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  Reviews by: Brian Kersey  

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Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Apr 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $925.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very fast autofocus great image quality excellent sharpness wide open price not much digital darkroom required
rather large minimum focusing distance not too versatile I wish they made an IS version

I purchased this lens to replace my 100-400L due to the slower focusing speed of the zoom and the requirement to stop down. My primary use for this lens is for birding and sports and in these two fields, this lens has truly shined. My favorite feature of this lens is it's fast AF, locking onto moving targets and maintaining focus is Child's Play while using this lens in conjunction with a 1-series. It is remarkably easy to make consistently sharp flight shots of birds or of sports action. Equally as important as fast AF is it's ability to
be shot with wide-open and not lose any sharpness even when stopped down to f/8. Both these qualities are immensely important to Nature photographers. Since I have purchased this lens, I have additionally noticed that I am spending less and less time in photoshop as this lens just delivers L quality results consistently.
In future editions of this lens though, I would like to see and IS version due to the difficulty of steadying the lens handheld for long periods of time, especially when photographing static birds in less than desirable lighting situations. I mostly use a tripod though so it really doesn't bother me THAT much. Overall, I believe this to be one of Canon's great lenses truly worthy of the "L" label. I would recommend it any day of the week.

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

Review Date: Mar 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Versatiity Affordable Nice Colors IS
Sharpness of different copies vary Focusing speed not as fast as 400mm f/5.6

I bought my 100-400 lens used from uz2work here on the B&S forums last April. I must say that the biggest strength of this lens is the versatility and its ability to cover such a wide range of subjects. If you are on a budget and will only be able to afford one lens for wildlife or sports I would recommend this lens. But if you can afford more, I would recommend that you go with the 400mm f/5.6L plus whatever. The reason is that in my case, the 400 prime has been sharper across the board than the 100-400. Also, the prime has much better focus speed and tracking ability than the 100-400. My keeper rate for action photos has dramatically increased since I purchased the prime. The zoom is no slouch, but I just think that the prime is better. If you look at FM members like: Imagemaster, PixelPerfect, and Trenchmonkey, you can see the great images that this lens is capable of.
I have not looked back since I sold this lens for the prime, but I still will have my strong opinion that this is a good and solid lens capable of creating good images.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, Great Colors, Excellent Contrast, Fast and Silent Autofocus, Non-rotating front element, light, and its White
No tripod Collar

I was in a debate whether to get this lens or the 70-300 for about two months. Finally I decided to go with the "L" glass and I have not been disappointed yet! This lens is extremely light and easy to carry around on hikes or at zoos all day. The colors are spectacular compared to my old 75-300 III. I use this for Wildlife, Zoo, and Sports Photography with no problem. For the price you cannot beat this lens. If you are deciding between the 70-300 IS and this, choose this even if you want the extra 100mm. The images look better cropped on this lens anyway. Hope I helped!