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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Thread started 08 Dec 2012 (Saturday) 01:55
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100-400L vs. 70-200/2.8ii + 2x iii vs. 200/2L + 2x iii

 
jwcdds
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Dec 08, 2012 01:55 |  #1

So I've noticed this subject has come up a couple of times in recent months. I figured I might as well throw in my $0.10 here and provide some slight feedback with comparison photos for those who may be interested/curious.

Let it be understood that there are variations between every copy of the lens. Some more so than others. So these photos below should not be regarded as the be-all/end-all comparison with regards to these lenses and combinations. My conclusions are mere opinions, so take it with a grain of salt.

First comparison will be the 100-400 vs. 70-200/2.8 L IS ver II + 2x III converter. (The day I took these comparison photos, I had sent my 200L back to Canon for the IS update so it wasn't available.) The photos were taken with my 7D under RAW format. It was then converted to *.jpg via Lightroom 4.2 with default settings. For the pixel-peeping crops, I simply reduced canvas size to 1000x1000.

My observations: The 2x iii + 70-200 (my copies/combination) yielded worse results compared to the 100-400. This wasn't an issue of front/back focusing. I tested it many times, even using live view to focus (which is strictly contrast detection) and yielded the same results. However, the 200L handled the 2x iii converter better than the 70-200, and at times, the results from the 200L + 2x iii were noticeably better than the 100-400.

What I also noticed was that the lenses + extender would meter differently for the same scene as compared to those metered with the 100-400. For example, when I shot these manually, placing the meter square in the center with the 100-400, when I swapped out the lenses to either the 70-200 + 2x or 200 +2x, the meter would then say I was under-exposing by 1/3-2/3 stops, even though the resulting image taken is identically exposed due to being shot in manual and the images are exposed the same. The built-in meter simply gave a different reading.

My conclusion/opinion: The 2x iii is a nice, relatively inexpensive way to give you additional reach. If you already have a 70-200/2.8, it's cheaper to pick up a 2x converter (which could work with additional lenses in your collection) than to pick up a 100-400 for the added versatility. That said, my copy of the 100-400 dust pump seems to hold up rather well in these comparison. And if you don't need the f/2.8 aperture, nor the 70-99mm focal length, the 100-400 would certainly save you a good chunk of change if you don't already own a 70-200/2.8. As some would say, it's the law of diminishing returns. The cost seems to increase exponentially for marginal, albeit noticeable improvements. The question one needs to ask one's self, "Is it really worth it?" To some, yes. To others, no. And neither answer would be right or wrong.

Naturally, the 100-400 doesn't do f/2.8 (or f/2.0), which would be the primary reason why anyone would own the 2.8 zoom. So you already own the 2.8 zoom, you'd get 140-400mm range withe the 2x iii at $450-500. Which itself can be considered a bargain as opposed to picking up a 100-400 for $1100-1400. Can't really go wrong either way.

Additional notes: All photos were taken through some rather dirty (water-stained), tinted window from my private office. I'm sure doing so caused some degradation to the final IQ, but since the stained window glass remained a constant, I didn't feel that it provide any additional advantage/disadvantage for any of the lenses being compared.

Update notes (12/10/2012): Just wanted to emphasize to everyone that I have no ulterior motives for performing the tests and posting the results. I own and plan to keep all the gear involved in the testing. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from getting the 70-200/2.8ii + 2x iii combo. I'm not trying to convince people they should pick up a 100-400 or 200/2L. The results posted show unprocessed images at 100% pixel-peeping. If you don't need to crop that much to pixel-peep, you more than likely won't see/know the difference.

Scene 1, Day 1:

IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-JMjJ2nD/0/L/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2068-L.jpg

100-400 @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-M8jpLTz/0/X3/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2068_cropped-X3.jpg

70-200/2.8ii + 2x iii @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-pCRgx7B/0/X3/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2069_cropped-X3.jpg

Scene 2, Day 1:
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-dpv89FX/0/L/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2070-L.jpg

100-400 @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-NQkWh86/0/X3/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2070_cropped-X3.jpg

70-200/2.8ii + 2x iii @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-2GHBTtW/0/X3/20121128-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_2071_cropped-X3.jpg

Julian
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jwcdds
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Dec 08, 2012 01:55 |  #2

So I've since received my 200L back from Canon and it now works properly on my 5D3. That said, since I only bring my 7D to work, and given that the original 100-400 vs. 70-200 comparisons were taken with my 7D, I figured I'd stick with using my 7D.

I opted to retake both scenes because the lighting was different due to the fact that the photos were taken at a different time of the day between Day 1 vs. Day 2.

Scene 1, Day 2:

100-400 @ 400mm

IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-VFGsCQb/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3811_cropped-X3.jpg

200/2 + 2x iii @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-tG22xnv/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3808_cropped-X3.jpg

Scene 2, Day 2:

100-400 @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-GgJKCGp/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3812_cropped-X3.jpg

200/2 + 2x iii @ 400mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-7wV6cKW/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3814_cropped-X3.jpg

Scene 1, Day 2, but taken at 200mm:

100-400 @ 200mm
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-F63HxjT/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3826_cropped-X3.jpg

200L @ f/5.0 (to match the aperture of the 100-400)
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-vNJBQGM/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3827_cropped-X3.jpg

200L @ f/2.0
IMAGE: http://julianchen.smugmug.com/Misc/Test-Photos/i-9BQcT5H/0/X3/20121207-Canon%20EOS%207D-7D1_3828_cropped-X3.jpg

Julian
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jwcdds
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Dec 08, 2012 01:56 |  #3

Reserved for part III (if I ever get around comparing the 70-200/2.8 against the 200L).


Julian
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thinkharder
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Dec 08, 2012 10:02 |  #4

Excellent comparision been looking for this . I will wait for the 100-400 L version II to comes out. instead of getting the ext 2X iii for the 70-200 f 2.8 version 2.
More please
Thank you




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whitehawk
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Dec 08, 2012 14:23 |  #5

Great post - thank you very much!


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Rush87
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Dec 08, 2012 14:24 |  #6

I expected less difference between the 100-400 and 70-200 + 2x.




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FlyingPhotog
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Dec 08, 2012 14:25 |  #7

Well done...

I admit I'm a little surprised at the 70-200. Won't be so quick to suggest that combo anymore.


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Invertalon
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Dec 08, 2012 16:03 |  #8

My 70-200 II and 2x III gave excellent results. It was never THAT soft. Stopped down to just f6.3 or 7.1 it was very sharp.


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jwcdds
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Dec 08, 2012 16:37 |  #9

Invertalon wrote in post #15342498external link
My 70-200 II and 2x III gave excellent results. It was never THAT soft. Stopped down to just f6.3 or 7.1 it was very sharp.

Possible that your combination worked better than mine. I don't know the technical part of it, but I wonder if the high pixel density of the 7D (which is equivalent to a 46mp FF sensor) might contribute to the softness that is seen with the 70-200 + 2x combo. Perhaps a possibility... I don't know.

FF with its lower pixel density can hide a lot of flaws. I've seen it before with my 7D vs. 5Dc (when shooting at identical distances and focal length). Yes, the framing/FoV was completely off but perspective was the same and damn, the 5Dc looked tack sharp cuz the subject were just that much smaller. :lol:

If I find some time, I may redo the tests with my 5D3 and see if the results are different.


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David ­ Stallard
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Dec 08, 2012 16:59 |  #10

I went the other way and sold the 100-400 in favour of the 70-200 mk2 and the 2x mk3 extender - lot better results on the 1d mk4 body (although slower on the 7D)

.DAVID.


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sebr
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Dec 09, 2012 00:56 |  #11

I am still testing my 70-200 II + 2x III, but I am getting similar results... The 70-200 is sharp without extender, but I am loosing some IQ with it.


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gkanetkar
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Dec 09, 2012 04:25 |  #12

sebr wrote in post #15343809external link
I am still testing my 70-200 II + 2x III, but I am getting similar results... The 70-200 is sharp without extender, but I am loosing some IQ with it.

Sebastien, Have you tried your combo of 70-200 II + kenko 1.4X?

Thanks,
-Gunesh


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yipDog ­ Studios
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Dec 09, 2012 05:03 |  #13

100-400 is a good lens, I'm getting equivalent results sharpness-wise with better color using the 70-200 f2.8L USM II with 2x extender III. I did do a micro focus adjust on mine which did improve its performance significantly. It is inevitable to lose a bit of IQ with the 2.0 extender but im very happy with the way mine works. The biggest reason I prefer the 70-200 setup is the constant aperture. I shoot a lot of video and variable apertures don't work for zooming in video mode.
I did however just buy the 500mm f4 USMII which blows away both methods of getting to 400mm. A bit of a price difference though!

If you're going to test the 200mm prime with extender, you should consider testing the 400mm f5.6 which falls into the under $1400 price range and may be the best of all the choices to get to 400mm. (Assuming that was part of the reason for this exercise.)


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jwcdds
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Dec 09, 2012 10:39 |  #14

yipDog Studios wrote in post #15344129external link
If you're going to test the 200mm prime with extender, you should consider testing the 400mm f5.6 which falls into the under $1400 price range and may be the best of all the choices to get to 400mm. (Assuming that was part of the reason for this exercise.)

The primary reason for this exercise was merely comparing 100-400 vs. 70-200/2.8 + 2x extender. I happened to have the lenses + extender so might as well show people what the results are. I have no bias towards any lenses since I own them all and I don't plan on selling any.

As far as using the 200 prime with extender, if I had a 400/5.6, I certainly would test it against the 200 + 2x. That said, the 200 + 2x @ f/5.6 is REALLY sharp still. @ f/4.0 it is a little bit softer, but by f/5.0, it walks all over the 100-400 @ f/5.6. If anyone local has a 400/5.6, I'd be happy to go through the exercise and post the results. :) (I'm already over-equipped and under-skilled. And it's rather clear that I have no need to pick up another 400mm lens.)


Julian
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yipDog ­ Studios
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Dec 09, 2012 11:05 |  #15

That's cool...definitely a good exercise and well done. Just wanted to add that to the mix to see what would happen. :)


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100-400L vs. 70-200/2.8ii + 2x iii vs. 200/2L + 2x iii
FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses


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