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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Thread started 02 May 2016 (Monday) 16:40
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Canon 300mm F/4 L IS USM vs Canon 100-400 L IS USM II

 
St ­ Bernard
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May 02, 2016 16:40 |  #1

Looking at both lenses for general use photography. How does the 300mm L lens compare to the 100-400 lens at the same focal length at 300mm? Is the 100-400L better than the 300L at the 300mm f/l? I was also looking at the 300L with the EF 1.4xIII extender. I like to do wildlife an birding shots. I would save a little by getting the 300L and the 1.4xIII extender but not much. Feedback appreciated Thanks
---------------
Bill




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PCousins
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by PCousins.
May 02, 2016 17:24 |  #2

Bill,
Although I have not owned the later 100-400L, I have owned both the 300mm f/4 and the original 100-400L. I sold both for the 500mm f/4.

At 300mm there is no doubt the Prime will be better for speed and sharpness, At 300mm on the zoom the aperture will be f/5, yes the zoom has the flexibility but at 300mm ONLY the Prime will win all round hands down. The Prime works great with the 1.4x TC III but obviously AF becomes noticeably slower to the point that the 100-400 Zoom would be a more flexible and better overall choice.

So In terms of IQ/sharpness/speed etc the 300 is the best until you add the 1.4x

I must say though for birding you can never have enough focal length. Even with my 500mm with TC 1.4x on a 1d4 Crop body giving an equivalent of approx 900mm is at times not enough.

Just in case you were not aware if you were to use a 2x TC on a 300mm then you will have problems with AF. You will have to invest in an EOS 1 system.
Regards Paul


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Choderboy
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May 02, 2016 21:26 |  #3

I have both. The 300 f4 IS L is a good lens. I also had the 400 5.6 L and rate it slightly better in both AF and optically than the 300. I often wondered how Canon made the 400 such a demon regards AF. Possible it was the huge MFD that meant usually 8.5 metres to infinity was the range it operated in. The 300 IS is handy and almost half as good as the 100-400 II which not only has more stops of IS effectiveness but also Mode3. Used, the 300 should be less than half the price of the 100-400 II so I'd say it's better value and at the same time the 100-400 II is worth spending more.


Dave
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sawsedge
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May 02, 2016 22:20 |  #4

I had the 300 f/4L (non IS), the original 100-400L, and now the 100-400 II.

I loved the 300 f/4L, but wish I'd had the IS version (both for the IS and closer focus).

I found I wanted the versatility of the zoom, and the only disadvantage (vs the 300L) I found in the original 100-400L was a stop slower speed. I had a very sharp copy of the zoom and didn't see much difference from the prime in real use, but when photographing small creatures, wished I could focus closer (true with both lenses).

Now the 100-400 II is sharper, faster focusing, has IS, focuses down to just 1 meter (this is the biggest reason I bought it), and I think it has better bokeh vs the other two I had. The 100-400 II also takes the 1.4x III very well. The images are very usable with my 5D3. I do have to clean up some CA with the 1.4x though.

Unless you need the speed and only use 300mm, I'd go for the new zoom.


- John

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Tapeman
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May 03, 2016 00:00 |  #5

There are few lenses that get as much love on the forums as the new 100-400.
If you are only going to shoot at 300 that might be the lens for you, otherwise spend the extra money on the 100-400.


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PCousins
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May 03, 2016 00:16 as a reply to Choderboy's post |  #6

Dave, You have not answered the OP's question..........

"How does the 300mm L lens compare to the 100-400 lens at the same focal length at 300mm? Is the 100-400L better than the 300L at the 300mm f/l?"


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Aus.Morgo
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May 03, 2016 00:45 |  #7

http://www.the-digital-picture.com ...omp=0&FLIComp=0&API​Comp=2 (external link)


I'd get the 100-400 II


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johnf3f
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May 03, 2016 15:32 |  #8

I used the 300 F4 L IS for years and loved it! At F5.6 or higher my sample gave up very little to my 300 F2.8 L IS, unfortunately I couldn't afford to keep them both!
I sold my 300 F4 L IS before I bought my 100-400 Mk2 but so I can't compare them directly but, if memory serves, I think they are pretty much equal at 300mm though the 100-400 mk2 has a max aperture of F5 at this focal length. Against that the 100-400 boasts an even shorter minimum focus distance and more versatility.

If budget is not an issue and you don't mind the extra bulk/weight of the 100-400 Mk2 then I think it is the better overall choice. However if 300mm fits your needs and you want a smaller lighter package then the 300 F4 L IS will do very nicely!


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CyberDyneSystems
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May 03, 2016 15:52 |  #9

Just get the MkII 100-400mm.

It beat out and replaced two lenses (at least) for me, the 400mm f/5.6L prime, and the older 100-400mm Mark I.

The 300mm has old slow AF, (not bad, but not as fast as either the new 100-400mm or the older 400mm f/5.6L prime) it has old 1st gen IS.

The Zoom will equal the 300mm prime at 300mm, and will beat it outright once you need a TC to get beyond 300mm.


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Choderboy
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May 03, 2016 17:03 |  #10

PCousins wrote in post #17993914 (external link)
Dave, You have not answered the OP's question..........

"How does the 300mm L lens compare to the 100-400 lens at the same focal length at 300mm? Is the 100-400L better than the 300L at the 300mm f/l?"

I think you are correct.
The 100-400 II is extremely consistent, ie performance at all focal lengths. I'd call them equal optically.
The only negative of the 142 is the sometimes less than beautiful blur. It's a minor issue. There has been some talk about it on POTN with some examples.


Dave
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Snydremark
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May 03, 2016 17:18 |  #11

I have not used the 300 f/4, but I *just* received my 100-400 MkII last night. So far, it's a positive no-brainer as far as having spent the money on it; the IS on this lens is amazing and I am looking forward to having a *much* wider range of available shutter speeds for shooting birds and animals that like to hide in the shade. With the old 100-400, and I strongly suspect with the 300 f/4, even with IS running, 2 stops below 1/x focal length was pretty much where things stopped.

I was able to take some test shots down to 1/6 @ 400mm last night without noticeable camera shake. So, being able to reliably take my ss down to 1/100s or so @ 400mm is going to mean having jack my ISO up a lot less.

So, while I can't give a useful comparison between those two lenses, I can give an early, hearty recommend for the 100-400 MkII after 8 years of shooting the MkI


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS)
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JeffreyG
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May 03, 2016 19:33 |  #12

I had the 300/4L IS and used it for sports (mostly) for about three years. It's a good lens and very capable. I liked the close focus distance for some non-sports stuff too. I used it perhaps 50% of the time with a 1.4X TC attached to make a 420/5.6.

Then I picked up the 100-400L IS, and about the only thing I kicked myself on was not getting it sooner. AF performance and optical performance were pretty close to the 300/4L IS, and the zoom range was much, much handier to have for sports.

Last year I sold my 100-400L IS and picked up the version II. This new lens is pretty amazing. For sure, the sharpness is just about as good as the raves. But to me the bigger deal is that the AF performance and IS performance are just flat out better than any Canon lens I've used to date. The lens just never seems to miss in AF tracking of difficult subjects (it is better than my 70-200/2.8 IS II, which is also very good) and the IS module can deliver sharp shots in all kinds of situations.

If you can afford the 100-400L IS II, that is pretty much what I would get and never look back. The only real good alternate is the 200-400/4L IS if the weight and size of that lens are OK for you.

One other lens (which I also own) in this range is the Sigma 120-300/2.8 Sport. I use it when I need the speed mostly, and also with a 2X TC to have a 600/5.6 option. The Sigma is also a great lens in a lot of situations, but the AF performance is not nearly as sure footed as the new 100-400.


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St ­ Bernard
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May 03, 2016 21:40 |  #13

I think after doing allot of reading and the response here I will get the new 100-400L IS USM II. I have a new Canon 80D also. I have a EF 1.4 III extender now that should go fine with the 100-400 when I get it. It looks like a no brainer getting the 100-400 Lens. Thanks to all that left feedback appreciated. Bill




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absplastic
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by absplastic.
May 04, 2016 02:25 |  #14

I've owned the 300mm F/4 L IS and 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS, and I just rented the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II this past weekend to shoot birds. The 100-400 is significantly sharper wide open at 300mm than even the prime. It's not noticeable so much on the 6D, but on the 5DSR it's clear that the 100-400 makes good use of the higher resolution and the 300mm prime does not. The 100-400 is amazing even at 400mm wide open, enough to justify its price tag IMHO. So much better than it's predecessor (which was worse than all 3 of these at 300mm).


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Choderboy
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May 04, 2016 02:33 |  #15

St Bernard wrote in post #17995103 (external link)
I think after doing allot of reading and the response here I will get the new 100-400L IS USM II. I have a new Canon 80D also. I have a EF 1.4 III extender now that should go fine with the 100-400 when I get it. It looks like a no brainer getting the 100-400 Lens. Thanks to all that left feedback appreciated. Bill

80D ownership is significant, you will be able to use Canon 1.4TC V3 with the 100-400 II and have 27 AF points.


Dave
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Canon 300mm F/4 L IS USM vs Canon 100-400 L IS USM II
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