 70-400G is very sharp, very capable as long as you know and understand optimum use of it.  When shots come out soft with mine it's almost always a matter of unwanted motion.  Like any long tele it works best on a tripod that's of appropriate design for supporting a long tele, and I strongly prefer a quality gimbal head for this as well.  That combo can do very well indeed.  Here is a shot that was taken off such a tripod, with the disadvantage of being a shot with a Kenko Pro 300 1.4x teleconverter added to the lens, which lowers the sharpness. Note that this resolved the beads of adhesive along the catching threads in the web. And this was shot as a ex fine JPEG using the a700, near sunset.

So many handhold long tele, but never really try shooting with a quality tripod support to see just how much motion is hurting them.  I shoot handheld way too much as well, just as guilty.  And pay for it in the sharpness of the shots.  I do also use a shoulder mount, which is better than handheld, but not as good as tripod.

I suggest looking closely at your technique.  Try shots taken carefully from a quality tripod setup and see what you get vs handheld. The lens is capable of excellent work, so it pays to look at technique and support equipment first before assuming it's a lens problem.

Yes you do want to make sure your viewfinder system is carefully adjusted for your eyes, otherwise they can mislead.

One thing that has never been clear to me. Some of the shots on here are crops, but it is not easy to work out our how much of the original frame is present. A small bird, occupying 10% of the image height and width, will, when cropped, show 1% of the sensor area (10% of 10%). This must put a serious limitation on the detail that can eb captured, but it should still look sharp.

When folks do very heavy cropping the sharpness becomes more and more a factor of the PP. And the extra PP involved means even more opportunity to mess it up.  You do loose sharpness cropping.  I would not expect a tiny part of the sensor to give me a very good image.  I try to be very limiting of cropping by care in framing to fill the frame as much as possible. I generally will pass on a tiny spec in the frame, unless it's a once in a lifetime sighting.

Note also no matter how good a lens it's best sharpness won't be wide open.  Think f8-f11 or so and it will get better.  I also avoid high ISO for the same reason.

Interesting advice from other 70-400 users who have shared my frustration. That makes me feel better already! I think this is a difficult lens.

Any long lens introduces complications.  The techniques of using long lenses are a learned skill, good choice of support and so on.  You do not just buy one and expect immediately to be getting perfect photos.  Every one of those folks producing those excellent long tele shots paid their dues learning. Even if you have a lot of experience with long lenses a new one to you will require learning. Get out and shoot lots and pay attention to what works and what does not.

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