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

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264 643804 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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poodlelvr
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Registered: Aug 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 508
Review Date: Jan 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very fast AF, clear, crisp images, excellent color, great range. An outstanding lens
Cons:
Heavy for me - I need to use monopod at long end; I have shoulder problems. Big white color pretty obtrusive.

I bought this lens for a specific trip and expected to sell it. After a week of use it is here to stay. Although big, for most people it is well within handholding ability. When I extend it to 350 and above I need a monopod but have no complaints about that. Quite frankly I was astonished at the quality of images this lens produces. WIth minor sharpening they are outstanding. I expected to use primarily for zoo shots, marine mammals, etc, but instead this lens does anything I ask. Very reasonably priced for such a useful lens. I highly recommend it, and find I use a lot.

Jan 22, 2009
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cdryall
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Registered: Mar 19, 2005
Location: South Africa
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent image quality across the range, fast AF in good light, versatility, build quality, not too bulky to carry, can take a 1.4 TC with a 1 series with not too much effect, IS although older version still invaluable.
Cons:
Heavy, only 5.6 at long end but thats what you pay having the size / veratility mix, friction ring to close to manual focus

I took a while to decide whether to get this or the 400 5.6 prime as really want to use it most of the time at max length. Well to be honest for me the IS and image quality across the range in hindsight made this very much the right choice for the money.

The push pull is very convenient except fot the friction ring, the IQ at 380 - 400mm is still excellent. The one thing I have noticed is that it cannot be used with a UV filter as this seriously degrades the IQ.

I have other L lenses that produce slightly better quality results especially in lower light levels (70-200 2.8; 300 2.8) but strangely enough if I had to get rid of all my equipment this would most probably be the very last lens to go - its that good a mix.


Jan 22, 2009
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Starday
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Registered: Jan 21, 2009
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have been using this lens for almost a year now. And I like it! Check my samples:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkoskela/


Jan 21, 2009
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markle
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Registered: Jan 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 252
Review Date: Jan 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: range , quality
Cons:
big when extended, it gets the attention, aperture will force higher ISO

got a new lens (2008) and I can tell the difference with the one that I had 4 years ago. Canon did improve this lens. Better at 400mm , no lockups (due to a newer IS design I suppose) .

Like a previous poster said I too use a fanny pack to carry it

the push-pull is not a problem at all , if not for the fact that when extended this lens will attract the attention. It is kinda embarrassing (to be honest) like having a lens getting super excited or something... it's a joke (of course) but there is some truth in it Smile

the quality is good, very good. The bokeh at 5.6 is good enough but not superlative: still good enough.

the stabilization works but still you must watch the shutter speed and increase the ISO: you don't do that and keep 100ISO and 1/125 or even 1/250 and you get shakes, unless you shoot in a burst.

5.6 (or 4.5) are not enough in low light. Not much to add about that. I did try a monopod and I can get the shot but still it requires a lot of work and a lot of ISO (in low light I mean)

in the end this lens makes the 70-200 2.8 look like a "limited range" lens after 10 minutes you use the 100-400 Smile


Jan 21, 2009
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disegno-s
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Registered: Jun 15, 2008
Location: Belgium
Posts: 54
Review Date: Jan 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Massive zoom range, 400mm at this price is amazing, very sharp.
Cons:
None

I have bought this lens to have more reach compared to my 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM, and it performs beyond my expectations.

It does need more light naturally, but you know that when you buy it, the other option would be a 400mm 2.8 ... but did you see the price on that one ! I did use a 1.4 TC on the 70-200, but still hadn't enough mm's at some tracks.

In my opinion this is the best 400mm for the money, my copy is tack sharp right up to 400mm, it is brand new judging by the serial number, so I guess that the new units are better than the old ones you read about becoming soft above 300mm.

The range is amazing when you are standing along a race circuit and still want a safe distance between you and the cars.

Johan
www.CarPhotoTutorials.com
Automotive photography made easy


Jan 12, 2009
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Don Price
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Registered: May 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 428
Review Date: Dec 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Range fits my needs(100-400+1.4tele) on the 5DmkII, can count on the image sharpness and contact IS works great and makes up for low light. Lot of lens for the Bucks.
Cons:
White color is a flag, weight-weight,but if you lift barbells you won't notice it so much. Better images without a UV filter, there is a difference.

This fills the needed range with my 17/40-24/105-100-400+1.4.
I have found a fanny pack that will hold these lens that will let me carry the full range when in the field (Arizona, lots of walking).
Since the 5DmkII has upgrades my old 20D and I sold all the other lens. My life will be better having the 100-400 take over the Tele end for me instead of leaving it in the car and wishing I had room and had a stronger back to carry it in the big bag.
Don
I may get a 4" brush and paint it black (;-)


Dec 28, 2008
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albertino
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Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatile-ottima di escursione-ottimo stabilizzatore-molto nitido 100mm a 300mm un pò meno a 400mm ma sempre buono
Cons:
nessuno

L'ho acquistato e rivenduto per ben 4 volte nella speranza di trovare un sostituto ma, sono di coccio, ci sono ritornato ancora e credo, questa volta, di non rivenderlo più.

Dec 18, 2008
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DennisW1
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Registered: Sep 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 49
Review Date: Oct 27, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,500.00

 
Pros: Unique zoom range makes this a very versatile lens. Canon's typical L glass quality. Light weight for what it is.
Cons:
f4.5-f5.6 is a bit slow for anything less than ideal lighting conditions especially if you're shooting sports.

I just regretfully sold my copy of this lens. I shot motorsports for the past few years with this as my primary lens on a 1DMkIIN, occasionally adding a 1.4 extender as necessary. I loved the images but anything than bright sunny days with the extender had me scrambling for fast enough shutter speeds to keep capture action and keep images sharp.
All things considered, including the excellent price this lens goes for, it's great. If I could have afforded to keep it AND the 500 f4 IS I replaced it with, I would have.


Oct 27, 2008
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tawood
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Registered: Oct 26, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, excellent quality, good value.
Cons:
You will stand out! I do not like the BOKEH.

Superb build quality, very sharp, and I like the push-pull zoom.
Overall this is an excellent lens with only two issues, one issue is major to me, one is minor.
First the major: the BOKEH (background blur) has a very unusual look to it...I've noticed it on not only my pictures but anyone's pic with this lens and a large apeture. I'm not sure how do describe it, other than the bokeh looks almost fake, like it was produced in photoshop (Actually, I think photoshop does a better job!).
Then the minor: you WILL get noticed while using this lens. Nearly every time I use it someone has to comment on it.


Oct 26, 2008
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DutchinSpain
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Registered: Sep 18, 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Range, stabilization, build quality
Cons:
Watch out with UV filters

I´ve had the lens for a month now and was using it with a UV filter attached to prevent possible damage to the front element.
I bought the lens for the extra range it would give as an addition to the 70-200 I have.

Was about to return the lens as all pictures seemed out of focus. With the 50D results seem to become better with a backwards adjustment of +20. However, quality was not close to the 70-200 F4 IS I have. Before bringing it to the shop, I repeated testshots I made earlier for the micro adjustments, but now without the UV filter, and the lens now produced sharp images.

After further test shots (birds, buildings etc.) I am very happy with the lens. Lens is build like a tank, and the push pull system is very easy to get used to.


Oct 19, 2008
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mendis
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Registered: Oct 30, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1467
Review Date: Oct 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: AF speed compared to equivalent zooms, built quality, Image quality, contrast, sharpness at this category, price now, IS rocks
Cons:
extends long

After using it for 2 weeks shooting birds, I am pleased with the results. Sharp wide open at all ranges and AF is fast enough for most situations with a 1dmk2. It struggles with the 30D and 40D.

On the 50D, AF tracking was better. Smile

Coupled with the 1.4x TC, image quality was still good. I tried the 300f4 IS L USM with the TC and the sharpness at 420mm could not compare with the 100-400L at 400mm.

I am glad I found an excellent copy. Smile


Oct 7, 2008
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robhest
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Registered: Jul 22, 2008
Location: South Africa
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Range, sharp, colours, image stabilzer, hand held
Cons:
NONE

Coming from a 50- 500mm
i could'nt believe what i was missing out! the sharpness was incredible and the colours were much better.

and the best thing is 95 per cent of shots i are perfct compared to my bigma where only 50 per cent of " HANDHELD" shots i could use

This is a must have lense, the range is incredible also.

you wont be dissapointed.


Sep 25, 2008
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Tim Dollear
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1168
Review Date: Sep 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp until 350mm. IS works incredibly well. it's an L. af accurate.
Cons:
It's an L (it's white and conspicuous), learning curve, heavy. not super bright (f5.6 pretty early on in zoom). slow to focus.

I think for the price this is an incredible lens. Consider the key features:
1) image stabilization (2 types but i almost always use 1)
2) 400mm peak zoom. 560 equiv on a crop body.
3) compact when locked at 100mm.

But really if the lens isn't sharp, it's not going to get used. When I bought this lens about a month ago (used on RM buy/sell forum) and it really took me about 3 weeks to get pictures I would consider sharp. I almost sent it in to be calibrated

I am not sure exactly what I have learned but the pictures are MUCH better now than when I got the lens. I will say the lens isn't as sharp over 350mm. I will also say that it gets heavy to carry it around (tho taking off the tripod mount helps w/ weight and carry-ability). But still I was at a bird sanctuary last weekend and I shot birds in full sun out on the lake but also birds of prey and owls which were in cages and often in very low light. I was incredibly happy to see the pictures that came back.

So the push/pull zoom: you will get used to it. You might even learn to like it (I do) but even if you don't love it, you will learn to use it because it's worth it for the iq out of this lens.

Here is one sample of 1600 ISO shot in low light, 340mm, 1/200 of a second
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3289/2877296372_0dc90c5ede_b.jpg .

other shots here (all from this same weekend)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2876462633/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2876461307/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2877243509/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2878076608/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2879124358/



Sep 22, 2008
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DennisW1
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Registered: Sep 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 49
Review Date: Sep 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, quality, sharpness, zoom range.
Cons:
slow at maximum focal length

Outstanding sharpness and quality for a lens of this price range. Considering that Canon primes in the 400mm focal length are over double the price this is a great deal. I've owned my copy for just over 4 years now, and it's been trouble-free and excellent in quality and ease of use. I'm regretfully selling this lens to a good friend, mainly because of the slow f-stop at 400. I regularly use it for motorsports with a 1.4 extender added, and that combo at 400mm is a minumum of f8. That's great when there's sufficient light but let it get a bit dim and I'm running near the edge.
As long as you have enough light to work with, this is one of Canon's best bargains in an "L" series lens.



Sep 7, 2008
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DarkFall01
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Registered: May 4, 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 117
Review Date: Aug 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Contrast, IQ, sharp, great bokeh
Cons:
Slow AF (but it's a 100-400), push/pull system can be difficult to get used to, a bit heavy.

I love this lens. I took it on safari to Tanzania last year and it performed great! I thought the push/pull system would allow a lot of dust into the lens, but in those extremely dusty conditions, I could not see a difference in the photos: there is no dust in the pictures.
The lens is a little heavy. After using it for 15mins for the first time, my arm felt a little sore, but you get used to it.

Sample pics:

no tripod:
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/654-1/IMG_5373.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/657-1/IMG_5385.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/672-1/IMG_5532.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/470-1/IMG_7386.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/560-1/IMG_8191_001.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/530-1/IMG_8002.jpg

tripod:
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/647-1/IMG_5352.jpg
http://www.carlitos-way.com/gallery/d/678-1/Luna.jpg


Aug 29, 2008
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DiMora
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Registered: Aug 29, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Aug 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great range, excellent IS, very sharp.
Cons:
"HEY! LOOK AT MY GIANT WHITE LENS!" Push/Pull "dustpump" zoom is not smooth in a linear fashion.

I have had this lens for 3 weeks now. I bought it used, but the previous owner only used it once...it is brand-new looking, and very sharp.

I bought it to shoot birds and candid shots of my children, as well as some aviation shots.

My copy is very sharp. My only beefs are the "HEY! LOOK AT MY GIANT WHITE LENS!" white paint, although I know this is good for heat buildup prevention, and my Push/Pull "dustpump" zoom is not smooth in a linear fashion..it is smooth from fully retracted them it stiffens up ever-so-slightly just before it reaches 400MM. Mine is still very new, so perhaps it will become more linear with use.

I love the BOKEH (Blurriness) of the background when at extended focal lengths.

I'm using it with a Monopod...the IS works great and the images are sharp. I am getting probably 80% usable images.

Overall, I'm very happy withthis lens...for the money, it is awesome. It is definitely a keeper!


Aug 29, 2008
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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 643804 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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