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Loss of Quality Stopping down to f/5.6 - f/11

When I shot the 200mm comparisons, I used mirror lockup and a remote release. Examining the aperture series for the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, I noticed that image quality degraded rapidly beginning at f/8, and even somewhat at f/5.6.

The shutter speeds involved were 1/125 (f/5.6), 1/60 (f/8) and 1/30 (f/11), leading me to think of less than perfect solidity as the cause. But this was not consistent with the type of blur, or with other results.

At first I pondered the tedium of reshooting the entire 200mm series, and resigned myself to it, though I could not understand how mirror lockup and a remote release could result in soft images— I’ve done this stuff hundreds of times before.

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Entire frame as shot at f/2.8 at 200mm

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