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Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
42 143339 Jun 27, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,866.61
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.80
7.19
9.3
ef400_4dois_1_

Specifications:
Canonís breakthrough multi-layer diffractive optical lens technology provides photographers with superior super-telephoto performance in a smaller and lighter design with enhanced correction for chromatic aberrations. Weíve also added our highly effective Image Stabilization system that gives the equivalent effect of a shutter speed two stops faster. And, itís built it to our professional standards with fast AF, full-time mechanical focus and dust and water-resistant construction.


 


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john paskey
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Registered: Jun 23, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 191
Review Date: Jun 27, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: bought used for a reasonable price, light weight carry lens for birds/planes/etc used with both 1.4x tc on xxd bodies and 2x tc on my 1d bodies will auto focus nicely sharp!!! much easier to carry than my 500 f4is or the heavyweight 600 f4
Cons:
some pics need a contrast adjustment, some not - depends on light

really like this lens for general walkaround bird/plane pictures and some other uses way easier than 300f2.8, works well wih both tcs ymmv

Jun 27, 2013
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dgdg
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Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 1776
Review Date: Sep 24, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Updated review - wow on micro adjusted 5DII
Cons:
too busy enjoying my images to notice

I recently upgraded to a 5DII. With improved iso performance, this lens is phenomenal for wildlife photos hand held. Super crisp photos! For small birds, focal length is way too short.

Sep 24, 2012
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dgdg
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Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 1776
Review Date: Sep 17, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Luggable supertelephoto (day hikes possible!) IS F/4
Cons:
Minor - needs some extra pp with contrast

I bought mine on eBay for a fairly reasonable price in great condition.
I can lug this lens around with my toddler on my back in a kelty backpack on day hikes. And I can shoot handheld!
400 mm is a tough focal length to break into. There is a real line in the sand here where money and weight play a role.
I rented the 100-400 but the 5.6 aperture was too limiting in woodsy areas (ok in better light).
I rented the 500 f4 and it was just too big to take on day hikes with my family. If I were single, this would be my lens.
The 400 f5.6 does not have IS. Since light is not always great and I need to shoot hand held, I did not consider it much.
It certainly is a niche lens, overpriced brand new.
Takes a 1.4x converter very well. I have read and am beginning to agree it will take a 2x converter well if you stop it down one stop and use a tripod. I used it hand held at 800mm and was shocked by the quality of the image. I only wish I had the time to whip out my tripod.
I do need to process raw images with some extra contrast - seems like an overrated complaint. With a long lens I have noticed a bit of back focus so sent the lens and 5Dc in for calibration.
If the used price is fair - get one!


Sep 17, 2011
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PetKal
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Registered: Sep 6, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 23882
Review Date: Jul 22, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: 400 DO is all about relatively small size and low weight for its focal length and nominal aperture. That's the selling point. AF drive speed is good on long focusing distance limiter setting.
Cons:
IQ is not quite as good as 400 f/5.6 and a good copy of 100-400, but it is close. For some reason, and surprisingly, IS is not as effective as in 100-400. MFD is too long. The lens is overpriced.

Canon have succeeded in having a delightfully small and light 400 f/4 lens thru DO technology.
However, IQ has ended up being a compromise. Also, some sort of a 1st generation IS is used in the lens although the 2nd generation might have been available at the time. The MFD is very long.
The lens is way too expensive for what it does.

If you want a real light, sharp and fast focusing wildlife lens for a modest price, get 400 f/5.6 or 100-400 instead.

If you want a superior performer and are prepared to put up with the weight, get 500 f/4 instead.

400 DO is a luxury lens for those folks who value its portability more than anything else and do not mind a bit of an IQ shortfall.


Jul 22, 2011
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doughnut lover
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Registered: Nov 30, 2010
Location: Croatia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharper than a saber, lighter than 300/f2.8, smaller! No indication of spherical aberration. No noticeable color fringing at the edge of FOW at 200% magnification
Cons:
Would I dare to say price? Hardly! $4600 is a pretty penny but such a lens commands it!

This feather Ėlight miracle of Canonís engineering is a straight razor of photography.
March 2010 I had an opportunity to attend a shoot in a remote location. Holy Grail of yesteryears 400/f2.8 (non IS, but who needs IS for a lens that is permanently attached to a tripod) was not in a competition. My other long lens: 300/f2.8, until recently outdoor sport and walk around the park lens just donít have the reach. Only choices I had was 500/f4 or 400/f4 DO. Day with a borrowed 500 convinced me that boys day over 60 have no business using anything heavier than 300/f2.8. I have not regretted day I purchased EF 400mm /f4 DO. It is SHARP, of great contrast, pleasing color rendering, no aberrations and above all LIGHT. Best wild life lens I have HAND HELD in over 40 years enjoying photography. Final proof that some ill informed individual bumbling about ďartifactsĒ softness and other mirages need to place lens on a tripod and point it in the night sky. Take an image of stars and will notice no comas at the FOW edges. This test separates man from boys and this lens is no boy. This is a very mature lens! Other day I had setup a test image and compared all three great long lenses I am fortunate to own: at 200% pixel peeping 400 DO held its ground (and in the very image corners bettered old 400/f2.8). With 1.4 converter did not give as many more dateless as 300/ f2.8.


Jan 8, 2011
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Steve Langton
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Registered: Oct 29, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, weight, sharpness
Cons:
Price, contrast

I got hold of a used but 'nearly as new' copy of this lens a few months ago. The main advantage of this lens is, of course, its size and weight compared with a non-DO equivalent lens which makes it easier to carry and handle. My copy is certainly very sharp indeed, just as you'd expect from a top Canon prime lens. It also works very well with a 1.4X converter. The main image quality trade-off, being a DO lens, is contrast - straight out of camera images are just a little flat compared to, say, the almost perfect 300mm F2.8 but in all honesty this can be very simply corrected on the computer. The fact that it is 'only' F4 may be an issue for some, although this is again part of the trade-off for handling and ease of transport.


Dec 7, 2010
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LeonardT
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Registered: Nov 23, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,299.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, very light weight, easily hand held, reliable.
Cons:
None. I would normally list price as a negative but in this case you get what you pay for.

After searching for the perfect birding lens I settled on the 400mm DO. I originally tested an older, used lens at my local camera shop and found the contrast to be low. I then tried one of the shops new lenses and found the contrast was much higher then the used one I first tried. This lens has very high resolution and contrast. I use it with a 50D because of the 1.6X crop factor but I also use it with a 1DS MK II. I've had the lens for 3 years now and it has never failed to please. I'm primarily a Nikon shooter but Nikon has nothing to offer in this category that I'm comfortable hand holding for any length of time. A truly great lens.

Nov 23, 2010
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danob
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Registered: Mar 15, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 286
Review Date: Mar 4, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb IQ and light weight Nothing else to beat it for this alone
Cons:
Perhaps lacks a tad of contrast easy to fix in PS CS4

Having hired a 500f4 for a day was unable to hand hold this for long and having had heart problems this was key in the 400 DO

There have been a few negative views but the IQ is fabulous and far better than my tip top 100-400 IS So I am delighted with it and works with the 1.4 and together with my 1dmk111 I have at last a perfect combo for BIF


Mar 4, 2010
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juan65
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Registered: Feb 4, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 305
Review Date: Feb 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp lens, great for close up, minimum focus distance 1.5 meter can be switch to 3 m, IS, USM, I like the push and pull hood,(yes it can be locked when extended) it makes the polarizer filter a lot easier to use.
Cons:
none so far,

first pictures came out with soft focus, I did the micro adjustment in my 7D to +12 and problem solved, so make sure your camera has the micro adjustment feature before you buy this lens,
I also recommend you buying from a dealer in your area, were you can walk in, test the lens in your camera and take it with you if you buy it,
trying to avoid sales tax from out of states online sales, may bring you problems, a lot of calls shipping lens back and all that bad stuff.

check out this tread; http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/868616/0#8142846
there is a picture of the lens with my camera in there.

because this lens has moving parts inside; the IS (image stabilizer)
I only recommend buying a new one,

buy it!

Juan


Feb 18, 2010
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prion
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Registered: Aug 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, handheldable, takes 1.4X TC well, weight relative to 300mm f2.8
Cons:
Weight relative to 100-400mm lens.

I purchased a used lens at a significantly reduced price. The lens was in mint conditions (2006 model) but soft when compared to my very good copy of the 100-400mm lens. I sent it to Canon for adjustment ($250) and they did a wonderful job recalibrating the lens. The lens has performed flawlessly for me and I am very happy with it.
Its main advantages over my 100-400mm lens are:

1) Faster AF especially in low light conditions.
2) The f4 aperture (vs. f5.6 in the 100-400mm lens) allows for faster shutter speeds in low light conditions.
3) Takes a 1.4X teleconverter very well and unlike my 100-400mm lens + 1.4X TC it auto focuses with my 50D.

I posted some comparison pics at: http://www.pbase.com/juliom/testing


Nov 10, 2009
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Rusty1
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Registered: Oct 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 818
Review Date: Jun 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, compact, balances like a dream in your hands. Sharp, weathered sealed, IS, fast AF even with the 1.4 TC, image quality with the TC is still quite good.
Cons:
Very expensive new, only F4 but you know that going in.

High price and mixed reviews led me to buy this lens used from a reputable dealer with return policy. Worst case I figured I could sell it for little or no loss if needed. Well that was a year ago and I've been very happy with it.

I shoot with it hand held all day at air shows. The fast focus, IS and good handling make it a pleasure to use. It allows my less than rock steady hands to get sharp panning shots using the 1.4 TC at 560mm and 1/250 for nice propeller blur.

Best sharpness comes one stop down from wide open. I always shoot in RAW, use the lens hood and have had no problems with contrast or flare. I often shoot side by side with friends who use the 300 f2.8 w/1.4 TC and 500 f4. Honestly it is very hard to see any difference at all in the images.

To me the real strength of this lens is shooting hand held and taking the 1.4 TC so well. The major down side is price.


Jun 18, 2009
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RikWriter
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Registered: Jun 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2470
Review Date: May 31, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Incredibly light and easy to handle. Fairly nice IQ and contrast without a TC.
Cons:
Doesn't take TCs well...slow focussing, and low contrast even with the 1.4X TC.

I got a great deal on this lens and I wanted badly to love it, but it just didn't do enough for me. The main reason I wanted it was that it was f4 and thus could take a TC without losing AF, but in the end it didn't take TCs well enough to make it worthwhile to use it over the much cheaper 100-400.

May 31, 2009
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iammikie
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 406
Review Date: May 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely Light weight, sharp as can be, very well balanced
Cons:
Contrast needs a bump in photoshop

I owned this lens when I was a Canon guy, sold it a year or so ago when I switched to Nikon, but I got really tired of carrying around the heavy Nikon glass, so I repurchased it new (ouch), and got a 50D to go along with it. Many hate the DO technology, some like me can't live without it.

Yes, it is very expensive, resale value is so-so, but I can carry it along all day with no problem, it is sharp and well balanced.


May 14, 2009
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jimhalay
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Registered: Oct 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light weight, small, fast focusing and great image stabilization for effective hand holdiing.
Cons:
Needs a little post processing contrast adjustment.

I bought the lens on e-Bay for cheap just to try it out. I love this lens for it's strengths, light weight and smaller size and wouldn't trade it for anything else. It's a natural for birding and sports photography. The slight lack of contrast never bothered me and the quality compared with the 300 2.8 is all there. You really appriciate this lens when you are sitting in a kayak under a Osprey nest for a couple of hours. I rated the build quality a little low because it actually fell apart one day at the screws holding the body to the lens. I found out later that this is not that uncommon with all Canon lenses.

Apr 4, 2009
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John Daniel
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Registered: Jun 6, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1301
Review Date: Mar 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, bright, very fast focus, sharp, relatively small, lens usable with 1.4X on APS-C and the 2X on 1 serie. Hand holdable (really hand holdable without big muscles)
Cons:
Sometimes needs a tad of contrast to be added in PS.

I have been using the 500 f/4L IS and also the 300 f/2.8L IS. But for weight reasons, I have sold them to buy the 400 DO. Before doing so, I have done quite some test with all tree to make my decision and I do not regret it at all.

This is a heck of a great lens, sharp, light, fast...all you need.


Mar 14, 2009
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GeoffreyLI
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Registered: Jan 11, 2009
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Handheldable; Sharp image; Acceptable in size and weight; Fast focusing; Solid built;
Cons:
Too expensive; Slightly low-contrast; Crummy lens cover;

I own 500mm f/4 len and 400mm DO lens. After I had used them for a period, I fall in love with the 400mm DO len. It is light enough to hand-hold in the field. Though it is too short for bird-shooting, its portable ability would benefit you in the field to take more good images. Using it with a 1.4X attached, the focusing speed and image quality would not loss. However, the most important thing is that you need always having its len-hood attached. If not, the quality of the images will fall extremely sometimes. If you are able to manage it in a proper way, it is really a good tool for all kinds of nature-photography.

Jan 11, 2009
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†††



Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
42 143339 Jun 27, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,866.61
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.80
7.19
9.3
ef400_4dois_1_


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