Is it me or the Lens?

31st July 2010
Since my last blog I have been using my new Canon 100-400 zoom almost exclusively. I would like to say that I’ve been impressed, but in fact its been quite the opposite. Over the last ten years I have used several lenses as my main wildlife lens. These include the Sigma 170-500, Sigma 50-500 and the canon 300L (f4) with converter, and I can say without doubt that this lens does not produce images anywhere near the quality of the lenses mentioned above.

As with any new bit of kit it takes some time to get used to, and all lenses have their limitations and “sweet spots”. It has therefore taken me a month to come to this conclusion, as when you spend £1300 on a lens you expect it to be pretty much pin sharp. I have gone through all the processes of blaming myself, “am I doing something wrong?” However, after a couple of sessions where I shot images at ISO 200, Aperture 8, and with a shutter speed of 1/1600 with the lens balanced on a bean bag and Image stabilisation, and still there is a slight fuzziness to the image you have to conclude that all is not well.

There is also a function on the camera which allows you to change the focus point for each individual lens as in some cases the lens can slightly back or front focus. Again this made no difference. I am therefore convinced that there is a problem. So the lens will soon be winging its way back to canon with hopefully the result that there is some misalignment within the lens that is causing the issue and this can be sorted.

In a way I am happy that the Marsh Harriers or Bittern have not made the close up appearance I’ve been looking for. Imagine getting home after putting over 20 hours of work in for the image only to find its not sharp and the lens is to blame! It doesn’t bare thinking about!

This image of a grey heron was taken at Langford with the problem lens. Its had load of work on it to get it passably sharp and was about a 50% crop.

Off to the Lake District for a few days next week with my daughter so may be able to practice a few landscape shots. If I do the results will be on the site shortly.


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