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Hello Mr. Petkal. Is it Peter if I may?
Could you please post/re-post some of the 400 DO examples? I'd appreciate it a lot. I read your review too.
Plenty of good advise indeed - thanks everyone. Can I encourage people to post more photos? They're worth more than 1000 words.
I'm almost convinced the 400 DO is the best for my bad back : -( interests and environment.
A tool selection is always a balancing act with a ton of various compromises.
I've had my 400 DO for about 6 or 7 years. After I bought it, it quickly became my favorite lens. For as much as I like and appreciate what my 500/4 can do, I use the DO whenever 400 mm will get the job done.
If I were inclined to carefully compare images on the screen at 200%, I might well see image quality differences between the DO and the 500/4, but, at the image level or in prints, I can't tell you which pictures I've taken with which lens unless I look at the file information. And, on multiple occasions, I've challenged those who have talked about "inferior" image quality from the DO to tell which pictures, from a group of 400 DO pictures and 500/4 pictures, to pick out which came from which lens. Of the couple dozen people who have taken the challenge, I've yet to see anyone who could guess correctly at a level any greater than that which would have been expected from someone who was making random guesses.
For a period of time, I owned the 400 DO, 100-400, and 400/5.6 simultaneously. Once I began to use the DO, I stopped using the other two. The DO has image quality superior to that of the 400/5.6, has IS, and can shoot at f4, and, even though I really enjoyed using the 100-400, I was willing to give up the flexibility of the zoom for the better image quality, better IS, and ability to shoot at f4 that the DO gave me. At about 4 pounds, it is a pleasure to shoot hand held, and its size and weight allows me to have mobility that gets me plenty of shots that I couldn't get with the 500 or other bigger and heavier lens. Further, when combined with a high pixel density camera such as the 7D, 400 mm can put plenty of pixels on the subject in situations where, with the lower pixel density bodies of a few years ago, 400 mm would not have been enough.
Below are a few sample shots taken with the 400 DO and 7D.
1. With the DO and a 1.4x
2. A few with with the bare DO
3. DO with a severe crop
4. DO with even a more severe crop