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Archive 2012 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?
  
 
AGeoJO
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p.2 #1 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


rongoe wrote:
if you might want even more reach than 400, I suspect the prime will take a 1.4 better, though I haven't seen side-by-sides.



Just FYI, no AF using both, unless you use a 1D series body .



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:18 PM
kevindar
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p.2 #2 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


On a full frame, the prime will have better corners. in addition, the prime has slightly better color and contrast at 5.6. center sharpness is very close in sharp copies of both. Keep in mind, that primes are usually easier to manufacture, and less prone to qc issues. with the focus limiter locked, the 100-400 locks and tracks well, well enough for BIF. however, the 400 is still a bit faster. at 400mm, the subject is likely far enough from you that the 400 will have no problem tracking. but if the subject is very close and moving towards you (in which case you would not be shooting at 400 anyway) the prime will have a definite advantage.
The MFD on the zoom is much closer, at 1.2M (I think) while the prime is 6 m. The IS on the zoom sucks by todays standards, and honestly is barely good for 2. thats compared to a true 4 stop IS that I get out of the new 70-200 2.8 II. the prime is lighter and more maneuvarable, and cheaper. If you know for sure, you will be happy shooting at 400, and you are using a monopod, or faster than 1/800 sec on a crop sensor, then go with the prime. I also find the IS useful for stablizing the subject in the view finder, and I often acquire target at 200mm, and then rapidly zoom to 400. just practical considerations.
couple of shots, and one showing off the mfd




?1315372608




?1316014207



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:25 PM
DLP
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p.2 #3 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


AGeoJO wrote:
Just FYI, no AF using both, unless you use a 1D series body .


Tape the pins on the TC/100-400 and you have AF although it is slow.



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.2 #4 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


DLP wrote:
Tape the pins on the TC/100-400 and you have AF although it is slow.


I've tried the 100-400 with 1.4 TC taped on the 7D and it will not AF well with the middle point. It does fine on all others. It's like it in all AF modes. The 9 point middle zone looks on anything other than the centre .
The 1 series AF is middle point only without tape but works on all points when taped .
As for speed I didnt notice much different. It may however be more prone to hunt on low contrast objects.

As for IQ it's still very good



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:36 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #5 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Wow, I wasn't expecting so many replies so quickly. Thank you everyone! I wondered about the dust intrusion problem being exaggerated in all the reviews I read.
I guess I'd be very happy with either one. Size/weight are very close to each other, the prime being about 2.6"longer but a few oz. lighter..not really enough to make a difference in my book.
Shooting wildlife I'm sure I'd be at 400 most of the time. I know if using a tripod to turn off the IS as well. The AF speed seemed pretty good when I used the 100-400, but I don't remember trying to get any BIF pics so I don't remember much about the AF speed being an issue.
I think I'm leaning more toward the zoom now, after hearing how insignificant the dust issue is. Still, that AF speed...
More to ponder. Thanks to all who replied. I think no matter which I end up getting I won't be disappointed.
Tim




Jan 24, 2012 at 06:50 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #6 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Dave_EP wrote:
Many zoom lenses pump air in and out even when you twist them rather than being a pump action. Go look at at 16-35L, 24-105L or any of them that have a moving rear (or even front) element.



Thanks. That's what I figured...simple physics...larger cylinder has more volume. Something needs to go in/out or else there will be pressure to overcome in one direction or the other.



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:56 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #7 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


M Vers wrote:
In terms of IQ, I guarantee no one would be able to tell them apart in a blind test. AF, however, is a different story; The prime is better in this area.

Basically, it comes down to AF speed vs versatility.


Thanks. Definitely a consideration for BIF pics



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:57 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #8 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


jakita33 wrote:
Hey Tim,

I owned both lenses and eventually settled on the 100-400mm becuase it is so versatile and, at least to my eyes, delivered pictures as good as the 400mm which I ended up selling.

I have used the 100-400mm to shoot BIF, take pics from the kayak and during all my son's outdoor sporting events. Having the ability to zoom and properly frame your subject is really beyond value. Unless you are always going to need 400mm, then you should serious consider the 100-400mm. Despite the fact that I had the 400mm and 500mm, it really has become my goto lens.

J


Thanks. So you don't have much issue with BIF pics and the zoom AF speed? I think I'm really leaning this way.

Tim



Jan 24, 2012 at 06:59 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #9 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


learyt wrote:
I believe this to be true. I have had my 100-400 for only a year and have had it on my 7D often and have yet to have to manually clean the sensor of any dust and also see no dust within the lens. IQ is very good. If AF speed of the 400 F/5.6 prime is similar to that of the 70-200 mk II then AF is certainly not as fast but still very good. My guess is that IS is probably 2-3 stops but technique is very important on long tele's. Below is full shot and 100% crop
...Show more
Thanks . Nice image!



Jan 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #10 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


msalvetti wrote:
Some 400 prime versus 100-400 zoom discussions on the last couple of pages over at MA2A. Start on this page:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/600984/2141

That's my post with a series of images I shot with the 100-400, and the race cars were at Lime Rock.

My vote is for the 100-400. I love mine. Part of the reason is the versatility, but also because I think 400mm is probably too long 90% of the time at Lime Rock. I shoot there regularly, and I don't even bring the 100-400 anymore. I use a 70-200 for just about everything on the track. Galleries are here:
http://msalvetti.smugmug.com/Auto-Racing

(Edit: I just
...Show more
Mark,
Thanks for the links. I got to a few tracks last year for a project I was doing. Lime Rock isn't the closest to me, but it's the first track I ever drove, and it's a nice place for watching. 400 is definitely too much lens for many places there!
I liked some of the pics on that MA2A link...the dragonfly shot at 1/80 WOW!

Tim



Jan 24, 2012 at 07:04 PM
 

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TJSarchett
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p.2 #11 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


kevindar wrote:
On a full frame, the prime will have better corners. in addition, the prime has slightly better color and contrast at 5.6. center sharpness is very close in sharp copies of both. Keep in mind, that primes are usually easier to manufacture, and less prone to qc issues. with the focus limiter locked, the 100-400 locks and tracks well, well enough for BIF. however, the 400 is still a bit faster. at 400mm, the subject is likely far enough from you that the 400 will have no problem tracking. but if the subject is very close and moving towards you
...Show more
WOW. Damned dragonflies never stay still long enough for me to get a shot of them! Super images.Thanks



Jan 24, 2012 at 07:08 PM
TJSarchett
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p.2 #12 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


AGeoJO wrote:
Just FYI, no AF using both, unless you use a 1D series body .

Hm, I thought it was supposed to work okay on the 5D and 7D at least for center spot focusing... Not too much of a consideration just yet, but something to consder and look into. According to the converters instruction manual, they're both compatible with either lens...just need to check about the body compatibility. Thanks for the heads-up.




Jan 24, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Imagemaster
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p.2 #13 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Dust, no problem.
Prime has fast AF, but zoom is no slouch.
Zoom is versatile, prime is not.
IS does come in handy.
Zoom has closer minimum-focusing distance.
I have owned a few of both lenses, and IQ appears identical from both.




  Canon EOS 40D    400mm    f/8.0    1/10s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  











  Canon EOS 20D    260mm    f/5.6    1/750s    1600 ISO    -0.5 EV  




Jan 24, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Imagemaster
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p.2 #14 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


*




  Canon EOS-1D Mark II    100.0-400.0 mm lens    320mm    f/5.6    1/500s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/7.1    1/250s    1600 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/8.0    1/100s    800 ISO    +1.0 EV  




Jan 24, 2012 at 07:25 PM
cohenxa
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p.2 #15 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


As many people already said, I was torn with the same dilema. I tested both for more than a month.
Some already answered your concerns on dust and highlighted the delta: AF performance vs. versatility/IS.
Ask you the following question: waht is your main photo topic? If it is birds in flight then the 400L 5.6 no brainer, if you have a mix then I recommend 100-400L.





Jan 24, 2012 at 07:29 PM
thedutt
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p.2 #16 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Another combo to consider which to me has offered a good comprise between the two options is 300 F4IS + 1.4x; W/o The TC the AF is super fast and you get IS. With the TC, AF is still very useable and IQ superb.


Jan 24, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Ferrophot
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p.2 #17 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Had my 100-400L for about 5 years. No dust problems even though its been in dusty nvironments. Have had the zoom lock up solid and that cost $700 to repair.
I purchased it for African safaris and the zoom is invaluable for this because some animals are seen at close range. For other wildlife I find I'm out at 400 all the time so a prime would be ok for this. AF is a bit slow for BIF. I also take aircraft shots and once again the zoom is needed here. I think the choice between 100-400L and 400L comes down to what you need it for.
I did have sharpness problems when it was on my XTi, but all is now ok with the 7D and a bit of MA.



Jan 24, 2012 at 11:46 PM
kevindar
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p.2 #18 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Ferrophot, did you have the zoom tension ring stop working before your lock up problem?


Jan 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM
GeneO
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p.2 #19 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Here is a gallery of 100% crops from the 400/5.6L. Almost all wide open. The AF on this lens is lightning fast, it is lightweight and is about 1/3 stop brighter wide open than the 100-400. The 100-400 is actually about 385-390mm at closer range while the prime is 400mm. The 100-400 can focus at a closer distance but is offset a bit by its actual focal length < 400mm.

I have owned both and the only thing I missed about the 100-400 is its zoom capability. I think you would be happy with either and I would weigh it as zoom+IS vs speed and weight, though the nonavailability of the IS would not put me off.

View these at their "original" size. exif intact:

http://hawkman.smugmug.com/Lens-Samples/Canon-40056L-Sampler/1415049_dTWZwr#!i=127493375&k=eyUPp

Edited on Jan 25, 2012 at 01:45 PM · View previous versions



Jan 25, 2012 at 12:26 AM
kevindar
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p.2 #20 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Geneo, nice images, and the 400 5.6 is indeed a very sharp lens. however, I would be very very surprised on a 10D, if one can discern any difference, even at 100% crop. I would say on my 5d2 (same pixel density as 20d) the L is bitingly sharp. Not as much the the 7D at 5.6.


Jan 25, 2012 at 12:36 AM
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