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Jill Morgan

Is it me, my camera or the lens

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I went out this evening and took these pictures of a train (and a wall with vines) and edited to let you know this is a parked train, it isn't moving.

All pics are taken at 1/125, f8 with an ISO of 200. It is quite distinct that on the right there is possibly a light leak. And the photos lack contrast and look so soft. Not what you want in a train pic. I only did a bit of editing on the 2nd train pic.

train1.jpg train2.jpg

train4.jpg trainwall.jpg

The camera is a Canon T4i, the lens a Canon 55-200. I bought the lens a week ago used from a camera store.

Pics taken with the standard lens come out great, so I am worried I have a dud lens, or is it possible I didn't put it on correctly? Looking for something so I can avoid going back to Toronto to return it.

Edited by Jill Morgan

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I don't think you've given that lens a fair test, Jill. A tele at 1/125 and a moving train? I wouldn't do that at less than 1/250. And I only see the one picture (the engine) with that odd light you see as a camera or lens leak—it could be lots of things. Do an actual test using three different points in the zoom, different ISO's and f/stops and shutter speeds.  Use a subject that's not moving. 

 

Ed

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First thing I would say is that unless you are rock steady and the subject

is motionless or you have a good tripod?  You are not going to get a sharp

image with that lens and a shutter speed of 125.  Did you use a good lens

shade?  I do not use zooms without a shade,  I even have several hand

made shades for my 80-200 and 35-70  that are tighter than the factory

ones.  I also never use filters over the front element.

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This is not a moving train. I guess I should have told you that. This one is permanently parked in a local park here in Lindsay. I didn't have a hood on the lens.

 

I don't have any filters over the front element either.  I was in the shade,

Edited by Jill Morgan
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There are lots of details that we (others) cannot know if we're not there with you and if you don't mention them. But you do seem to be shooting there, not testing. I have handheld shots at very slow shutter speeds, but I expect some of the snaps taken at 1/125 or slower to be soft. And you might be on a tripod---I don't know. But the rule is longer lenses need faster shutter speeds. But do a proper test on this lens before you decide to return it. 

 

I too, like Chuck and you, don't use filters, but always use hoods. Where the myth that a filter will protect the front of your lens came from, I know not. Hoods do give some protection. 

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I too, like Chuck and you, don't use filters, but always use hoods. Where the myth that a filter will protect the front of your lens came from, I know not. Hoods do give some protection. 

 

Actually, when I was in Africa back in June, I was heading for the washroom at Naabi Hill when I saw some monkeys. Went back to the truck to grab my camera and didn't put the strap around my neck.  After the shots I headed for the washroom, tripped, and the camera went flying and hit the cement.  This lens had a filter on it, and the filter was all cracked, but not a mark on the lens.  So I guess that time the filter took the hit for the lens.

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Maybe tomorrow morning I will go back to the train and reshoot at 1/250 and see if it is better. And I should probably get myself a hood next time I'm in Toronto.

 

I'll take the same shot over and over using different f stops and ISO settings. Better give the lens a decent trial.

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A poster on a wall in good light makes a good "casual" test subject (I use bright, even open shade). I don't do bench tests . . . but I do do tests. And you look at your results at 100%. 

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A poster on a wall in good light makes a good "casual" test subject (I use bright, even open shade). I don't do bench tests . . . but I do do tests. And you look at your results at 100%. 

 

May I suggest a full size newspaper?

Or 2 small newspapers of course.

The ads pages are best: full of same size small print.

 

wim

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I'd take the lens back to Toronto if I were you and get your $ back. The previous owner might have dropped the lens or knocked it against something and misaligned the elements. Testing the lens is a good idea, but it won't fix it. Good luck.

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It looks like flare to me. If you don't have a hood for the lens, buy one, they're not that expensive. Canon makes hoods for all their lenses but unfortunately only includes them when you buy an L lens. I have the 55-250 and it's a fine lens for the price, but I bought a hood for it and always use it.

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A poster on a wall in good light makes a good "casual" test subject (I use bright, even open shade). I don't do bench tests . . . but I do do tests. And you look at your results at 100%. 

 

May I suggest a full size newspaper?

Or 2 small newspapers of course.

The ads pages are best: full of same size small print.

 

wim

 

A newspaper would work. Actually the "poster" I was using when testing new stuff was like a newspaper but a bit better—it had many sizes of print clusters on it. Sadly, it's gone now. 

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I have found that it is worth while testing complex lenses at various subject distances. I once had a Canon L zoom that was razor sharp across the frame close up (newspaper test) but hopelessly soft down one side at a distance. Use a tripod and shoot, with the light behind you and across a river say, so so that you have a line of distant things across the frame at the same subject distance.

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I have a Nikon 24-85 zoom like that, Bryan. Would you like to buy it?   :)

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There are lots of details that we (others) cannot know if we're not there with you and if you don't mention them. But you do seem to be shooting there, not testing. I have handheld shots at very slow shutter speeds, but I expect some of the snaps taken at 1/125 or slower to be soft. And you might be on a tripod---I don't know. But the rule is longer lenses need faster shutter speeds. But do a proper test on this lens before you decide to return it. 

 

I too, like Chuck and you, don't use filters, but always use hoods. Where the myth that a filter will protect the front of your lens came from, I know not. Hoods do give some protection. 

Got to agree with you about hoods..protection against damage and flare, Like you I normally don't use filters...apart from when I am close to the action shooting rallycross, as I was photographing the rear of cars going out of a bend at  the sunseeker rally last year with my 50-500  through the viewfinder I saw a stone coming towards me and thought not much chance of that hitting me....sods law straight down the lens hood and hit the filter..filter broken lens ok..  lucky boy

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Yeah, Steve---lucky. And your shooting there was special circumstances. For every piece of advice or rule, there are exceptions.  :rolleyes:

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Yeah, Steve---lucky. And your shooting there was special circumstances. For every piece of advice or rule, there are exceptions.  :rolleyes:

Absolutely Ed rallycross and lots of splashing saltwater are about the only two places I use a filter now, The way I see it is I have paid £1200.00 for a lens so I am not going to stick a £50.00 filter in front of it unless I have too....hoods on the other hand IMHO are a must...and I still find a use for my old bellows hood from my RB 67 lenses on my more modern day stuff, and if that fails I can sometimes position my baseball cap near the lens to keep the sun out  ;)

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Maybe tomorrow morning I will go back to the train and reshoot at 1/250 and see if it is better. And I should probably get myself a hood next time I'm in Toronto.

 

I'll take the same shot over and over using different f stops and ISO settings. Better give the lens a decent trial.

 

Lens hoods can provide some protection, but I usually find my hand to be a better tool than a lens hood for preventing flare. However, if you were shooting in the shade, than flare probably wasn't the culprit.

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Went back into town this morning. Before I went I cleaned the lens, took it off and put it on again, and then went ashooting.

 

These pics are taken at 250mm 1/250 at f11 ISO 200 across a river. The first pic is the full picture, the second pic the actual 100% of the little girl in the wagon.

 

Would this pass QC?

 

Definitely improvement, so could be dirty lens, or not quite connected properly.

 

I did retake the train as well, will post those after.

 

2kidsfeedingducks.jpg  2kids.jpg

Edited by Jill Morgan

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Maybe not it's not flare, but it seems to be a lack of contrast, which a lens hood will help with whether or not you are shooting in the shade. It blocks stray light hitting the front element at an oblique angle and that stray light can be reflected light, not just sunlight and it can decrease contrast. 

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Went back into town this morning. Before I went I cleaned the lens, took it off and put it on again, and then went ashooting.

 

These pics are taken at 250mm 1/250 at f11 ISO 200 across a river. The first pic is the full picture, the second pic the actual 100% of the little girl in the wagon.

 

Would this pass QC?

 

Definitely improvement, so could be dirty lens, or not quite connected properly.

 

I did retake the train as well, will post those after.

 

2kidsfeedingducks.jpg 

 

It's not super sharp, but I think it would pass QC. However, please don't quote me on this. You could always try downsizing the file to 3600 pixels on the long side (to meet Alamy's 24 MB minimum file size) if you want to increase sharpness.

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The section at 100% looks sharp enough for me. However, the image looks a stop under exposed. A guess is it would pass QC.  What PP program are you using? 

 

I hate nit picking . . . but why not choose f/8 @ 1/500?  f/11 is okay, but f/8 or f/5.6 are usually better on most lenses.

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I have a Nikon 24-85 zoom like that, Bryan. Would you like to buy it? :)

Certainly ED, have you anything anything else to add to my collection of photo junk :rolleyes:

 

Back to Jill's problem. You do need to test a telephoto using a tripod, it's about the only time I use a tripod!

Edited by Bryan

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Went back into town this morning. Before I went I cleaned the lens, took it off and put it on again, and then went ashooting.

 

These pics are taken at 250mm 1/250 at f11 ISO 200 across a river. The first pic is the full picture, the second pic the actual 100% of the little girl in the wagon.

 

Would this pass QC?

 

Definitely improvement, so could be dirty lens, or not quite connected properly.

 

I did retake the train as well, will post those after.

 

2kidsfeedingducks.jpg

 

It's not super sharp, but I think it would pass QC. However, please don't quote me on this. You could always try downsizing the file to 3600 pixels on the long side (to meet Alamy's 24 MB minimum file size) if you want to increase sharpness.

 

Thanks, I did that and it does improve a little.

 

And Ed, You are right. I was taking pics of the ducks, and thought 1/250 would be enough, but gee, those little beggars move fast, and most of the pics ended up just out of focus on one part of the duck or the other.  Took about 30 pics of ducks and used only about 6.  I wanted to keep my depth of field to get groups of ducks where most would be sharp, but hey, ya live and learn.

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