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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
264 640943 Aug 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,080.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.66
9.1
ef100_400l_1_

Specifications:
L-series super telephoto zoom lens equipped with an Image Stabilizer. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate secondary spectrum. The floating system also ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths. The Image Stabilizer has two modes and it is compatible with Extenders 1.4x II and 2x II.


 


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elfanucchi
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Registered: Jul 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 122
Review Date: Aug 21, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good magnification, sharpness, IQ, manageable weight at great price.
Cons:
None

This was a refurb from Canon Direct at their sale price in great condition.
Seldom in stock but I lucked out ..
Compare to the less pricey Sigma or the very pricey Canon 200 - 400 ..
If you think motorized zoom consider the added weight size cost etc ..
If you think faster than 5.6 consider same as above ..
If you think built in TC .. Yes yes yes but stay away from $ 12 K lenses.


Aug 21, 2014
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oldshutterhand
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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice contrast, beautiful colors, sharpness wide open, stabilizer, 1.8m close focus distance, very good with 1.4x Kenko converter
Cons:
some people don't like push pull design, bokeh can be better

This is a very good lens. Excellent build quality, stabilizer, sharpness wide open. What the Sigma xxx-500m lenses lacks (sharpness wide open, contrast) this lens has it. Very good with the Kenko 1.4x dgx converter as well
(autofocusing) not autofocusing with the Canon 1.4x, except perhaps on 1 series camera bodies. Highly recommended if you have the budget for it. I would give 9.5 if there was an option like this. I wouldn't give 10 because the long primes has better picture quality/bokeh.


See in more detail here:
http://oldshutterhand.com/equipment-reviews/canon-100-400/


Jun 16, 2014
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Rajan Parrikar
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Registered: Sep 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1384
Review Date: Apr 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance, Versatility, Build, Portability
Cons:
Relatively slow, Clumsy hood, Older generation IS

I bought this lens primarily for landscape photography. My copy is very sharp even at 400mm. Overall optical performance is first rate. Its combination of high image quality, reach, versatility and portability makes it a terrific bargain.

A newer version of this lens could do with the latest IS technology and a re-design of the hood.


Apr 4, 2013
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Mar 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent range, IS, sharp
Cons:
A tad weighty

Great zoom with superb sharpness and colour.
It is a little heavy, but I suppose there is quite a bit of glass in this thing.
Very nice lens


Mar 7, 2013
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yohoe
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Registered: Feb 28, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Mar 1, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Build Quality, Range
Cons:
Push/Pull

Great lens. The zoom range is incredible and the image quality is fantastic. The only negative I have is the push/pull as it could get dirt in the system. Also, I take 80% landscape photos so it's a little more than I need.

Mar 1, 2013
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digitalfx
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Registered: Dec 22, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 154
Review Date: Oct 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price Performance
Cons:
f5.6

I have been using the 70-200 f2.8 II lens, which is exceptional, but it just wasnt long enough to cover kids on the Soccer field. So I found a mint UX dated 100-400 on Ebay for $1250. I was a bit reluctant considering the mixed reviews, but after a weekend of shooting I am more than impressed.

I have been living mostly on the far end of the lens, shooting wide open at 400mm and the results are better than expected. Very sharp and contrasty images, the focus speed has not been an issue, and frankly Im getting more shots in focus than the 70-200 (which is likely more to do with the field of view).

The push pull zoom is a breeze, despite what others have said. Quite frankly, for sports its a better option imo.
For the money, this is a spectacular choice.

The only negative is the slow speed, which hasn't been a major issue as Im shooting with a 5D3, so I just crank up the iso, but if a faster version came along, I would defiantly trade this one in assuming it was as sharp as this model.


Oct 14, 2012
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Sayeret18
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Registered: Apr 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 619
Review Date: Aug 6, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, build quality, IQ
Cons:
Push-pull zoom.

The lens is excellent in all respects. Build quality, IQ, etc. are fabulous. Given the len's range, it is amazingly compact. I've heard that the AF is "slow" - so far, I don't agree. The AF is not as fast as the 85mm 1.8, but it is a 100-400 zoom, for goodness sakes, and I've been able to easily lock onto and track rabbits and small birds. In many respects, this lens is a longer version of the 24-105: not quite the sharpest, and certainly not the fastest, but darn good within its very broad limits and tremendously versatile.

Aug 6, 2012
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fredster
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Registered: Jun 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 232
Review Date: Jun 10, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Never bought or owned one.
Cons:

Never owned or bought one. Have no idea at all about this lens.

Jun 10, 2012
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40Driggs
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Registered: Sep 16, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 532
Review Date: Apr 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,067.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build quality, stabilization, versatility, colors contrast, decent sharpness
Cons:
(somewhat) slow focusing, awkward manual focus ring

This lens is used on a 7D.

I moved from the 70-300L to this lens for extra reach. That is a great lens and if the focal length works for you, I'd actually recommend it over the 100-400, even though I think that it is overpriced and that it definitely should come with a tripod collar and nicer case for the price.

I have also owned the 400 f/5.6 before, but sold it when I bought my kayak since I wanted to shoot from the 'yak and figured IS would be a big advantage for that use.

As far as the 100-400 goes, it is a real work horse lens. I bought an older copy (UT) and was concerned at first that the rumors about copy variation would mean that I would have a soft lens. Luckily this turned out to be a false rumor (at least in my case). I did have to MA my lens to +7 though for optimum results.

The lens is sharp enough for my uses wide open, but does show some improvement stopped down. I like the fact that the MFD is much closer than the 400 prime since it makes the lens more versatile for closeups. Image stabilization is not as good as on the newer design, so I usually count on 2 stops compensation. I also wait for a couple of seconds for the IS to kick in, which seems to help. Colors and contrast are great. I have found the bokeh to be harsh sometimes in very busy backgrounds. The prime seems to be a little bit better in this area. The push/pull design makes the lens easy to transport but takes some getting used to. I usually either leave the tension ring all the way loose or cinch it down when I know I'll be shooting at 400mm. The manual focus ring is in an odd location next to the tension ring which I don't care for. Luckily I rarely use manual, so it's not a big deal. The autofocus is on the slow side for USM, but is usually fast enough. When shooting distant objects the focus limiter comes in handy.

My ratings on a scale of 1-10

Build Quality -9 Bokeh- 8
Focusing - 8 sharpness- 8.5
colors/contrast-9


If you are expecting 70-200 II sharpness wide open then you will be disappointed. If you expect great results in a versatile package at a reasonable price, then you'll be very happy with this lens.


Apr 26, 2012
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cpe1991
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Registered: Apr 25, 2012
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 25, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good copies are very sharp, very good zoom range, not too heavy, IS quite good.
Cons:
Bad copies are soft

I tested a new lens and it was too soft for bird photography where you need to crop. So, I bought a 400mm f/5.6 L which is excellent. Then a 2-year old used 100-400mm came up locally and I tested it against the 400mm: the IQs were indistinguishable, just as the MTF data on Photozone show. So, you have to test this lens before buying. The reason for the mixed reports on this lens is because the quality control is poor and there bad copies. Both the 400mm f/5.6 and the 100-400mm L IS are great lenses for the money and are easy to use hand held if you are sensible and use high speeds or lean against something for slow shots.

Apr 25, 2012
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nswelton
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 260
Review Date: Apr 11, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp with good IQ, like that it's an all in one package
Cons:
dust magnet, weird zoom mechanism

my dad owns this lens and i use it a lot when i go to visit the family. i've probably taken thousands of images with this lens and after all is said and done i've got mixed feelings about it. on the one hand it's pretty sharp and has great colors and contrast. on the other hand, with the quality of the new 70-200 2.8 II, there's no real reason to have this lens any more if you pair the Mark II with a doubler. the push pull mechanism tends to suck dust into the lens, and the zoom mechanism is really hard to get used to. that said, it's quirky to focus and quite reliable. just perhaps obsolete these days.

Apr 11, 2012
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Dan E
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Registered: Mar 23, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mar 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp Images, great build quality and Extremely versatile
Cons:
None

I have used this lens for 3 months for both Wildlife and Sports photography. I has given me sharp images, some sharper than I had expected for the shooting conditions. The IS, although I leave it switched off most of the time, is a great positive point for this lens. I have "hand held" shots at 400 mm with a shutter speed of 1/30 at F7.1 with acceptable results using the IS. If you are undecided about this lens, just buy it. You'll be very happy that you made the purchase. I've read some poor reviews done on this lens and have analyzed the comments and complaints. I've concluded that most of the negative issues with this lens are "user technique" and not the fault of the lens. A little bit of common sense and some good photographic technique can work for you. If you think that you can take the "impossible" picture just because you spent $1500 on a lens, you're in for disappointment. Use this lens as the fine photographic tool it is, apply good photographic principles, and you'll do very well with it.

Mar 21, 2012
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dmcharg
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Registered: Nov 30, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 788
Review Date: Feb 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb lens, amazing telephoto flexibility in a single lens. You just can't beat the flexibility offered by this lens.
Cons:
Its not cheap or small

Excellent lens. If your thinking about it just do it. Its extremely flexible and whilst not a small lens it is a lens you can easily walk around with for hours. In this sort of price/size range your options are 300F4L IS, 400 5.6L,70-300L IS and 100-400LIS. I already had the 70-200F4L non IS but wanted more reach but still the flexibility of a zoom. Having used this for a few months the zoom was the right choice for me. If your not sure about primes vs zooms, get the zoom for sure. I am based in the UK and with the cloudy overcast weather IS is essential. I am not really into bird photography but i can easily see how even 400 isn't enough, especially if your talking about small birds. I like this lens for compressed landscapes and being able to pick out distant landscapes i.e sunrise,sunsets,mist etc in the distant hills. As an all round telephoto its excellent and its flexibility far exceeds any of its cons. You can't compare this lens to Canon's super telephotos such as the 500F4 etc because they are just in a different price bracket and nothing like as portable as this lens. Highly recommend it.

Feb 17, 2012
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Breitling65
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Registered: May 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5231
Review Date: Oct 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very portable, light and convinient for travel lens. Sharp enough for zoom lens.
Cons:
Sluggish on AF and not as effective old IS

I got this lens to try how good it is before Canon will release something better in this range. I am tired of heavy long telephoto, and I need lighter lens.
I use to own several telephoto primes including 500L, 300mm F2.8IS & 400/5.6L etc. In compare this lens is very close to primes in IQ. However as any slow lens required better lights to produce great shots, shots are noisier if lights are low. I like colors and contrast, they are same as any other great L lenses. Bit slow AF is OK, not as dramatic. Works fine with 1.4tc on mine 1D mk IV.
It is great for birding and air shows but again while good lights. I wish this lens is F4 and with better IS with same price and size, but it will never happen Smile


Oct 23, 2011
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nycandre
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Registered: Apr 23, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 22
Review Date: Apr 19, 2011 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Very sharp, and not outrageously expensive Built like a tank
Cons:
Potentially - dust getting in because of the push pull system.. Heavy.. like a tank

(updated) Recently saw that it had been evaluated at photozone.de. Conclusion: boringly .. good. Wide open. Have to agree, it is not going to overtake a fixed focal tele in resolution etc. But it is durn good in any conditions where 4.5 - 5.6 isn't a handicap.

Recently used it for near close ups at the short end (100mm). Will let the image speak for itself. This is a 3/4 crop from the original, shot handheld with a 5D Mark I at 1/200 F5.6 ISO 1600

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/5634034954/

Speaking of sharpness - another sample, about a 1/4 crop, flowering magnolia - shot with a 5D Mark I at 400mm 1/400 F5.6 ISO 1000

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/3452707338/


Apr 19, 2011
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edatc
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Registered: Jul 17, 2009
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Posts: 45
Review Date: Feb 19, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 100-400mm and IS and plenty sharp
Cons:
It can get tiring after 6 hours in hot sun...

When I first got the lens I tried all sorts of informal tests on tripod, with and without is, etc... trying to see if it would focus, if it was sharp, etc. Probably wasted my time. This is a later date code lens and as it turned out the normal pictures I took with the lens were more than acceptable. Plenty sharp and great focus. This lens is only used during the daylight hours and outside. Great outdoor sports lens, zoo lens, wildlife lens. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love the push and pull, wish all zooms had them because for me it works fast.

Feb 19, 2011
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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
264 640943 Aug 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,080.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.66
9.1
ef100_400l_1_


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