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EF 400mm L Prime Lens (1 Viewer)

jonesboy

Well-known member
Hi all, I have a Canon Ef 400mm 1:5.6L prime lens on my 50D. Just lately I have been struggling to get good flight shots and sometimes it just seems to go in and out of focus. Do these lenses need a good service now and again and if so where would anyone recommend if not direct to Canon.
Cheers Jonesboy.
 
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I've had good work done by Canon UK at Elstree and by Lehmanns at Stoke on Trent.

You do realise that there are several 400mm lenses in Canon's line-up?
 
I have exactly the same setup and last year started to get the same problem for flight shots. I recently found a quick fix for this when i changed from 9 af points to centre only. I hope this also works for you.
 
I have exactly the same setup and last year started to get the same problem for flight shots. I recently found a quick fix for this when i changed from 9 af points to centre only. I hope this also works for you.

Hi thanks foor that but yes I have it set on centre focus already, cheers
 
I have exactly the same setup and last year started to get the same problem for flight shots. I recently found a quick fix for this when i changed from 9 af points to centre only. I hope this also works for you.
How do you know it is the same set-up, the OP has not even indicated which 400 L lens he has?
BTW stu, if you were trying to shoot BIF using all 9 AF points on the 50D then it was no wonder you were having problems.
 
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Sorry all. Its the EF 400mm 1:5.6L
'Jonesy' have you any AF problems on non flyers?
Are you using AI servo mode?
Is Focus search on or off?
Have you got a focus limiter on? (not that it should effect a fast focussing lens like the 400/5.6 anyway)

With the 50D/40D the split second you lose the bird then the camera will try to focus on something else in the background and this could cause some hunting.(with later Cams like the 7D you have AI servo sensitivity controls and zone AF which makes BIF much easier).
 
'Jonesy' have you any AF problems on non flyers?
Are you using AI servo mode?
Is Focus search on or off?
Have you got a focus limiter on? (not that it should effect a fast focussing lens like the 400/5.6 anyway)

With the 50D/40D the split second you lose the bird then the camera will try to focus on something else in the background and this could cause some hunting.(with later Cams like the 7D you have AI servo sensitivity controls and zone AF which makes BIF much easier).

Hi Roy
I have noticed a slight focus issue on non flyers, and yes I am using A1 servo.The focus search is off. I have had the lens about 5 years which is why I was wondering if a service may do it some good !!
 
Hi Roy
I have noticed a slight focus issue on non flyers, and yes I am using A1 servo.The focus search is off. I have had the lens about 5 years which is why I was wondering if a service may do it some good !!
There's your problem, try switching the focus search ON.
When the focus search is off you will only ever get AF if the lens is fairly near to the focus point to begin with - if it is not then the lens will not search for focus!. The theory with turning off the focus search is that the lens will never go wildly oof but for bird photography I have always found it next to useless to switch it off.
 
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Roy
I find that against the sky if the focus search is 'on' and you come slightly off the subject the focus can go wildly off. With focus search 'off' as long as you have got the bird in focus initially focus always remains steady. Just remember to put it back on when you finish BIF against the sky.
John

www.kellingnature.zenfolio.com
 
Roy
I find that against the sky if the focus search is 'on' and you come slightly off the subject the focus can go wildly off. With focus search 'off' as long as you have got the bird in focus initially focus always remains steady. Just remember to put it back on when you finish BIF against the sky.
John

www.kellingnature.zenfolio.com
Yep, I tried it loads of times when I was shooting BIF with the 40D John - I always found it more trouble than it was worth myself, you have to have it switched on or roughly manual focus to get the initial lock and once you have finished shooting that particular bird you have to remember to switch it back again or you will miss the next opportunity that comes along. I missed so many shots getting the intial lock that I gave it up as a bad job.

Another thing I tried it for was to try and help stop the 'hunting' when using a taped tc with a f5.6 lens - again it was fairly useless IMHO.

Of course things are a million times easier nowadays when shooting with a Camera like the 7D which has AI servo sensitivity, single point expansion and things like zone AF - with a lens like the 400/5.6 on the 7D BIF is an absolute snap - ridiculously easy!!.
 
Hello Jonesboy,

As suggested by Roy C check your AF settings and see which work out the best. Also get your mates who has Canon SLR let them try your EF400mm to ensure it is your lens is OK. The camera focus may hunt if your background does contain contrast which may fool the AF to lose focus track of your subject in flight.

Regards,
Robin
 
I set up my 7D using the excellent Arthur Morris/Birds as art article. He considers you get more good shots on BIF with focus search ,off. I spent a week shooting Raptors at Tarifa last sept and that setup worked well with a 1D mk4 as well as the 7D. For anybody with a 7D it is worth getting the Arthur Morris information/set up article.

John

www.kellingnature.zenfolio.com
 
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