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Archive 2012 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?
  
 
jcolwell
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Ian.Dobinson wrote:
... the zoom can seem like it gets even closer when comparing the 2 as its length is a greater % of the MFD


Sorry, does not grok. No worries though. If this is the only thing I don't understand this week, then I'm doing OK.



Jan 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM
jcolwell
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Antje wrote:
...[100-400L]... We take it on kayaking trips, too... Antje


I look forward to doing that.



Jan 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM
rongoe
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


the better lens of these two, for me, depends on what else is in the bag. When I got a 70-200 I sold the 100-400 and kept the 400. Without the 70-200 I would have sold the 400.


Jan 26, 2012 at 02:47 PM
tcssas
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Both are great lenses....you won't be disappointed with either.

But since this is your first I will suggest 100-400 (you need to find a sharp copy).

I get better results with my 100-400 than prime but then I have seen excellent images from prime check Kaustubh's work he only has one long lens and it is 400mm f/5.6L

http://kaustubhdeshpande.photography.com



Jan 26, 2012 at 03:20 PM
dolina
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


If you need IS go with the 100-400.

If you do not need the IS then the 400 prime is enough.



Jan 26, 2012 at 03:23 PM
M Vers
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


dolina wrote:
If you need IS go with the 100-400.

If you do not need the IS then the 400 prime is enough.


What if you need 100-399mm in a heartbeat? IS isn't the only thing the 100-400 has got going for it.

As for the 300/4 suggestions, if the OP is doing any sort of wildlife, specifically birding, this would be a poor choice compared to the 400/5.6 and the 100-400. Not even an option, IMO.



Jan 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM
PetKal
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


TJSarchett wrote:
I guess my biggest concerns weighing in favor of the prime is the IQ, and the revies I've read of the dust getting in the zoom lens. Just how much IQ difference can really be expected (or seen) between the two? Is there really that much of a problem with the sealing on the lens that it sucks in the dust? If you have one (or both) of these lenses, what are your experiences?



I've owned 3 copies of 100-400 for longer periods of time, and I have seen no dust problem peculiar to that lens, or any more than any other of my lenses.
Granted, I do not use my lenses in sandstorms, dustbowl environments, etc.

A nominally good copy of 100-400 will have IQ very close to the prime 400 f/5.6.
In fact, various operating conditions and shooting parameters are likely to swamp any IQ difference between the two. A major exception is when one needs a real fast AF drive on a lens........the prime has a distinct advantage there.



Jan 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Jim McCann
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


When you find yourself clinging to the side of a mountain and can't get any closer to some Dall rams, or other such critter, it's nice to be able to zoom about lest you fall to your death! I'm waiting to purchase the new 500, but I'll always have the 100-400 along. Unless I buy the promised new 200-400, that is.


Jan 26, 2012 at 06:02 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


PetKal wrote:
A nominally good copy of 100-400 will have IQ very close to the prime 400 f/5.6.
In fact, various operating conditions and shooting parameters are likely to swamp any IQ difference between the two.


That is a very important point and one that many overlook when evaluating the performance of long lenses. It is common to literally be able to see the atmospheric interference in the photographs when using long lenses. I recently made two photographs of a fairly nearby subject in Death Valley using the 100-400 and not moving the tripod. Atmospheric distortion warped the images so much that portions of the first image end up a few pixels away in the second, even though the camera did not move at all and other portions of the images match up identically.

Dan



Jan 26, 2012 at 08:25 PM
jason.alabama
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


M Vers wrote:
FWIW I've shot hand held right around 1/60 @ 400mm with my 100-400...just sayin'


You just sold me on the 100-400, now can you please explain this solid reasoning to my wife?



Jan 26, 2012 at 08:36 PM
 

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M Vers
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


jason.alabama wrote:
...now can you please explain this solid reasoning to my wife?


Hmm, well I've yet to make that...choice...so explaining it to a wife is something I wouldn't be able to help you with



Jan 26, 2012 at 08:55 PM
jcolwell
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


jason.alabama wrote:
can you please explain this solid reasoning to my wife?


Easy, just tell her "It's almost stupid if we didn't".*

* Elaine Bennes, "The Deal", Seinfeld, Episode 14, 1991.



Jan 26, 2012 at 09:10 PM
kaustubh_d
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


tcssas wrote:
Both are great lenses....you won't be disappointed with either.

But since this is your first I will suggest 100-400 (you need to find a sharp copy).

I get better results with my 100-400 than prime but then I have seen excellent images from prime check Kaustubh's work he only has one long lens and it is 400mm f/5.6L

http://kaustubhdeshpande.photography.com



tcssas, thx for the kind comments.

Yes, I use only 400 f5.6L. like it a lot. Having said that, I have also seen many sharp photos taken by 100-400. I've never used one though. How about a thanks to Canon for giving us so many under-$1500 "L" options to get to 400mm.



Jan 27, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Mike K
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


This is a very common question. lots of threads like these on this board and other forums
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1014308/0?keyword=400,vs,100-400#9635128

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/952539/0?keyword=100-400,or,400#9007511



Jan 27, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Lotuselite
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


I have both. The one thing I like about the zoom is when you have managed to close in on a stationary bird to try and fill the frame, say Eagle size, and it gets ready to launch, with the prime you are going to have the bird go off the edge of the frame within a couple of wing beats, the zoom is easy to back off and get a sequence.
As far as sharpness there is not a lot in it as far as I am concerned. The focus may be a bit faster with the prime but I am hard pressed to tell given the varied circumstances in the field.
I like the push/pull zoom given the 100-400 range it has and the dust issue is overstated, given reasonable conditions, as far as I am concerned.



Jan 27, 2012 at 05:56 AM
TJSarchett
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Mike K wrote:
This is a very common question. lots of threads like these on this board and other forums
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1014308/0?keyword=400,vs,100-400#9635128

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/952539/0?keyword=100-400,or,400#9007511


I wasn't wanting to rehash the "which is better" debate, I had some serious reservations about the dust "problem" after reading reviews of the zoomer, and really wanted FMers experience on that issue. I didn't see much, if anything, about that particular critique in any of the other "this or that" posts.
I know the zoom is much more handy. I know that if I get the prime I'll have to change lenses some, but I have another body and will most likely have a 70-200/2.8 sitting on it at the ready if 400 is just too close. But, if the IQ and AF speed are adequate...the zoom sounds awfully nice.

A couple people mentioned "finding a good one" (zoomer)... any suggestions for how? I'm sure the one camera store within an hour of here doesn't even have one copy, let alone a batch to pick from. There may be a place north of Philly (90 minutes or better from me) that may have one, maybe more, but I'd have to call to see. How about Annapolis, DC or Baltimore? Any big shops around there that may have one or more in stock? IF so... what should I look for when picking



Jan 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


If you are buying new, I wouldn't worry too much. The odds of getting a soft one are remote. If you buy from a reputable dealer and it turns out you did get a lemon, you could return or exchange it. I think the lens variation issue is a lot like the dust issue.

Used, I'd be more careful but again basically, buy from reputable sources.

TJSarchett wrote:
IF so... what should I look for when picking


Nothing scientific, do some test images; do they look good to you? One caveat, don't expect your images to look like ImageMaster's right off the bat.



Jan 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM
msalvetti
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


Most of the wisdom on this board is that there was more variation in the older 100-400's, so there might be more risk in buying an older used lens.

If you're buying new I wouldn't worry about it. And even if you buy used you'll probably be OK. I bought my 100-400 used about 6 years ago. I don't remember the date code, but it's probably 8 or 9 years old. It's plenty sharp wide open at 400mm (where some lenses are supposed to suffer).

Mark



Jan 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM
AJay
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


A couple of points...

Don't overlook the weight issue, especially if you plan to take long hikes with the lens. The 400 prime is really light, great for hand-held BIF shots.

If you plan on photographing other things besides birds, the 100-400 has versatility in its favor.

The 400 prime is sharper, but you won't notice it unless your pixel peeping.

The autofocus of the prime is a tad better, but not a huge difference.

Another option (but more expensive) is the 70-200 f/2.8 II lens with the 2x III TC.

Alan
www.iwishicouldfly.com



Jan 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Imagemaster
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · Prime 400 or 100-400 zoom?


AJay wrote:
Don't overlook the weight issue, especially if you plan to take long hikes with the lens. The 400 prime is really light, great for hand-held BIF shots.


The prime is not REALLY light. It is only .3 lbs. lighter than the 100-400. If you are hiking and want the 100-400 range, a 400 prime plus a 70-200 f4 will take you up to 4.5 pounds.

Another option (but more expensive) is the 70-200 f/2.8 II lens with the 2x III TC.

And that combo will be nearly 4 pounds.



Jan 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
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