Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras Reviews
Average Customer Rating - 4.7 out of 5 stars162 customer reviews
The greatest Zoo and Event Lens ever made bar none!!, November 2, 2008
If you need 100-400mm on a Canon EOS camera, buy it! This is your best bet!!
If you obligation 300mm or 400mm and are on a budget, buy it!
If you need a Zoo or air show lens this is it, buy it!
You won't be disappointed!!
4-27-2009 I in recent times got back from photographing the World Premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and once again the 100-400 IS L lens be awesome. I ended up mainly using two lenses the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L zoom and Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens near most photos taken with the 100-400. When you have solitary one chance to get Hugh Jackman riding by on his Harley you want to engineer sure you have reliable quick focusing equipment. Plus closely of times you just can't get any closer to the commotion like at a World Movie Premiere, it's times like that when you absolutly entail a zoom and the 100-400 IS L is one of the best! [...]
01-03-09 Canon 5D Mark II Update:
Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L lens. This is the second most used lens in my 5D Mark II arsenal. This lens was my biggest surprise and is not lone tied for second place with the Canon 135mm F/2 for sharpness but is amazingly sharp wide open out. It's a monster of clarity at F/7.1 like it never was on my Canon 40D. It also become useable on the 5D Mark II in wider shot situations where on the 40D it be only usable as a longer lens. Sporting the longest zoom range of any Canon zoom this lens have to be without doubt the finest Zoo lens ever made. You can frame almost any animal in almost any exhibit without fault. This is also my lens of choice for taking photos of people at events and aircraft at air shows next to the 5D Mark II and is the King of versatility on a full-framed sensor camera. This is my sharpest and clearest zoom lens by a long shot (no pun intended. It's as close to the you are there feeling of the 85mm F/1.2 lI lens as any zoom lens I enjoy.
After an extensive battery of tests both foot held and tripod mounted I have come to the following shocking conclusions.
The Canon 100-400 L zoom is almost as sharp at F/8 as my Canon 85mm F/1.2 at F4 and that's saying something!
Slightly sharper at F/8 as my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 and that's axiom something to!
I may have a very sharp copy and I hear in that are soft copies out there. Make sure and buy yours here at Amazon.com where you can return the lens if its not as sharp as you thought.
Good bang for the buck
This is the perfect Zoo lens
This is the foolproof Air Show Zoo lens
This is the perfect Renaissance Festival lens
Attracts a lot of attention, you will be asked if you are a pro
Image stabilizer let you get away with crazy close to shutter speeds
Sweet Bokeh at subject filling close range and at adjectives ranges on full frame sensor camera
Raw photos respond well to sharpening and contrast / colors in Canon Digital Photo professional
Can be hefty for the uninitiated!
Does draw dust into your camera when zoomed!
Old style image stabilizer must turn rotten on tripod
Zoom locking ring is attached to the manual focus ring.
No weather proofing, a strange thing for an out door lens
Attracts profusely of attention, you will be asked if you are a pro
Pulls dust into lens around the zoom ring when zooming in and out
Slow auto focus compared to other L lens, slower afterwards all of them except my Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II
Strange black hole if you take a photo when jerk the lens to track a bird
Lens sometimes seems to slow cameras response when taking a photo
On cropped sensor cameras only strange adjustable looking Bokeh at some distances especially when stopped down and in sunlight with contrasting lines similar to branches. Wonder bokeh no full frame camera (5D Mark II)
I gave it only 4 Stars because of the crazy agency the zoom friction and manual focus rings are together and lack of weather seal and variable Bokeh. It takes a dyed-in-the-wool photographer familiar with the lens to win consistent because of the variable Bokeh. Separate the manual focus and zoom friction rings, tender it weather sealing, updated IS and great Bokeh at all settings and ranges and I would enjoy given it 5 stars!
Longer range and versatility that's what I needed for my Canon 40D. What good is a prime if you don't carry the shot at all? I mean I love my Canon 135mm F/2 it have the best Bokeh in the world along with my 85mm F/1.2 but it's a bit short for birding even on a 40D and after renting a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS you know what the meaning of heavy (8.5 pounds) and specialized be set to.
Plus there's nothing like have a zoom, take time to change out that lens during a renaissance street party and you just may miss a once in a lifetime shot.
My 70-200 F/2.8 L is a great lens but the zoom selection is way too short at times like these. I want something near much more zoom capability.
I wanted something I could purloin to the zoo and gets shots both near and far and like peas in a pod at air shows and the renaissance festival and perchance even a football or soccer game or rodeo and all short a time consuming dust introducing lens change. At the festival you can progress from a knight and damsel group portrait shot to a close up of a bird of prey flying by in a second and without shifting lens. At an air show you can be shooting the crowd waiting in string to board a C5 Galaxy cargo plane and in impossible to tell apart minute swing up and get an F-16 cockpit shot as it roars by. On a cropped camera you are at 640mm and into serious birding territory on a full framed hey you still own 100-400.
OK, I must have gotten a really good token because after sharpening the Raw files in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) this lens is sharp at all zoom and very sharp indeed stopped down to 7.1 between 300 and 375mm. No complaints there that's for sure!! It's markedly close to my Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 in it's sweet spot.
WOW! I visited the Phoenix Zoo this finishing Saturday with my Canon 40D and this new Canon 100-400 IS L zoom and adjectives I can think of is wow!! Where have you be all of my life? With a zoom inventory of 160 to 640mm when mounted on my Canon 40D you can't go wrong. And with the representation stabilizer IS you can literaly stick this camera in auto ISO and walk through the entire zoo near just one lens and get great closeup shots of everything. Need a portrait of that Tiger while he's walking the backbone wall as far away as he can get? No problem, zoom out to 400mm which equals 640mm, here kitty kitty kitty. And how about the Flamingo's right up subsequent to the fence and you want the whole group, of late zoom back to 100mm and bingo!
I wonder why I hadn't purchased this lens from the start. No dust educing, time eating lens change required, just go through every exhibit beside the one lens picking off animals one by one or in groups. It's resembling shooting fish in a barrel, yeee haaaa!
Seems sharpest at 375mm and F/7.1 and F/8
Variable Bokeh, can be the best or worst depending on use (see Bokeh below)
Air (and dust) seem to enter and exit around zoom ring as you zoom (NOT into and out of the camera sensor as some would have you believe).
This lens takes some getting used to, it's different: longer, more complicated, push verbs zoom and IS make it a little more complicated next the other lenses I have.
The first few shots I took with it be rather disappointing but then I started finding the groove for this long-range photographic weapon and when used within that scope you can score some really fantastic cheek dropping photos.
Overall my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 seems to make a slightly more pleasing photo at times and at other times the 100-400 does. The 70-200 as more consistently pleasing Bokeh. But the 100-400 200mm longer. The physical size when the 100-400 is at 100mm is terribly close indeed and the weight feels close to like in the hand beside the 70-200 feeling slightly lighter.
The strange thing I find too is the zoom locking ring and instruction manual focus ring are attached to each other and change position as you zoom contained by and out. This makes for a little confusion when reaching for it at first as you never know where on earth it is when quickly reaching for it while keeping your eyes in the viewfinder. That and if it's tight at adjectives you have to take both hand to release the tension and move the zoom where you want.
Make sure you own the IS in the ON position
Shoot with plenty of standard lamp and hold her steady
Shoot between 300mm and 375mm at F/7.1 or F/8
Make sure focus limiter switch is in the correct position
Shoot in Raw and process contained by Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
Don't be afraid to push the sharpness and color way up in DPP as needed
Practice Practice Practice if you are shooting digital after you can practice plenty.
Image Stabilizer (IS):
I have taken HAND HELD SHOTS at 1/10s and 1/6s even zoomed out to 400mm of the neighbors house and vehicle down the street and they came out so well you can read the license plate! I set my 40D to 3200 ISO and broad open aperture then simply propped my elbows lying on the trash can and took some night shots to see what this lens could do. I couldn't do it every shot only more or less 1 out of 5 to get my breathing and the timing of the shot right but the fact that I could verbs these shots off at all is incredible!
To take consistent shots I in better lighting conditions I have found near my elbows propped I can consistently pull off 1/30 second at 400mm which works out to 640mm on a 40D! With un-propped arms I could verbs of 1/60 second at 400mm. This alone should be a good reason to buy this lens.
On full frame cameras approaching the Canon 5D Mark II the Bokeh is great. At close range it's almost as good as any lens I hold. Well except for maybe the Canon 85mm F/1.2 II L. But over all it's great.
But, if you are using this lens on a cropped sensor after be sure to read the next paragraph.
How could one lens have such fantastic Bokeh within one shot and such strange horrible Bokeh in the next? Up close next to frame filling subjects near wide open open aperture the Bokeh is a dream, but shoot at further distances with a cropped sensor camera approaching a Rebel or Canon 40D/50D etc with branches as a background stopped down so you can see some detail in attendance are weird lines around each item. Shooting aircraft or birds contained by flight this is no problem as the background is just sky, but distant birds surrounded by trees with some leaves and limbs out of focus and the photos can look completely strange.
Lens Vignetting (Light Fall-off)
Light fall off within the corner of your photos or vignetting is no longer a problem for any Canon lens on the newer Canon Digital Cameras like the Canon Rebel XTi, XSi, 40D/50D, 5D Mark II as the Vignetting can be corrected automatically in-camera and with Raw photos within Digital Photo Professional (DPP). You can even adjust the amount of correction to your photos as needed with Raw photos in DPP, sweet!
In flight tips:
Shooting in-flight birds and planes beside this lens then follow these tips.
Shoot in bright muted
Set minimum focus switch to 6.5 meters
Turn Off IS if you have enough hurricane lantern, the auto focus seems a little faster lacking it
Set Auto Focus Mode to AI Servo and Drive mode to maximum frames per second
Set exposure compensation to +2/3 stop especially for darker birds or bird will be underexposed
Make sure shutter speed will be at least 1/500s or faster set aperture and or ISO as needed I usually finish off up on Auto ISO on my 40D
Pre-focus on something similar to the distance of the target bird or plane
Pull zoom back to 100mm to ease acquirement of target bird afterwards zoom as needed towards 400mm while tracking
Start shooting as soon as a decent focus and composition of the bird is acquired (DON'T skulk for the perfect composition)
If needed try looking over the top of the camera and down the top of the lens barrel and try to acquire the bird first consequently look through the lens.
Once acquired hold down the shutter and keep firing stale photos as you never know which shot will be a keeper.
Push / Pull Zoom
This is a love / hate affair because I love the means of access I can quickly zoom from 100 - 400mm very swiftly, but...
The friction ring to adjust the tension of zooming is attached to the instruction manual focus ring. This means you can't simply reach forward and grasp the friction ring and adjust it beside one hand. No you must hold the lens with two hand one holding the focus ring and the other the friction ring and then adjust.
The friction ring and manual focus rings both move support and forth with the front part of the lens when you zoom. What this funds is when you are in the heat of fight you can't always reach forward by grain and do a manual focus as the distance out on the zoom where the focus ring is located is outstandingly variable.
I don't know if it's possible but if it were I would enjoy Canon redesign the zoom ring and the focus ring separate. This would allow me to reach up and adjust the friction ring by touch short having to hold the manual focus ring to save both from just turning. And to adjust the manual focus lacking tightening up or loosing the friction ring.
Anyway the whole process takes for a moment while to get used to especially for those of use coming from say a 70-200 F/2.8 zoom where on earth I can always just adjust the zoom of the lens for a while with no thought and without taking my eyes bad the subject from the viewfinder.
Any outdoor photography where you need a far-reaching focal range in a really short amount of time and can't other get really close to your subject but need a close up of it. Zoo's, Air Shows, Renaissance Festivals, Rodeos, Football, Baseball, Soccer I can meditate of lot's of tests in the coming weeks for this lens and I intend to hit every one of them.
If you obligation a zoom with more reach consequently your 70-200 then this is your best option. Try it and you only might like it.
As usual I will be coming back to this post and giving updates on my use of this lens. I hold Canon a 5D Mark II on order and will update with how this lens works on a full frame body. Should be a in one piece another world.
I have found that by taking the tripod mount off the lens is much more comfortable to hold and you can return with to the zoom friction lock ring and the manual focus ring much easier. The IS on this lens makes a tripod an likelihood not mandatory and when out photographing wild life appendage holding is much easier.
I put all my longer lenses up against the Canon 100-400 in a freestyle of tests both hand held and tripod mounted and be amazed at the results. At F/8 where it's sharpest Zoomed to 135mm and 200mm it's as sharp as my Canon 135mm F/2 prime and my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 zoom. And it has better contrast next the 135mm F/2. Both the 135mm and 70-200 have better Bokeh though but I was surprised how adjectives the 100-400 with IS can be in low hurricane lantern as long as the subject is motionless. I have found with practice and bracing I can consistently obtain good sharp photos at 400mm at 1/30 second and have score a few shots as slow as 1/6 second by bracing both elbows putting the camera on high speed and shooting 6 shot bursts. One or two of the middle shots are always sharp. Simply amazing!! So if anyone is unfolding you this lens is worthless on a darker day or at sunrise or sunset they of late don't know this lens. I have found even getting pretty sloppy you can get consistent shots at 400mm at 1/200 second. Next earl morning shoot at the bird sanctuary this 100-400 is the lens I am bringing.
I own found that you can actually rotate the tripod mount up 180 degrees so that it is facing upward and out of your process but still have it on the lens. Could be handy if you want to have the mount beside you but not in the way when using the lens.
The more I use this lens and get hold of used to it the more I love it. I can't see myself without it now. I am totally used to the push / verbs zoom and now actually approaching it better.
Found this interesting information and thought I would pass along.
The Canon 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 L IS also has fluorite and Super UD-glass. Fluorite have very low dispersion so the 100-400 exhibits less chromatic aberration than if it be made of ordinary glass. The fluorite lens component aligns the points of focus of the three primary spectral colors of red, green and blue to meet at one point for ideal correction of chromatic aberration. Also included is UD-glass, which is a special type of optical chalice whose properties nearly match those of Fluorite.
Bottom line on the fluorite and Super UD-glass, you catch the best possible image even though you get a huge 100-400mm zoom selection!
I just bought a new Zoo bias and took my daughter with me on my second visit to the zoo. She brought another lens along and against the clock wanted to borrow the 100-400. There was no going spinal column she didn't want to give it back and clicked rotten one perfect photo after another including the Male Baboon photo I posted with the photos here. I am so sold. Can just about wait to try this lens at the Renaissance festival subsequent weekend.
5-26-2009 100-400 update: So I came back from the Riparian Bird Preserve yesterday where on earth it was rather dusty and I notice that my sensor and mirror box were full of dust. I decided to do a try-out on my 100-400 lens and sure enough it does pump dust into the camera body.
If you turn the zoom friction ring all the approach loose and zoom in and out with the bottom extension cap off nearby is no resistance. If you put the bottom end cap on tightly and zoom you can have a feeling resistance. Then if you loosen the end cap purely a little you can actually quality air being sucked contained by and out around the end cap as you zoom within and out.
Thank God for my FIrefly digital sensor cleaning system! Be forewarned if you own this lens you will need to take attention in dusty environments.
Still very within love with this lens. You can see a lot the photos I enjoy taken with it at a web site call flickr. They won't allow me to put a link here anymore but you can go to flickr and poke about for my name Grant Brummett then look through the photos. I used this lens for the majority of the photos surrounded by my Wolverine X-Men movie premiere set.
Lenses I currently own:
Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of cast-offs
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, wishy-washy weight
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom for a while stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light freight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness beside 135mm
Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very adaptable ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, inconsistent Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach, will pump dust into your camera body.
My next lens purchase I'm good for right now: _Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever
Pro lens, state of the art, big, heavy, and intimidating, May 25, 2005
I've be shooting with this lens for a few days now. You can see the photos that I've taken beside it on my photo site, the address of which is [...]. You can also see this review with photos taken with the lens side by side on my gadget blog, www.geekcrack.com. On to the review.
This is a serious lens. It is big and sweet and takes fantastic pictures. The image stabilization get you an extra stop when shooting handheld, in that it minimizes shake enough. I've taken some spectacular twilight shots using this aspect. For serious work you will need a tripod or some other kind of support, because this article gets heavy. Note that the photo on Amazon shows the lens surrounded by its shortest configuration... zoomed to 400mm, it is a bit longer than pictured.
It is a fantastic lens. Great sharpness, clarity, no spectral flares that I've noticed-- none at all-- quick, completely silent autofocus. Reasonably quickly lens, the image stabilizer effectively makes it somewhat faster.
The only problem that I've had near the image stabilizer is that it sometimes makes it tricky to frame up parallel lines at the edges of photos. The way it works is that it the IS activates when you depress the shutter release in the middle. It kicks in in the order of a second later and the viewfinder image get that steadycam feel.
When the image stabilizer kick in, the image contained by the viewfinder shifts a tiny bit. It can throw you off if, like me, you do a great deal of cropping in the viewfinder rather than within the lab later. Of course I am using the autofocus in servo mode, so that might enjoy something to do with it.
The full time manual focus ring comes contained by handy when the AF gets confused, which is not very normally, but it really depends on which EOS camera you're using. There is also a ring that lets you easily tighten the zoom, which is essential because the lens is thickset enough to zoom itself if you are not careful.
In certainty, I mostly use this lens at fixed lengths, tightening it up at the length I want and shooting for a while, rather than dynamically zoom each shot as I frame it up. The latter style is generally how I shoot next to shorter zoom lenses.
This baby comes with a great storage armour and an antiglare hood, which I haven't used yet. If you buy this be sure to order the UV filter at 77mm to put on the front of the lens. This will protect your investment and will support with long distance shots because the lens is so powerful, atmospheric haze can be an issue.
If you prefer to go for it know that you're in for a serious relationship next to a serious lens. The payoff is that you have the gear to take incredible telephoto photographs, sharp photographs you can enlarge, suitable for publication.
Very nice lens, March 2, 2007
I spent several months debating on which lens to acquire. I was looking at the Canon 70-300mm, the Canon 70-200 f/4, Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS, and the Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 USM IS.
I have a tenure of having buyer's remorse. I tend to want something other then what I bought. Most associates looking at buying an "L" are experienced amateurs or professionals, so most should know that every Canon lens comes with a compromise. You can never have it adjectives.
This lens is not flawless but the results make up for some of the quirks. For one this lens is weighty. It is like having a boat anchor sagging from your neck. Another quirk is the zoom. The barrel extends out to primarily double the overall lens length. It makes you feel resembling you are private investigator spying on people and attracts that type of attention.
Now some people enjoy complained that their copy was soft at the full 400mm. However I must have get a good copy as my lens is extremely sharp all the approach from 100-400mm.
Another thing to keep within mind; this is an outdoor lens especially with the f/4-5.6 stops. Low light shooting can be done but you will call for a strong heavy-duty tripod to support the weight of the lens. It could be used for portraits but that really isn't the intention of this lens. The IS does help some, but shooting below a 300 shutter speed hand held is hard to catch clear photos because of the weight and the length of the lens. Also I consistency the auto focus is slow. The USM is quiet. The IS activating is loud. And the final quirk is a 1.8-meter (5'11") minimum focal length.
The reach of the lens is deceiving. When looking through the viewfinder on the camera it doesn't feel resembling it has that much reach. However after taking the shot and later reviewing it later on the computer you see that 400mm is more then you thought at the time of the shot. You will see amazing detail.
Bottom row, this lens is excellent. I would highly recommend. The sharpness, clarity, and reach of the lens sort it worth the money, and minor quirks.
This is truly one of the few products I have bought and haven't even have 1 second of buyer's remorse.
I use this lens on a Canon 30D
Powerhouse, but do you really need THIS lens?, December 5, 2006
If the answer is "Yes!" then buy beside confidence. This lens dominates its niche. It delivers on its promises and is one of the classic white L lenses.
I got this lens to supplement the 28-135 IS, but I've terminated up rarely using it. In fact, Ive granted that there may be a better choice for many photogs.
First permit me begin by stating the obvious. Most descriptions taken with this lens here and on online galleries close to photosig or photo*net are taken at 400mm. Duh! I was hunting last weekend and took this lens along shooting animal pics from a blind. I set it to 400 and gone it there. For wildlife and landscape shooters surrounded by particular, if the lens is going to be used at 400mm practically all the time, I imagine a better choice might be the 400mm 5.6 prime- costs hundreds less and sharper to boot. Going a step further, one sucessful wildlife photog I know recommends that if you are thinking in the region of shooting wildlife other than birds, forego 400mm(prime or zoom)and get the 300mm F4 prime. His assessment: the larger size of most mammals offsets the loss of that last 100mm, all the same is sharper, has lower light perfomance for the times of sunshine when most mammals start moving, and yes, less money.
On the other hand, if your vehemence is shooting animals in a zoo, maybe this lens is for you. Dont own to worry about cock-crow or dusk shots and the range of the zoom might come in handy.
Sports shooters might in truth benefit from the zoom's ability to adjust to capture unpredictable shots, but unless youre right on the sideline I still suspect it will be disappeared at 400 most of the time, so ditto the prime. Ive read that 5.6 can be a bit slow for for fast shutter speeds in anything but optimum feathery. Of course, the next step up, the 400mm F4 is over five grand, so 5.6 is the practial check for most average consumers.
In either case, you will know how to substantially reduce this handicap IF you have a sensor that take good pics at ISOs of 800 or above. Thats not every camera.
I put the lens on my 30D to check the aperture progression for you techies out there. The lens shows F4.5 100~135mm, F5.0 ~135~270mm, and F5.6 thereafter.
People and portraits? Thats where on earth it gets trickier. I can see using 400mm compression for compositional reasons within an environmental portrait, but how much is that market segment? 100mm isnt a bad length for relations pics, but doing long-distance photojournalistic stuff had me feeling close to I was Magnum PI on a stakeout.
If you're like me and the majority of your work involves race and portraits, the 70-200 2.8 (even non IS) is a much better choice for around the same money. I would have gotten 100x the use out of it over times past year.
I bought this one before I really had the stipulation for it, thinking I would expand my horizons, and it just never happened.
But this lens does shine beside its strengths. IS allows you to handhold 400mm pics with greater success than the non-IS prime. I dont do weddings but I can predict IS allowing this lens as a supplement when a photog is stuck at the back of a church during the ceremony... as long as the lights arent too low.
Right after I got it I be in DC and snapped a few pics of George Bush at the Capitol. Im nobody special and couldnt get any closer than the "Nobody Special" part...not close! This lens got usable pics that I could have cropped road down and still had good resolution close-ups. One of those pics is posted surrounded by the customer images here.
Other benefits? The push-pull design allows almost instant adjustments. Because it compresses, its easer to fetch than the prime (length- and size-wise, not weight). And, in spite of the fact that I use it far smaller quantity than I imagined, I have no plans to get rid of the piece.
So the question boils down to whether you really need the zoom, the IS, and the ranges of this lens at the superior price than the prime. Wildlife/landscape photogs that use tripods? Maybe not. Sports shooters with monopods? Maybe. People shooters like me? I've cultured almost never, unless I someday find myself a private detective or a voyeur.
That said, if you weigh your wants and this lens still tugs at your heart, dont hesitate to buy it. It deliver performance and value...inside specific parameters.
Outstanding Image Quality and Zoom Flexibility - Almost Magical, November 28, 2005
Reviews of this lens on the web are mixed next to some showing soft results, particularly at 400mm. This is likely due to huge variations in example lenses. I decided to take a randomness and seem to have gotten lucky. My copy, a moment ago received from Amazon (Build date of Oct 2005) produces fantastically crisp and contrasty images on my 20D at ALL focal lengths from 100 to 400. It's almost magical. The descriptions are much sharper using the same f-stops than those from a 70-200 f2.8IS lens at 100-150mm and virtually the same at 200mm. Even wide-open at 400mm this lens is slightly sharp. At 400mm, I've compared to a very nice Canon 400mm f5.6L prime lens, with and short 1.4X teleconverter. The images have virtually indistinguishable extreme sharpness and contrast if the zoom is stopped down just one one-third stop (e.g. zoom at 6.3, prime at 5.6). With the 1.4X TC both lenses had to be manually focused but produced outstanding clarity next to NO perceivable loss in quality. The focus is swift and true and the IS on this lens really works (and does not hum resembling that on the 70-200 f2.8IS) allowing handheld shots at 1/100 sec at 400mm. It may be that Canon has quietly superior this lens since recent reviews seem to be much more positive than those from a few years ago. Some folks don't like the push-pull zoom but it works great for me and allows highly fast composition of scenes. The lens is around the same size as the 70-200 f2.8 IS but seems lighter and better on the edge. Given the razor sharpness of its images and 100-400mm length, this seems like the unblemished single lens solution for nature and bird photography. However, it is big and white so it may not be the best for candid people photography.
A Workout, but Well Worth it, April 28, 2006
If you use this lens on a 1.6X camera body such as the XT, 20D, or 30D you cease up with a 160-640mm equivalent which is an impressive length by any standard. You can also add the 1.4X TC for a 896mm upper limit or the 2X TC for an amazing 1280mm. Of course this comes at a price, and I'm not in recent times talking money. You will have to use a tripod, cable release, and mirror lockup a great deal of the time when using such long focal lengths. Plus this thing is completely heavy and very life-size and people will take discern. So if stealth photography is your goal, go beside something like the 70-300 DO.
That being said, this is an amazing lens, admittedly for a time slow near the long end, but to acquire down to f/4 would have most likely doubled or tripled the price and shipment, so it seems like an agreeable trade-off.
If you want sharp pictures, an amazing zoom range, and a good workout, but don't mind mortal the center of attention, this is the lens for you.
The Canon EF 100-400mm is such an awesome lens!, December 3, 2005
I shoot with a Canon 20D and have used the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM telephoto zoom lens. I've other noticed the limitations of this lens when shooting amateur softball. I reviewed the lens lineup at the Canon website and decided on the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM Lens. Even so, I be apprehensive about the push/pull zoom system. Since this lens seems so expensive, I looked-for to try it before I bought it. After renting the lens and using it over a weekend at a softball tournament, I knew this be the right lens for me.
This is a serious lens meant for serious photographers. Being an L lens, there is like mad more features and is manufactured with better materials. The construction is sturdy and consists of 17 elements in 14 groups. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely exterminate the secondary spectrum. This lens is compatible with the Canon EF 1.4X II and 2X II telephoto extenders. The Canon EF 100-400mm lens weigh in at about 3 lbs/1,380g, and accept 77mm filters. Be sure to get a righteous quality UV haze filter.
Being white, this lens looks a bit strange, but help keep it cool when using in the sun. Some ancestors are concerned that being white, it attracts attention to criminals. From my experience, my 20D attracts attention regardless of what lens I put on it. I personally doubt a shoplifter looking for something to steal is taking the time to evaluate the cost of the item and are more concerned with the ease of taking something they can unload. I try to put together things difficult for would be thieves and have insurance as a support up.
The dual IS system has two modes. Mode 1 is for stationary subjects while mode two is for moving subjects. It is recommended that the IS function is not used on a tripod; however I own used it on my monopod with success. The IS help to eliminate camera shake and helps stabilize the lens when shooting from a moving vehicle. While here are limitations to what the IS can do, it can give you a couple extra stops. Just keep contained by mind, the IS attempts to eliminate camera movement, not the movement of the subject being photographed.
This lens permit for auto or manual focus depending on how the switch is set. There is also a switch to shift from a 1.8m/5.9ft to infinity or 6.5m/21.3ft to infinity.
Zooming with this lens take a little time to get used to if you hold never used it before. Once it is gotten used to, it seems to be much faster than the typical verbs zooming. A resistance ring is used to tighten or loosen the resistance to zooming. This allows for practically locking the zoom within place or providing no resistance at all. Zooming is as simple as pulling or pushing the lens as its name suggest.
The push/pull system cause air to be noticeably pushed around. Because nouns is pushed into the camera, there is a myth that the lens causes dust to settle and store up on digital camera sensors. I mostly use this lens in one of the dirtiest environments I shoot in for amateur softball pictures. Even so, my experience does not support the myth. I own not seen any evidence to support the myth from any reputable source either.
Included beside this lens are the tripod mount, lens hood, and storage case. The tripod mount is the best option to use when mounting to a tripod. This help to balance the load. Mounting the camera instead creates an crackers set up that may topple over. The case is a zippered soft case (LZ1324) that can also be purchased separately. The lens hood (ET-83C) is used to use up lens flare and can protect the front element in indubitable situations.
The Canon EF 100-400mm is such an awesome lens, it almost fails to compare to the Canon EF 75-300mm. The clarity and sharpness is incredible. The auto-focus is quiet and rapid. The features add creative versatility. The Canon EF 100-400mm comes at a price, but it is worth every bit of it. Now that I have both lenses, the Canon EF 75-300mm is no longer used.
Incredible clarity and sharpness
Quiet and hasty auto-focus
Features add creative versatility
Dual IS system
Heavy and bulky (This should be expected with these types of lenses)
Not flawless, but excellent nonetheless, May 13, 2007
Good points about this lens:
1) It is the cheapest long lens with statue stabilization you can get.
2) It is flexible (100-400mm zoom range)
3) Image quality of a dutiful copy is superb on a cropped frame digital camera such as the Digital Rebel series. A good copy is decent on a full-frame camera.
4) It is frothy enough to carry, and you CAN use it handheld surrounded by reasonably bright light. Image feature from a tripod is better, of course.
Bad points about the lens:
1) It seem to have variable picture quality between different copies. Some copies aren't as good as mine is (believe me, I don't speak that about all my lenses!). My suspicion is that newer copies are on average better than outmoded ones. Check out whichever copy you get while you can still return it.
2) Image quality drops a bit on a full-frame camera if you don't stop down at most minuscule one stop (to f/8 or f/11) and preferably back off slightly from 400mm to 370 or so. Image talent from 100mm to 250mm is as good as my prime lenses in that collection.
3) It's a reasonably portable lens for it's focal length, but the size and white color will still draw unwanted attention from civilians, who will all ask if you work for National Geographic.
4) The "trombone" style of varying focal length is a bit gawky, and more important it does draw dust inside the lens. My copy (4 years old) has speckles of dust adjectives over the INSIDE of the front element, unlike any other lens I own.
5) The image stabilization doesn't function reliably on a tripod. Canon recommend you turn of stabilization in that situation (and you'll get a better-quality print off a tripod for sure).
Attack of the monster lens grrrrrrr, June 29, 2008
First, I just want to read aloud... I waited most of my life to capture to the point where I could take professional element pictures. Now that I am there, it is indeed everything I wanted it to be. I'm loving this. :-)
This lens come to me because I accidentally dropped my 75mm-300mm non-IS non USM lens in the Gulf of Mexico while shooting the sunset at Lover's Key State Park, Florida. Some would argue that I probably did this on purpose newly because I was sick of the poor quality of that lens, and although I do share your sentiments, I assure I did NOT do that premeditated. It *was* funny in its own way, but after realize just how much damage be done to the internals and realizing I'd have to replace it, I be in fact pretty horrified. I will quickly say this for that lens - it CAN abandon good pictures, IF you know how to work it. Keep your aperture around F13 and stick to bright light, and it will produce...
It is NOT a pro lens, and it will NEVER be a pro lens. I took over a week to convince myself to put down the huge money for this "L" telephoto lens, and it took me roughly speaking that long again before I was sure I'd done the right article. I am sure now, more or less, but the sensitive expense still haunts me. That's one thing you enjoy to get over if you want to take exceptional pictures - moral images do in reality require good optics, and good optics COST. That's how it is currently, and you enjoy to deal with it or do lacking. The plus side is the resale value on an L lens is HIGH if you treat it right, so if one day you stipulation your money back out of it, you can get most of it put a bet on just fine.
When I finally got my tentative lens, I was immediately shocked by the size and solidity. Unless you've seen or held one before, you're going to be intimidated. Honestly though, on my first long outing, I come to find that it is NOT that bad, honestly. Make sure that your shoulder strap is wide, and you won't be bothered by it that much. I save my camera crossed over to my other shoulder like an ammo belt, and the camera and lens lay nicely against my hip, even when I am walking express. I can very quickly take hold of the camera, slide it up to my eye, hit the power slider, and shoot within seconds. The birdies never see it coming, pow.
Now, I should put in here that my combo is a Canon Digital Rebel XT and of course my new 100mm - 400mm L F5.6 IS USM.
The first time I shot at adjectives with this, I was disappointed and worried that I made a big mistake. Yes, I be making a mistake, but not in the purchase, just next to what to expect from the lens' behavior compared to the 75-300mm that predeceased it. This is NOT that lens by any stretch, and the major differences combined with a mild concussion from a whoops at my workplace lead me to bad assumptions and generally poor thinking on how to use it for a given scene.
1) Aperture on this lens does not behave resembling aperture on that 75-300. With that cheaper lens, aperture has a dramatic effect on sharpness. Not nearly as much with this lens.
2) The extra focal length mechanism that any motion in the image can create blur if your shutter isn't hurried enough. Make sure you've got lots of lantern if you are shooting moving objects.
3) IS only corrects for camera shake, NOT for subject motion. Don't go into a dimly lit scene expecting IS to collect you with moving things in the frame, it won't work. Open the aperture as far as you dare, hold on to your ISO fairly high, see the IS on to reduce your own movements, and then basically take a LOT of shots. Not understanding or appreciating this simple reality of photography cost me a lot of good shots that first time out, and today when I turn back I will definitely be better prepared.
4) Learn to treat the lens as if it is the foremost component of the camera. Don't go trying to attach/remove/adjust the lens as if the camera is your anchor... Believe me, this thing make my Rebel XT feel like a toy, and if you misjudge the counterweight of this lens, it could slip out of your hand and really embarrass you. Respect the lens, definitely. No, I own NOT dropped my lens yet... are you kidding? $1400!!
Now that specifically all out of the way, tolerate me tell you why I will die before I ever tolerate my new lens go:
The descriptions, omg... I never knew I could take such amazing pictures next to my Rebel XT and honestly now I know I won't replace the camera body with anything better until the shutter dies within it. After I got my head better around shutter speed and lighting, the apposite images were simply incredibly pious. Even with a Bower 2x Teleconverter, the better images are agency better than even the 75mm-300mm could do. It's the contrast, color depth, and sharpness... this is a professional level lens and my God does it show, and I don't have to stop down to F13 to capture good sharpness. :-)
The IS is a wonderful tool, believe me. If you can get your subject to hold still, and you hold reasonably stable hands, you can verbs off great pictures at 1/30th of a second shutter time. I'm serious. It's more in what is moving surrounded by your scene than how steady you are, so long as you don't try for senselessly long exposure times. I love the IS and I am SO glad I held out for a lens that has it.
The USM autofocus is just... wow... After so long of shooting near a lens with no USM, this is like have my cake with a double shot of apricot brandy with for a while umbrella in it. When I go shooting at the seaside, I am there primarily to shoot the wildlife (sea birds). When I'd shoot a bird in flight, I would rob many exposures in hopes that one would turn out and be a apt shot. This time out, I did that same thing with the latest lens and I was amazed to find that I was getting intact sets of descriptions of each bird I did this with. One or two of the first shots would be a touch out, possibly, but several would be in sharp focus. The AF keeps up fine near moving targets, and this is something totally new to me. The focus motor is hastily, silent, and tack accurate, MILES beyond the old cheapie I sank within the ocean. Detect a bit of sarcasm there? :-)
The zoom length leaves a hole for me between my kit 18mm-55mm lens (yes I know, I have a crap lens for broad angle... you can help me fund another L-glass lens any time you like), but honestly I haven't missed it yet. I adore the long focal length of this lens and if there's a softness to the 400mm train then I haven't really seen it on the other hand. In fact, I'm looking at a test shot I took today using the 2x extender and the fresh lens for a combined FL of 800mm... scary huh... and I am seeing great sharpness, surprisingly enough. Had the target be out of the shadows and in the sun, I'd say I could hold pulled off a really good picture from it. Not desperate for a 300' distant shot of a cute girl in a strongly shadowed stairwell at combined 800mm, 1/800th of a second (F8.0!) exposure time FREE HANDED. It's amazing what you can do with this lens when you really try.
So... I've babble enough, although I could go on adjectives day. Here's the pros and cons.
Very solidly built, feels similar to a tank shell.
Amazing image ability
Fast USM focus
IS is GREAT when thought out beforehand
Manual focus ring is right there when you need it
Sliding focus a bit than rotating is actually quite nice
Tension ring for focus is a great touch
Very nice massively solid tripod ring with bearings! How cool is that?
VERY nice take case... they really did do a nice thing next to that.
Heavy... wow heavy. Weighs like a reservoir shell too... But, it's a PRO lens, what do you want?
Ok so it IS white... actually beige white, mine is. Believe me, if you still prudence about the color a week after using it heavily, you are spoiled and should shoot with an mature Digital Rebel 300D plus 18-55mm kit lens ONLY until you regain your sense of perspective. It took me ONE DAY to forgive it for being white. ;-)
It's BIG. Its so big that you will predictable have to reconsider your entire outfit and how you fetch everything around in the field. I find individually that the size of the thing is actually a bigger operation to me than the weight, surprisingly enough. If you enjoy a Rebel XT or similar, the camera does look a little silly stuck to it, but here again WHO CARES... the images omg!!
Sometimes you can forget that you are opposite the lens with a hand underneath the focuser, and accidentally knock your shot out of focus. Also, since the focus and zoom tension rings move as one, it's easy satisfactory to de-tense the zoom while focusing. It's a learning process, and not all that dreadful really.
Canon, honestly... almost $1400US for a lens and no UV filter for the front. Maybe this is me being nitpicky but really... what would it cost them to provide you this very adjectives protection for your very expensive lens? Just be sure not to forget to get one... and bring in sure you remember this is 77MM threading, not 58 or anything else!
One last comment:
If you are like I be, and struggling to make a tough decision... possibly this will help. This is a Black Oystercatcher on the beach at Lover's Key, shot at full 400mm from just about 40+ feet or so away in shocking light and free handed - no tripod. Note the tiny sea droplets on the feathers. Before I got this lens, I would have told you I choice I could do pictures like this one. Now I not only can, I AM. :-)
ISO 200, F5.6, 400mm FL, 1/640 sec.
Make approaching N**e and just do it! :-)
Awesome at Airshows, March 4, 2006
I agree with adjectives the others comments about this lens. It works great but it is big, heavy and attracts attention. When I say-so it attracts attention, I am not kidding. I was at an airshow taking photos along with a lot of other amature photographers. My 100-400mm lens, however, attracted the attention of a local newpaper reporter who interviewed me. However, I bought it to use next to my 20D at airshows and I can honestly say I am not disapointed. It was very well worth the money.
I also bought a cheap Kenko 1.5x teleconverter for kicks. While the converter isn't "L" grade, I am pleased next to the results and the autofocus still works which I understand is not the case near the Canon TCs.
For those looking for a big zoom lens and you want IS, you are ulitimately going to wind up buying this lens.
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