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Canon 300mm f/4 IS or Canon 400mm f/5.6 non IS?

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 18 Jun 2012 (Monday) 08:52   
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Poll"Which lens to opt for?"

Canon 300mm f/4L IS
23
32.4%
Canon 400mm f/5.6L no IS
27
38%
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
21
29.6%

71 voters, 71 votes given (1 choice only choices can be voted per member)). VOTING IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.
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Vixen89
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I know this is a redundant question for yah guys but I've been researching both lenses over the past weekend on POTN and just wanted to ask the experts here before I go purchasing one. I've been lurking in the bird photography forum for quite awhile now and still undecided. Is the 400mm strictly only a BIF lens? I don't think I will get to see much birds where I live in the suburbs of Texas. I barely see flying critter now...sadly. I know the 300mm is more versatile as it is but I also shoot car events, drifting competitions, drag races, and a lot of STATIONARY cars. lol

I own a 70-200 II now with a 1.4x and when I even used that during my family's graduations ceremony it was still a bit too short for my liking. I simply envy all the photos here in this archive..so here's the poll. :o

Post #1, Jun 18, 2012 08:52:04


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tomj
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Have you considered the 100-400?

Post #2, Jun 18, 2012 09:14:47


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advaitin
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Well, my one vote skewed the results.

The 300L f4 IS is a very sharp lens, still very effective with TCs, although you may have to manually focus. Anything over 300mm without IS really requires some support.

The 100-400 is very versatile, but I always thought it was a little less sharp than the 300.

Post #3, Jun 18, 2012 09:20:20


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Vixen89
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tomj wrote in post #14594976external link
Have you considered the 100-400?

I have, but I was looking through everyone's photos and mostly favor the prime over the zoom. I'm used to only using primes so I didn't think it'd be too much of an issue for me. I love my 70-200 II don't get me wrong, it's versatile and has IS with great AF speed, but even with my 1.4x on it, I still find it lacking reach. If I got the 100-400 I think I'd be overlapping lengths and wanna sell one. >_>

advaitin wrote in post #14595008external link
Well, my one vote skewed the results.

The 300L f4 IS is a very sharp lens, still very effective with TCs, although you may have to manually focus. Anything over 300mm without IS really requires some support.

The 100-400 is very versatile, but I always thought it was a little less sharp than the 300.

LOL thanks for your one vote! That's what I was reading too the 100-400 not being as sharp as the primes but that's a general rule of thumb for all the lenses right? I'm just trying to figure out if 400mm is just a BIF specialty lens cause if it is, I won't find any where I am. :S

Post #4, Jun 18, 2012 09:20:28


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Pete ­ W
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300f4 with or without 1.4x has better IQ than the 100-400 IMHO

never had the 400 so cannot comment...

That said 300f4 from your choices

Post #5, Jun 18, 2012 09:31:00


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watt100
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Vixen89 wrote in post #14594885external link
I know this is a redundant question for yah guys but I've been researching both lenses over the past weekend on POTN and just wanted to ask the experts here before I go purchasing one. I've been lurking in the bird photography forum for quite awhile now and still undecided. Is the 400mm strictly only a BIF lens? I don't think I will get to see much birds where I live in the suburbs of Texas. I barely see flying critter now...sadly. I know the 300mm is more versatile as it is but I also shoot car events, drifting competitions, drag races, and a lot of STATIONARY cars. lol

I own a 70-200 II now with a 1.4x and when I even used that during my family's graduations ceremony it was still a bit too short for my liking. I simply envy all the photos here in this archive..so here's the poll. :o

Depends on the use but I found the 100-400 much more versatile than the 400mm prime.

Post #6, Jun 18, 2012 09:38:01




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Vixen89
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Just came across the Sigma 50-500 OS, anyone use that for BIF? Or is it just too slow? lol

Post #7, Jun 18, 2012 12:01:19


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Hardrock40
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Birds only, I would go prime but sounds like you haven't too many birds. If your planning to take the lens to other shoots then 100-400.

I've been photographing a kayak spot where you can't move around much. The 100-400 fits perfectly as they approach, go through the rapid then move on. When I photograph sitting birds, it remains at 400.

BIF the 100-400 helps get on target at 100 then zoom to 400. But little zippy yard birds don't stay in flight long enough and I wouldn't even think of trying to fit a lens for them. Then its tripod, try to judge where the focus will be and shoot with a remote on approach to a feeder.

Post #8, Jun 18, 2012 12:45:14




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advaitin
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As long as you are using a 7D or 1D 1-4, the 50-500 will do pretty good on AI focus. I personally like the 50-500 OS. I gave my daughter my older 150-500 OS as a Xmas present and it was Okay for BIF.

I keep the current 50-500 pretty much all the time on my 1D4.

Not birds in flight but at 500mm with the 50-500 OS:

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Post #9, Jun 18, 2012 12:51:52


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Vixen89
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Hardrock40 wrote in post #14596167external link
Birds only, I would go prime but sounds like you haven't too many birds. If your planning to take the lens to other shoots then 100-400.

I've been photographing a kayak spot where you can't move around much. The 100-400 fits perfectly as they approach, go through the rapid then move on. When I photograph sitting birds, it remains at 400.

BIF the 100-400 helps get on target at 100 then zoom to 400. But little zippy yard birds don't stay in flight long enough and I wouldn't even think of trying to fit a lens for them. Then its tripod, try to judge where the focus will be and shoot with a remote on approach to a feeder.

Yeah I don't get much birds around here so I really appreciate this section of the forum a lot. Get to see the pretty little ones! Thanks a lot, I didn't know the 100-400 could focus on at 100mm and then zoom in at 400mm and it'll still be in focus.

advaitin wrote in post #14596205external link
As long as you are using a 7D or 1D 1-4, the 50-500 will do pretty good on AI focus. I personally like the 50-500 OS. I gave my daughter my older 150-500 OS as a Xmas present and it was Okay for BIF.

I keep the current 50-500 pretty much all the time on my 1D4.

Not birds in flight but at 500mm with the 50-500 OS:

Now I feel like I have the wrong camera body for this..I own only a 5D2 and a 60D. Is it going to be a major flaw that I don't have a action type camera body?

Post #10, Jun 18, 2012 12:59:24


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advaitin
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Oh, no. If you have ever used a manual focus lens, those cameras will work fine. It's just that BIF is better with AI focus, otherwise you have to be prepared as one person said earlier. The 1D series up to version 4 allowed for AF at f8, whereas the lesser cameras, including the 5D series, AF up to f5.6 lens.

Sigmas sometimes don't cooperate as well as Canon lenses and once you get into the f8 and f9 range with even the 7D or 60D I will often find I need to bring the lens manually to focus on a subject, but the AI will follow once it is in range.


Here are a couple done with the 150-500 with a Canon 1D3.

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Post #11, Jun 18, 2012 13:17:35


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jhayesvw
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Pete W wrote in post #14595061external link
300f4 with or without 1.4x has better IQ than the 100-400 IMHO

never had the 400 so cannot comment...

That said 300f4 from your choices

I have found the opposite to be true with pretty extensive testing. My best friend has a 300 f4 IS and Canon 1.4 II. its clear that my 100-400 is shaper and faster focusing.

Vixen89 wrote in post #14596266external link
Yeah I don't get much birds around here so I really appreciate this section of the forum a lot. Get to see the pretty little ones! Thanks a lot, I didn't know the 100-400 could focus on at 100mm and then zoom in at 400mm and it'll still be in focus.
Now I feel like I have the wrong camera body for this..I own only a 5D2 and a 60D. Is it going to be a major flaw that I don't have a action type camera body?

I have a 60d that I use the 100-400 on all the time. It is 95%+ as good as the 7d honestly. I have used the 7d and the results are about the same. Most of the time I get more shots with the 60d than when I use the 7d and more than my friends that use 7ds.
so dont feel the 60d wont keep up.
Check my flickr page for pics (in my sig).

the 100-400 will NOT remain focused while zooming, but you can get the subject in the frame at 100 and then quickly zoom out and refocus. its hard to get a subject in the viewfinder at 400mm until youre used to it.
you may find 400 TOO MUCH zoom for cars as you can often get pretty close to the action.

100-400 is the easy choice for this.
There is a reason its the #1 choice when people go on safari. Close, far, in between, it covers everything without the need to swap lenses.

Post #12, Jun 18, 2012 13:22:30


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advaitin
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Here's something you won't see everyday. Canon 1D4, Sigma 50-500mm OS. Landscape with an impressionist touch

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Post #13, Jun 18, 2012 13:34:02


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Duane ­ N
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The 400mm prime isn't strickly for BIF's but it's prefered by many that persue BIF's because of the faster focus speed (that says a lot about this lens and the 100-400mm doesn't compare to it's focus speed...neither does the 500mm prime). If you want versatility buy the 100-400mm zoom...if you want a wildlife lens buy the prime. I never used the 300mm f/4 so I cannot comment on it but I can assume if you slap an extender on the 300mm the focus speed will slow down because that's what happens on my 500mm f/4L.

I only buy primes but I have specific subjects I photograph. If I happen to want to photograph an air show, car show or a release I break out my 70-200mm f/4L lens but that's rare. My 400mm prime rarely gets used now because I own the 500mm prime....but I'll never sell it it's that great of a lens.

Good luck with your decision.

Just wanted to add something concerning a lens purchase....never settle for something that is "ok" or "it does the job fairly well"...why compromise?

Post #14, Jun 18, 2012 14:42:25 as a reply to advaitin's post 1 hour earlier.


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blueM
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Voted for the 400 since you already have the 70-200 + 1.4.

Without the 200 zoom I would have voted for the 100-400

Post #15, Jun 18, 2012 16:02:52


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