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  Reviews by: AJ Montgomery  

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Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Jun 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,059.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Easily handholdable, extremely fast AF, sharp at all apertures, built in hood
None given the specs of this lens.

Within the restraints of this lens being an F/5.6 aperture, it has all the glitz of L quality, superior sharpness and color and is small/light enough to handhold for an extensive period of time.

I bought this lens as a resonably priced means to shoot bird photos and for a trip to Alaska. On both accounts the lens performs/ed flawlessly. I get sharp, high quality images with this lens on my 20D and find that even as a F/5.6 lens, there are many times in quality daylight that I can shoot at ISO-200 and maintain a shutter speed above 1/800th. For typical cloudy days in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, I shoot at 400 ISO so as to keep shutter speed high. With the high ISO performance of todays cameras, F/5.6 is not so much a hinderance as perhaps perceived.

Prior to purchasing this lens, I read and studied details of the 100-400 L, the 300/4 L IS, the Sigma 80-400 and the Sigma 50-500 (Bigma). Once thoroughly compared, the 400/5.6 was the optimum choice for me. I can honestly say that I am in no way disappointed, nor would I change for one of the other lenses given the opportunity to do so.

At this point, the only lens that I would consider in lieu of this one is the 500/4 or 600/4 and that is one gigantic leap forward.

I highly recommend this lens to anyone with a 20D and likely any other modern Canon body who desires a relatively inexpensive 400mm for birding and wildlife.

Here are some links to see some photos with the 20D and the 400/5.6: