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Rookie Lens

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  • Rookie Lens

    Hi Folks.I purchased a Canon 60D when it was first introduced back in 2010.It hasn't been used very much until recently.The EFS 18-135mm box lens that came with the camera was all I had.When i began doing some aviation photography last year,i knew I needed a better lens.But I didn't know what to buy.I finally decided on the EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 L IS USM lens.I was excited about my purchase.I thought my photos would explode with detail.Well,not exactly.It really seems like my old box lens wasn't doing as bad as I thought.Sure,the L has sharper detail.But at full zoom,the L is lackluster.Am I expecting too much out of the L?It is supposed to be a really good lens,so I thought I was doing the right thing.I have attached a side by side comparison in similar lighting.Thanks for the advice everyone.


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    Spirit = L lens 1/500 sec. f/7.1 182mm = ISO 100
    Southwest = Box lens 1/400 sec. f/8 135mm = ISO 100
    Private Jet = L lens 1/500 sec. f/7.1 300mm = ISO 100

  • #2
    Hi there. I would recommend you take the time (a lot of it) and learn about lenses, cameras, camera sensors, photography principles in general and editing as well as how all these correlate and contribute to a final outcome. There is immense information out there online.

    Just a few comments relative to your question.
    Any comparison is meaningful only when all parameters stay the same and only one changes at time. "side by side comparison in similar lighting" really says nothing in photography. Furthermore, comparing lenses of different focal length ranges, especially in terms of sharpness (=effectively detail), is rather futile as with a wider focal length you are practically trying to squeeze more detail in the same pixel.

    The lenses you compare overlap in the 70-135mm range. You should have taken the same picture at a particular focal length in the 70-135mm range, say 100mm, keeping apperture, shutter speed and ISO settings identical. Note that the same zoom lense performs very differently in different focal lenghts and with different appertures with a general tendency to perform poorly at their extremes. Read or watch some in depth lense reviews and you'll get what I am saying.

    Hopefully, by now you understand why the examples you attached are irrelevant.

    All of the above pertains to your camera gear technical efficiency and happens in there. The detail of a photo can also be extremely affected by the environment. Air heat, harsh midday sunlight, humidity are only a few enemies of detail in a photo. With a quick look, both the Spirit and Southwest, obviously shot around midday according to the shadows, suffer from heat induced haze very evident at the passenger and cargo doors, reg number and top of the fuselage.

    So, happy studying and self training!

    P.S. Is the bizjet really shot at 300mm?? Since you are worried about detail, what did you really expect out of a such long distance photo? One of the perks of building experience is that you save your camera of useless clicks...


    • #3
      The problems with those images are not lens issues, but are instead related to not realizing what conditions are conducive to getting the best results with whatever equipment you have. A $10,000 lens is not going to give you any better results on that last one, for example, due to the distance and massive amount of heat haze. So basically, yes, you are expecting too much.


      • #4
        The gear your own is outstanding, you can really get blood out of a stone with it.

        As you stated, you do not use it very much. So, I guess we can assume you are not familiar with the whole process.

        It is quite simple. Part one: taking pictures. Part two: editing aviation photos.

        Both techniques are like science, and as so, they require a lot of study, training, dedication (blood, sweat and tears)!

        You can learn a lot of things by yourself in the internet. There are tons of tutorial videos available for free in the web made by people just passionate by photography, photo editing and aviation.

        Besides this, my first tip for you would be: find and get close to some other spotters (groups or individuals) and join them to take aviation pictures at an airport. It is a good start.

        Take advantage of their experience to improve your skills. Discuss the techniques, check the results. Repeat it. Study and practice even more. Good luck!
        Last edited by Zecouls; 2019-06-21, 22:16. Reason: grammar


        • #5
          To be fair, my 6D mk 2 and 100-400 mk2 couldn't have got an uploadable image of that Lear. You are shooting so far away from it firstly which introduces a whole extreme of problems, the most prominent being the heat haze which no camera on the planet will be able to fix. You have to start to think about the environment you are shooting in. The 70-300 LIS is a super, super capable lens when attached to any Canon body.


          • #6
            Thanks for the advice everyone.I fully understand that my chance of having a photo published is slim to none.I certainly didn't upload photos to circumvent the process.My main concern is whether the L lens is too "soft".While not common,i'm sure some L lenses have had image issues right out of the box.Again,not common......but possible.I enjoy photography at KCLT whether I turn pro or not.The Lear Jet pic was taken from the observatory park,and the plane was on taxiway sierra.A very long distance away.I mainly took the photo for documentation purposes.As well as testing the limits of the L.

            The Lufthansa A340 is a better shot.Still not upload worthy,but perhaps it is a sign of what the lens is capable of.I have to decide by July 3rd,or the lens is mine.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              The lens is not the problem. Try something simple. Like a standing or taxiing plane that is close to you and on a good day for photography. Say not hot, not hazy and with the sun on you back.

              Then some simple setting: F8, ISO200, metering to centre weighted average, white balance to auto, camera settings to save in best quality. Then you should be able to get workable shots with any current APS-C or FF camera and any lens that is able to fill the frame.


              • #8
                Originally posted by swoosh954 View Post

                The Lufthansa A340 is a better shot.Still not upload worthy,but perhaps it is a sign of what the lens is capable of.I have to decide by July 3rd,or the lens is mine.
                I definitely don't see lens softness as an issue with those Lufty pics. Looks absolutely fine in terms of sharpness. There are as you say other issues to deal with. Maybe it's just the attachment but there's a lot of jpg compression going on there. Make sure you're shooting at the highest quality possible and saving your images at the highest quality possible.