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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 11 Mar 2013 (Monday) 12:28
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Canon 400 or 100-400? Hard to decide

 
tgara
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Mar 12, 2013 08:13 |  #31

phreeky wrote in post #15705393 (external link)
No doubt it's overpriced, but I still think it's a great lens and am glad I own one. I would not be surprised if it's simplicity is why it's so good - minimal optical elements probably makes the IQ consistent between copies, makes it not go out of calibration/alignment, and barely any moving parts must help reliability.

But being an owner it's worth mentioning the negatives:
1) The lack of zoom can make things tricky in some circumstances. But for the record I've never found the MFD an issue.
2) The lack of IS is a bit disappointing. For birds in shade, or getting aircraft prop blur.
3) It does not pack up as small, and can be a bit more difficult for bag selection.

Some pros:
1) The built-in hood is just plain awesome.
2) The 8.5m focus limiter means it will cycle a focus hunt so fast that you hardly notice.
3) The balance/ergonomics of the 400 is miles ahead of the 100-400.
4) The good balance means sharp shots at lower shutter speeds than you'd normally expect for 400mm.

Great comments, Phreeky, thanks for these. I'm considering this lens myself, so your comments as an actual user are quite helpful.

Question: Is the 400/5.6 easily hand-holdable?


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tomj
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Mar 12, 2013 08:27 as a reply to  @ tgara's post |  #32

"Question: Is the 400/5.6 easily hand-holdable?"

Yes. I use one almost exclusively hand held, as do everyone else I know who uses one.

BTW, I shoot mainly birds, and don't find the lack of IS an issue.


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bobbyz
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Mar 12, 2013 08:42 |  #33

tgara wrote in post #15705895 (external link)
Great comments, Phreeky, thanks for these. I'm considering this lens myself, so your comments as an actual user are quite helpful.

Question: Is the 400/5.6 easily hand-holdable?

Very easy to HH IMHO. If lack of IS gets an issue, buy a simple $100 bogen monopod with a three little feet and a ball head. You would have no issues shooting at lower ss and setup is not heavy at all unlike a triditional tripod. IS On 100-400L is not that great either IMHO.

Bottom line if best picture quality and best AF are the top categories, get the prime. Otherwise zoom, simple.


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M_Six
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Mar 12, 2013 09:32 |  #34

tgara wrote in post #15705895 (external link)
Question: Is the 400/5.6 easily hand-holdable?

Yes, it is. I also use a monopod with a Opteka Gimbal Head, which gives you great range of motion and keeps the camera/lens setup from hanging on your neck for hours. The downside to a monopod mount is that you need to lift the whole thing if the bird flies overhead. Make sure you don't smack those around you with the monopod. :D


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tgara
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Mar 12, 2013 11:35 as a reply to  @ M_Six's post |  #35

Thanks for the confirmation tomj, bobbyz, and M-Six.


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J.Litton
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Mar 12, 2013 13:17 |  #36

100-400 IMO. With the 400, you can only do 400...


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bps
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Mar 12, 2013 13:24 |  #37

Unless you have very specific needs, the decision between the 100-400 and the 400 5.6 prime is a very difficult one to make. So much so, that one could probably sit on the fence forever!

Bryan


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dochollidayda
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Mar 12, 2013 13:36 |  #38

bps wrote in post #15706914 (external link)
Unless you have very specific needs, the decision between the 100-400 and the 400 5.6 prime is a very difficult one to make. So much so, that one could probably sit on the fence forever!

Bryan

+1. If the prime had IS, the decision would be a lot easier. All its going for it right now is the IQ. Lack of IS really put a big dent in its value. Having said that, most folks using for wildlife and nature are probably shooting at 400mm 90% of the time.


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tomj
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Mar 12, 2013 13:45 as a reply to  @ tgara's post |  #39

"All its going for it right now is the IQ."

Plus very fast and accurate focusing - which was the main reason I switched to the 400 from a Sigma 150-500. I don't have experience with the 100-400, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing that beats the 400 in this regard. Combined with the IQ, it's why the lens is so highly regarded for BIF.


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lmans
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Mar 12, 2013 14:07 |  #40

M_Six wrote in post #15706166 (external link)
Yes, it is. I also use a monopod with a Opteka Gimbal Head, which gives you great range of motion and keeps the camera/lens setup from hanging on your neck for hours. The downside to a monopod mount is that you need to lift the whole thing if the bird flies overhead. Make sure you don't smack those around you with the monopod. :D

I will walk around with my 400 attached to the mono-pod with the legs not extended. Easy to carry over one's shoulder and just aim and shoot at BIF...excellent lens for it. Much easier on one's body to carry on the mono-pod on my shoulder than having the lens on no mono-pod hung around my neck.

If I want to use the monopod, easy to extend too....

Yes...there are times when you might want to go less then 400, as I recently just purchased a 200 to do just that. But, ...when I want something less than 400 it is usually because something is upclose and personal under canopy jungles etc and the 200 shoots at 2.8, while the 100-400 is still limited at 5.6,...so the value of having that zoom is not that great.

Also...lack of IS on the prime...no problem. Just shoot correctly with plenty of light and use ISO if needed or monopod, jim


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Mar 13, 2013 13:07 as a reply to  @ lmans's post |  #41

Again, I think there is sample variation involved, but I don't think IQ should be a deciding factor between the two.

http://www.pbase.com …e/image/8641663​0/original (external link)

I think my copy of the 100-400L is as sharp wide open as my 70-200 f/2.8L IS (mark I) at f/4.

As far as AF speed, I've had my son run straight at me and nailed every shot at 6 fps (5D3). As long as I keep the AF sensors on the birds in flight, AF tracking is fast and accurate. I make plenty of mistakes but the AF of the zoom seems to be spot on. I can't blame the gear, at any rate. :)

I do wish the zoom had a built-in sliding lens hood though. I loved that feature on my 300mm f/4L. I think the 300L was a little sharper but not enough to notice without being picky making side-by-side comparisons.

The zoom also has nice bokeh, which you might not think about from something that slow. I find backgrounds generally more pleasing than I got from my 300L.


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bobbyz
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Mar 13, 2013 13:14 |  #42

sawsedge wrote in post #15710989 (external link)
Again, I think there is sample variation involved, but I don't think IQ should be a deciding factor between the two.

http://www.pbase.com …e/image/8641663​0/original (external link)

I think my copy of the 100-400L is as sharp wide open as my 70-200 f/2.8L IS (mark I) at f/4.

As far as AF speed, I've had my son run straight at me and nailed every shot at 6 fps (5D3). As long as I keep the AF sensors on the birds in flight, AF tracking is fast and accurate. I make plenty of mistakes but the AF of the zoom seems to be spot on. I can't blame the gear, at any rate. :)

I do wish the zoom had a built-in sliding lens hood though. I loved that feature on my 300mm f/4L. I think the 300L was a little sharper but not enough to notice without being picky making side-by-side comparisons.

The zoom also has nice bokeh, which you might not think about from something that slow. I find backgrounds generally more pleasing than I got from my 300L.

Pictures please.

Also bookeh of 100-400L is not something to write home about IMHO. I did love the lens. It was my first purchase with 10d. Here is a shot with 1dmk2.

IMAGE: http://www.bobbyzphotography.com/img/s2/v1/p77172011-5.jpg

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Steve626
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Mar 13, 2013 13:37 |  #43

Wow, lots of responses, thanks everyone.

What I don't like about the Bigma is:
1) the AF with my T2i is worthless, all the camera does is search search search and I'm not too good with manual focus, but I make do.
2) I can't crop any photos, they are only nice at 100%, but get fuzzy when I zoom in more. I'm hoping that IS will fix this. The images that I used to get with a 55-250 were much nicer in this regard.
3) honestly, it isn't a white L-lens. Petty as it sounds, I sort of want one. But some other professional photographers that I run into have the 100-400L and their photos are much nicer than mine when out at the same time taking photos of the same things.

If the 400 5.6 had IS I don't think that I'd hesitate in a second. But I don't want to complain about not having IS and then get a lens without it.

If anyone is interested, I have my Bigma on the local CL. I'd be willing to ship it anywhere in the US for $750 or so.

I shot this last night:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8507/8553667585_2d80237a90_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …steve_valasek/8​553667585/  (external link)
Comet PanSTAARS and Moon 2 (external link) by steve0626 (external link), on Flickr



  
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moltengold
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Mar 13, 2013 14:34 |  #44

all of them great lenses
i sold them both
no birds in my place
but i like to use big lenses for macro
this inside the house with the pop-up flash from the 7D handheld :)

7D + EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

IMAGE: http://im26.gulfup.com/2012-05-26/1338047342741.jpg

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Scrumhalf
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Mar 13, 2013 14:50 |  #45

I know you asked about wildlife and birds, but here is a shot of Mt. Hood with the 100-400 pegged at 400mm from the deck of my condo. Distance to mountain is 54 miles as the crow flies from my condo, so I'd say the lens did pretty good! :)

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8512/8542681735_61c1963a5f_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/87114888@N07/8​542681735/  (external link)
Mt. Hood from the deck of my condo (external link) by Scrumhalf (external link), on Flickr

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Canon 400 or 100-400? Hard to decide
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