Equipment Testing: Wilhelma Tryout with the Canon EF 100-400mm L Lens and the Extender 1.4x III

March 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Whenever I startet a new jongre in my photography I found out that it takes a bit of time to find the right approach or suitable settings. And if you add new gear it´s the same.

This time i wanted to prepare for a safari in Africa. I recently bought the 1,4x extender for my 100-400mm Zoom Lens. With the extender it covers a range of 140-560mm - quite a bit. When I made the first tests I found out that for long distance shots (1-3 km) the  only way to get sharp images is:

  • Put the camera  of a stiff tripod
  • Use the camera in live view
  • Use a remote trigger - or min. 10 sec selftimer

The movement of the mirror gives extra vibrations which you can see in the image - even @ exposure times < 1/3200 sec.... I realized it earlier on the 7D.... 

My question now: Can I shoot handheld in medium distance??? Therefore I have chosen the Wilhelma for a tryout: I shoot animals, I have medium distances...

Additionally I wanted to get a feeling about the possibilities of my 100-300mm lens for the µ43 Cameras... For easier handling I took my G6 body with me. My question: how and when the touch release gives an advantage -or what are the limitations here...

And another question I had: will a monopod give an advantage...

First astonishing thing working with the extender: Only the center focusing point is working anymore... quite a limitation: But this is manageable: You have to focus and reframe.... It works but it tells me: use the extender only if needed. There is a 2nd reason to do so: With the extender the open aperture makes the omegas quite soft: 1 stop down gives you quite an improvement... You shoot with f11. you ave to put the ISO in the range of ISO1000 to get proper speed....

The good news:  the extender works freehand - up to distances in the range of 20-30 m. Freehand... A monopod will not bring a significant Handling advantage... To use the camera fully manual might be the better idea...

Capricorn, Manual focus on the eye, f 560mm, f11, 1/400s@ISO 400 - on a tripod...

 

Elephant Eye..

Eye of an old elephant.. f 400, f11, 1/400s@640 ISO, freehand without extender.

I love these little animals... (same parameters like the elephant..

 

It is really a pleasure how close you get with the extender: 560mm, f10, 1/640s@ISO 640 handheld...

It was interesting to compare the handling of the 5DMkIII with the Lumix G6: As long as the subject is not changing too fast: it works really great!!! Like the photo below which I shot with the G6.

It es very easy to get such intense shots...The greater depth of field makes things easier and with the touch release the image gets sharp where you like it...

But there are limitations of the G6 as well: It it gets really fast I felt some limitations:

The sea dog showed me the limits: Having the camera the hole time on the eye shoots like this are becoming pretty easy... But there are nice shots possible as well. The photo above I shot with the 5D MkIII, the photo below with the G6

 

To shoot the seals was amazing as well: you had to be very fast... These are the moments when you love the performance of an high end DSLR...

 

 

 

Conclusio

It was great to test the equipment before we went to Africa. I learned a lot about the new stuff in my gear. And one point is really essential: The Canon 100-400mmL is a great lens. With the extender the Autofocus works on the 5D3 but not on the 7D. And on the 5D3 Autofocus is limited to the center point. But this you could read in manual as well... Even more important was the experience that with the extender "wide" open - in this case f8 the images are soft, very soft. This setup is only usefull@ f11, maybe f16 - @ f22 the refraction will soften the images again.... 

 


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