View Full Version : Sharper images with 70-300 lens??????

05-23-2009, 07:32 PM
I am having a lot of trouble getting nice and sharp shots when using the long lens ... Thing is they look pretty sharp in the camera, then when I get them home I am disappointed cuz they lack sharpness and I'm not sure what I'm doing incorrectly. I see other members shots on here who have used 70-300 lenses and they are so sharp! :wall-an: What are you all doing to get these great long distance shots of birds/animals that I'm not? :confused:

Anyone have comments/ideas/suggestions/thoughts/advice on how to fix this? I'd really appreciate the help...:thankyou:

PS...Here's some examples below....

05-23-2009, 10:30 PM
What 70-300 Casil? Canon or Nikon?

05-23-2009, 10:36 PM
Pentax Lovin...I hope you aren't a betting guy... :)

05-25-2009, 11:35 AM
Sorry to say that, but I have never seen any 70-300mm lens that appealed to me (nikon, canon or sony).
I had once a 70-300G Nikkor, I think it was the worst lens ever never sharp even at 105mm f8. and the problem here with you is not you, it is the lens.
I now use a 80-200 F4 all mechanic built 80's or earlier and it is marvelous.

05-25-2009, 11:42 AM
Hmm..now debating on this lens..lol

05-25-2009, 11:57 AM
This is a very poor test to gauge a lens's sharpness.

Shots 1 and 3 show a shutter speed of 1/350 and 1/250 respectively. These speeds are too slow for use on a 300 mm lens trying to track a moving target and reveal zero information about the sharpness of this lens. IF your focus was bang on (which is VERY hard) and you shot at 1/1000, then maybe we could attribute this lack of sharpness to the lens, maybe.

The rule of thumb is 1/focal length of the lens so shot 2 is too slow even for a stationary subject let alone something as fast as a bird.

Slap the lens on a tripod and shoot some text on a newspaper pasted to your wall at different apertures. Use a cable release. NOW you can gauge sharpness. Hope that helps - Marko

05-25-2009, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the input everyone....I kinda figured it's probably something I am doing wrong. Marko, I just posted those as some examples mostly of my frustration and disappointment in shots I thought looked good in camera but ended up sucking in post. :wall-an: Thanks for the input and advice...much appreciated.
I love the lens, but I'm having a b-word of a time getting it correct. So much turns out either too dark or not in great focus. I do get the occasional shot correct tho.
I'm having trouble figuring out this lens and how it works, how to adjust it etc.
Guess I'll do some reading...any good sites I might consider looking at?

Thanks again... :)

05-25-2009, 10:03 PM
Don't have any 'sites to recommend, but a few suggestions:

1. Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more; the beauty of digital is that the film is cheap! ;)

2. Shoot, review, adjust, shoot, review... you get the picture.

3. While you're practicing, I suggest trying the following:

a. Set your camera to shutter priority and then set your shutter speed to 1/500th of a second (as you become more familiar with the lens, you can dial this down a bit)

b. Set your focusing to that it's only usuing a single point, and ALWAYS pay attention to where the camera is focusing and adjust as required

c. Understand the DoF of this lens; remember, long focal lengths have much shallower depths of field at a given aperture then shorter focal lengths.

Good luck!

05-28-2009, 10:48 AM
Casil shoots Pentax so I'm betting she has in body shake reduction turned on most of the time when shooting hand held and I'm also betting these were shot hand held. While I also have some Pentax gear and find the SR to be a cool and helpful feature, I think the longer the focal length the less effective it is. And any kind of stabilization, be it in lens or in body, while great in a pinch, can't solve subject motion and is rarely a worthy replacement for a tripod (or at least monopod) especially when shooting long-ish slow-ish consumer zooms. I thought I had pretty steady hands until I started using longer lenses and became a full fledged pixel peeper.

05-28-2009, 07:32 PM
Sorry to say that, but I have never seen any 70-300mm lens that appealed to me (nikon, canon or sony).
I had once a 70-300G Nikkor, I think it was the worst lens ever never sharp even at 105mm f8. and the problem here with you is not you, it is the lens.
I now use a 80-200 F4 all mechanic built 80's or earlier and it is marvelous.

Did you study the Olympus one ? Zuiko 70-300mm (35mm ~ 140-600mm).

Follow Michaelaw's posts to see how sharp this lens is.

Vladimir Naumoff
11-17-2009, 11:38 AM
Tele-zoom lenses all depend on F point 2.8mm is the standard for the good lenses and focus speed. Big role plays IS factor but only when you shooting from hand. When on tripod IS suppose to be off. If you talking about the lens that I think you talking about the F5.8, NON IS, 70-300MM then here is a few things about this lens:
Don't shoot from hand (no IS), use tripod, don't use it on moving subjects, the focusing speed is too slow, and don't shoot very long distances, maybe try from 15 to 25m. This lens also needs a lot of light, make sure there is a lot of light.

Try that!;)

Mad Aussie
11-17-2009, 03:04 PM
How I do it ...

When using my long zoom lens, I almost exclusively shoot birds in Shutter Priority mode and at as high a shutter speed as the camera/lens/light will allow.
As others have mentioned ... don't use a shutter speed that is lower in number than your zoom length. So 300mm means 1/300th absolute minimum. I'm much happier at 1/800 or higher if I can get it.

I've very rarely ever used a tripod for shooting birds. But I do have image stabilization.

I use a single focal point not the whole 9 points. I obviously try to get that single point on the birds eye.

I use AI Focus or AI Servo which are Canon modes for making the camera re-focus when it sees movement even after I've composed the shot.

I don't expect sharp photos unless my subject is reasonably close to me. I'd be happy to get that pelican of yours sharp at 300 - 400mm if that was as close as I could get. But at 300mm I'd want the pelican to at least fill half of the screen if I could.

Regardless of the shutter speed, the flash is very quick so I find it's helpful in stopping the movement if it's not going to ruin the shot or be effective at all.

I haven't found that a cheaper lens can't do the job. It may be a little slower on focus, and a little more soft at the longest zoom.