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Thread: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Having just got my first telephoto lens, the Canon 400mm 5.6L, I was anxious to take it for a spin at the local wildlife hangout.

    Within 2 minutes, I could understand why people spend $6000+ on larger aperture lenses (and IS). Luckily I recently got a 7D body (upgraded from a 30D) because I ended up turning my ISO up to at least 800 to get any usable shutter speeds with this f5.6. Granted, the light was a bit gloomy that day. Regardless of all of that, let me say that this is one superb piece of glass!!! Fast focus, sharp as heck, lightweight, ridiculously affordable for what you get. Very glad I made the purchase.

    As mentioned, all shots are at ISO 800+. These are handheld, however all are braced against the boardwalk railing. I experimented with bracing and stabilizing techniques, angles, body posture, breathing, etc. I tried a few truly handheld shots with nothing to brace against, and it was clear I was not going to get many sharp ones that way. I think with practice, and better light, I could pull it off.

    PP details:

    - WB and exposure adjusted as necessary in Lightroom
    - Noise reduction with Topaz Denoise (trial version, not bad)
    - Photoshopping things as typical for my style, i.e. cloning minor distractions, creative blurring, dodging/burning, LCE and sharpening, etc. With how good this lens is, PP was on the light side, and at 5.6 the background is clean.

    Anyway, I'm extremely happy with the shots I got, and was really surprised considering it was my first time. These are some of the best ones, though there are more shots that I like that I haven't PP'd yet.

    Please view at full size for best detail and sharpness, thanks!

    C&C welcome and appreciated

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  2. #2
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Well I think you could say the 400mm lens is working. You must be pretty chuffed with the results. I like #3 in particular but they are all good.

  3. #3
    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    New lens, first time out, life is good. I agree with L.Paul. That lens was singing (and with no tripod). Beautiful images, all of them really. I don't even have a favorite as they are consistently good IMHO.

  4. #4
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Matt, congrats on the lens. A superb set that clearly demonstrate the IQ even though you mention concerns of high ISO.

    I look forward to seeing a comparison when using a tripod but can't imagine there will be much improvement to see as you have certainly mastered the technique you used for these. Well done.

  5. #5
    gregj1763's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Brilliant photo's Matt, sharp and great colours you no doubt are a very happy lad with your new lens.
    Might have to think seriously on getting something similar for my camera.
    Cheers, Greg

  6. #6
    gregj1763's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Brilliant photo's Matt, sharp and great colours you no doubt are a very happy lad with your new lens.
    Might have to think seriously on getting something similar for my camera.
    Cheers, Greg

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Congratulations Matt. It's good to be able to spend $6000+ if you have it, but what you've shown us here that's it's not an absolute necessity in order to make high quality images. You just have to be more selective about what you shoot, when. These are beautifully sharp, clear images. If that's the result of your first trip out with the lens, then I look forward to seeing the results when you really get to know it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Well done Matt, great images with a tool you were using for what it is made to do and you got the results. Great bokeh.

  9. #9

    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Very nice shots - Number 5 is my favorite. Wishing there was a slightly darker background on that one but it's still awesome.

  10. #10
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Very nice set.

  11. #11

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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Ditto to all of the above!

  12. #12

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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Well we did say you will enjoy the reach and the sharpness and the quick reaction and the...
    The downside is light and higher isos but modern cameras have few issues up to about 1600.

    Btw very nice shots presented. The RWBB are excellent. The heron, watch the whites.

  13. #13
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Thank you, everyone, for your feedback, comments, tips, etc. I appreciate everything and look forward to doing more of this. Off to do more editing!

  14. #14
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Nicely done Matt. I really like the first Red-winged blackbird, nice detail and color. The rest are nice but that is my favorite. Hmmm....do these birds look familar? lol It is a good spot and from now until anout June it will continue to get better all the time.

  15. #15
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Thanks Paul. It is indeed a fantastic location, and I will definitely be there a lot from now on, considering my new gear and how much fun I had and the results I am so pleased with. I look forward to seeing what species and various things show up. I'm excited for when the turtles and frogs start to make their way out.

  16. #16
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Addicting, isn't it? I really like the little bird on the cattails. Looking forward to many more!

  17. #17
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Thanks Terri! Yes it's horribly addicting. I guess that's not so bad considering it's a healthy addiction.

  18. #18

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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    About RWBB, get them while the reed is still wintering. Come spring and summer it will be hard to get clear shots like these.

    Next test for the lens - RWBBs in flight. This will certainly make you more then ready for any other bird in the coming months. They are very fast and do not always follow a predictable path which makes them very good for practice.

  19. #19
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Thanks Bobo, those are some great tips. Considering I could barely handhold the lens and get a decently sharp shot without bracing against something, I have no idea how I could possibly hold it freehand and follow BIF. I'd need some really bright light and high ISO. Well, anyway I will give it a go and see what happens!

  20. #20

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    Re: Results are in: My first telephoto wildlife shoot...

    Nice set matt. keep up the good work i have a 400 f2.8 and hand hold alot more than i should. when i get really stable on tripod with a wembley head my i get much sharper results. as i should. from myo trial's and errors.

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