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Old Sep 26, 2007, 4:19 AM   #1
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These shots were the first taken with the 400 F5.6 L lens today. All were handheld. The weather was not exactly the best but the sun came out at times and I spotted these Eurasian coots near a lake. The mother had a hard time protecting these little guys from seagulls that would swoop in.

First impressions of this lens: It will be a bit of a learning curve, handholding is doable but it is heavy and I did not take the monopod.until I have more strength, I think that I would use the mono pod unless doing birds in flight. It took a while to get use to not having to be as close as I'm used to. The best thing is that the colour and sharpness are great with this lens. Did not do a lot to these shots. No sharpening at all. I'm not sure they would need it. It's a great lens for wildlife but I think that I will have to improve a tad in my technique.

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This one seems a tad softer than the others, the baby is a little older and was giving the mother a hard time









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Old Sep 26, 2007, 11:01 AM   #2
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fantastic shots aladyforty! i'll share with you my own initial experiences with this lens. when i first rented it, i was a bit put off as well. it is quite heavy (compared to my prior sigma 70-300 apo dg macro lens) and does take time to get use to handholding. i took it out to bolsa chica and tried shooting terns in flight. i had a tough time and was quite frustrated. you are so zoomed out that it does take quite a bit of hand eye coordination to find the bird and then keep the bird in the viewfinder. my arm and shoulder were sore after my first outing with the lens. i was so put off, that i thought to myself, forget i'm getting a different lens.

BUT my opinion changed when i got home and reviewed the pics on my computer. i was blown away by the sharpness and image quality. it was unreal. i found that i did not have much to do in post processing as compared to my prior lens. the other thing i noticed was that my keeper percentage went way up to. i had so many more shots that were in focus than before so it gave me way more pics that were useable. i think it has to do with the lightning fast autofocus speed (when the focus limiter is set to 8.5m to infinity).

nowadays i have no problem handholding during my hikes. my shoulder still gets a bit sore if i am out with it on a long hike but it doesn't bother me. i actually bought a monopod, but i find myself rarely taking it out of my backpack. i still prefer the versatility of handholding my shots. i only use it now when i am in one spot shooting sports for instance.

keep at it aladyforty. there is a learning curve with this lens but the results are definitely worth the time, effort and sore shoulder. hehehe.

can't wait to see more of your pics.

- hung
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Old Sep 26, 2007, 11:53 AM   #3
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A DOUBLE very nice this series. Looks like you got that lens working really well.

TOTALLY WACKY roger
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Old Sep 26, 2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Considering how shallow the DOF is on a long-lens close-up, I think you did quite well. You make these classical "faces that only a mother can love" look quite appealing. A big Well Done from me! :-D
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Old Sep 26, 2007, 5:53 PM   #5
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Alady, these pics look very nice and i'm looking at them from my really poor monitor at work!!! As penolta mentioned in a way, you can make an ugly duckling look like a swan!!! As for the weight of the lens, I'm no weight lifter by an means, but, I didn't think it was that heavy. My 100-400mm is heavier and feels light as a feather and can carry it around my neck and handhold it all day. but, then, I'm comparing it with handholding the 500mm. that 400L is a really sharp and nice lens!!! If i didn't have my 100-400 i would probably get the 400mm f/5.6. And, as always, your pictures are very enjoyable to look at!!!

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Old Sep 26, 2007, 6:20 PM   #6
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I was having problems with dark photos particulay with this lensand these were really dark on the LCD and the computer. Hubby had a look at my camera tonight and DUH, the exposure compensation level had somehow been moved right to the bottom level. So the lens should do even better from now on since the camera has been reset. I thought the camera was set to all the right settings and have no idea when this happened .

The problem is that the on/off switch on the 30D also has a third setting just above the on position. Now I've just been switching on without looking and it has clicked into that position. This is an adjustment area and I think this has happened at some stage in the last few months. I would have noticed it in jpeg format (because I remember the jpegs were not dark at all) but I believe it must have happened around the time I started shooting RAW. So I just corrected it in raw as its easy to do. The LCD screen has been seriously dark for sometime even on the highest settings and I thought it was something to do with shooting RAW. Looks like I was a bit of dill LOL

I think now that the camera setting are sorted I will enjoy this lens:-)

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Old Sep 26, 2007, 6:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the comments by the way
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Old Sep 26, 2007, 7:50 PM   #8
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very nice shots, Julie! amazing how much your Eurasion coots look like our "American" coots... and those babies! wonderful! looks like that new lens is going to agree with you...
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