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Author Topic: The Extender Question  (Read 11228 times)

ARD

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The Extender Question
« on: May 13, 2006, 04:40:07 pm »

I am looking to get a 300mm f/4L IS USM.

I already have a EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

I have read how good the 300mm f/4L IS USM and Extender EF 1.4x II work together, but will the Extender EF 1.4x II work with my EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, or do I need to get a Extension Tube EF 25 II.

Many thanks as always for the advice
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Tim Gray

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The Extender Question
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2006, 05:39:16 pm »

The 1.4 won't fit the 100 macro, I guess it would with the extender, not sure what the ultimate effect would be.  Other extenders (kenko) would fit - but the canon 1.4 has an extended front element so the rear element of the lens needs to be recessed.
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boku

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The Extender Question
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2006, 05:57:07 pm »

Quote
I am looking to get a 300mm f/4L IS USM.

I already have a EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

I have read how good the 300mm f/4L IS USM and Extender EF 1.4x II work together, but will the Extender EF 1.4x II work with my EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, or do I need to get a Extension Tube EF 25 II.

Many thanks as always for the advice
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I had the 300 f/4 and used to use it with the 1.4 Extender. The results were so-so. I have found that the 1.4 extender is happiest when used on the fastest possible lens for a given focal length, like...

70-200 f/2.8
300 f/2.8
400 f/28
500 f/4
600 f/4

The secondary (smaller aperture) lens offerings from Canon do not fair as well. I now have a 400mm f/5.6. This is also only so-so with the 1.4 extender.

Eventually I will sell the 400 f/5.6 and get a 300 f/2.8 to use with both the 1.4x and 2x extenders. THAT is supposed to be a match made in heaven.

BTW: while you can't use the Canon Extenders with the 100mm macro, you can use them with the 180mm macro. Not much call for that, but they are compatible.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2006, 05:58:09 pm by boku »
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gochugogi

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The Extender Question
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2006, 06:02:16 pm »

I've used the Extender 1.4X with the EF 300 4L USM (non-IS) for years and found it to be an amazingly sharp combo. I hear the EF 300 4L IS USM is a little less sharp so that may account for some naysayers.

I don't think the Extender 1.4X will work with any non-L series optics due to the protruding element. It might work with an extension tube between the two but I haven't tried it.
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boku

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The Extender Question
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2006, 06:25:32 pm »

Quote
I've used the Extender 1.4X with the EF 300 4L USM (non-IS) for years and found it to be an amazingly sharp combo. I hear the EF 300 4L IS USM is a little less sharp so that may account for some naysayers.

I don't think the Extender 1.4X will work with any non-L series optics due to the protruding element. It might work with an extension tube between the two but I haven't tried it.
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Indeed, my 300 f/4 was the IS version.
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manilaman2001

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The Extender Question
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 11:15:41 am »

I was in that predicament several months ago.

Here are some thoughts to help you justify your situation.  Its a thought process that I went through before caving in for the 200mm 1.8!

It is not the 400/2.8 I have. It is brutally heavy (5370 g, 10 g heavier than the 600/4.0), and brutally expensive, almost the same as 600/4.0. I can eventually get the  400/5.6 It is regarded as one of the best lenses for bird flight photography, being light and handholdable, and with a very fast autofocus, but without IS.  But I do not shoot birds or anything beyond 200mm.

The 500/4.0 weighs in at 3870 g, and that really makes a difference. It is also 1700 USD cheaper than the 600/4.0, and 1300 USD cheaper than the 400/2.8. It is the choice lens for most nature photographers, having enough reach (1000 mm with the 2x converter), and light enough to carry around. It is also just small enough to carry on for air travel, which the 600/4.0 isn't.  But I'm NOT a nature photographer.  But on occasions  I may need to shoot beyond 200mm, i can just get the 2x converter, or use my current 1.4x.

You should definitely get the 2x converter. That will turn your 200/1.8 into a 400/3.6 which is probably as sharp as the 400/5.6, with a larger maximum aperture to boot. You can even stack the tc's, getting a 560/5.0. This will degrade the image, but the 200/1.8 is such a good lens to start with, that the result should probably be acceptable.

I have the 100mm 2.8, the EF25 is effective for Macro photography.  It works differently with the 100mm, as oppose to the intent of the  1.4x w/ 400mm 200mm etc.  For me I stayed with the 200mm 1.8, 1.4x, 2x.  performance without the price tag.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2006, 11:19:21 am by manilaman2001 »
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ARD

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The Extender Question
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 05:49:59 pm »

Thanks for all the replies
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Gregory

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The Extender Question
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2006, 11:28:38 am »

Quote
I've used the Extender 1.4X with the EF 300 4L USM (non-IS) for years and found it to be an amazingly sharp combo. I hear the EF 300 4L IS USM is a little less sharp so that may account for some naysayers.


I'm this very minute looking for a better solution for my bird photography needs. I am currently using a 70-200/2.8 non-IS with a 2x II extender and the results are ok but not great. non-subject objects out of focus (ie, objects in front/back of the intended subject) frequently get doubled/shadowed in the image.

I began looking at buying a 300/2.8 but it's just too expensive for me at this time. the 300/4 IS seems to be the next logical choice.

your comments make me wonder though. would buying the 300/4 IS to use with the 2x II extender be a bad choice? would buying the 300/4 non-IS be better? I had assumed that the IS really works and would produce more pristine photos. my biggest problem here in HK is low light levels which frequently push the viability of f5.6 even at 400ASA (I think we're now under the edge of the Asian Brown Cloud).


background. all of my bird/animal photography is done without a tripod. you can see some of my (amateur) photos at my blog.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2006, 11:30:55 am by Gregory »
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stever

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The Extender Question
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2006, 12:29:12 am »

i have the 100-400 and 300 4.0 which with 1.4x is just noticebly better than the 1-4 at 400.  i would suspect that the 400 5.6 is just noticebly better than the 300 4.0 +1.4.  BUT it depends on what kinds of birds doing what.  For birds in flight, the 1-4 is great because you can find the darn things at 100 and zoom in.  I think the number of shots you get with the zoom offsets the slight loss in sharpness.  

For hand-held i don't think you can really beat the 20 or 30d with the 100-400. You've got to go to the 300 2.8 + extender to get a noticeable difference in sharpness (and maybe a bit better contrast, and of course faster focus) , but if you can't bench press 250# it's not a candidate for hand-holding.  Or the $$ 400 DO.
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stever

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The Extender Question
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2006, 12:31:27 am »

ps -- yes, you need the extender with the macro.  the kenko 1.4x may work without the extender, has anybody tried this combination?
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John Sheehy

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The Extender Question
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2006, 06:24:37 pm »

Quote
You should definitely get the 2x converter. That will turn your 200/1.8 into a 400/3.6 which is probably as sharp as the 400/5.6, with a larger maximum aperture to boot. You can even stack the tc's, getting a 560/5.0. This will degrade the image,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65542\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Is "degrading the image" even relevant?

IMO, the only thing worth considering is whether or not you are degrading the subject.  A 100% monitor view is not the criterion for TC feasibility.  The subject, downsampled to the same size in pixels, or at the same size, printed, is the real criterion.  You don't need full original pixel-to-pixel contrast to get more absolute subject detail and contrast.
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Ray

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The Extender Question
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2006, 09:10:26 pm »

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A 100% monitor view is not the criterion for TC feasibility.  The subject, downsampled to the same size in pixels, or at the same size, printed, is the real criterion.  You don't need full original pixel-to-pixel contrast to get more absolute subject detail and contrast.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=67652\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I know there are differences between prints and enlarged views of crops on the monitor which, even at just 100%, might represent a 36" wide print which you might never make. However, I would have thought if the differences on monitor are slight at high magnification, they will also at best be slight, but more probably non-existent, on print.

There is an issue as to whether or not to downsample the larger image (with TC) or upsample the smaller image. Downsampling the larger image involves throwing away information. Upsampling the smaller image involves retaining the information. I prefer to upsample for this reason. However, it's perfectly legitimate to downsample the larger image, and even both images, for the purpose of gauging how the actual print sizes might compare.

The difficulty I'm having is in understanding how things might improve for the TC image, relative to the smaller image, when one or both are downsampled so they are the same size on monitor, and/or print. As both images are reduced in size, any differences between them which might have been visible at higher magnification, will also be reduced.

I would have thought, if you really want to assess the benefits of using a TC, you should upsample the smaller image, compare both images at high magnification to first determine if there really is any more detail at all visible in the TC image. You might be surprised to find that sometimes there isn't, in which case there's no point in using the TC whatever the intended size of the print.

Having determined that the TC image really does produce more detail, you can then downsample both images to determine at what print size such differences become irrelevant, because they will become irrelevant at small enough sizes.

I generally find that the chief reason one can not be definite about the benefits of using a TC is because the results will vary greatly depending on the contrast of the subject. Generally, low contrast and distant subjects benefit the least. High contrast and fairly close subjects benefit the most. Even a cheap zoom with TC will reveal more lines on a test chart than without TC.

The bottom line appears to be, whatever the quality of your lens, adding a TC will make it an inferior lens but of greater focal length.
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stever

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The Extender Question
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2006, 11:17:34 pm »

exactly, but until you test the combinations yourself, for the appropriate subject, you may be wasting time with extenters, particularly if you've given up autofocus

in general, it seems like zooms don't get on very well with extenders - adding a 1.4 to a good prime should give good results, and if it doesn't, then the lens itself may have a problem

i've had good results for macro with both the 1.4 and 2.0 on the 90TS and 100 Macro (with 12.5 extension)
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John Sheehy

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The Extender Question
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2006, 01:29:28 am »

Quote
exactly, but until you test the combinations yourself, for the appropriate subject, you may be wasting time with extenters, particularly if you've given up autofocus
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The switch is always in MF position on my 100-400, even without a TC.  I don't trust AF.  Lost too many pictures because of it, where it decided to focus the wrong way while the subject changed or escaped, or refused to allow a shutter click when the lens was clearly already in focus.

I'm much happier since I re-learned to focus myself.
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Ray

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The Extender Question
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2006, 12:24:28 pm »

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The switch is always in MF position on my 100-400, even without a TC.  I don't trust AF. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=67681\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Have you checked the preformance of your 100-400 at f5.6, f8 and f11? Some of these zooms are sharpest at f11, at 400mm. I believe mine is. If you are using a 1.4x extender with the lens at full aperture, it's unlikely you will get a better result than using the lens without TC at f11. I would think the lens at 400mm plus 1.4x extender would be sharpest at f16. Using the lens at f11 without TC and f16 with TC should cover up any slight misfocussing issues, but you're probably going to need that ISO 1600 setting on your 20D   .
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stever

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The Extender Question
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2006, 12:00:15 pm »

i find a big difference in sharpness between wide open and f8 with the 1-4 at 400, but it doesn't get noticeably better at f11

althouth autofocus on the 20d is not as fast as i'd like (it's autofocusing a at 5.6 after all) it's a lot faster than i can do it manually and the ai servo gives a hit rate on moving subjects that i couldn't hope to match
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Gregory

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The Extender Question
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2006, 09:52:39 am »

Quote
The switch is always in MF position on my 100-400, even without a TC.  I don't trust AF.  Lost too many pictures because of it, where it decided to focus the wrong way while the subject changed or escaped, or refused to allow a shutter click when the lens was clearly already in focus.
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hear hear!

I've had the same problems, especially since most of the time, my subjects (usually birds) are *not* in the middle of the frame (because I don't like centering the subject). once the camera begins moving the focus in the wrong direction, I can generally kiss the photo goodbye. the birds won't wait while the camera tries to get the focus right.

focus and position is also too time consuming when photographing restless objects like birds, and it's very difficult to get focus on exact features of the birds with auto-focus; eg, the eyes.

it's nice to know that someone else is re-learning manual focus ;-)

otoh, I sometimes set the focus to AF while carrying the camera in 'standby mode', just in case something pops up in front of me and I need to get the photo asap.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2006, 12:41:15 pm by Gregory »
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John Sheehy

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The Extender Question
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2006, 10:47:20 pm »

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Have you checked the preformance of your 100-400 at f5.6, f8 and f11? Some of these zooms are sharpest at f11, at 400mm. I believe mine is.

I would say mine is sharpest just one stop down, but not a whole lot sharper than wide-open.  The difference is small enough that I tend to lean towards proper exposure instead of forcing f/8's multiplied f-stop.  Unfortunately, these cameras don't have expoosure modes that allow for things like, "use one stop down unless the exposure becomes low, at which point use aperture necessary to maintain at least -1 EC if possible", which is what truly useful automation would really need.

Quote
If you are using a 1.4x extender with the lens at full aperture, it's unlikely you will get a better result than using the lens without TC at f11. I would think the lens at 400mm plus 1.4x extender would be sharpest at f16.

Wide-open with the 1.4x, the image resolution and pixel contrast is limited mainly by the 20D sensor.  With 2x or greater, I start to see a benefit in going down one stop, optically.

Quote
Using the lens at f11 without TC and f16 with TC should cover up any slight misfocussing issues, but you're probably going to need that ISO 1600 setting on your 20D   .
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I don't believe in using DOF as a safety net.  I like to get the central focus right where I want it.  I think it's quite obvious in a scene with gradations in depth when the focus is slightly in front of or behind the target.  For a bird on a wire or bare branch, it is more acceptable.

I use the ISO 1600 "setting" quite frequently.  I don't shoot at an EI of 1600, though, unless I really have to.  Usually, the camera is set to +2/3 or +1 EC, with a FEC for fill about 1 to 1.3 stops lower, for an effective EI of less than 800, actually.  I have less noise in my images, usually, than people who believe that ISO adds noise and are paranoid of anything over 400 and of blowing highlights, to the point of significant under-exposure.
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Ray

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The Extender Question
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2006, 12:52:37 am »

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I don't believe in using DOF as a safety net.  I like to get the central focus right where I want it.  I think it's quite obvious in a scene with gradations in depth when the focus is slightly in front of or behind the target.  For a bird on a wire or bare branch, it is more acceptable.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=68042\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Of course it's always better to have precise focussing. However, unless you have a 1 series Canon, there's really no option but to use manual focussing with the 1.4x extender on the 100-400. If there's a possibility of getting a sharper image at f16 than at f8, as well as a DoF safety net, why not use it.

I haven't used the 1.4x with my 5D yet. Maybe I'll do some comparisons between f8 and f16 at 400mm with extender. Weather's very overcast at present though.
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John Sheehy

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The Extender Question
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2006, 08:27:14 am »

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Of course it's always better to have precise focussing. However, unless you have a 1 series Canon, there's really no option but to use manual focussing with the 1.4x extender on the 100-400. If there's a possibility of getting a sharper image at f16 than at f8, as well as a DoF safety net, why not use it.

Loss of detail due to under-exposure at ISO 1600 nullifies any benefit.

Quote
I haven't used the 1.4x with my 5D yet. Maybe I'll do some comparisons between f8 and f16 at 400mm with extender. Weather's very overcast at present though.
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The coarser pixel pitch mean more teleconvertibility without loss.
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