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

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261 671493 Aug 31, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,091.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.32
8.65
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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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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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Versatile
Cons:
none

Easy, i won't complaint but since i have 2 bodies viz, 1D mkII & 1Ds mkIII it always sits at the dry box.Overall it is fast lens especially sports football and motoGP

Aug 20, 2008
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hexbeam
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Registered: Aug 20, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Clean crips sharp images. Well Built, fast focus.
Cons:
None

I love the results of this lens. I originally wanted the 70 to 200 F2.8 IS which I did purchase anyway. I rarely use it. This has become my main lens. I do a lot of outdoor shooting and this is my favorite lens.
As for the push-pull, you get used to it very quickly and its easy to adjust and use. I have had excellent shots on subjects I did not think I would get the shot at all. Would be nice if it were an F2.8 but when it gets darker I grab the other lens.
The extended reach of this lens on a crop sensor is great. even using a 1.4 Tele-Converter (manual focus only) you can get crisp clean shots. I shot side by side with a 300 F4 and end results, this lens won hands down.
For the price of this lens compared to the 70 - 200 F2.8 IS this is a clear winner. I prefer to be on the end of this lens capturing that grizzley rather than the others I have and still get the clean, colourful crisp shot.
I guess I have a newer version as I have been told the images were soft. I have yet to capture that experience. With my main camera,you will rarely see any other lens hanging off of it. I bought the Kenko tube set and have not touched my Macro lens since.


Aug 20, 2008
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susi
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Registered: Sep 28, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2610
Review Date: Aug 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp thru entire range, light for a white, versatile
Cons:
none

I owned this lens a few years ago and just did not think it was all that sharp at 400. I sold it to buy the 300 f/4 and the 400 f/5 but became frustrated with having to run back and forth to try and get the shot I wanted. I heard the new 100-400's were sharper than the older ones, so I bought a new one a few months back and covered high school track with it. I was really surprised at how sharp the images came out!! I stopped using my 300 and 400 (even though they were sharp, they were not versatile) so sold them and decided this lens is a keeper! Very pleased with the images I am getting on my 1DMKIII with this lens!
The push-pull doesn't bother me at all and is easy to adjust to.
Also pleased that this lens is easy to hand hold for hours without any fatique. Very important to me as a female without much upper body strength!


Aug 17, 2008
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Paragon
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Registered: Aug 11, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp! Even wide open at f5.6. Versatility. Image stabilizer fast and responsive, works great. Built to last. AF very fast at 100mm (slower at 400). Very good close focus performance. Good deal for the price.
Cons:
None.

Before buying this lens I read many many forum postings, reviews, discussions and experience reports. Most were positive but some complained about various issues. Here is a list of my personal comments based on my experience with special regard to these reoccurring issues.

1. Push-pull zoom: It does take some getting used to but is not an issue after that. In fact if you use FTM regularly this is much better than a twist-zoom.
2. Any lens that changes length can potentially blow dust into the camera. Dust sealing is near perfect with this lens though and I haven't had any problems. Changing lenses often causes dust to enter the camera, not changing the focal length of this lens.
3. Mine is so sharp wide open at 400mm that it clearly outperforms the camera sensor's resolution (20D, 8MP, Bayer sensor). It is absolutely tack sharp at all settings. The only blurry I ever got was due to camera shake. I think Canon has, over the years, developed a perfect production process here.
4. I don't think the lens is outdated. It is still the most versatile telezoom offered by Canon (though the Sigmas offer similar focal lengths and OS), Canon may have brought their production process to perfection and possibly even updated some coatings and the IS system.
5. Maybe the IS system is not as good as the system in the 70-200 f4 IS but 3 f-stops is realistic here, too. Don't forget that this is a 400 mm lens. It is absolutely incredible what the IS can do.
6. Vignetting wide open: negligible on a 1.6 crop.
7. Price: You pay less than what you get with this one. The comparable but cheaper Sigmas all seem to perform worse from what I have heard.
8. The white finish may be too obtrusive for some. I bought a lens coat that gives some protection, too.

My verdict: If you have been thinking about buying this lens, do it. There is no better choice and you won't regret it. Checking a lens' performance is easy nowadays and manufacturers cannot afford to produce bad copies. If you feel uneasy without checking (as I did), then do it. But don't forget to enjoy taking photos. And don't worry about the weight. It is well worth carrying. Every time I take it on a hike, I return with several stunning photos.

Highly recommended.


Aug 11, 2008
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Simon S
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Registered: May 20, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 9, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Versatile Airshow/Wildlife lens A good copy is great IS works well handheld
Cons:
QA issues Heavy Slide zoom does pull in dust. Some copies a bit soft.

After a recent failure of this lens I returned it to Canon UK for repair. There is a known problem that affects some of these lenses where the zoom jams and needs stripping down for repair.
I asked the technician to check to see if he could recover some sharpness at the 400mm end as although not poor, the image is always soft at any aperture.
The lens was returned within a week and the optics are far sharper across the whole range of the lens.
So if yours is a bit soft, it might me worth sending it to Canon for a clean and tweak!


Aug 9, 2008
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Dreamliner
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Registered: Jul 11, 2007
Location: Greece
Posts: 345
Review Date: Aug 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Range, performance, built quality.
Cons:
Push-pull zooming need to get used to it...again !

I just bought this lens after a period of thinking. I was afraid about QC issues, because of a friends bad experience of this lens, but it turned to be more than a good copy for me. I tested it immediately against my 70-200/2,8L and my 400/5,6L and found it to have very good optical performance, very-very close to these excellent lenses. It performs very well on my 1DII and my 40D both in AF and optical terms. The AF is slightly less fast compared to the 400 prime but sufficient for aircraft shooting. The IS helps a lot in order to have motion blur to the propellers. The only thing that I have to get used to ( again ) is the push-pull zooming ( the last lens I had with push-pull zooming was the 1994 Nikkor AF 80-200/2,8D ED ). I 've already sold my 70-200/4 IS in order to finance the purchase of this baby -kept the 2,8L which is better- and now the 400/5,6L has to go. I'm more than happy with the 100-400 !

Aug 1, 2008
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godfreyz
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Registered: Feb 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1121
Review Date: Jul 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,360.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent IQ throughout the entire focal range. Very fast autofocus and balances nicely on the 40D.
Cons:
Weight.

Just got this lens based on some recommendations from owners of this lens. This lens is extremely sharp throughout the entire focal range. I was very surprised to see the sharpness at 400mm. The push pull type zoom is easy to use. Colors are fantastic. The only negative that I have experienced is the weight of the lens and I must emphasize that it is a very small negative. I highly recommend this lens.

Jul 22, 2008
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Chubbs
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Registered: Nov 14, 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Big and beautiful, absolutely the business unless you have thousands to spend on 300 or 400 low f-stop primes
Cons:
You really need to learn how to use this lens. It is heavy and won't balance well on entry type cameras

Absolutely beautiful lens. Push-pull put me off for about a year. Once I had used it I realised I had been silly. If possible go try this lens at you local shop before you buy, then you will realise that you will want all your zooms to be push -pull. There is a learning curve with this lens. It does need a lot of light and will not be suitable for indoor events unless very well lit). I use it on my 40d (with battery grip) and find it very well balanced. Do be aware that you will be VERY obvious if using this, lens as with lens hood attached it is a 'sore thumb'. I was also looking at the f5.6 prime and I am glad I went for this lens because the range is so useful. I have also used it with a 1.4x converter which kind of turns it into a telescope on a 40d! You need a pretty static subject for this and also beware that even with tripod (slik 700 pro dx which is a heavy tripod) even a very light breeze can cause blurring (esp. with lens hood attached) so use a timer or remote relaese. I really can't recommend this lens enough. The only reason I gave it an overall 9 is because you really need to spend time with the lens to learn it. It is NOT a 35mm prime;)

Jul 10, 2008
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Vishal
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Registered: Feb 3, 2008
Location: India
Posts: 30
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build Quality, Fast AF, Silent, 'Very Marginally' Soft over 300mm (depending on the shooting environment & weather), Sharp otherwise, Excellent Colour Reproduction & Contrast.
Cons:
Weight - but then almost all tele-photo's in this range are about just as heavy, the push-pull zoom takes a little getting used to buts thts alright, not the most ideal focal length to begin with (at 100mm), Price ? ;)

Its quite a lens if you're well built & have big hands.

Its weight & the push-pull zoom mechanism would take a bit of time getting used to however they're no REAL drawbacks as such.

The push-pull zoom well, it also has a tension/lock ring in place to prevent the barrel from fully extending outwards if pointed downwards now, it can be a bit tricky if you are shooting something below you from an elevated point as if you lock the ring too tightly then you wont be able to zoom in or out smoothly or perhaps not at all & if you leave it too loose then well it 'may' slide down a little while you're shooting and/or when left unguarded.

I would've ideally liked the focal length beginning somewhere around 50-70mm instead of 100mm which sort-of limits its usage to distant objects (arguable) however, its quite nice uptill 'about' 300mm before losing slight amount of sharpness (fixable in Photoshop though).

ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING I'D LIKE TO STRESS ON is that like most lenses that i've personally used, they all tend to produce excellent & very sharp images of objects which are close & zoomed-in on at maximum focal length (refer the photos in the link below of airplane nose close-ups) whereas, upon zooming-in on objects at a distance to fill a frame at max focal length they (the photos) tend to lose a 'little' sharpness depending upon the haze in the air as well as the temprature - heat haze if you are shooting in warm conditions at a high focal length.

AF is quite quick & accurate.

A true zoom range of 160-640mm on a 1.6x crop body is fantastic however, you'd need a steady hand to harness this telescope well Wink

Click here for the photos I shot with the 100-400L

Smile Cheers - Vishal Jolapara Smile



Jul 10, 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
261 671493 Aug 31, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,091.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.32
8.65
9.1
ef100_400l_1_


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