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300mm f/4L IS vs 400mm f/5.6L

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Thread started 30 Sep 2008 (Tuesday) 00:42   
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rpearce12
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I really want to scratch this itch, but it can't happen right now. That doesn't mean that I can't find out what I should get.

I first got into photography because I wanted to take pictures of wildlife and birds. I still do. That's why I bought the 100-400mm. It's a great lens, but I'm thinking about also having a prime. I'm in the process of getting a 1.4x TC (this will become relevant later on in the post). My question is this, which lens would be the best for my shooting situations?

This is what I think that I know about these lenses. I may be completely wrong, but please, feel free to comment.

300mm
Pros: IS, wider aperture, better IQ? Becomes 420mm f/5.6 with 1.4x TC
Cons: Less reach, but a 1.4x TC would help that. Does IQ suffer much with the 1.4?

400mm
Pros: More reach. 560mm with 1.4x TC
Cons: Wider aperture, no AF with 1.4x TC

I may be missing a few things here. But I would like to see everyone's opinions. The prices are somewhat similar, so that can be left out, as well as the weight, since the 400mm weighs about 0.2 pounds more than the 300mm. Thanks in advance.

Post #1, Sep 30, 2008 00:42:45


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Scoobs
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Hi

I have the 300 f4 IS. I picked this up several months ago to use for wildlife in place of my 70-200 with a 2x extender. I now use the 300 with a 1.4 and am really pleased with the image quality. The IS is nice too but I usually shoot from a tripod so it's normally off.

I have noticed the focus slows down a bit but not enough to cause me any problems as i've got some nice in flight pics. The pic quality is really nice. I normally shoot at f8 with the extender on.

Both these shots were taken with the 1.4 ext, at f8 and Iso 400 on my 20D

I can't comment on the 400.

Hope that helps :)

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Post #2, Sep 30, 2008 03:56:23


:D Stu :D

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Sfordphoto
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i am interested in this debate too. i know that the 400 prime has a lot less elements than the 300, and as such is probably a better performing optic (colors, sharpness). is this true in practice though?

Post #3, Sep 30, 2008 04:23:56


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rpearce12
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I read last night that generally, the 400mm is a better lens except when you get into low-light situations. If anyone has any experience with these, I would love to hear what they have to say.

Post #4, Sep 30, 2008 11:25:40


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Roy ­ C
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See Arthur Morris take on the two lenses http://www.birdsasart.​com/faq_4f56or3is.htmlexternal link.

Post #5, Sep 30, 2008 13:03:06


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bob_r
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I've had the 100-400 and the 400 and can't see any advantage to the 400 except it may be a little lighter. Are you not getting acceptable results with the 100-400? The images I get with the 100-400 are just as good as the ones I got with the 400 and it has the advantage of IS. I wouldn't expect the 300 with a 1.4x to be any sharper than the 100-400 and judging by the pics above, I'd say it's sharper.

Post #6, Sep 30, 2008 13:19:35


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gasrocks
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If you do any macro at all, especially butterflies, dragonflies, flowers - you want the 300/4 L IS lens.

Post #7, Sep 30, 2008 13:19:42


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bromm
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This was taken with the rebel XT, 400L, canon 1.4II on a monopod in good light. The 400 performs excellent alone and really shines in good light. With the 1.4 you lose AF, but in good light the 1.4 has very little effect on IQ.
IMHO. It also makes for great Bokeh.

IMAGE: http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e286/bromm/IMG_2522-01.jpg

Post #8, Sep 30, 2008 15:19:43 as a reply to gasrocks's post 2 hours earlier.


Trevor Wadman

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rpearce12
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I wasn't getting the results that I thought that I should with the 100-400. It may be handler error, but we'll have to see. I'm not buying any lenses right now. I am just trying to see others take on it. I sent the 100-400 off today to be calibrated. We'll see if that does anything (I hope it does). I don't do any macro photography as of right now. Also, with a 1.4x TC, I would be able to get 560mm with both the 100-400 and the 400 prime. How does the IQ stand up between the two at 560mm?

Post #9, Sep 30, 2008 17:45:14


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bob_r
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rpearce12 wrote in post #6412149external link
I wasn't getting the results that I thought that I should with the 100-400. It may be handler error, but we'll have to see. I'm not buying any lenses right now. I am just trying to see others take on it. I sent the 100-400 off today to be calibrated. We'll see if that does anything (I hope it does). I don't do any macro photography as of right now. Also, with a 1.4x TC, I would be able to get 560mm with both the 100-400 and the 400 prime. How does the IQ stand up between the two at 560mm?

Here's a 100% crop with no post processing other than cropping and reducing the file size for the web.
This was taken with a 30D, a 100-400 and a 1.4x Sigma TC.

1/250s f/8.0 at 560.0mm iso400

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/bob_r/image/90181916.jpg

Post #10, Sep 30, 2008 18:24:17


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Diesel_Dog
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I had the same debate when choosing between the two, for my needs I went with the 300 and 1.4 TC combo. I have been happy with my choice. I don't think you can go wrong with either. I have not seen much of any IQ decrease when using the 300 + 1.4 combo. I like having the versatility of a 300f/4 or 420f/5.6 , and the 1.4 will come in handy when I'm ready to bump up to a 500f/4.

Post #11, Sep 30, 2008 19:19:46


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5Dmk II | 30D | 17-40L |24-70L | 70-200L F4 IS | 300L F4 IS | 1.4 TC

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TooManyShots
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Here is a shot using a 400L + 1.4x converter on a 1d markII. Fill flash was used.

IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3070/2591706152_449275d1a8_o.jpg

Post #12, Sep 30, 2008 19:58:02


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brianch
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personally i thought about this for an extremely long time and i ended up choosing the 400m only because i think it would be more suitable for full frame. i think the 400mm on a cropped body is much more reach then i would normally need. with a cropped body i think the 300mm is a better choice. you get great reach and with a 1.4x even greater reach. plus you get IS and a slightly faster aperture. another point that convinced me to not get the 300mm was the fact that i have a 70-200. with that lens i get maximum reach of 200mm on a full frame, if i really wanted to get 300mm for some reason, i could use the 1.4x and get close or put the 70-200 on my 40D (cropped body) and get even closer reach. i hope this all makes sense. it was very confusing for me, but in the end i choose the 400mm.

Post #13, Sep 30, 2008 20:01:01 as a reply to Diesel_Dog's post 41 minutes earlier.


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RPCrowe
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bromm wrote in post #6411314external link
This was taken with the rebel XT, 400L, canon 1.4II on a monopod in good light. The 400 performs excellent alone and really shines in good light. With the 1.4 you lose AF, but in good light the 1.4 has very little effect on IQ.
IMHO. It also makes for great Bokeh.

QUOTED IMAGE

WOW! I have the 400mm f/5.6L and a 1.4x TC but, never tried them together. I will now that I see your image. I have the Mark-I TC, not the Mark-II. I wonder if there would be a quality difference?

Post #14, Sep 30, 2008 23:54:48


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noodle_snacks
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5.6L and TC:

IMAGE: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/Crested_Tern_Tasmania.jpg/800px-Crested_Tern_Tasmania.jpg
I find the autofocus works fine with the TC on my 400D, you do need good light to avoid motion blur though.

Post #15, Oct 01, 2008 00:32:22




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