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Thread: Moon test

  1. #1
    PRSearls's Avatar
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    Paul

    Moon test

    A few months ago, I purchased a used Canon 500 mm f/4 (original version). I've been shooting various subjects to see what it (and I) can do. Its performance has exceeded my expectations and has lived up to its remarkable reputation. Practicing "long lens technique" is definitely required to get best performance. The moon is a good subject; its fine detail can reveal errors in technique, vibration, etc. Eliminating vibration is critical to capture the finest detail. I've taken many moon shots and this has been my best result so far. This enlarged image has been slightly sharpened with NiK Sharpener Pro 3.

    Canon 1Ds Mark III, manual, RAW, 1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 200, autofocus, IS Mode 2, tripod, Wimberly II head (and lots of practice).


    Moon test

  2. #2

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    Bobo

    Re: Moon test

    Beautifully detailed shot.

  3. #3
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: Moon test

    One of the best I've seen. Did you need the 1/800s shutter speed to get such a sharp image? Just wondering at what point it starts to degrade.

    Tony

  4. #4
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Moon test

    Beautiful shot. Like Tony, I am curious why your aperture was F4, rather than say 8 or 11. On your lovely, lovely camera, have you found the "sweet spot" to be at F4, or not really noticed any difference at a narrower aperture?

  5. #5
    PRSearls's Avatar
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    Re: Moon test

    Thank you for the comments. I'm still a novice at shooting with the 500 so read these thoughts with that understanding.

    The lens is very sharp wide open. I have used f/8 to f/16 on static subjects and it works like any other lens in this regard. Many eagle photographs I’ve seen were shot at f/4 - 5.6 at a high shutter speed to freeze the action. F/4 produces a very shallow depth of field which can be advantageous to separate your subject from the background. The 500 focuses very quickly and is very accurate on my 1Ds III. Any focusing errors I get are likely because of me. Shooting birds at close distances makes accurate focus critical since the DOF is very shallow at f/4 and 5.6. The lens resolution is amazing as you can see in the moon shot (at f/4).

    Camera movement/vibration/subject motion are big factors at 500 mm. In my limited experience, a fast shutter speed is important to minimize these. As I get more proficient, I may be able to shoot slower than I do now. The IS (image stabilization) is effective but there is a limit to how much it can do. I have hand-held the 500 and gotten good results but this lens/body combination is heavy; I don't have the upper body strength and steadiness I had when I was younger. Shooting off a tripod with a gimbal mount is less stressful and more enjoyable. At NFL football games, you see most 500's being used on monopods.

    When shooting the moon, I've found vibration to be a big player in image sharpness. This shot was primarily a test to see what kind of detail the 500 could resolve under nearly ideal conditions (answer - a lot!) I tried other combinations of aperture/shutter speed/ISO but 1/800 second worked best for me. (Your mileage may vary.) I'm using a Gitzo 1325 tripod; its a fine, 3-section, CF tripod I've used for many years but is about the minimum for this lens/body combination. Shooting with no leg extension or only one section extended is much steadier but is not really the solution. I need a bigger set of (expensive) legs and these are on my wish list.

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