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Archive 2013 · Canon 400 mm options
  
 
Lan11
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p.1 #1 · Canon 400 mm options


I'd appreciate user's opinion regarding selection of the 400 mm lens, namely 400/5.6 vs. 400 DO.
The performance comparison, at max. f opening, from the MTF charts is impossible.
I also wonder if non-native lenses of comparable performance to Canon's are available.



Apr 15, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #2 · Canon 400 mm options


Not used either , but IS and a stop faster comes at a big price .

My 400 option is now the sigma 120-300/2.8 OS with a 1.4 TC on it . The bare lens is great and with a TC its still better than my 100-400 was



Apr 15, 2013 at 03:41 PM
waldr_p
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p.1 #3 · Canon 400 mm options


Just to second Ian's post, here's a 100% crop from my 7D with the Sigma 1.4x TC on my Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS - this is fully open at F4 and 420mm:







Not bad when you consider this lens can be had here in the UK for < 1700.

Paul.




Apr 15, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Paulthelefty
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p.1 #4 · Canon 400 mm options


If you look around the interwebs, you will find that the 400 5.6 is THE standard for focus speed and image quality in the "average person can afford it" category. Their are many that use the 300 f4 with a 1.4x on it so they can get IS and closer MFD, and it is still a great performer ( so I hear). The DO is in another dimension, both price and image wise.

Others will surely chime in and say the same, but it really depends no your specific usage and what other glass you have. For versatility, 100-400 is tops. For BIF on a budget, 400 5.6. For occasional reach to 400 but rare use, 70-200 with 2.0x is pretty good. I could go on, but you probably see the point. I was in a similar dilemma last summer, then an employer offered a deal n a 300 2.8, and I haven't looked back.

Paul



Apr 15, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Andrew J
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p.1 #5 · Canon 400 mm options


The only way to out do the 400/5.6L will involve spending over $2500. I believe it will require getting the 500/4.5L or some 3rd party lens that has been hidden from me.


Apr 15, 2013 at 04:33 PM
mpoole
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p.1 #6 · Canon 400 mm options


I wonder if Canon will ever offer a "traditional" 400mm f4.0? Personlly I would look closely at a little brother to the EF 500 f4 ii.


Apr 15, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #7 · Canon 400 mm options


mpoole wrote:
I wonder if Canon will ever offer a "traditional" 400mm f4.0? Personlly I would look closely at a little brother to the EF 500 f4 ii.


Unlikely . fred has linked today to a new patent from canon for a 400DO .

and lets face it 400mm options are comming out of canon's never regions as it is . I just cant see them adding an F4 non DO as well .

now a 500/5.6 IS on the other hand would be a great addition to the clan



Apr 15, 2013 at 07:55 PM
robinlee
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p.1 #8 · Canon 400 mm options


Initially prior to purchasing long telephoto lens, I did have this dilemma exactly the same as OP however after renting 400mm f/5.6L for the weekend I knew I needed more so went straight for EF500mm hurts wallet though but no regrets


Apr 15, 2013 at 09:32 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #9 · Canon 400 mm options


Recent rumors with the 7D2 suggest it's release will coincide with a re-designed 100-400L II. I'm seriously looking at the 400 f5.6L but am on hold for awhile. A new 100-400 will probably be 2K or more but if it's real I'd imagine it's IQ and performance will be much like the latest Mark II lenses...stellar; even with a 1.4x T/C III.


Apr 15, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Lan11
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p.1 #10 · Canon 400 mm options


Thanks everybody. I currently use the 300/4 instead of the 400/5.6 because of the min. focus distance and weight advantage. For the BIF picts, in my situation, I'm finding it a little short.

I always preferred native lenses, despite my experience with brand new Canons for the past few years which hasn't been that great (however the Nikon was a total calamity).

I was considering a 1.4TC, but I really don't like contraptions.
If I could get a definitive increase of quality from the current DO over the 5.6 lens, I would rise above "what the average person can afford" category. The lenses are long-time keepers, so an extra financial sacrifice is justified. In terms of weight, a 2kg "pipe" is already a monster IMO, so anything longer and heavier would be a super-monster. I don't feel I'm ready.

I never owned a Sigma. It is a very nice humming bird portrait, however I'd prefer a little more definition of the eye (which may be possible with a different PP). Please do not construe this as a criticism, but rather an indication of my personal expectations of quality level. Nevertheless, I'll take a look at the Sigma options - thanks Paul.

Just saw the new DO 400 lens patent, but from the patent to product is probably a long way. The DO technology is excellent, so it would be foolish for Canon to drop it. My experience with the first version of the 70-300 DO indicates that the mechanical design and most of all manufacturing was the problem.



Apr 15, 2013 at 10:34 PM
 

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dorian
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p.1 #11 · Canon 400 mm options


here's a consideration not yet addressed: where do you live and what body do you have? the reason i ask is that the 400/5.6 (which i own) is great when there is lots of sun and marginal at best on cloudy days. if i can keep the shutter < 1/500 with the 400/5.6, the images are great (best when < 1/1000 though), but if you have to shoot at > 1/500 forget about it (unless you use a tripod which defeats the purpose of having a nice light lens). if you live in southern california, get the 400/5.6, but if you live in seattle where its gray most of the time i would seriously look at the 100-400 since it has IS. i live in boston and i am considering selling my 400 to get the 100-400 since the light here is often less than outstanding. if you're shooting with a 1dx, this whole discussion is probably moot since you can use it to shoot at like ISO a million to keep your shutter speed down, but banging up the ISO on certain bodies is really gonna hurt your images. also, the minimum focusing distance on the 400/5.6 is 11.5 feet compared to 6 feet for the zoom so this is something to keep in mind (especially if you like to shoot butterflies and the like).

as far as the DO, if i was gonna spend that money i'd just get the 500/4 like me!



Apr 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM
aborr
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p.1 #12 · Canon 400 mm options


My "poor man's 400" is a 300/4 plus 1.4x converter.
I find that combination is good for action in bright sun, but gets a bit marginal when the clouds roll in. The 400/5.6 would be sharper in the corners than the 300+1.4x, but I'm not sure I'd see a big difference in the sports stuff I shoot.

I'll probably pick up a 100-400 for a little extra convenience, and maybe a bit faster AF - the 1.4x slows down the the 300/4 AF significantly.

I guess I'd be tempted by a used 400/4 at a good price - but it's still a big investment.
Like lots of others, I'd like an optically updated 100-400, but I'm guessing that the price
will be $2.5k+ at introduction - the new Nikon 80-400 is currently around $2700.

I'd never tried the Sigma 120-300, but the comments from others here make me want to check it out.



Apr 16, 2013 at 12:48 AM
RogerC11
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p.1 #13 · Canon 400 mm options


aborr wrote:
My "poor man's 400" is a 300/4 plus 1.4x converter.


My "poor man's" 600mm is my 400 5.6 with 1.4x tc. Still AF pretty quickly on my 1diii





Apr 16, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Lan11
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p.1 #14 · Canon 400 mm options


Thanks Dorian, currently I use the 1D4 and the 5D3. The cloudy weather prevails here and I like it. On sunny days the contrast is excessive. The light was one of the reasons for choosing the 300/4 over the 400/5.6. For the hand held picts IS is always a big plus.

I looked at the Sigma, but it is a big zoom and too heavy for me. I prefer lighter primes. Looks like the 400/4 DO is the one to try. It is about 2 kg and almost the size of 300/4 (length). If it doesn't work out, then I'll try the 300/4 + 1.4TC despite slower f, AF and quality loss (whatever it may be).

If the 100-400 update will be similar to the 24-70/2.8 II quality jump, then those happy with the f5.6 lens shouldn't hesitate.
Rodger, I'd NOT consider the 400/5.6 + 1.4TC a poor man's solution. If the light is sufficient it is the right and wise choice. Canon is upgrading the lenses before they offer a higher MP camera and I think it is the right decision.
Thanks again.



Apr 16, 2013 at 02:26 AM
gocolts
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p.1 #15 · Canon 400 mm options


Lan11 wrote:
Thanks Dorian, currently I use the 1D4 and the 5D3. The cloudy weather prevails here and I like it. On sunny days the contrast is excessive. The light was one of the reasons for choosing the 300/4 over the 400/5.6. For the hand held picts IS is always a big plus.

I looked at the Sigma, but it is a big zoom and too heavy for me. I prefer lighter primes. Looks like the 400/4 DO is the one to try. It is about 2 kg and almost the size of 300/4 (length). If it doesn't work out, then I'll
...Show more

I picked up a used 400 DO off the B & S forums here last week. So far so good (even with a 1.4TC), and you'll be surprised how lightweight it feels. If you're patient you can find a used one in good shape for under $4,000 without problem.

Side note- before the DO I had the 400/5.6, and I'd agree that with good light it can handle a 1.4TC just fine.



Apr 16, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #16 · Canon 400 mm options


mpoole wrote:
I wonder if Canon will ever offer a "traditional" 400mm f4.0? Personlly I would look closely at a little brother to the EF 500 f4 ii.


Yes it's called a 200-400 f/4.


My understanding from a colleague's discussion with Canon lens team is that the DO are incredibly difficult to make the lenses for and they only have a a few people with the skills to polish or finish the DO lenses. They definitely haven't gone cold on the tech. The new patent is further proof it's still active. If they could make a 400 f/4 DO II and sell it for the same money as the 300 f/2.8 mk II I'd definitely be interested, but any more and it's too close in in price to the 500 fro my liking and I'll stick with 300 + 1.4x TC and put up with weight penalty.

It's a shame the 200-400 is not a DO lens with weight under 3kg, as I'd gladly pay $10K in that case.



Apr 16, 2013 at 03:04 AM
saneproduction
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p.1 #17 · Canon 400 mm options


Have you considered a 70-200 2.8 with 2x extender?


Apr 16, 2013 at 05:17 AM
stanj
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p.1 #18 · Canon 400 mm options


The 400 DO is ever so slightly better than the 400/5.6, albeit a stop faster, and with all the drawbacks (size, weight, price). Sharpness alone, the DO wins. Plus it has IS.

The 70-200/II with TC III can't really touch it. Heck the 200/2 with 2x/III can't touch it, which actually surprised me a good deal. That doesn't mean that the combinations with TC are bad combos; it only means that the DO is a better lens than its reputation would suggest. Just don't point it straight at a bright light source (I should qualify that, I used my 400 DO to shoot both the solar eclipse as well as the transit of Venus last year, and it did pretty well while being pointed straight at the sun).

For the record I own / owned all of the above lenses / TCs and shot with them extensively.



Apr 16, 2013 at 06:21 AM
saneproduction
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p.1 #19 · Canon 400 mm options


Wow Stan! I plan to get a 2xIII for my 200 1.8 and was hoping to get somewhat close IQ to the DO, but I figured that was dreaming. Still want to get one and try it out.


Apr 16, 2013 at 06:29 AM
diverhank
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p.1 #20 · Canon 400 mm options


The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L won't disappoint. It's light, fast focusing and extremely sharp wide open. All of my hummingbird pictures have been taken with the 400mm f/5.6L. Here's one of them


Hummer # 74 by Tongho58, on Flickr

Edit: 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 2000, 5DMk3 + EF 400mm f/5.6L

Here's a closeup of a RTH to show sharpness at f/5.6


Portrait of a Hawk by Tongho58, on Flickr

1/1600. f/5.6, ISO 200, 50D + EF 400mm f/5.6L

Edited on Apr 17, 2013 at 05:00 AM · View previous versions



Apr 16, 2013 at 07:44 AM
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