M6 + 100-400mmL II - no Extenders (PICS)

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,079
M6 + 100-400mmL II - no Extenders (PICS)
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EOS M on the EF 100-400mmL II lens

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EOS M6 + EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens - With no Extenders.
(I've written this as a follow up post for folks contemplating this lens for use on the newer DPAF versions of the EOSM cameras).
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Previous Bokeh Issue:

I ran tests with this lens two years ago in April 2017 where I encountered an unusual issue from using a poor quality filter that seriously affected bokeh in all shots taken (link is below).  This is an issue encountered by others and appears to be triggered by using cheap or poor quality filters.  The only reason I used one was because I was going to use it on a salt-whipped beach and expected to throw the filter away afterwards.  Later I conducted tests with Extenders using this same lens and ran a thread on the EF 1.4x III and EF 2x III Extenders respectively - to describe performance on the (at the time) newly released EOS M6 camera with this same EF 100-400mmL II lens.
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On the original EOS M this lens was just fantastic with extenders for lunar photography using Manual Focus.  But when AF was used, even in daylight, the older EOS M was a terrible match. The newer EOS M models now have DPAF sensors and the difference is exceptional.    I've had this lens for almost three years now and it's captured some really solid images on a Full Frame DSLR for me many times.
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This week I wanted to spend more time with the M6 + 100-400mmL II combo and spent two days shooting with the lens - without the benefit of extenders.  The EOS M6's original Canon LP-E17 batteries were fantastic as usual, still performing well after 2 years of regular use... the results of today were more than surprising:
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* Day 0 = 6 pictures of the moon at various focal lengths.
* Day 1 = 2,537 pictures with a single fully charged battery (+ 4 videos).
* Day 2 = 3,769 pictures with a single fully-charged battery.
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SETTINGS:
* Mostly taken in Tv-Mode or M-Mode.
* All shot in JPEG
* Monopod used as required.
* NR applied during PP - if needed.
* No sharpening.
* Servo AF used for some shots where subject movement was evident.
* Other than the moon, images were not cropped.
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ACCESSORIES:
* Inexpensive Manfrotto Monopod (used for some shots)
* HOYA UV MC Filter (77mm) - On the lens at all times.
* HOYA Pro 1 Circular Polarizing Filter (77mm) - For daylight shots.
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DAY 1 - Critters:
Many of the images were taken in Burst-mode but I also spent time reviewing the images from time to time while sitting down.  Two different batteries were used, one for each day.  I donate venomous spiders for venom milking at one of our nearby reptile parks my wife and I stopped by to see the American Alligators for a couple of hours on Day 1.  The following samples were taken between my house and the park.  Our favorite reptile handler had recently lost two fingers to a gator and had to have them reattached since we last caught up with him.  I took a shot of his favorite pet "Rosie" (see below).
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My favorite shot for the day was the Water Strider... which was quite small.  Around an inch in size.  I saw it when I was leaning over a pond with turtles it it and saw the grey sky reflected on the water and an insect using its legs to rest on the surface via tension.   I haven't tried to photograph one before. Image could have been slightly sharper but I was leaning over water and didn't want to scratch the monopod. Most of the Burst shots were either single, double or triple shots.  I saw the battery icon turn red just as I was finishing up.  There was very little warning between the fully-charged battery icon and running empty.
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M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Wild Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on nectar

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Wild Eastern Water Dragon (male)

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - a Water Strider walking on water with grey sky reflected.

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - 'Rosie' the American Alligator (6 years old)

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DAY 2 - Beachside

Today I'm nursing some basic sunburn from spending about 3 hours on the water.  Apparently I didn't learn from the last time I did this and received 2nd degree burns.  But it's mid-Autumn here in Sydney, Australia - and I wasn't expecting to have yet another week of warm weather.  It's Easter Sunday here so I drove to visit family and spent 1 hour before lunch taking pictures on a beach and another 2 and a half hours on the shore after lunch taking pictures and experimenting. Despite the 3,769 images taken with a single charge on the battery, I did not see any indication that the battery was approaching depletion.  It's still in the camera!
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The use of Servo AF to track birds in flight was very useful - though not always a simple affair with the lens set to 400mm. I didn't have my red-dot targeting reticule mounted to the lens today. But  I could snap decently exposed images of all manner of moving subjects. It was actually hard to choose which images to post because there was quite a range of keepers from both days.
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M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Seagulls on a boat ramp

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Girl on the lagoon

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Seagull washing itself in a rockpool

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Reflected Skies

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Using Servo AF to track two awesome pelicans

M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - Where most of this shooting took place - (Daylight WB)

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MOONSHOT:

When I took a walk around the neighborhood to keep my circulation well maintained, I saw a beautiful moon rising the day before I took the photographs above.  It motivated me to put on the EF 100-400mmL II lens in the first place.  I stood on the side of the road out in front of my house and took a few pictures.  I wasn't particularly motivated and even used P-Mode for the first two shots.  I don't usually bother to shoot the moon in this phase but I ended up with some interesting lunar crater details.  The sun was literally setting as I took the picture below...
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M6 + EF 100-400mmL II - 100% crop of the Moon on Thursday - (*no enlargement).

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OBSERVATIONS:
The lens is exceptional on a Full Frame DSLR so it's always nice to experiment on APS_C mirrorless models to take advantage of the crop-factor via the smaller sensor.  The lens was actually fast enough to capture everything I needed UNLESS I lost sight of the subject while shooting.  If the AF reticule missed the subject, there was a delay as the lens breathed in and out and reacquired the subject. Tracking any moving subject was relatively easy - presumably due to the DPAF sensor on the M6.  Image quality is excellent with this lens on just about any camera.  I spent quite a few months researching this lens and comparing it with longer focal-length options from other brands before settling on it.
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* ON THE EOS M (original) - terrible. Don't even be tempted. Slow as molasses.
* ON THE EOS M6 (with DPAF) - excellent results (see above samples).
NOTED: - Sharp images with excellent contrast, color and detail. There was an extremely high success rate with all shots. AF is snappy IF the subject is almost in focus.  If you miss it, the AF is sometimes slow to relocate the subject if the lens wants to try focusing on the distant background.
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VIDEO:
Thought I haven't posted samples, the video from this lens was detailed and smooth.  Really nice results.  Might upload something to YouTube soon.
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ABOUT THIS LENS:
* One of Canon's more reasonably affordable White L-lenses.
* Exceptionally popular 'newer' lens with a solid reputation.

* Fluorite lens element and UD element greatly improves contrast & resolution.
* High Speed CPU inside the lens is optimized for AF speed + accuracy.
* ASC (Air Sphere Coating) reduces ghosting and backlit flare.
* 4 Stop Image Stabilizer VERY effective in low light.
* New slotted ET-83D lens hood allows easy rotation of CPL filters.
* Impressive (and improved)  Closeup ability.

* 3-setting IS switch for various shooting needs.
* New White-grey resin paint on lens matches the Mk III Extenders.
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Image stabilization is superb on this lens.  It's one of Canon's finest, allowing shutter speeds as slow as 1/10sec for some users (though that's not something I experimented with on this occasion). I personally feel that it performs smoother with my DSLRs compared to the EOS M6 but it's clearly doing a great job.
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Using the  Distance Limiter Switch reduced unnecessary delays in AF lens travel.
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A small, light Monopod is recommended with this lens to prevent or reduce fatigue from the considerable weight of this 1570g (3.46lb) lens, not including the Lens Adapter.
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The best thing about the last two days is that I was able to experiment with bokeh and yet I didn't end up dealing with that awful problems with distortion and artifacts (see thread here if you're wondering what I'm referring to.)
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Regards,
Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M +17 more
Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Canon EOS M6
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