TESTING TELEPHOTO LENS
March 2004 - 52 photos

In March of 2004 I purchased a Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens with Image Stabilization to go with my new digital camera, a Canon EOS 300D, (Digital Rebel), purchased in December. When used with this camera, the lens acquires 1.6 more magnification due to the camera's cropping of the image with a smaller sensor size. That means the 100-400 becomes equal to a 160-640mm. Quite the lens at 13x.

Being winter there wasn't a lot to take pictures of, but I wanted to try it out and see what it would do. Using it with the Digital Rebel would produce a magnification of 3x to 13x, so I expected quite a lot. The first thing I chose to shoot was a sign up the street above the houses at the end of the cull-de sac in front of my home. The distance to the sign was about 150 yards. Shooting through my front window with the wide angle lens and then another shot with the full zoom of the telephoto lens to see how close it would bring the sign. I was very impressed.

Following that I took a photo of Ben Lomond peak with the wide angle lens set at 2x and then two shots with the big zoom at 13x. I marked the 2x shot with two rectangles showing the area of the two close up photos. Again I was very impressed.

I like this lens, especially that I can zoom it to fit the subject, but it's not a real sharp lens, not as good as a fixed telephoto lens, but it is more versatile and less expensive. Later on I purchased a Canon 500mm lens, considered their sharpest lens. On my camera it is equal to an 800mm. I really like this lens, but didn't like the price.

100 - 400mm
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Canon EOS 40D with 100-400mm telephoto adjustable zoom lens


Some of the photos after that are shots of the moon. The first moon shot is of the moon and Venus together taken with the Digital Rebel and 400mm lens. I didn't expect Venus to show as more than a point of light, but was pleased to see that it had an apparent disk size. Later on I added a few moon shots taken with a newer camera, the Canon 20D, and then some with the newest, the Canon 40D, much better detail. Also some were taken with my newest big lens, the Canon EF 500mm and the 1.4 and 2.0 multiplying extenders.

If you are interested in using multiplier extenders, see the next to the last paragraph here for that.

Wondering how I took these pictures of the moon? I have found that some digital cameras can focus and adjust for the brightness of the moon and dark background, but most can not do this. If auto mode on your camera doesn't do it, put your camera in the Time Mode, and adust the shutter time for the best result. I found that 1/400th of a second works pretty good, but that depends on the camera and lens used.

When looking at the moon shots, if you really want to see the difference each camera makes using the same lens, you need to look at the larger photos to observe the fine detail.

For a real look at telephoto zooming, I added some shots taken at Clyde lake. The shot with my regular lens was taken from high up on a ridge overlooking Clyde lake. There were two people sitting on the rock slope at the edge of the lake having lunch. I circled them with a red circle so you could find them. The second photo is with a 400mm lens and cropped about 2:1, or 26x. The third photo is a digital enlargement of the 26x photo and you can see a flag on the guys shirt and the words "Old Navy". Not bad from a quarter mile away.

Another great example of telephoto zooming is some shots of my neighborhood taken from the top of Ben Lomond mountain. The first shot is of Ogden with North Ogden in the close foreground. I marked the neighborhood area with an arrow. The next shot is about 26x showing streets and houses clearly. The last shot is of my neighbor waving an American flag. This photo was cropped/magnified 5 more times using the previous photo. That photo doesn't have much detail magnified so much, but you can tell what it is.


500mm fixed
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Canon EOS 60D with 500mm fixed telephoto lens


Click for PhotosComparing three telephoto lenses

I have added two more pages of photos, to show what the 500 millimeter lens can do. The Canon EF 500 mm fixed lens is the sharpest lens I own. These were from my Beus Pond up Close pages and Wildlife 3, also out at Antelope Island, and some were taken out at the Bear River Bird Refuge. You can view these photos in a lager size than I usually allow, to see the detail of an expensive telephoto lens.

NEW

Click for PhotosMe out shooting with the 500 mm telephoto lens


   - 52 photos -
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For those of you interested in buying a good telephoto lens, I would tell you to consider getting one with IS, (Image Stabilization). I now buy all my lenses with IS and wouldn't shoot without it. At first I was using tripods and monopods but have since found that I can shoot the moon or anything else, without any support, hand held. Also any lens with IS allows you to shoot 3 stops slower speed without blurring. I can shoot down to 1/15th of a second with my EFS 17-85mm wide angle to 5x zoom. I prefer Canon Digital Camera equipment over any other brand and think Canon has the best Image Stabilization of any camera company. I have read that Canon is the leader in 35mm lenses as well.

For any of you interested in using Canon's multiplier extenders, I want to warn you that the Canon extenders won't work on all of Canon's lenses. Only professional 'L' series lenses will attach to the extenders, and not even all of the 'L' series. The fixed/prime telephoto lenses will work fine, but only a few of the 'L' series zoom lenses will work and you will loose quality with those. Because of light loss, you will not have auto focus with many of these lenses. For zoom lenses you are better off cropping your photos to increase size, providing you have enough camera resolution to do so. The sharper lenses like my Canon EF 500mm prime lens will work good with either extender and even with both added together, but requires manual focus when using both.



The first few photos shown here were taken with a Canon EOS 300D, (Digital Rebel) a 6.3 Megapixel SLR Camera, with wide angle to 2x optical zoom. These photos were taken with the Canon EF 100 - 400mm IS "L series" Zoom lens, (3x to 13x). Since building this page, I have traded the Digital Rebel for the Canon EOS 20D, a Digital SLR at 8.2 megapixels. Then later bought the Canon EOS 40D at 10 megapixels, finally progressing up to the 60D with 18 megapixels. Also I purchased a Canon EF 500mm fixed professional telephoto lens, and some of the pictures posted here were taken with that. These photos have been reduced in size for faster loading.

You are welcome to look at or download any of the smaller photos, but do not take any of the full screen size pictuers. If you use any of the smaller ones on your webpage, please give credit and refer back to me.



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