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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #1
Rob Douglas
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Default 28-300 VS 100-400

OK it's tax time and I would like a new L lens. I am having difficulty deciding over the EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM and the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. On the one hand if I go with the 28-300 I can sell my 28-135 and 70-200 f/4 and would need to because of the whopping price tag. On the other hand, the 100-400 is cheaper but I wouldn't have the L IQ down to 28mm so I would have to keep the 28-135 and still sell the 70-200 f/4 to help out with the price of the 100-400. Is there a really big IQ difference between the two or is this comparing apples to oranges? I would love the versatility of the 28-300 especially on vacation and for those family trips to the zoo and such but the price tag is just really high.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #2
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

have you seen the size of the 28-300? It is anything but a vacation lens!

If you are just looking for more reach than the 70-200, I would try the 100-400L or maybe just a 1.4x extender.

If you want a vacation type all-in-one lens, there are much better choices for the 50D - like the Canon 18-200, or Tamron 18-270.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #3
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

I believe your going to loose a little IQ going with the 28-300 versus the 100-400, however not enough to consider this much of a factor IMO. I like the 100-400 option personally because it gives you more flexibility. You have 100mm more focal length, the ability to carry a lighter lens around if these bohemeths get to much, and if something happens to the lens, you have something to fall back on, IE, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. True, your going to give up IQ on the wide end, but not enough to overcome these other factors. To me, the most important question whether it's worth it to you to have the better IQ on the wider end vs. the extra 100mm.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #4
Rob Douglas
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

The price and weight of the 28-300 has me leaning more toward the 100-400. In all actuality I could sell the 28-135 and the 70-200 and go with a 18-200/100-400 combo for less than the 28-300 and have some serious versatility along with better IQ.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #5
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

The 28-300mm isn't at all leaps and bounds bigger than the 100-400mm. They're both roughly the same exact size, and there's a small weight difference. The 100-400mm is 3.6"x7.4" and weighs 3.1 pounds. The 28-300mm is 3.6"x7.1" and weighs 3.7 pounds. Not much difference there at all.

The 100-400mm has the tiniest edge in IQ, but it's tiny. The 28-300mm gives you a beautiful zoom range, no other lens will give you this much range with the type of IQ you can get from the lens. Both will not be spectacular at the wide end, but there's not many lenses of these types that are.

I've shot the 100-400mm, and I own the 28-300mm, both are great lenses, both will not disappoint you at all. However, you have to decide what you want out of a lens, any lens, before you decide on which lens. For me, the 28-300mm is an absolute killer at the zoo; one lens to do it all, that's for me. Excellent IQ, perfect range for that "take one lens to the zoo" solution. I used to use two lenses at the zoo, my Sig 150-500mm OS and my Sig 18-200mm OS. After buying the 28-300mm I find that I use it most of the time, and the 150-500mm OS when I need the extra reach.


The big kick in the pants with the 28-300mm is the price. If you can find one in good condition used, buy it. If you have to pay full price new, that takes a bit more thought. While it's a fantastic lens, I don't think it's quite worth $2500, no matter how good it is and how much range it has. I paid under $1800 for mine from KEH, but good luck waiting for them to get another one at that price. For $1800 I'd buy it all day long, for $2500 I'd wait.


I spoke to fast, I just checked KEH and they have one for $1739.00.. I'd jump on it if I were you. Mine said it was "EX" condition, and it looked brand new when I got it. The only signs of use were a few slight marks on the tripod foot. Otherwise it was perfect.


The 100-400mm is a great lens and has a more realistic price tag on it, but for a lens of that range I'd look at the Sigma 150-500mm OS. You'll lose 50mm on the low end, but you gain 100mm at the high end, and up to 4-stop stabilization. You get 2 stops at best with the 100-400mm. Plus, the Sig is cheaper. Both the Sig and the 100-400mm have identical IQ, but you get longer reach out of the Sig. To me, when it comes down to the 100-400mm L, I'd prefer the Sig all day long and twice on Sunday.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #6
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

What about the EF 300mm f/4L IS USM? looks like a pretty nice sleeper lens in Canon's L lineup. Could just replace my 70-200 with that and be done with it and have a sweet L prime.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #7
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

It's a great lens, but you can't zoom a prime. What happens if you are shooting, and you are too close or too far away from your subject? You can move, but what if you're in a spot where you don't have room to move, or what if your subject doesn't like you moving, and runs away? At the zoo it'd be a great lens, since the animals won't be going anywhere. But, you're stuck at one focal length. You won't be able to get closer to an animal that's in the back of its habitat, and you won't be able to get wider shots.

Having primes is great, because you get that great prime IQ, but you can't zoom a prime, and I'd rather have the versatility of a zoom, especially if it's a zoom that gets you IQ that's just a tiny bit less than a prime. But, that's just me.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #8
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

I can only say, since I own the 100-400 I would NOT want that to be my only lens...just too heavy to carry around all day. The 28-300 as stated, is just slightly heavier than my 100-400. Having said that, I have carried it all day at the zoo and at airshows. Any other applications I use a tripod.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #9
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

Katodog,

Good point. The weight of either of these lenses is not the issue at all for me. I am a heavy wrecker operator and a fireman so I carry and use heavy crap all day long (mostly 40lbs+) I think thats where I get my steady shots from, my camera being a feather compared to what I'm used to on a daily basis. I have a friend with a 100-400 and he is going to let me use it next trip out to see how I like it. I'm kind of leaning toward the 18-200/100-400 combo and ditching the 28-135 and 70-200.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #10
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

Sounds like a good plan. If you're looking for reach, don't discount the Sig 150-500mm OS. If you're planning on an 18-200mm, you won't miss any range between that and the Sig, plus you'll get 500mm. But, the 100-400mm is an exceptional lens, and I'm sure you'll love it. I don't have anything under 18mm, and to be honest I don't miss out on wide shots. the 18-200mm OS I have is wide enough, and most of the time the 28mm on the 28-300mm L is wide enough for me.


The way people talk about lenses being "heavy" makes me wonder if they have ever heard of working out. Coming from over 32 years of martial arts and plenty of years of working out, the weight of a lens, any lens, is nothing to me. I routinely carried a Meade 12" LX200R telescope, mount and tripod, around my yard with no problems, and with everything I had on it it weighted over 200 pounds. I get a giggle out of guys who claim lenses are too heavy.
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #11
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

I'm going to get the Kenko auto extension tube set to go with my 50mm prime so I'm more than covered on the low end. They will also be able to be used on the 18-200. The 28-300 is tempting but for that amount of money I don't really want to limit my reach and have all my eggs in one basket either. Thank you all for the help. It's very helpful hearing from others that have or had either or both.

Katodog,
Is the Sig 150-500 internal or telescoping?
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Old 7th of February 2010 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

It's telescoping, and it gets fairly long at 500mm. But, it's a fantastic lens.
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Old 8th of February 2010 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

I know the 100-400 is also a push/pull telescoping lens but what about the 28-300? Is that internal? I have never seen an image of it extended if it's telescoping. The 100-400 is weather sealed correct? I read somewhere that someone had said that it sucks in air as you slide it out, and that being a possible dust problem. Doesn't sound to accurate to me being a lens of that quality.
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Old 8th of February 2010 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400






The 28-300mm is a push/pull and does extend. As for sucking in dust, I haven't had a problem yet. I think the nickname given to the 100-400mm (the Dust Pump) is not totally founded in truth. It doesn't suck a lot of, if any at all, dust into itself, and neither does the 28-300mm.
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Old 8th of February 2010 (Mon)   #15
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Default Re: 28-300 VS 100-400

The nickname for the 100-400 is the dust-pump. The question boils down to what you want to be shooting all day.

I would take a serious look at the sigma 50-500, 120-300, 150-500...they are all nice lenses.

I wouldn't want to have an all-in-one lens. If you do think you'd like it: looking at your gear, I'd go this route:

50D + 18-55IS + 50 1.8 + 28-300
. 28 is not wide enough on crop and the 18-55 IS is sharp, and great for when you don't want to be carrying the 28-300 (it's 100 bucks to boot).
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