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

Review Date: Nov 2, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Maybe needs regular TLC? (Servicing)

Update regarding the Zoom Lock.
I repaired mine so here is a tip;
The zoom lock does wear over time, and becomes progressively looser. It is a very simple procedure to re-adjust, so it is worth sending it in before it goes too far. Eventually it wears so far that the ball bearings inside can escape and jam the mechanism. Canon then charge to replace the zoom lock assembly - they don't try and repair it like I did (those 500+ little balls are interesting to re-assemble!).
It is possible that once worn Canon will decide the components need replacing, but having re-assembled and adjusted mine it seems to be back working fine again.

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

Review Date: Oct 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: A good solid x-400 zoom with IS. Excellent IQ although really good examples 400mm @ f/5.6 seem rare. Very good stopped down f/8-f/11.
Push-pull zoom mechanism has a tendency to bind up over time - maybe not all, but maybe a bit of a design flaw?

I got mine cheap as quite an old example, so I can't be too surprised I suppose. The zoom mechanism has a locking collar which you rotate against the focus ring to loosen or tighten the zoom action. Mine slowly got prgressively tight until now the locking collar only rotates about 10-20 degrees, and the zoom is always stiff. Aparently there is a ring of material on the inside of the zoom barrel (to stop dust getting in) that can come loose and jam the mechanism.
There is some suggestion that this affects the IQ slightly as well.
This copy has signs of wear that suggest a lot of use so
don't let the zoom exprience put you off. The lens is otherwise excellent. The IQ is great, particularly at the short end. A pity that some others claim their 100-400 is as sharp wide open at the ong end as stopped down. One or two show evidence to this effect but I suspect many are like mine -a little soft. F/8-F/11 is excellent, but this (and f/5.6 WO) does make it a good light only lens.