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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 15 Mar 2012 (Thursday) 21:41
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300mm L f4 + 1.4x vs 400mm L f5.6

 
wcleung
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Mar 15, 2012 21:41 |  #1

The purpose is bird photography (hand held, both stationary and in flight) and occasionally moon shoots (with tripod).
Has anyone compared the IQ for these two set ups?
Many thanks,
Debbie




  
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halitime
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Mar 16, 2012 00:13 |  #2

The IQ and focus speed will be better with the 400 but the versatility of the 300 and TC made the 300
the choice for me.For,handheld, stationary birds I want IS,for BIF I want fast focus ! This topic has many pages on here so if you try a search you will see all the debate.The 300's Min. Focus Dist. was the deal breaker for me.Both great lenses but when at their best have very different uses.


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cppr85
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Mar 16, 2012 03:56 |  #3

^+1 This is why I have the 100-400 and 400. I use the 400 for bif and for backyard birds I found the smaller birds move to quickly never really sit still so for those its all fast shutter speeds. Now the 100-400 I like to use for larger birds geese and for white tail deer when in low light thwse guys don't move quite as quickly allowing for slower shutter speeds and lower iso with the help of is. But to be honest I try to favor faster shutter speeds for sharpness. I would look for examples and reviews both the 300 and 400 are excellent lenses and light weight.


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Scoobs
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Mar 16, 2012 05:20 |  #4

I have the 300 and use it a lot with the 1.4 extender. I've not used the 400 but am very happy with the quality of the 300. It's very very good on its own and plenty good enough with the extender.

I've used this combo for birds and also on safari. I find the IS very handy too even if it is a bit noisy.

Here's a couple from my 300 plus 1.4 extender. I usually shoot at f7.1 or f8 but have no problems using it at f5.6 if the light is lower.

I also like how the 300 can focus close, not macro but allows good close ups of butterflys and bigger insects.

Hope that helps.


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bobbyz
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Mar 16, 2012 08:43 |  #5

Birds, simple, get the longest focal length you can afford. So 400mm over 300mm any time of day or night. You can stick non reporting 1.4xTC on 400mm and be at 560mm f8 with not much image quality degradation. AF will be slow for sure but works in day light. Need IS, spend $100 and get bogen monopod with 3 little feet. Works fine for lens like 400mm f5.6 which is super light IMHO.


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stsva
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Mar 16, 2012 10:03 |  #6

bobbyz wrote in post #14096503 (external link)
Birds, simple, get the longest focal length you can afford. So 400mm over 300mm any time of day or night. You can stick non reporting 1.4xTC on 400mm and be at 560mm f8 with not much image quality degradation. AF will be slow for sure but works in day light. Need IS, spend $100 and get bogen monopod with 3 little feet. Works fine for lens like 400mm f5.6 which is super light IMHO.

I agree with bobbyz. I've got the 400 f/5.6L and the next item on my wishlist is the EF 1.4X III extender. I find that even at 400mm on a 1.6 crop camera I still often need more focal length - maybe I need to get better at sneaking up on them. :)


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cfcRebel
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Mar 16, 2012 10:18 |  #7

wcleung wrote in post #14094538 (external link)
The purpose is bird photography (hand held, both stationary and in flight) and occasionally moon shoots (with tripod).
Has anyone compared the IQ for these two set ups?
Many thanks,
Debbie

Hi Debbie,
There's a similar question on the Birds forum. Take a look.
https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1159568

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renlok
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Mar 16, 2012 10:29 |  #8

I have the 300mm L f4 IS + 1.4x II and I've been pretty disappointed in general, I've only hand held so far and the IS does help.
I havent tried using it on a tripod apart from taking photos of the moon, but my birding images IMO, havent been what I expect from a L lens. I'll have to take my tripod out and try taking pics of a few birds.


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cfcRebel
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Mar 16, 2012 11:48 |  #9

renlok wrote in post #14097014 (external link)
I have the 300mm L f4 IS + 1.4x II and I've been pretty disappointed in general, I've only hand held so far and the IS does help.
I havent tried using it on a tripod apart from taking photos of the moon, but my birding images IMO, havent been what I expect from a L lens. I'll have to take my tripod out and try taking pics of a few birds.

That's a good thing to try next. The OP of the following post also had similar issue using 300mm + TC. Then the tripod helped a lot.
https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1153899


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amfoto1
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Mar 16, 2012 12:36 |  #10

I use the 300/4 IS as my longest handheld tele, with and without 1.4X TC. I'll use a monopod some of the time with the lens or lens + TC. But as often as not that's to give my arm a rest during a long shooting day, as it is to help steady the shot.

I'd rather have two focal lengths - 300mm and an effective 420mm f5.6 with the TC on the lens, than a single 400mm. I've been using on 7D, 5DII, 50D mostly... and don't really notice any drop in AF speed in decent light, when I use the TC. I've shot all sorts of sports/action/BIF with it. It might be different with other cameras. I have not used the 400/5.6, so can't really compare AF speed between the lenses. But I don't notice much difference between the 300/4 or 300/4 + 1.4X and the 300/2.8 I use with and without the same TC, or with 70-200/2.8 that I tend to use without any TC. The f4 lens is a little slower than the 300/2.8, but still plenty fast for me. A 500/4 I also use is a bit slower focusing than either of the 300s. And the 300/2.8 with a 2X II TC is more obviously slowed (I don't use that TC on any of the other lenses.)

With most Canon cameras, if you want AF it's not going to work or will be more difficult to use with a teleconverter on the 400/5.6. The effective f8 aperture of the lens + 1.4X will shut down AF on most of the Canon bodies (exception: 1D series, 1V series, EOS-3... but center AF point only on all of them). However, to be fair, some people make it work by buying third party teleconverters (that the camera doesn't recognize, so it still tries to AF) or by taping up a couple of the contacts on the Canon TC to "hide" it from the camera. However, an f8 effective aperture will slow down AF in a lot more situations.

If going with a Canon TC, I'd probably try to find a 1.4X II... Optically, it's fine and there would be little to be gained with the considerably more expensive 1.4X III (which is actually designed to slow down AF 25% in order to improve accuracy... something Canon has stopped mentioning in their marketing info about the Mark III TCs). If I were looking at a 2X and/or wanting to use either TC on the newer 70-200/2.8 Mark II, I'd want the Mark III TCs.

Also note that if using the 300/4 locked down on a tripod, you need to turn off the IS manually. It's an early version of IS that doesn't automatically turn itself off when on a tripod (the 200/2, 300/2.8, 500/4 and some others do... along with the 100-400, 28-135 and some others, 300/4 requires you to turn it off). If using the lens "loose" on a tripod, such as panning and/or on a gimbal mount, or on a monopod, I leave IS on and haven't had any problems.

A zoom might be more versatile, but I still prefer a prime lens for anything longer than 200mm. Zooms have vastly improved the past ten or twenty years, but I still feel the image quality of the primes is a little better. Zooms I'd consider for BIF and other wildlife would be the Canon 100-400 IS (tho I'm not a big fan of push-pull zooms), Sigma 120-400 OS and 150-500 OS. If I win the lottery big time, and Canon finally gets around to offering it, I might get the 200-400/4 1.4X!


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wcleung
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Mar 17, 2012 00:28 |  #11

Thanks everyone for the valuable information! I've gone through the earlier posts as well. I currently have the 300 + 1.4X II and someone I know is selling a 400. I love the 300, but I've seen photos taken with the 400 (and same camera) that sent me to a shock (I haven't forgotten contributions to this forum can be best of best). Given such informative comparisons, I have to both determine how much usage of mine falls into the 400 regime, and how much hand instability degrades my photos. Thanks once again. Debbie




  
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Mike55
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Mar 17, 2012 09:25 |  #12

400 5.6 for birds in flight, 300 and 1.4x for all around.


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stsva
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Mar 17, 2012 13:54 |  #13

Just to give you an idea of ways to use the 400 besides for birds in flight, here are some non-bird shots with the 400 recently posted in the 400 f/5.6L lens sample thread:
https://photography-on-the.net …p=14102520&post​count=2555
https://photography-on-the.net …p=14102526&post​count=2556
https://photography-on-the.net …p=14103146&post​count=2557


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NASS ­ Photo
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Mar 17, 2012 18:13 |  #14

Mike55 wrote in post #14102361 (external link)
400 5.6 for birds in flight, 300 and 1.4x for all around.

Mike. Thank you. That answers my question I wanted to ask regarding the 2 lenses. I have the 1.4 x for my 400mm, but, since I do not have a 1D or 1Ds, my 560mm becomes manual focus. Trying to use it on BIF is a PITA. The 400mm by itself works a lot better. Using it on the 5DMII allows me to crop a bunch.


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wcleung
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Mar 17, 2012 20:58 |  #15

Decided ... I should work on improving hand stability on the 300 first. When I can handle the 420mm
focal length with IS off with reasonable stability, I can reward myself with the extra IQ from the 400 :) Many thanks for your help! Debbie




  
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300mm L f4 + 1.4x vs 400mm L f5.6
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