Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Camera Lens is Fixed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The mystery of my streaky images was not elementary my dear hoatzin.

Sometime back in late 2008 my Canon 300mm fixed lens took a bump (or ate bad hummus) and began showing occasional image abnormalities. This problem was especially obvious in shots with a dark-green background. In these shots there would be diagonal streaks from upper left to lower right through the image. Initially I thought these streaks were a by-product of my near-complete ignorance of camera settings—things like ISO and aperture and TV, AV, and A-DEP. But since they did not appear in every shot, I assumed the problem was due to "operator error." I've been accused of that before.

Soon I noticed that my images just were not as sharp as they should be. You know the feeling of getting a very cooperative subject, snapping off a bunch of frames, liking what you see on the camera's playback window, but once you look at it on the computer, you see that the focus is just off enough to render the shot useless? A non-keeper? That's where I was with my camera rig.

I was frustrated. So I did the unthinkable. I read the camera's manual. It was no help.

I did every imaginable Google search. (Oh, and by the way, don't ever do a search for images containing the word "Streaking." You'll never recover). Still no answers to why the images were soft and streaky.

Next I did a series of tests with the camera using other lenses and determined that the problem was with my 300mm lens, not my Canon 30D camera.

I called Canon and it was determined that I needed to send the lens in for a check-up and possible repair. I did this. And for a mere $120, and two weeks of repair work, I got my 300mm lens back as good as nearly new.

The hoatzin photograph above shows the diagonal streaks that plagued me. I can't tell you how many images that anomaly ruined, but it was a healthy number.

But now, all fixed up, my camera and lens are taking images like this:

Male ruby-throated hummingbird image shot with the recently repaired lens.

I am SO happy! And no, I STILL don't know what ISO is.


On July 13, 2010 at 4:13 PM Mary said...

I don't know what ISO is, either. I'm impressed that you read the manual because I doubt I ever will... And that male RT photo is fabulous!

On July 13, 2010 at 8:47 PM Erik said...

The 40D manual was written by a masochist with an anti-social personality disorder. I have to imagine the 30D manual is very similar.

On July 14, 2010 at 8:04 AM cyberthrush said...

You read the manual (and you have the girly nerve to admit it :-))!! what next, you're going to ask for directions on your family's next camping trip!??

On July 14, 2010 at 5:09 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

That hummingbird image is good enough to eat. Nice colors in the background, too. I believe in the Canon repair facility. My 70-300 telephoto is behaving ever so much better since I spent my $120 on its repair.

ISO is like "film speed." Remember film days, when you'd pack Kodak 400 for low-light situations, and Kodachrome 64 for bright sunny days? The higher the number, the lower the light you can shoot in. So on a bright sunny day you'd set it at 100. In the twilight, you might pump the ISO up to 1600. And that's the extent of my ISO knowhow, but it's enuf to get me by without reading the manual.

On July 14, 2010 at 5:09 PM Julie Zickefoose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
On July 16, 2010 at 12:28 PM Heron said...

WOW, that hummingbird is gorgeous ! Happy for you AND for us, BOTB Blog readers, who may see more images like this ruby-throat.

On July 22, 2010 at 8:48 PM Mike said...

By Jove, I think you've got it! My 300mm Canon lens has had the exact same issue for years. I've always thought the error was mine. I can't wait to get it fixed. Thanks, Bill (And nice Hoatzin!)