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Old May 21, 2004, 9:29 PM   #1
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It's been a couple of years since I've used this lens - EF 500 4.5 - previously ok on a Canon EOS film verson. Subject: newly hatched humming birds, distance about 30 - 50 feet. It won't focus on subjects at greater distances either. Another longy, EF 300 2.8 works fine, AF and manual. The 500 does neither AF nor manual.

The 300 works fine with EF 2x extension and EF25, supposedly the 500 doesn't work with either. I'd just like it to work! I can't tell if it's a lens problem or whether it starts with me.
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Old May 22, 2004, 6:24 AM   #2
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You don't say what it actually does.

I find with my Sigma 135-400, which is long-focussed (i tested it against a tree about 30 yards away and it still isn't at "infinity") that if it isn't *near* focussed when it starts, it'll like as not shoot off in the wrong direction. Sometimes it gets to the end, and comes back. Sometimes you have to release the button and start over, this time it goes the otehr way and finds the point. So it's never going to be as fast focussing as my USM 35-135, but it does get there eventually.
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Old May 22, 2004, 10:09 AM   #3
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What it actually does:

Thanks. Good point. It does show that it makes electrical contact with the body because the aperture, speed and focussing status are shown. However, there is a blinking green light that shows the focus has not been made, whether it is set for manual or autofocus, and no combination will change the blinking to a steady light to indicate that the focus has been obtained. Probably the focussing motor has been farkled and needs professional attention - sad conclusion.
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Old May 23, 2004, 11:54 PM   #4
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I assume we are talking about the Sigma 500 (as I don't know of a Canon 500 f4.5, but maybe they made one at one time?) Do you still have the film body? You might want to check with that to prove it still works.

Order Sigma lenses don't work with the newer Digital Cameras. They have to be send to Sigma to be "re-chipped". I'm not sure if they would work in manual, though. Not working in either mode seems odd. Is there an error code on the top LCD display?

If it's the Canon, then the focus motor could be the problem.

Eric
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Old May 24, 2004, 12:10 AM   #5
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Thanks, Eric - it is a Canon EF 500 4.5L. (They now make a 500 IS f4L) I'm coming to the conclusion that you're correct, that it is the USM focussing motor. Sending a lens to Canon for repair is likely to take quite a while and I'm cruising the web for reliable lens repairers. Apparently there are quite a few out there. Do you happen to have any recommendations?

.........BobT
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Old May 24, 2004, 9:21 AM   #6
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Did you buy the lens locally? If so, the store might know of one. But specify that you want a "Authorised Canon repair" shop. You could also call the biggest shop in town and ask them (not because you expect them to say they do but you hope they don't and want to hear their recomendation. Their reputation is on the line, so they'llprobably suggest a good place. Or a place they have a deal with... ok, maybe not the best strategy.)

I would also expect that Canon would list the authorised places, but maybe not on the web.

Eric
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Old May 26, 2004, 10:14 AM   #7
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I assume it takes drop-in filters like my 300 2.8 IS L, did you check nothings wrong there? (offset in its slot, missing, fogged up a bit, etc.)?
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Old May 26, 2004, 10:57 AM   #8
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Yes, it does have drop-in filter provision like the 300 etc. and that is ok. I had nothing in that slot, but that's an excellent thought.

Because this lens is so expensive, I finally decided it's worth the investment in time and money to take it to Canon's official repair site, the closest one to me being in Irvine CA. So yesterday I Fedexed it to them and will see. The chances are that it's the USM.

The "new" 500 mm is IS, which has certain advantages :-)that - whatever the outcome from the Canon repair - will soon have me looking at a trade-up.

I thank everyone for their comments - it's a great support.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 9:11 PM   #9
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Today Canon sent me back my 500mm f4.5 L USM repaired to factory specs with a 6 month warranty. :-)The problem was the USM which had to be replaced - a major expense.:shock: I hadn't expected that its failure would also prevent manual focussing but that it did. It's clear to me that Canon is the best place for such a major issue. So, now that it's again pristine, and I'm feeling relieved, I wonder whether it's a worthwhile upgrade to the 500 L IS or to the 600 L IS, both f4.0. Photo ops mostly surfers, wildlife. Any and all opinions appreciated.
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Old Jun 29, 2004, 12:30 AM   #10
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Well, we'll assume that money is not a concern here. 'cause if so, I assume you'd stick with the lens you just paid a pretty penny on to repair.

For wildlife it might be better to upgrade. That extra 1/2 a stop is a life saver. If the optics are worse in your lens (I honestly don't know) the 500 & 600 have amazing optics. You can add a 1.4xTC and basically loose no optical quality. Yes, they are that good. I have the 600mm f4 IS and it's heavy.. but amazing. My shoulder is starting to hurt, though, so I might have to find a better way to carry it.

For surfing the 500 IS is probably not worth it. Unless you really need the IS, I can't see the 1/2 stop is worth it. The extra 100mm might be worth it, I don't know.

But both those lenses are darn expensive, so you really have to want it.

Eric
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