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Archive 2013 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X
  
 
powaysteve
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p.9 #1 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


[quote
Hi,

I placed my order within 10 minutes of the announcement. At least one other FM member placed his order the following morning, and his order has also shipped. Hope your wait is not long


Does anyone know if Adorama has started shipping? I placed my order with them in the first 5 minutes and have not heard anything yet.


Jun 04, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Tom_W
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p.9 #2 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Ron, thanks for the teleconverter shots. The internal + external 1.4's shot looks pretty good.


Jun 05, 2013 at 12:15 AM
KatManDEW
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p.9 #3 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


When was the announcement? I think I preordered on the 24th, from B&H.

The TC shots look good. Thanks for posting those.



Jun 05, 2013 at 12:37 AM
mitesh
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p.9 #4 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


KatManDEW wrote:
When was the announcement? I think I preordered on the 24th, from B&H.


It was right around midnight, May 14.



Jun 05, 2013 at 12:43 AM
KatManDEW
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p.9 #5 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


mitesh wrote:
It was right around midnight, May 14.


Thanks. I'm no doubt low on the list Probably won't ship in time to get any real usage with it this year.



Jun 05, 2013 at 12:51 AM
eyelaser
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p.9 #6 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


A few quick snaps in my backyard after work...was happy to have a couple of willing subjects even as the light was failing...so pretty high iso and croppy
Eric

1






2 100% crop






3 Mon dieu








Jun 05, 2013 at 01:15 AM
mitesh
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p.9 #7 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Not too shabby, Eric


Jun 05, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Renier1
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p.9 #8 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


KatManDEW wrote:
Any news on deliveries of this lens? Are many of them showing up in customers hands?

mitesh wrote:
My pre-order from BH is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first batch of shipments from them to customers who pre-ordered.

Renier1 wrote:
Congratulations on your purchase. Would you be willing to say when you put in your order? I only ordered recently so would like to have an indication of how long this wait could be, thanks.

mitesh wrote:
Hi,

I placed my order within 10 minutes of the announcement. At least one other FM member placed his order the following morning, and his order has also shipped. Hope your wait is not long



Thank you.



Jun 05, 2013 at 01:44 AM
KatManDEW
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p.9 #9 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Those look pretty dog gone nice to me Eric. Thanks for sharing them.


Jun 05, 2013 at 02:24 AM
eyelaser
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p.9 #10 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Thanks so much Mitesh and KatManDew...Lots more testing to be done but so far so good.
Eric



Jun 05, 2013 at 03:09 AM
 

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Thang
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p.9 #11 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


eyelaser wrote:
Thanks so much Mitesh and KatManDew...Lots more testing to be done but so far so good.
Eric


looking forward to those shots Eric - good stuffs



Jun 05, 2013 at 05:24 AM
PetKal
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p.9 #12 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Eric, that looks promising.


Jun 05, 2013 at 09:45 AM
mogud
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p.9 #13 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


The Robin shots are very good to me. Things are looking up for me and this lens.


Jun 05, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Scott Stoness
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p.9 #14 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


eyelaser wrote:
A few quick snaps in my backyard after work...was happy to have a couple of willing subjects even as the light was failing...so pretty high iso and croppy
Eric



1 looks good for 560mm (1.4x internal) 1/250 sec; f/5.6; ISO 1600 and high crop. I look forward to more posts with this lens.

Mine is on order but it might be a while.

Scott



Jun 05, 2013 at 12:59 PM
rscheffler
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p.9 #15 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


I met up with Peter for some BIF lessons and he promptly took my lens and stuck me with his 400 IS II. Seriously, it was great to finally meet Peter in person and have a chance to swap gears. Having been a long-time 400 IS v1 user, the new model was surprisingly light for its size. And I got some OK terns-in-flight with it too.

And I gained a much better understanding of bird photographers' rationale for equipment choices. While we were there, another photographer joined us with a 400/5.6. After a couple hours of super-tele hand holding, I was getting envious about the size/weight of a lens like the 400/5.6, especially since I was shooting stopped down a fair amount.

Compared to Peter's 400 IS II, the 200-400 was easier to use for this application primarily because it felt lighter and I think I was better able to track the birds with it for longer periods of time. Hopefully Peter can comment on his impression of the zoom vs. the 500 IS versions, which might be the super-tele most buy for birds.

I didn't really use the zoom much. The lens was either parked at 400, 560 or for a period at 784 (with an external 1.4x TC) when the terns were farther out from shore. Time will tell if this is just a matter of remembering that the zoom is available. Surprisingly, AF (on a 1DX) was decent with the external TC combo. In fact, the AF felt calmer, perhaps because it didn't have a bunch of other AF points from which to select. I shot a lot with the 61 point auto selection, where you start with a selected point and then let the camera take over as the bird floats around the frame. It worked better than I expected, but I also had problems with it. Sometimes the camera just wouldn't pick up anything if the defocus was too great after missing a flyby. Or, if the bird was near the water's surface, it would move to that instead. After a while I decided to try single point with expansion. Normally for sports I use the 8-point expansion, but here ended up liking 4-point expansion better.

In this kind of shooting scenario, my gut feeling is that technique will be a greater determinator of keeper percentage than the differences between the lenses with regards to image quality. I do think the 400 IS II is a sharper lens than the zoom, but not dramatically so. Maybe after a couple hours my technique improved, but after reviewing the shoot, I definitely got more interesting shots with the 200-400. While I didn't use the zoom function constantly, there were times when I did back off because the framing was getting too tight. Or zoomed out all the way when a flock of Canada geese flew by. I think the internal TC though was a bigger benefit. Standing on rocks at the edge of the water, it was one less variable to have to contend with, or worry about dropping. Very convenient as the flight patterns of the birds ebbed and flowed towards and away from shore. When my technique allowed, I got some very nice, sharp images from the zoom with very good feather detail. The best was at 400mm, though with the internal TC I would estimate the drop-off was minimal. And the same slight step down with the external TC attached.

Anyway, here's what I got with the 200-400 that I liked best. BTW Peter, I stuck around until sunset (though not all of it was BIF photography by that point).

My only decent bird-with-fish image:






I also liked this three-frame sequence, though the first, and best image, is a bit soft (though looks OK at 1000 pixels on the web )
















Hovering:











Flying:





















Banking:











Diving:
















What I didn't get is a decent shot just as the tern transitions from flying to diving by momentarily hovering, such as Peter nicely illustrated with one of his images earlier in the thread.

Also, all of these images have been cropped to some degree, and some more than others. The first and third diving images in particular. The vertical is a full height crop out of a horizontal frame while the third of the bird just entering the water is about 1/4 of the frame. The head-on shot at 784mm is about the closest to full frame, otherwise the rest probably average around 30-40% crops.



Jun 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM
PetKal
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p.9 #16 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Excellent stuff, Ron, you photographed them little white pijuns like a real pro, or as if you've been doing them for years. All shots are fine, but #7 is a "classic".


Jun 05, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Stoffer
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p.9 #17 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Jep, really great stuff, Ron! I also like the contrast and colors from this lens. Good times!

And what did you think of the lens, Peter?



Jun 05, 2013 at 06:40 PM
PetKal
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p.9 #18 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Stoffer wrote:
Jep, really great stuff, Ron! I also like the contrast and colors from this lens. Good times!

And what did you think of the lens, Peter?


My first impressions of the lens are largely positive, primarily the AF responsiveness and the overall feel of the lens.
The IQ looks good too, although with BIF shots that is not always easy to discern.
As Ron rightfully pointed it out, the technique and the camera/lens AF are the primary factors which decide the outcome, not so much the intrinsic IQ of the lens.

I wish the lens was lighter, but that is a well known fact by now. As far as handholding effort/difficulty is concerned, I reckon the lens is positioned half way between 500 II and 400 II, which is to be expected.

Lastly, it was certainly very nice to be able to go from 400mm to 560mm and back at a flick of a switch, as the birds drifted away from the shore, and then were driven back in pursuit of fish.



Jun 05, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Stoffer
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p.9 #19 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


PetKal wrote:
My first impressions of the lens are largely positive, primarily the AF responsiveness and the overall feel of the lens.
The IQ looks good too, although with BIF shots that is not always easy to discern.
As Ron rightfully pointed it out, the technique and the camera/lens AF are the primary factors which decide the outcome, not so much the intrinsic IQ of the lens.

I wish the lens was lighter, but that is a well known fact by now. As far as handholding effort/difficulty is concerned, I reckon the lens is positioned half way between 500 II and 400 II, which is
...Show more

It sure does sound like a decent addition to your "Big Whites Collection", Peter. Happy to hear that Ron and you had a good time, although it might be an expensive encounter for you.



Jun 05, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Doctorbird
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p.9 #20 · Hands-on: EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X


Ron,

Congratulations! Great images and report. I'm getting lots of vicarious pleasures from your posts.

Reproduction of the images seems impeccable - back lighting, timing (on the dive, even though I know there is an element of luck involved ). And the air and environment seems to to visibly crisper in Canada than that in the beach area in SoCal where I find my terns. I see this aspect in Peter's images too.

As one who has more than a casual interest in the lens, I'm wondering further:

Could you expand on how difficult/easy it was to lock focus on the birds and to keep them locked on?

Could you provide a rough idea of what percentage of keepers you had?

Is your crop percentage number a linear or area measurement?

My instinct was that the lens is probably indispensable for sport shooters and safari, big animals expeditions. Now it seems that if one weren't in possession of either of the big super teles, it may be a tempting viable prospect for BIF shooters as well.

Thanks so far for sharing the results your efforts.

Db



Jun 05, 2013 at 08:13 PM
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