The Moon

Last Thursday I have acquired a new lens. It's a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. With my current zoom lenses, the Canon EF-S 55-250mm and the Tamron 18-270mm I'm not very satisfied with the quality at high focal length. The Canon lens is a bit better than the Tamron, but both tend to be quite soft or unsharp at the upper end of their zoom range. On my vacations I often have not the opportunity to get relatively close to the objects, like animals, so I was looking for a zoom lens with high focal length and good image quality. The EF 100-400mm lens is matching my needs perfectly. I was hesitating a long time because of the price but this week I finally grabbed my credit card and clicked the "Buy" button.

As soon as I was at home again I immediatly mounted the lens to my EOS 500D and took the first shots. The lens is really heavy. I have read about that in the specification, but I had no idea how heavy it really is. But the weight has also one good aspect: You are shivering less when shooting without a tripod. In conjunction with the image stabilizer you get really still image. When checking the photos on my computer I was amazed about the image quality. You can zoom the image to its original size and still have a nicely sharp image. Awesome.

Thursday night was clear sky and the Moon was nearly full and shining bright in the sky. So I got the idea to ultimately test the new lens and took photos of the Moon. In the past I tried to shoot the Moon with my other zoom lenses, but the result was very disappointing. So I was curious what the new lens will bring out. I installed my tripod on the balcony and mounted the camera on it. I selected the full focal length of 400mm. When looking through the camera the Moon was still quite small. I've set the camera to aperture mode and selected an aperture of f/8. This aperture should produce the best quality. ISO was 100 to reduce noise. Since the Moon was quite small in the image I changed the metering mode to spot metering. This ensures that brightness of the Moon is metered correctly. With the high focal length of 400mm every light shivering will result in heavy image shaking. To prevent this I activated shake protection in the camera and chose the 2 seconds timer for releasing the shutter. Additionally I disabled the image stabilizer, which is recommended when shooting with a tripod. Ready.

The result was kind of overwhelming for me. In the small camera screen you don't see a lot, but when I checked the photos on my computer I was amazed. The photo shown above is a small detail of the original one and only slightly re-sharpened. The quality of that lens is quite impressive.

Unfortunately, after some minutes, clouds came into the scene. That was a bit disappointing because I had shot only a few photos of that clear Moon. But when looking at the clouds, illuminated by the Moon, that scene looked somehow interesting. So I continued my shooting. Taking photos of the Moon behind some clouds came out as very difficult. Either the moon is simply a white spot and the clouds are visible, or the moon is nice and all around it is black. But I got some good shots anyway. Here is one of them with an exposure time of 1 second.

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