Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: digitaldog on January 06, 2010, 10:36:42 am

Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 06, 2010, 10:36:42 am
I'm going to the Galapagos next month, this time (unlike the trip with Michael on the Amazon), I've got myself the Canon 100-400. A buddy suggested the Canon 1.4 teleconverter and I'm wondering if this would be a good purchase and combo with this lens (I'll take a monopod too) or over kill. Last trip I only had (ugh) the 80-300 which wasn't up to snuff. FWIW, this will be on a 5DmII. Opinions welcome and thanks.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: francois on January 06, 2010, 11:28:29 am
Quote from: digitaldog
I'm going to the Galapagos next month, this time (unlike the trip with Michael on the Amazon), I've got myself the Canon 100-400. A buddy suggested the Canon 1.4 teleconverter and I'm wondering if this would be a good purchase and combo with this lens (I'll take a monopod too) or over kill. Last trip I only had (ugh) the 80-300 which wasn't up to snuff. FWIW, this will be on a 5DmII. Opinions welcome and thanks.
Andrew,
I used one on my 1D Mark 2 and it gave a slight advantage (vs no-extender and uprezzing in Photoshop) in resolution but it was not like day & night. I haven't used it on my 1Ds Mark 3.
I would try to borrow one for a few tests to see if it's worth it on a 5D Mark 2. The 5D Mark 2 already tests the limit of the 100-400.

One thing to consider is AF. Does the 5D Mark 2 can autofocus with a f/8 lens? FWIW, AF is very slow with that combo on a 1D body.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: NoahJackson on January 06, 2010, 12:50:03 pm
I have had very good results with the 100-400 handheld and with a tripod on the 5d2. With the 1.4, however, as you know, you'll need a very solid tripod and good technique. Without a tripod and a 1.4x but with good technique, I have found a can easily shoot using the 1/focal length with this lens. I'm making 36-inch prints from a 5d2.

If you do use the 1.4 and do substantial tests, do let us know your results. I echo the poor focusing of the 5d2 and 100-400 combo. I'm using mostly manual and live-view aided focus. Interesting to hear about the no-extender and upressing combo.

Has anyone tried using something such as the 300 + 1.4 on the 5d2 and comparing that (in terms of resolution)? Other than the differences in fstops, I'm assuming that the real world print differences would be relatively minor.

Thanks,
Noah

Quote from: francois
Andrew,
I used one on my 1D Mark 2 and it gave a slight advantage (vs no-extender and uprezzing in Photoshop) in resolution but it was not like day & night. I haven't used it on my 1Ds Mark 3.
I would try to borrow one for a few tests to see if it's worth it on a 5D Mark 2. The 5D Mark 2 already tests the limit of the 100-400.

One thing to consider is AF. Does the 5D Mark 2 can autofocus with a f/8 lens? FWIW, AF is very slow with that combo on a 1D body.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Daniel Browning on January 06, 2010, 12:58:15 pm
Quote from: digitaldog
I'm going to the Galapagos next month, this time (unlike the trip with Michael on the Amazon), I've got myself the Canon 100-400. A buddy suggested the Canon 1.4 teleconverter and I'm wondering if this would be a good purchase and combo with this lens (I'll take a monopod too) or over kill.

Not overkill at all. It will be vital for wildlife photography. I would highly recommend a 2X TC instead. If you'll be birding, 800mm is not overkill at all, and the 100-400 is more than sharp enough for it on a 5D2.

Be aware that with any TC you'll have to focus manually. If you don't shoot the 100-400 in manual focus very often, I suggest spending some time working on your technique to get your speed and accuracy up before you leave.

You might also consider improving your post processing with some form of chromatic aberration correction and distortion correction. That will greatly help to reduce the aberrations added by the TC itself.

Quote from: francois
One thing to consider is AF. Does the 5D Mark 2 can autofocus with a f/8 lens?

I agree - this is important to consider. In the case of the 5D2, it will not autofocus at f/8. (Even taping off the pins will not make it work.)

Quote from: francois
The 5D Mark 2 already tests the limit of the 100-400.

I disagree. On a 1.4X TC, the 100-400 is awash in aliasing artifacts:

100-400 + 1.4X TC @ 560mm f/8 (http://the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=113&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0&LensComp=0&CameraComp=0&SampleComp=0&FLI=8&API=2)

That proves it has plenty more resolution. Even with a 2X TC, the 100-400 still results in aliasing artifacts in the center:

100-400 + 2X TC @ 800mm f/11 (http://the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=113&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0&LensComp=0&CameraComp=0&SampleComp=0&FLI=9&API=3)

Both of these sharpen up by stopping down. Even a 2X and 1.4X stacked (1120mm!) still yield better resolution than cropping the 5D2.

I remember some tests out there with the 100-400 on the 50D with a 1.4X that shows improvement from the TC, and the 50D is equivalent to a 38.4 MP full frame camera, which is much higher than the 5D2.

Furthermore, even if the 100-400 was so soft that 2X TC did not help resolution, it would still help with noise. ISO 400 f/5.6 with no TC has more noise than ISO 1600 f/11 with 2X TC.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Daniel Browning on January 06, 2010, 01:00:51 pm
Quote from: NoahJackson
Has anyone tried using something such as the 300 + 1.4 on the 5d2 and comparing that (in terms of resolution)? Other than the differences in fstops, I'm assuming that the real world print differences would be relatively minor.

You're right - it's pretty minor:
300mm+1.4X @ 420mm f/5.6 vs 100-400 @400mm f/5.6 (http://the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=111&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=1&LensComp=113&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=7&APIComp=0)

The 100-400 is better in the center, but the 300+1.4X is better in the corners.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 06, 2010, 01:05:23 pm
Thanks everyone, very valuable info.

I don't see a tripod in the cards for this trip. Monopod is doable. I'll also start messing around with manual focus too (like the old days).
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: fike on January 06, 2010, 03:23:25 pm
I didn't find the quality with the 1.4x teleconverter on the 100-400 to be very good.  As a matter of fact, on my 50D, I couldn't discern any substantial increase in detail resolution between the two. This may not be the case with a 5DMKII, but I felt like the decrease in ease of use that results from the loss of auto focus (particularly for wildlife and birds) combined with very marginal increase in resolution, if any, made the 1.4X teleconverter a waste of time for me.

The naked 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L is the best compromise for travel photography on foot.  Anything longer or better is 3X the cost and at least 2X the size and weight.  The only lens that comes close would be the Canon 300 F/2.8 L IS with a 1.4 Teleconverter.  That lens is almost packable for hiking and takes VERY good shots.  The only downer is that you are only getting an effective 420MM compared to the 100-400. But, on the other hand, that 420mm is substantially superior to the 100-400 quality.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Marlyn on January 06, 2010, 03:24:46 pm
A little further outside the box, but consider one of the Sigma Lenses, such as the 150-500 OS   (Optically Stabilized).

It is a little slow, out to 6.3 at 500mm,  but it may suit what you need for this trip.



Now, if only Canon would make a 200-400 F4



Regards

Mark.

Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Mike Boden on January 06, 2010, 10:31:45 pm
Quote from: Daniel Browning
Be aware that with any TC you'll have to focus manually.

Not sure why you're saying this, because my experience proves otherwise. I've used a Canon 2x extender on Canon's 500mm f/4L IS USM and used auto-focus just fine. The only caveat is that because you lose two stops of light with the extender, you're at f/8 and that only allows auto-focus to work on the center focus point. To compensate for this for subjects not composed in the center of the frame, I changed custom menu C.Fn-04 on my Canon 1DS-MKii. This allows me to use the * button on the back of the camera for auto focus and the shutter button for exposure and capture.  Thus, press * to achieve focus lock with your thumb, recompose, and then shoot with your index finger. Easy!
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Marlyn on January 06, 2010, 10:52:49 pm
Quote from: Mike Boden
Not sure why you're saying this, because my experience proves otherwise. I've used a Canon 2x extender on Canon's 500mm f/4L IS USM and used auto-focus just fine. The only caveat is that because you lose two stops of light with the extender, you're at f/8 and that only allows auto-focus to work on the center focus point. To compensate for this for subjects not composed in the center of the frame, I changed custom menu C.Fn-04 on my Canon 1DS-MKii. This allows me to use the * button on the back of the camera for auto focus and the shutter button for exposure and capture.  Thus, press * to achieve focus lock with your thumb, recompose, and then shoot with your index finger. Easy!


Only the 1-series cameras focus lenses with an effective maximum appeture of f8.   5D mk II, and other EOS camoeras can only focus up to f5.6

I am not positive about the 5DmkII, but my 5D can't focus at f8,  were as my 1DsIII can.

Regards

Mark

Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Mike Boden on January 06, 2010, 10:56:42 pm
Quote from: Marlyn
Only the 1-series cameras focus lenses with an effective maximum appeture of f8.   5D mk II, and other EOS camoeras can only focus up to f5.6

I am not positive about the 5DmkII, but my 5D can't focus at f8,  were as my 1DsIII can.

Regards

Mark


Didn't know that. Thanks for the heads up.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Daniel Browning on January 06, 2010, 11:47:13 pm
Quote from: Mike Boden
Not sure why you're saying this, [...]

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I only meant to refer to the specific case of the 5D Mark II and 100-400 that the OP was asking about. Other lenses and bodies do autofocus with TC, as you mentioned.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Mike Boden on January 06, 2010, 11:52:36 pm
Quote from: Daniel Browning
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I only meant to refer to the specific case of the 5D Mark II and 100-400 that the OP was asking about. Other lenses and bodies do autofocus with TC, as you mentioned.

Thanks Daniel. I pretty much figured that out after Mark's post, and I think we're all on the same page.

Now what's interesting to me is that non- "1-series" cameras only autofocus up to f/5.6. I'm wondering why this is so...
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: francois on January 07, 2010, 05:47:28 am
Quote from: fike

The naked 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L is the best compromise for travel photography on foot.  Anything longer or better is 3X the cost and at least 2X the size and weight.  The only lens that comes close would be the Canon 300 F/2.8 L IS with a 1.4 Teleconverter.  That lens is almost packable for hiking and takes VERY good shots.  The only downer is that you are only getting an effective 420MM compared to the 100-400. But, on the other hand, that 420mm is substantially superior to the 100-400 quality.
Exactly, I don't see myself hiking in the Alps for 6-8 hours with something like a 500 f/4 or even the relatively light EF 400 f/4.0 DO. The 100-400 is without any doubt not at the same level of performance as the big guns (300 f/2.8, 400 f/4 & f/2.8 and 500 f/4). But its versatility, reasonable price and weight are good reasons to own it.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Ray on January 07, 2010, 07:44:28 pm
Quote from: digitaldog
I'm going to the Galapagos next month, this time (unlike the trip with Michael on the Amazon), I've got myself the Canon 100-400. A buddy suggested the Canon 1.4 teleconverter and I'm wondering if this would be a good purchase and combo with this lens (I'll take a monopod too) or over kill. Last trip I only had (ugh) the 80-300 which wasn't up to snuff. FWIW, this will be on a 5DmII. Opinions welcome and thanks.

Andrew,
When I bought my first Canon DSRL many years ago, I also bought the 100-400 and 1.4x converter at the same time. I've carried out many tests during those years, comparing images at 400mm cropped to the same FOV as the 560mm shot with extender, then rezzed up to the same file size as the 560mm shot.

The best I can say is that it is possible, if the subject is contrasty in very strong light, to get a very marginal, pixel-peeping advantage in detail and resolution using the 1.4x extender with the 100-400 at 400mm. However, often there seems to be no advantage whatsoever, and sometimes the results with the converter seem to be marginally worse.

Investigating how this could be, that the image using the converter could actually be worse, I came to the conclusion that the quality of the lens at the real aperture (ie. the aperture through which the light passes before reaching the converter at the other end) was the determining factor.

I believe that my copy of the 100-400 is at least of average quality, and perhaps better than average. At 400mm it's sharpest at F8, very marginally less sharp at F11, but quite noticeably less sharp at F5.6.

When you fix a 1.4x converter to the lens, the maximum aperture becomes F8 but the aperture blades in the lens are still wide open at F5.6. To get the sharpest result with a 1.4x extender you therefore have to stop down to F11. Even at F16, with extender, you will get a sharper result than you will get at F8, if your copy of the 100-400 is like mine.

When you consider the disadvantages of loss of autofocus capability and the slower shutter speeds required (or higher ISO), the use of an extender with the 100-400 is simply not worth the hassle.

In my opinion, you'd be far better off getting the longer reach by using a 7D.

Below are some comparisons showing the noticeably sharper results at F11 compared with F8, at 560mm with the 5D and the 20D. These were taken several years ago. The 20D has the same pixel density as the 5D2, yet still shows slightly better resolution at F11.

However, if your copy of the 100-400 is actually sharpest at F5.6, then it could be worthwhile using an extender.

[attachment=19268:full_scene.jpg]  [attachment=19269:F8_v_F11_at_560mm.jpg]  [attachment=19270:20D_F11_...at_560mm.jpg]
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: stever on January 08, 2010, 11:55:19 am
i'm pretty much with ray on this one

i've used the 100-400 and 1.4x on the 40D and tried it on the 5D2 with contacts taped.  it sort of focuses.  if you use the extender, you really need a 100-400 that has decent performance at f5.6 (this has historically been an issue which i think has improved with more recent production - but maybe not) - i spent some time and money finding one

in terms of image quality, forget the Tamron 200-500 and Sigma alternatives

i really don't think you stand a chance of decent manual focus without a sturdy tripod and a cooperative subject

i find that a crop from the 100-400 with 5D2 is virtually identical to a 40D image.  i tried a 50D and didn't see a noticeable improvement.  i hope the 7D is a noticeable improvement but haven't tested one yet

the good thing about the Galapagos is that there's a lot of stuff, including birds that are pretty close.  i'd say go with the 5D2 and 100-400 for overall image quality and high iso performance.  adding a 7D for the high speed capability and (hopefully) longer focal effective focal length is not a bad idea.  you can take the 1.4x for emergency, but i'll bet you won't use it much

i do not recommend the 400DO unless you REALLY need f4 -- it's only marginally sharper than a good 100-400.  in the Galapagos you will be hiking around and sometimes in zodiacs and a long fixed lens likd the 400DO means that you need a 100-400 as well which means a 2-camera setup -- too much to deal with unless you have an assistant.

i think you'll be fine with the 5D2 and 100-400
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 08, 2010, 12:32:41 pm
Ray, your post was invaluable, thanks for taking the time to provide the info!
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 08, 2010, 12:35:48 pm
Quote from: stever
the good thing about the Galapagos is that there's a lot of stuff, including birds that are pretty close.  i'd say go with the 5D2 and 100-400 for overall image quality and high iso performance.  
i think you'll be fine with the 5D2 and 100-400

Thanks, that's the approach I'm going towards. The $300 I save, I can now spend on those nice new Bose noise canceling headphones I saw here at the Denver airport. Oh boy, too many toys, too little time.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: NoahJackson on January 08, 2010, 02:29:41 pm
Good question and great response, Ray. Thanks for sharing your test results. So, now that this issue is finished, what will your backup be?

Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: tokengirl on January 08, 2010, 03:02:36 pm
Save your money.  I have the 100-400L and the 1.4X TC.  My lens is very sharp when used alone, but adding the 1.4X TC was a big disappointment.  Better to use the lens alone and crop.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: francois on January 08, 2010, 03:36:09 pm
Quote from: digitaldog

The $300 I save, I can now spend on those nice new Bose noise canceling headphones I saw here at the Denver airport.…
You won't regret your $300 investment, believe me.
 
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 08, 2010, 04:32:32 pm
Quote from: francois
You won't regret your $300 investment, believe me.
 

I didn't (meaning I got the new Q15's). Nice but short flight (55 minutes) but they are worth every penny based on that one trip.
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: francois on January 08, 2010, 04:47:51 pm
Quote from: digitaldog
I didn't (meaning I got the new Q15's). Nice but short flight (55 minutes) but they are worth every penny based on that one trip.
For long transatlantic flights I find them invaluable.
Have fun in the Galapagos!
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Bill in WV on January 09, 2010, 05:47:32 pm
Andrew,

I can't believe I'm offering advice to you, more than that I can't hardly bellieve you would ask here, being a princpal of Pixel Genius and knowing your skills; however, I'm seeing a bunch of nonsense with very few images to back up the claim of questionable performance. I am going to offer an address where I feel you can get the straight scoop.
http://www.stevenrotsch.com/Birds%20of%20P...0HTML/index.htm (http://www.stevenrotsch.com/Birds%20of%20Prey%20HTML/index.htm)
Steve Rotsch is the governor's photographer here in WV and has a long history of scenic and nature photography in WV. I have attended three workshops with Steve as the instructor. I have seen his tests of shots he did of the WV capitol handheld with the 100-400 and with stacked Canon "L" extenders, the 1.4x and the 2.0x and I thought they were very very sharp. On the page I have directed you to, the bald eagles that appear there, I think I have the right shoot as he does this a lot, were shot at WV  Photoworkshop last year handheld with the stacked extencers from the deck of a pontoon boat. Most of the time he uses a monopod with this lens but I know he loves it!

I've never had the pleasure of using his lens, but I know I want one. Enjoy your trip. And if you want to contact Steve for his personal take on the lens combo, I'm most confident he will reply.

Bill in WV (we met very briefly at PSW in Boston and I took a couple of your classes, and no, I don't expect you to remember)
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: digitaldog on January 09, 2010, 06:21:36 pm
Thanks Bill. Steve’s site is quite nice. I see he’s really into birds and to be more forthcoming, I don’t know that on my trip I’ll be concentrating on birds or any specific wildlife. I just know that on the Amazon trip, I had the 80-300mm which was just OK and many of the students who knew better had the 100-400mm and after seeing their work each night, I wanted something longer (and with better contrast!). A buddy suggested I get the 1.4 tele. Its possible 400mm will be all I need. I might swing for the converter “just in case” it doesn’t take up a lot of space although its kind of expensive. I do need to travel light and will probably only take a 2nd body, the 24-105mm and the big guns (the 100-400).
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: Ray on January 10, 2010, 07:22:12 am
Quote from: Bill in WV
...however, I'm seeing a bunch of nonsense with very few images to back up the claim of questionable performance. I am going to offer an address where I feel you can get the straight scoop.
 I have seen his tests of shots he did of the WV capitol handheld with the 100-400 and with stacked Canon "L" extenders, the 1.4x and the 2.0x and I thought they were very very sharp.

Bill,
If one's copy of the 100-400 is very very sharp, (ie. you have succeeded in cherry picking an excellent, rare copy of the lens) then you would expect to get images when using an extender that are also sharp.

If you are able to use flawless technique, a tripod, MLU when shutter speeds are slow, then it's possible to get a noticeable improvement in clarity and detail by using an extender, even with my rather average copy.

With my lens, I find no benefit at all with a 1.4x extender at the maximum aperture of F8, even when shooting a static subject with tripod and MLU, for reasons I explained earlier, namely, that my lens is noticeably less sharp at F5.6 than at F8 and F11. I believe this level of performance may be typical for this lens.

However, at F11 and F16, with 1.4x extender, I see an improvement in sharpness and clarity at 100% on the screen which, bear in mind, is respresentative of a really huge print, like 5ft x 7 1/2ft.

The problem for me therefore, is that to stand a chance of capturing more detail using an extender, the maximum aperture I can use becomes F11, not F8.

Furthermore, to be certain of capturing that greater detail, one may have to use a faster shutter speed than one would use with the 400mm at F8. A tripod doesn't always solve the problem because any slight movement of subject is magnified as a result of the greater focal length.

The following 100% crops were taken in ideal conditions, tripod, MLU, and completely still subject. As you should be able to see, at both F11 and F16, the text in the 560mm crops are clearer than in the 400mm shots uprezzed. But the 560mm shot at F8 is no better, or hardly better.

In real world conditions when the subject is often moving and one struggles to get a sufficiently fast shutter speed even at F8, it doesn't seem practicable to use an extender, especially if one also loses autofocus.

[attachment=19329:Comparis...extender.jpg]
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: stever on January 10, 2010, 10:40:54 am
yes, if you can stopped down and are using a sturdy tripod and have good light so the lens will autofocus with pins taped (the lens is very hard to manual focus as the focus ring is so sensitive) you can get a benefit from the teleconvert

but for what you'll be shooting in the Galapagos i still think Ray is right

let me add a couple more points
- don't hesitiate to use ISO 1600 or even 3200 with the 5D2 if you need it to stop action - a little noise (particualrly for wildlife) is far better than unintended motion blur
- with the 100-400 the sharpness gained by going to f8 from f5.6 offsets the noise of higher ISO up to 1600
- use the center point focus for faster autofocus (and you'll generally be fine leaving it on AI Servo) as this camera lens combination doesn't autofocus all that fast
- program the * button for autofocus so you can focus and shoot independently
- if shuttler speed is marginal, take bursts of 3-5 images to improve your odds (leave continuous drive on unless you're using flash)
- i you would like to go the next step in quality use fill flash (-1 1/2) with a better beamer - really does improve color, particularly for birds against sky
- i have no problem making 13x19 wildlife prints from crops of 600-700 mm equivalent

you'll have a great time
Title: Canon 1.4 teleconverter on 100-400 L IS USM?
Post by: AnderlSp on January 23, 2010, 11:59:21 am
Hi all,

I followed this thread and now I also about to buy a converter. I saw several tests and examples for 1.4 extender.
Anybody has experience with the 100-400 and the 2x extender?
I heard that the IQ drops dramatically, can you confirm this?
I could find many examples in the internet for the combination 5DMkII + Canon 2x + 100-400 L

The question ist, if the combination delivers a much better IQ than just copping the image taken with the 1.4 or even without extender.

Thanks...

BR,
Andreas