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Canon 70D and 70-200 F/4 non IS


Westcoastgirl
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I am hoping someone can help me.. I got the Canon 70-200 f/4 non IS lens and have a Canon 70d. I haven't used this lens as much as I want as I cannot seem to get sharp (IMO) images and I don't know what I am doing wrong. I keep the shutter speed above 400 as I know it doesn't have IS. Should I always need to have a tripod to get a sharp image? I took the camera/lens into my local camera shop and they said the images were good but when I focus in on the eyes they are blurry. Anyone have this lens that can give me some tips on how to effectively use this lens! Thanks so much!

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16 hours ago, Westcoastgirl said:

Should I always need to have a tripod to get a sharp image?

Always need? No.

Should you? If the picture is worth taking, then you should use a Tripod or Monopod.

I know, I know...I get that it's not always convenient and sometimes, you can't use one. So before I go on one of my famous rants, can you show me some examples of what you are talking about? Post a few shots in this thread.

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Stupid question alert!

You are using "Single Point AF" and not "Zone AF" or "19 Point Automatic Selection," correct? You aren't trying to use the stupid Back Button Focus that everyone raves about?

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Please humor me and try using the shutter button to focus and take the photo. Back button focusing is not the end-all-and-be-all method that it's made to be. It's not a super-secret, it's not a game changer; the Chorus of Angels will not sing when you use it, even though every other easy blog-post makes you think that it will. 

Does it work? For some, yes. Others it produces more focus problems than it solves. You have to be really steady and not move when you BBF. In addition, the shutter button setting needs to be changed so that it doesn't engage AF when it's pressed. You can BBF all day long, but if the shutter button still activates the focusing system and you focus & recompose, or your subject moves slightly, you are gonna have blurry / not sharp photos. 

So let's get back to basics. Use the shutter button to focus, and use the center AF point, since it is the strongest. Let's get a few test shots with your 70-200 and see if things improve. Try ALL apertures from f/4 to f/16. Focus on something like a coffee can with bold lettering or something similar and post the results in this thread. 

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1 hour ago, Westcoastgirl said:

It is very dark here and raining so I could not go outside to do this

It's better to do this in a well-lit room. I'd rather see something that was taken at 1/500th of a second. I also want to see shots that are straight-on and if you could tell me exactly what word / thing you put the AF thing on would be great. 

From what I can tell, your Focus is fine, though I do see a little front focusing. For example, "Put Faces & Places" seems to be sharper than "What's on." Also, for the last photo, the left page, "on own" seems to be slightly sharper than "The News." That page is slightly higher / more towards the camera. For the tape measure shot, the 3 & 9 seem to be acceptable, but the 1/16th and 1/8 markers...the edges that are raised up are slightly more in focus. So you might want to try a focus compensation setting (if you have that feature on your camera) of +2 or +3. Of course, the mirror flipping up causes vibrations, which could result in missed focus, so I think another round of photos at 1/500th or 1/1000th might be in order. That said, I think BBF is really killing you and if you want sharper images, you are going to have to upgrade to a better lens that has Image Stabilization. Also, on today's DSLR cameras, nothing looks good at 100%. If you want things to be tack sharp and 100%, you are going to need something like Medium Format. LOL!! That starts at $25,000 for that system. Even then you blow a lot of shots with Medium Format, it's much less forgiving than a Full Frame DSLR.

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I really appreciate your feedback Brian. It's supposed to be sunny for the next few days, so I will reshoot with a higher shutter speed and straight on. 

I did switch back to the shutter button as opposed to BBf and any shots I took, I found them better than using BBF. Going to embrace the shutter button:)

I really hope this lens will produce ok images in the future as one with IS in not in mine:) Nor is a medium format:) I assumed because this lens was an L lens that it would produce decent quality pictures, certainly not equal to the one with IS or the 2.8 but good quality. I also have not used it as much as I probably should and really found where it may shine in its capabilities.

i will post more examples in the coming days, but I guess my question now is can I get decent pictures with this lens or was it a waste of money?

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1 hour ago, Westcoastgirl said:

can I get decent pictures with this lens or was it a waste of money?

Technique! Technique!! Technique!!!

Holding a non IS Zoom lens is a lot like holding a gun. Breathing, how your arms are held, the position of them against your body...you are going to have to develop good technique. That takes time and practice. There are no shortcuts, or "...secret methods taking you to the next level." What you need to do is shoot with your 70-200 only for about a month or more. Shoot EVERYTHING with it. Eat-Sleep-Breathe that lens. Figure out what it can and can't do. Be proactive. Make notes. Find out how the lens behaves at all focal lengths. I know it's easy to get hooked on 200mm, but try it at other focal lengths and pay attention to where you are standing, distance to your subject, how your body is positioned, etc. Figure out your breathing patterns, feel your heart beat, get truly in the moment. All of this stuff will affect your shots. IS / VR helps a lot with these things, but you still need good technique. I can't tell you how many shots I blow just by rushing or being nervous. Even after all these years (started with B&W Film in 1986.) When I get away from the basics, my shots are crappy. This is wax-on / wax-off type of stuff, again no shortcuts. If you want a shortcut, you are paying for the $1899 Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II Lens. Just think, Image Stabilization Tech wasn't available until the early 2000's. People used Monopods, Tripods, and had good technique. So it can be done.

As for wasting money, I'd say yes. Only because I have done the same exact thing as you in the past. The "I can't afford _______ and can't be patient. I need it NOW, so I'm gonna settle for _______." I'm a big proponent of "Buy it Right - Buy it Once" mentality. Even if I have to buy it used. So it's very rare for me to not recommend the high-quality stuff. In my honest opinion, the 70-200 f/4L IS lens for $500 more would have been a better buy.

This shit is expensive. I get it. I'm right there with you. But throwing money away is not an option either. People, including myself, go after the things they value. They will find a way to make things happen. It's when you go half-assed into something, you settle. Tax refunds, not eating out 3-4 times a week. Skipping the morning trip to the $5 coffee place and divert that money into savings. You'd be surprised on just how quickly you throw money away. Coming up with the extra $500 isn't as hard as it sounds. How about selling things? Plenty of Buy/Sell Groups on FB, yard sales, etc. Don't ever settle.

Right now I'm shooting with a D700. I thought I would NEVER be able to shoot with a full frame body. Seriously, I was stuck in DX-Land for a long time. But guess what? I made it happen. Now I have my sights on a used D3s next. I know I'm going after a 80-400mm lens in 2017 and I'm trying to figure out a way to make that happen. I should have that lens by June of 2017, just in time for my trip to Cape Cod. Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not being an ass. I just hate seeing people waste good money. I get the fact that this could just be a hobby for you or you are looking to shoot professionally, I don't care...the end-result is the same. Go after what you want and never settle. Don't ever cheap out on lenses. Even if you have to wait a little. :)

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Fabulous advice! Thank you:) I am laughing at your comment about not affording x but buying y because you can't wait and that is exactly what I did with this lens:) I am just at hobbyist and rationalized that the extra 500.00 wasn't worth it if I wasn't doing this to make money. It seemed silly. But so is a lens that isn't used. A huge waste of money. I have a few in my bag like that:) I do need to get out and use it all. The . Time. I have honestly barely used it as I took a few shots and didn't love what I saw so switched back over to my 50mm 1.4 - this lens I adore!

Again thank you for taking the time to explain all this to me. I appreciate your input and advice and will put this lens on for a month and see what I can do with it:)

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You might want to invest in a monopod and ball head. That will help out greatly and still be able to give you movement. Then again, that's gonna be an extra $150 or so on top of what you spent already. How about getting rid of the stuff in your bag that collects dust? How about selling this 70-200 and going for the IS version? Make it happen in 2017. Find a way.

 

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