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Cody Covey
12-19-2010, 03:32 PM
Hey I've been trying to get out and shoot pictures a bit more lately and I've been reading that the lens I have, the 70-300mm EF is a notoriously soft lens especially out past 200mm. What I am wonder is with my limited budget would I better off getting a sigma lens to save a bit of money. Do the Sigma lenses provide good IQ? I think I should be able to swing $500-$600 for a new lens. So what do you guys recommend?

subroc
12-19-2010, 03:53 PM
Where have you read that?

I expect it was from someone that also said only an "L" would do.

The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is a solid performer. It may be a bit soft at 300mm but you will not find a better performer, with it's feature set, at that price point. The Canon will outperform the Sigma.

You said you have the lens, what have you seen in service rather than what have you read?

BTW, I have the lens. I also have a 100-400mm and if I need the lighter weight 70-300mm and don't think I need the focal length of the 400mm I don't believe I have significantly lesser performing equipment.

Go take some images and form your own opinion.

Cody Covey
12-19-2010, 04:48 PM
Yes the USM IS is miles ahead of the version I have. Mine is just the standard EF no IS. It IS soft especially out any further than about 175-200mm. It also is slow to autofocus.

subroc
12-19-2010, 08:45 PM
is it a 70-300mm or a 75-300mm?

Cody Covey
12-19-2010, 09:15 PM
is it a 70-300mm or a 75-300mm?

lol....75-300 sorry :(

david gibson
12-19-2010, 09:21 PM
imho you are not likely to spend $500-700 for a sigma lens that will significantly outperform what you have, at least not in a range visible to the naked eye. lenses in that price range are all going to have pitfalls, and you have to test them to see which one fits your particular needs. one may take great portraits with awesome bokeh, the other great action shots with a faster AF for example, so the choice is dependent on you.

you should be able to take your camera and laptop into a camera shop and shoot images and downlad and see what you like. or, you could save your change and soda bottles for a while longer and then get a medium range lens - the time you wait till you get it will be worth it with the years of better performance. the better the glass, the better the image, and they depreciate very little if at all.

Cody Covey
12-19-2010, 10:11 PM
Okay thanks, I am getting a ton of noise even at 400 ISO. Is that from lens or body? I only have a Rebel XT but not sure if it is worth it to upgrade the body and have to wait longer for glass or get lens and get proficient at shooting with what i have :)

Cody Covey
12-20-2010, 02:01 AM
heres an example. I'm just starting out essentially but you can see its pretty soft
http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/1040/img5309.jpg (http://img255.imageshack.us/i/img5309.jpg/)

david gibson
12-20-2010, 07:51 AM
noise is going to come from the sensor, i.e. the camera.
as far as thebird pic, too little to go by. what was your shutter speed/fstop?? a lot of lens softness issues are related to the fstop as well as zoom level. typically thet are sharper in the midrange, around F8, but good quality lenses hold the same sharpness throughout.
by looking at the birds tail i see movement (from the bird), so i am guessing a slow shutter speed. therefore, camera movement will cause motionless parts of the image to look soft as well.


so it is very hard to analyze this, no control. take a shot of something with detail, a wet yellow lab in not-harsh sunshine is good, sun behind you, and use a tripod or a t least a much faster shutter speed, over 1/1000

www.dpreview.com does very indepth analyses of most everything digital camera related, i am sure they have this lens. they will tell you where its good and bad spots are.....

subroc
12-20-2010, 09:19 AM
lol....75-300 sorry :(

oh...

That lens is different than the 70-300mm that I have. I know very little about it other than there have been a few differnt models of it, some better than others.

Buzz
12-20-2010, 09:36 AM
I haven't seen Jeff around here. I hope he's well and his absence is just a case of him wising up to the fact that all the work he did making and documenting his arguments was falling on deaf ears and blind eyes.

road kill
12-20-2010, 09:55 AM
I haven't seen Jeff around here. I hope he's well and his absence is just a case of him wising up to the fact that all the work he did making and documenting his arguments was falling on deaf ears and blind eyes.


Or vice versa.........:cool:


RK

road kill
12-20-2010, 09:57 AM
David,
I got a little Nkon Kool-Pix.

I love that thing.
It has a little mini telephoto lense.
I play the disc on my Kodak digital picture frame.

Is that camera total junk?

RK

Cody Covey
12-20-2010, 10:23 AM
going off memory here but it was taken at 300mm F7.1 iso of either 400 or 800 and a shutter of 1/800

david gibson
12-20-2010, 10:42 AM
David,
I got a little Nkon Kool-Pix.

I love that thing.
It has a little mini telephoto lense.
I play the disc on my Kodak digital picture frame.

Is that camera total junk?

RK

you didnt mention which model kool pix - no matter - no camera is "total junk" unless used for purposes for which it was not designed for. for documenting the events in your life to replay on a digital frame it is probably great. you can probably get some decent shots of ducks in flight as well, and they will look cool on your digital frame but probably wouldnt make the cover of NatGeo. have fun with it!

road kill
12-20-2010, 11:11 AM
you didnt mention which model kool pix - no matter - no camera is "total junk" unless used for purposes for which it was not designed for. for documenting the events in your life to replay on a digital frame it is probably great. you can probably get some decent shots of ducks in flight as well, and they will look cool on your digital frame but probably wouldnt make the cover of NatGeo. have fun with it!



It has the athletic event feature, I actually got a great shot of a drake woody setting into my decoys this fall.

We also got a mid air shot of Elvis with a mallard in his jaws.

I am better at lookin' at pictures than I am takin' em.


RK

subroc
12-20-2010, 04:22 PM
going off memory here but it was taken at 300mm F7.1 iso of either 400 or 800 and a shutter of 1/800

I have a little utility assosiated with my browser called opanda. it allows exif to be viewed with just a right click.

exif data:

[Image]
Make = Canon
Model = Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Date Time = 2010-12-19 23:46:22
Artist = unknown
[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/400"
F Number = F8
Exposure Program = Aperture priority
ISO Speed Ratings = 800
Exif Version = Version 2.21
Date Time Original = 2010-12-19 15:54:00
Date Time Digitized = 2010-12-19 15:54:00
Shutter Speed Value = 8.64 TV
Aperture Value = 6 AV
Exposure Bias Value = 0EV
Max Aperture Value = F5.6
Metering Mode = Pattern
Flash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length = 300mm
Flashpix Version = Version 1.0
Color Space = Uncalibrated
Custom Rendered = Normal process
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Scene Capture Type = Normal
[Thumbnail]
Thumbnail = 256 x 237

YardleyLabs
12-20-2010, 06:19 PM
Still alive and well. The softness in the photo shown seems to be more an effect of glare. Shooting in bright morning or afternoon sun requires a lot of attention on the angle of the light. Even with a lens hood it softens the image. Sometimes that can produce a desireable effect, but if you want sharp detail, get the sun coming in at about a 45 degree angle to the subject and from behind the camera. That will give you the shadow to emphasize detail and make the colors glow.

http://jeffgoodwin.com/tina/images/0527_0046214bw-tina.jpg
sun angle is about 80 degrees relative to the camera, creating lens glare (deliberate) softening the model's front


http://jeffgoodwin.com/tina/images/0527_0046788-tina.jpg

Light coming at 45 degrees from behind the camera, creating sharp detail and brilliant color.Supplemental light from the side to backlight the model's shoulder and separate it from the background.

Sorry for the cheesecake, but sometimes a photographer's life is hard.:D:D

david gibson
12-20-2010, 06:42 PM
now that the expert in everything has chimed in, then obviously all you have to worry about is glare. please excuse my obviously ignorant advise.



my god, tell her to eat something.

YardleyLabs
12-20-2010, 07:22 PM
now that the expert in everything has chimed in, then obviously all you have to worry about is glare. please excuse my obviously ignorant advise.



my god, tell her to eat something.
Not your advice that sucks David, just your attitude. The model is too skinny for my taste, but healthy, and signed by one of the major agencies the week after our shoot (her doing, not mine). She's 16 and her mother was at my side the whole time.

In this case the shutter speed was 1/400, ISO 800 and aperture at f/8. The cause of the blurry texture may be affected by shake or bad focus (which itself can be caused by difficult light), but even on a tripod this image would be soft because of a subject in shadow and a bright sky behind. If angles cannot be changed, it might have helped to boost the EV, but that would have required pushing the ISO into a noisy range. Better to move or wait for a better shot. Your advice on testing the lens under ideal lighting conditions is appropriate. My examples simply try to illustrate the importance of light angle in determining apparent softness or hardness of a lens, something you understand very well as is evident in your images.

sandyg
12-20-2010, 07:45 PM
heres an example. I'm just starting out essentially but you can see its pretty soft
http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/1040/img5309.jpg (http://img255.imageshack.us/i/img5309.jpg/)

There is a narrow plane of focus at the bird's feet and the bark surrounding it. My guess is that you used matrix metering (the sky's not blown out but everything else is underexposed) on Program mode (which automatically set the aperture wide open resulting in the narrow plane of focus). There is chromatic aberration apparent (the green/red fringing on opposite sides of the tree limbs) which is a function of the lens. You can easily fix this photo in software by eliminating the fringing, cropping, sharpening, adjusting contrast/brightness, and getting rid of the noise. Start shooting in RAW and you will have more latitude with adjustments in software. Learn to shoot in manual mode and aperture mode so that the you control the image instead of the camera controlling the image.

If I were you I would keep saving my money and in the meantime read all you can, join a camera club, and take some photography seminars (the Nikon School hits most major cities every year; look in the back of Outdoor Photographer magazine). If you don't already have it, buy Photoshop Elements and play around with it.

Two good books are John Gerlach's Digital Nature Photography and Digital Landscape Photography. I have both and I took a workshop with the Gerlach's. The books are easy to understand and practical, not technical.

When you're ready to buy a new lens, consider buying used from the buy and sell forum on fredmiranda.com. If you buy a Canon "L" lens, especially a used one, you will be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it. If you buy new, I recommend B&H or Adorama.

YardleyLabs
12-20-2010, 07:51 PM
There is a narrow plane of focus at the bird's feet and the bark surrounding it. My guess is that you used matrix metering (the sky's not blown out but everything else is underexposed) on Program mode (which automatically set the aperture wide open resulting in the narrow plane of focus). There is chromatic aberration apparent (the green/red fringing on opposite sides of the tree limbs) which is a function of the lens. You can easily fix this photo in software by eliminating the fringing, cropping, sharpening, adjusting contrast/brightness, and getting rid of the noise. Start shooting in RAW and you will have more latitude with adjustments in software. Learn to shoot in manual mode and aperture mode so that the you control the image instead of the camera controlling the image.

If I were you I would keep saving my money and in the meantime read all you can, join a camera club, and take some photography seminars (the Nikon School hits most major cities every year; look in the back of Outdoor Photographer magazine). If you don't already have it, buy Photoshop Elements and play around with it.

Two good books are John Gerlach's Digital Nature Photography and Digital Landscape Photography. I have both and I took a workshop with the Gerlach's. The books are easy to understand and practical, not technical.

When you're ready to buy a new lens, consider buying used from the buy and sell forum on fredmiranda.com. If you buy a Canon "L" lens, especially a used one, you will be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it. If you buy new, I recommend B&H or Adorama.
Good advice. The only observation is that he was shooting in fixed aperture mode at f/8. You might also want to change your color space to RGB instead of sRGB.

david gibson
12-20-2010, 09:25 PM
Hey I've been trying to get out and shoot pictures a bit more lately and I've been reading that the lens I have, the 70-300mm EF is a notoriously soft lens especially out past 200mm. What I am wonder is with my limited budget would I better off getting a sigma lens to save a bit of money. Do the Sigma lenses provide good IQ? I think I should be able to swing $500-$600 for a new lens. So what do you guys recommend?

yardley has given you all the advice you need - your only problem is softness in the photo you posted due to glare. get rid of the glare by placing the sun at a 45 deg angle in every photo you ever take from now on and all is well. oh - and make sure any anorexic underage waifs you shoot have their mum nearby...:rolleyes:

what would we do without him?

YardleyLabs
12-20-2010, 10:29 PM
yardley has given you all the advice you need - your only problem is softness in the photo you posted due to glare. get rid of the glare by placing the sun at a 45 deg angle in every photo you ever take from now on and all is well. oh - and make sure any anorexic underage waifs you shoot have their mum nearby...:rolleyes:

what would we do without him?
Feel better now? Why do you feel compelled to turn every discussion into a pissing contest? You are a good photographer. A number of others on this site are also, and some of those do it professionally, as do you and as do I. Giving advice in response to a question -- particularly one directed personally to you and me -- is not a political act and doesn't call for snide comments. Even sandyg figured that out.

sandyg
12-20-2010, 10:45 PM
Feel better now? Why do you feel compelled to turn every discussion into a pissing contest? You are a good photographer. A number of others on this site are also, and some of those do it professionally, as do you and as do I. Giving advice in response to a question -- particularly one directed personally to you and me -- is not a political act and doesn't call for snide comments. Even sandyg figured that out.

What do you mean, "Even sandyg figured that out."?
I don't think much of you either, but I have the sense to know when to attack and when to keep quiet. You ought to do the same.

Cody Covey
12-20-2010, 11:19 PM
There is a narrow plane of focus at the bird's feet and the bark surrounding it. My guess is that you used matrix metering (the sky's not blown out but everything else is underexposed) on Program mode (which automatically set the aperture wide open resulting in the narrow plane of focus). There is chromatic aberration apparent (the green/red fringing on opposite sides of the tree limbs) which is a function of the lens. You can easily fix this photo in software by eliminating the fringing, cropping, sharpening, adjusting contrast/brightness, and getting rid of the noise. Start shooting in RAW and you will have more latitude with adjustments in software. Learn to shoot in manual mode and aperture mode so that the you control the image instead of the camera controlling the image.

If I were you I would keep saving my money and in the meantime read all you can, join a camera club, and take some photography seminars (the Nikon School hits most major cities every year; look in the back of Outdoor Photographer magazine). If you don't already have it, buy Photoshop Elements and play around with it.

Two good books are John Gerlach's Digital Nature Photography and Digital Landscape Photography. I have both and I took a workshop with the Gerlach's. The books are easy to understand and practical, not technical.

When you're ready to buy a new lens, consider buying used from the buy and sell forum on fredmiranda.com. If you buy a Canon "L" lens, especially a used one, you will be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it. If you buy new, I recommend B&H or Adorama.This was shot in Av mode and it was very overcast. I had to go that open to be able to get the shot at all. When i got up around F10 or higher my shutter speed was around 1/200 and at 300mm I just couldn't get the light to get a picture at all. This was shot in RAW obviously, but i converted to be able to post up here. Didn't mean to start a pissing match was just looking for some advice :)

david gibson
12-20-2010, 11:36 PM
This was shot in Av mode and it was very overcast. I had to go that open to be able to get the shot at all. When i got up around F10 or higher my shutter speed was around 1/200 and at 300mm I just couldn't get the light to get a picture at all. This was shot in RAW obviously, but i converted to be able to post up here. Didn't mean to start a pissing match was just looking for some advice :)

the photo itself is not the issue, its just not the best to be able to answer your original question. thats my one and only point. not trying to tell you how to take a better shot, just to take one that would help me qualify your complaint about your current lens. you were trying to get advise on your lens and how to possibly improve upon it with the best bang for the buck, right? at least thats how i interpreted the original question and tried to answer accordingly. no pissing match on my end, wont even attempt to beat a loose and wildly flailing garden hose that hits everything but its target.......:rolleyes:

i'll leave it at that, hope you get some advise on your current lens and potential cost effective Sigma replacements


[original quote] Hey I've been trying to get out and shoot pictures a bit more lately and I've been reading that the lens I have, the 70-300mm EF is a notoriously soft lens especially out past 200mm. What I am wonder is with my limited budget would I better off getting a sigma lens to save a bit of money. Do the Sigma lenses provide good IQ? I think I should be able to swing $500-$600 for a new lens. So what do you guys recommend? [/QUOTE]

subroc
12-21-2010, 06:21 AM
Okay thanks, I am getting a ton of noise even at 400 ISO. Is that from lens or body? I only have a Rebel XT but not sure if it is worth it to upgrade the body and have to wait longer for glass or get lens and get proficient at shooting with what i have :)


Well, the fact that camera equipment can be pretty expensive if you have a limited budget, it may be a good idea to use what you have for the time being. Use it, see or understand where and what the limitations are for your use and address those limitations at that point. You may need/want a body; you may need/want a new lens.

Good luck, whatever you decide.