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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
262 631765 Apr 4, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,086.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.68
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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breenj
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Registered: Sep 24, 2005
Location: Marshall Islands
Posts: 317
Review Date: Nov 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, build, IS
Cons:
None

I use this lens with the 30D.

I had the 400mm f/5.6 prime, and wanted to try the zoom thinking I would give up a little in sharpness but gain focal length flexibility and IS.
To my surprise, you really have to pixel peep to find any difference between the 400 prime (which I felt was very sharp) and the zoom wide open. Sometimes I couldn't tell any difference. I couldn't be happier with this lens. It doesn't have the newer generation (4-stop!) IS, but I have been perfectly happy with the IS performance.


Nov 27, 2007
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S Galbraith
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Registered: Jun 30, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 9
Review Date: Oct 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, great zoom range, fats, qiet focussing
Cons:
none

I love this lens. I bought it in July 2007 for equine photography and have not been disappointed. The photos are extremely sharp, even when photographing horses at a full gallop coming towards me. The autofocus is so fast and silent that at first I thought it wasn't working. The zoom range allow photos of horses competing at shows without having to change my position. I actually find the weight & solidness of the lens makes it easy to hand-hold. The IS works beautifully- I have taken photos at 1/125 of a second with no loss of sharpness. The push/pull zoom was easy to get used to- the only time I had problems was when I was switching back & forth between this lens and one with a rotating zoom, and even then it only took a second or two to adjust my brain. I have heard about softness problems with these lenses, but I have to say that I find this one sharp all the way through every aperture and focal length, and I have really pushed its limits with difficult lighting and high speed action.

Oct 28, 2007
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Jonno Walmsley
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Registered: Oct 20, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: bang for buck, cheap and lots of features.
Cons:
soft, and tends to deteriorate a little bit with time

Fairly good lens. Very soft at times, and has the occasional AF issue. Mine was slowly getting softer over time, and then had a very small drop which made it slightly better! It has since deteriorated again to the point where i'm going to either replace it with a 70-200 and a 400mm prime, or another 100-400 and 400mm prime.

All in all, not too bad. Make sure you treat it like a baby, and if you are not too worried about IS or zoom, get the 400 f5.6 instead.


Oct 21, 2007
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Don Letherman
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Registered: Jul 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 35
Review Date: Oct 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatile and a great wildlife and sports walk around lens. I love the psuh pull design for fast targeting of subjects.
Cons:
I see some dust inside after 1 year of heavy use. It is useable but not great in low light. It is also semi usable but not great with a 1.4 extender.

I was really torn between buying the 100-400 or the 300, F-4 or the 400, F-5.6 prime lenses.


I have to say, I am glad I made this choice. It is my favorite lens for all kinds of sports and wildlife shots. It is sharp and is a very versatile walk around lens. Every day I go out with this lens, I am glad I decided to go with a zoom. The push-pull design of this lens is great for fast spotting and then zoom targeting. I have used this lens on both my 20D and my 40D and I love the results.

Here are a few gallerys of photos done completely with the 100-400 at various focal lengths and lighting.


100-400 and the 40D: (Nature) http://don.exphose.com/p394123547/?photo=h1C31731D#473002781

100-400 and the 40D: (Nature) http://don.exphose.com/p897570969/?photo=h3D3CB1B5#1027387829

100-400 and the 20D (Airshow) http://don.exphose.com/p1009076216/?photo=h3EF4291F#1056188703


Don.







Oct 20, 2007
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balje064
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Registered: Oct 7, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: zoom range, color, contrast, build quality, IS
Cons:
a bit soft

Mine I've returned to Canon because every image was soft over the whole range (100-400mm) at any aperture.


Oct 7, 2007
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prairieboy
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Registered: Aug 5, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Zoom range, image stabilization, contrast, build quality
Cons:
A bit heavy to hand hold for long periods

An excellent lens when used in the conditions it is designed for. It is not a low light, fast moving, point and click lens. Although I have used it to track birds in flight with good success, it shines when used in suitable lighting conditions.

Darker conditions that force anything under 1/125 should be supported. I have hand held at 1/250 and even used /125 with 75% hit rate.

In good daylight, this lens just rocks! Very sharp, wonderfully contrasty, no vignetting at any focal length on my 1.6x 30D.

I did oodles of research before buying. ALL competitive lenses in this zoom range from Sigma all have one or more issues that made me more nervous that the price delta warranted.

If you need this long range, you will not be disappointed with this lens!!!


Sep 30, 2007
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Jan Waumans
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Registered: Oct 16, 2006
Location: Belgium
Posts: 21
Review Date: Aug 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very good colours and contrast, sharp, still compact
Cons:
zoom lock

This lens is my most expensive lens and my first L

After evaluating all intermediary solutions, I found this one second hand last month to replace the old EF 75-300

My interest is nature photgraphy as an amateur and I have a 400D with EF-S 10-22, EF 24-85, EF 100 2.8 macro and EF 50 1.8

In this short time I have enough good fotos at 400mm wide open to be satisfied with the lens, I see it not much better at f:8, f:11 is worse
Despite IS, at 400mm I have no really sharp shots under 1/400
DOF is limited too, this lens needs good technique
I have insufficient references to compare the quality, but I receive less critiques on sharpness

With an EF25 extension tube the focus is from 1.20m-6.50m at 400mm

I can pack the lens mounted on the body together with 3-4 others in a Slingshot 200AW

For my needs I think I made the best choice


Aug 19, 2007
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Ron Fischer
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Registered: Jul 5, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 18, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: fast focus, quiet, sharp wide open, versatile zoom range
Cons:
hunting in low light

THIS IS MY SECOND REVIEW OF THIS LENS. SEE MY POSTING OF MARCH 11, 2007.

I have now had a chance to use this lens in warm weather, and my love of this lens continues to grow. I would say it is on my camera about 80% of the time. I find it very sharp, quiet, fast focusing (in daylight conditions), producing images with fantastic IQ, requiring minimal post processing.

While the lens is excellent for birding, I have been pleasantly surprised that it does well (with cropping of the image) for close ups of insects, including insects in flight. See, for example, the following:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4347110&catID=&style=&rowNumber=15&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4353326&catID=&style=&rowNumber=14&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4300767&catID=&style=&rowNumber=21&memberID=125176

At 100mm the lens does well for landscape photography, as shown in this example:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4038797&catID=&style=&rowNumber=62&memberID=125176

Although not as good as my Canon 70-200L4, this lens produces a nice bokeh for taking pictures of birds in thier natural environment. See this example:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4317726&catID=&style=&rowNumber=19&memberID=125176

The only complaint I would register is that the lens will hunt in low light. However, it is designed to be used with daylight, and under those circumstances it shines. If you are looking for a sharp, quiet, quick focusing and versatile zoom lens, producing fantastic IQ, this lens was made for you.


Aug 18, 2007
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Peter Shelton
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Registered: Sep 7, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 11, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharp, good colour and contrast
Cons:
Frequent IS 00 errror lockup on my copy

Purchased in April 2007 and was initially very happy with all aspects. I am using it on a 20D. After several problem-free shoots an IS error began to occur, giving 00 in the aperture reading and locking up the camera. This requires dismounting and remounting the lens to correct. After the frequency of the malfunction had increased to about one in every 10 shots I decided it was time to send it back for repair. The IS problem with this lens seems to be well known judging by a Google search. It may occur more frequently with the 20D than other backs. It is/was my first L-glass and I was impressed by the results I was getting until the error developed.

Aug 11, 2007
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Diane Bradley
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Registered: Aug 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 9, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The Length--WOW! Very versitile. Not too heavy for what you get.
Cons:

I rented this lens for a trip to a Wildlife Park. It was a sunny day and the shot were tack sharp--you can count the hairs on the critters. The focusing distance switch was very handy for focusing on subjects behind chain link fence. Am interested to see if the primes can top it, but I think it would be splitting hairs in terms of image quality--just have to decide if you want the versitility of a zoom or not. But the quality sacrifice will not be a huge one--this lens is great.

Aug 9, 2007
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Brenton Biggs
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Registered: Mar 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4834
Review Date: Aug 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,410.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Range (100-400mm), Image Stabilzer.
Cons:
Speed, and for some people it could be a tad bit heavy.

This lens was to replace my very low 75-300mm mk 3 (for the price that lens was not bad, but left alot to be desired). I bought this lens as I needed more range and better IQ. Its hard to find a cheap alternative to 400mm, because mainly you have the 100-400mm and the 400mm 5.6, after that you have to pay alot more. The 100-400mm was my first choice because of the range it provided, and having so much availble is awesome. This lens is different then most because instead of a twist zoom, this lens requires you push and pull it. I find the push/pull design to be very effective, for it allows you to zoom very fast. There is a friction ring which allows one to set how much force is required to zoom the lens, for you can make it loose and have it zoom quick, or the opposite. The friction ring also will let you lock the lens in place at a certian mm. Shooting with this lens is a joy, but good lighting is needed, and if not you will need at least a monopod. IS helps alot on this lens, but don't think of it as a "cure all", for this is a 400mm lens at the max and user hand shake is going to happen. How sharp is this lens? Well my copy is sharp at f5.6 and gets better stopped down to f8. It also depends how much you plan on cropping, often their are times I crop tp 75-100% and still get great results. The build quailty is amazing, very sturdy.

All in all this lens is a beast! You get great focal length coverage in a 4X zoom. The IQ on my copy is great! You can't simply go wrong if you by this lens.


Aug 8, 2007
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EOS20
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Registered: Mar 6, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 13601
Review Date: Aug 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good build quality, IS, Great zoom range
Cons:
Only 2 stop IS, Push/pull (But getting use to it), It is a bit of a dust pump

After thinking long and hard between getting this lens and the 400 f/5.6 prime I finally decided to get the zoom for its versatility.
After hearing stories of soft and bad copies I was a little reluctant to get the zoom, But I find my copy to be nice and sharp even wide open at 400mm I still get great results! Maybe not prime quality, but near enough.

Glad I bought this lens over the prime in the end. Highly recommended!





Aug 6, 2007
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Jan Jensen
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Registered: Nov 8, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 16
Review Date: Aug 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Weel built, sharp not, too heavy for me, fast autofocus, IS system well working.
Cons:
None

Just love that lense give me what I want, exactly the possibility to create my picture using the zoom for that.

Look forward to spend many hours in the nature with my 30 and 100-400


Aug 6, 2007
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v.d.bulcke
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Registered: Mar 29, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 28
Review Date: Jul 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, build like a tank, speed for a f 4.5-5.6 great, silent
Cons:
for some perhaps the weight



Jul 21, 2007
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postcardcv
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Registered: Feb 27, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: swift AF, good IQ, IS, zoom range...
Cons:
none at the price

I was wanting a walkabout lens for bird photography and was set on the 400 f5.6 until I got a really good deal on a used 100-400 IS. I decided to try it, asssuming I'd sell it on in a few months and buy the prime.

However I will not be selling this lens! The zoom range and IS make it an ideal walkabout lens and the MFD is a real advantage over the prime. With an extension tube this is a fantastic lens for shooting butterflies. I'd read all the horror stories of how soft this lens can be so was very pleased to find I had a good copy. Bird shot at 400mm, f5.6 1/125th still show good feather detail, so it's sharp enough for my use.

It is a very well built lens and is and ideal size/weight to hand hold. The push-pull zoom took a bit of getting used to, but now I really like it, it makes it very easy to zoom while tracking a bird in flight.


Jul 18, 2007
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simplesachin
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Registered: Dec 1, 2006
Location: India
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jul 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good Range, IS, built like a tank.
Cons:
Weight

Was looking at buying the 300 f/4L IS and probably add a TC later but at the time of buying figured this probably would be a better bet.
I was so right, probably the 300 f/4 would've been lighter but the range this lens covers is phenomenal, almost like a one lens solution. This lens keep getting bad reviews all over the net by pixel peepers but in reality this lens produces some really nice images.
I loved the push-pull mechanism on the first day i used it.
I use this on a 30D so with this lens mounted on the setup is kinda heavy, something you'll have to get used to but i guess this is the price to pay for an L lens :-)


Jul 12, 2007
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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
262 631765 Apr 4, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,086.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.68
9.1
ef100_400l_1_


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