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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 24 Jun 2010 (Thursday) 11:18
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Canon 100-400 new vs used

 
gordholio
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Jun 24, 2010 11:18 |  #1

Hi everyone:

This is my first-ever post, so thanks in advance to anyone who wants to respond.

After much deliberation, I'm pretty much sold on the Canon 100-400 for birding/wildlife/long distance shots. I've tried the 300 and 400 primes, and I simply prefer to have zooming capabilities. I also prefer the weight and performance of the 100-400 to any of the long-range Sigma zooms. So no advice needed there.

However, I am looking for some advice on what to do in my own particular situation. I've heard about soft vs sharp copies of the 100-400, so I bought a brand new copy from a local store on the basis that I could take it back within a week for a full refund if it turned out to be soft. Luckily, I was then able to find a used copy (built way back in 1999) at another store that I was able to buy on the same "return within a week" basis. I've now tried them both for several hours, focusing on objects in my back yard at 400mm. And without a doubt, the 1999 version is sharper at 400mm, most notably in the center of the frame, than the brand new copy. I have a dozen side-by-side examples to prove it, and it's the same every time. (I use a T2i, BTW, so I don't have any micro-adjustment capability.)

So...seeing that I don't want to compare lenses forever and seeing that not every store will allow full refunds (and seeing that there isnt an endless suply of 100-400s in my area), I'd like to make a decision. My question then: Would you buy a 1999 100-400 for $1200 that seems to work like a charm in all aspects and looks, as best as I can determine, clean, or would you pay nearly $1700 for a brand new version that isn't as clean at 400mm but could be returned to Canon during warranty (I'd do this immediately) for calibration/repair?

I know this is my own decision, but I thought I'd try to solicit a few thoughts first. I'm still fairly new to high-end camera stuff. Thanks again to anyone who wants to repsond.




  
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crn3371
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Jun 24, 2010 11:42 |  #2

For a difference of $500 I'd be tempted to go for the used lens. The 100-400 has remained unchanged over the years so you're ok there. The only thing you might want to consider is possible resale down the road.




  
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TheDA
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Jun 24, 2010 11:46 as a reply to  @ crn3371's post |  #3

Based on the information provided I'd go with the used lens. I have had this lens since 2004 and it is a fantastic wildlife/bird lens. Mine is very sharp but I have heard that there are many soft ones out there. If you have your hands on a sharp one...keep it! Good luck.


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woehlerking
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Jun 24, 2010 11:55 as a reply to  @ TheDA's post |  #4

I would consider new only because they are less than $1500 now and for a difference of less than $300 you get brand new with warranty. Also this lens has a reputation of collecting dust (the dust pump) so I would be weary of a lens that old.
However saying that I have bought many lenses used and have no complaints.


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condyk
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Jun 24, 2010 11:55 |  #5

I had three and was never impressed with any of them so if you have found one that seems like a good copy I'd go used. I'd want to ensure it's in super-clean condition at that price and that the bearings in the push-pull mechanism are still ok. I know this can be a very nice lens.


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seattlite
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Jun 24, 2010 12:46 as a reply to  @ condyk's post |  #6

Check out these comments about UW+ date coded lenses: http://www.fredmiranda​.com/forum/topic/91027​7/0#8593005 (external link)

My UY copy just came a week ago and I found it to be pretty sharp at 400mm.




  
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alpha_1976
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Jun 24, 2010 13:14 |  #7

Mine were very sharp and they were dated US/UT. I don't think there is any magic in UW+


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ingraman
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Jun 24, 2010 13:16 as a reply to  @ seattlite's post |  #8

I had a 2003 copy for around $900. No problems. I've never hesitated to buy used, you save a bunch of money, and you lose less when you sell.




  
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vitacura
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Jun 24, 2010 14:13 |  #9

Amazon has new for $1440 or so, great deal!


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CyberDyneSystems
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Jun 24, 2010 14:20 |  #10

I own and have owned a number of used lenses. My 100-400mm was used..


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gordholio
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Jun 24, 2010 16:17 |  #11

Thanks to everyone who's replied thus far. The Amazon $1410 deal is great - except I live in Canada and even if I bring it back over the border myself, I get dinged an extra $150 or so at customs. Plus, I don't know if the copy they send me is sharp - and judging from my not-so-good experience with this other brand new copy, I'm pretty worried about quality control. BTW, new up here in BC, the 100-400 goes for in excess of $1700, plus 12% tax. Grr...




  
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SkyW
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Jun 24, 2010 16:23 |  #12

Any idea if a new 100-400 II will be released any time soon?
It seems to have lived for quite a while .. perhaps an updated version such as in the case of the new 70-200f2.8 IS II shall arrive soon?
Im also in the market for this lens and would hate to buy one only for a upgrade to be released soon after


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gordholio
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Jun 24, 2010 16:26 |  #13

Except that the upgraded version, presumably with new IS, etc, would likely cost a ton more.




  
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crcal
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Jun 24, 2010 16:41 as a reply to  @ gordholio's post |  #14

I own or have owned three 100-400's. I would determine which one I wanted based on image quality and not on age. Since the one with better IQ is also the cheaper one, for me it's a no brainer.


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Tanglefoot47
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Jun 24, 2010 17:25 |  #15

alpha_1976 wrote in post #10419887 (external link)
Mine were very sharp and they were dated US/UT. I don't think there is any magic in UW+

Oh but I think there is over the years I have owned many of the 100-400's can't remember how many. started years ago when I had a running battle between the 1-400 and the Bigma bought one sold the other many times over. Most of the 1-400 were great then it was the battle between the 1-400 and 400 5.6 and over the years what I have noticed the newer 1-400 seem more consistent in sharpness. I also heard Canon now checks every 1-400 before they send them out. I have never had a bad 1-400 with a date code of UW or newer. I am not saying the older lenses are not good but for the money I will take a newer one any day over a older date code.




  
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Canon 100-400 new vs used
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