I got a chance to use my recently aquired Canon 100-400 lens this weekend. I shot all day at the Portland Dragon Boat races with it. Some of the things I noticed about it:
1. It's just as sharp under action shooting (fast switching between 4 boats coming up to the finish line) as it was on the tripod during some test shooting.
2. When it's out at 400mm and I'm hand holding, I do see more movement as I try to keep the center point focusing square on the spot I'm metering and focusing on.
3. I don't think I like the push pull. It's not as smooth as the twist zooms when I zoom in and out. I can live with it, but I can see that is going to be an irratant during some of the fast action events I shoot.
4. I don't like the position of the focus ring. I put my left hand underneath the lens and cradle it as I'm shooting. My fingers are on the push/pull ring but the focus ring is right on the palm of my hand. When I move my hand it turns the focus ring on me. This is going to take some getting use to in not letting the lens rest in my left hand this way.
5. The lens takes wonderful sharp pictures, even at 400mm and 5.6 fstop.
6. It was said on here (I forget by who) that you will get noticed with this thing. I got noticed. Even by Minolta and Nikon guys as well as other Canon shooters. They all wanted to stop and ask me about it. I had several conversations with other 10D shooters that had the 70-200 2.8L lens. Since I have both, we were comparing notes and I let one guy look through it. He was impressed. Even non-camera people made comments about it.
7. While the tightening ring is a good idea as you are walking around, it's a pain to loosen and tighten it when you are shooting and you can't do it with one hand. I had to keep holding the focus ring so I could turn the tighten ring and tighten or untighten it. So I just left it untightened most of the time, although it did travel out that way. Once I started walking around and wasn't doing any shooting, I tigtened it.
8. Did I mention yet how sharp it is?
9. I do wish it was a 4.0 across the whole zoom.
10. I found myself using the 400mm when I shouldn't have. Even though I knew I should back off a bit I still went to 400mm and took a closer shot. It's sure hard to ignore the ability to get those close in crops. But I'm going to have to learn.
Over all, I like the lens, it just has some differences that are going to take some effort to get use too. Weight was not really a factor. I have been using my 70-200 2.8L IS for the last year so I was use to it. I had the 70-200 in it's bag on my belt and I had my 24-70 2.8L in the camera bag. I have a number of all dayers and weekends like this, so that should give me plenty of practice and get use to it's quirks. But if Canon comes out with another version of the 100-400 that isn't a push/pull and/or even a little bit faster, I'll probably be one of the first to trade this one in.
Here are a few of the pictures I took for those interested: