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Thread: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

  1. #1
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    C&C appreciated... got my new lens and went out to play! PP on iPhoto.

    Playing with new 70-300 L lens
    IMG_2228 by Michael VerVelde Photography, on Flickr

    f/11, 200 iso, 1/60, 207mm

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Mike - Nice!

    Congratulations on the new toy. I'm still very much at the stage of learning how to use the Sigma 120-400 that I got. It's like a whole new learning curve, isn't it?

    On this one, do you think the background could be a bit too bright and could maybe use a bit of burning, just to bring the tone down a little bit? Just a thought.

  3. #3
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Hi Harpo,

    Nice lens. I am jealous.

    The first thing I would do is a lot of experimenting at wider apertures. The lens is F4-5.6 wide open as you progress through the range. Here are the numbers:

    70-103mm = F4
    104-154mm = F4.5
    155-228mm = F5.0
    229-300mm = F5.6

    Most lens are best stopped down a bit from wide open but I always like to push it to see what the lens will do. Then I will know how it handles in extreme situations such as low light or a narrow depth of field. By that assumption you should be able to shoot everything at F7 and it be very sharp. However knowing what kind of sharpness you get wide open is useful. You'll get even more background blur too which helps photos like this as it will draw the subject (the horse) out from the background.

    I would also try out shooting lots of things at low shutter speeds around the 1/Effective Focal Length rule. For example try shooting at 300mm at 1/500 sec and lower. The lens has a great image stabilizer and you will learn how far it can help you out in reducing the shutter speed when necessary. With the 4-stop IS you may be able to shoot a landscape with 1/30 sec or slower at 300mm with a good keeper rate. I like to know this stuff because I rarely carry a tripod.

    As for your photo it is nice and sharp but I would be tempted to crop the left 5% of the frame to get rid of the brightly lit path which is distracting. You could do some burning on the path to make it a bit darker but it may look unnatural given the brightness of the rest of the background. A wider aperture would have helped blur the background but you can't take the photo again so just try it next time.

    Have fun.

    Alex

  4. #4
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Thanks guys...

    Donald... I agree the background is a bit too bright. Im doing pp on iPhoto, which doesnt do burning. I have CS3 on my computer that i have been remiss in getting to... my winter project is to immerse myself into that program and try to make sense of all the jargon that is passed around here! This summer I have been struggling with the fact that I wanted to spend less time on the computer...

    Alex, thanks for the advice on playing around so I can learn this lens better. The brightly lit path is a stream going through the pasture. I was going to crop it off more, but I thought it might take too much away from the tree? however, I did make a square crop one that takes out part of the left side... is that one better? I know Donald is partial to squares!

    This farm is not too far from me... I can go back and try again with the different settings. Unlike most of the "cow paths" around here, this farm has a place I can safely pull out next to the field and snap away

    Playing with new 70-300 L lens
    IMG_2228 copy by Michael VerVelde Photography, on Flickr

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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Nice pic and congrats on the new toy.

    It almost never leaves the camera and 90% of the shots I post here are taken with that lens.

    Wish Alex's tip was available to me when it fist came in.

    Apart from the incredible IS it has a relatively close minimum distance of just under 4 feet. Great for closeuips. Slap on an extension tube 12 or 20mm and you are into psuedo macro territory. Would however not recommend getting a teleconverter - images tend to come out softer and I have stopped using it. Sometimes pics come out "too sharp" and need a bit of blur just to get it down a bit. It is THAT good!

  6. #6
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Hi Harpo,

    I like the square crop better. The background is less distracting. However it does miss a bit of the flank of the horse. I am not an equine expert but I can imagine some horse fans wanting to see the form in the shoulder. I also think the major directional content in the image is downwards (from the horse's long face). Putting my hand over the top of the image (i.e. less background) makes the horse jump out a bit more and it feels more balanced. However the other directional content is the diagonal of the horse moving from bottom right up to top left. This is helped by the square crop so I don't miss the flank that much to want it back. I would try moving the crop in tighter from the top left and see how that effects things.

    If you are wanting to put the horse's face on a 1/3 line in the image to a obey the rule of thirds then try something different. The only photography rule should be that there are no rules. All I take from the rule of thirds is don't put everything in the centre and don't put it at the edge. What you are left with on average is 1/3 from the centre but it doesn't mean everything must be there.

    Alex

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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Congratulations on your new lens. If this lens had been available when I purchased my 70-200mm f/4L IS; I would have seriously considered it...

  8. #8
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Heres a tighter crop as suggested. I also found by adjusting the definition, the background is a little less bright. Is this an improvement that you were suggesting Alex?

    With this crop, the tree in the top left of the original is no longer part of the image. In this one, I dont know if the trunk next to the ear is distracting?

    Im impressed with this lens. Playing around with the cropping, even real close up, its still sharp!

    Playing with new 70-300 L lens
    IMG_2228 copy copy by Michael VerVelde Photography, on Flickr

  9. #9
    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Hi Harpo,

    I like the final crop. The image may be a bit duller (less bright) now but I still like it. The horse looks like he is eyeing you up and down to assess what you are about.

    Hope to see some more pictures soon.

    Alex

  10. #10

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    Re: Playing with new 70-300 L lens

    Yes the trunk is a bit of a distraction.
    One thing about the 70-300 is that you can crop very very tight (within reason) and still get a pretty good pic.

    Had wanted to mention this earlier but forgot. Try a closeup head shot when you next get there. That blaze on his forehead is beautiful.

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