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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 19 Jun 2017 (Monday) 10:40
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EF 400 f5.6L v EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L Mkii

 
oingyboingybob
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Jun 19, 2017 10:40 |  #1

Can any of you nice people out there help me with my conundrum please? I have a Canon Mkii 100-400 which IMO is a superb lens in most respects. It's been the only lens of my collection so far that I haven't even considered letting go but over the past few weeks I have started to struggle little with weight. Camera equipment that is, not my own. I used to have a 400 f5.6 many years ago which I let go and after looking through my catalogue of images very often top shots with that 400 appear with regard to BIF, and very nice they are too, even when compared to BIF with the Mkii which although is obviously a zoom, is used most often at 400mm. I'm tempted to sell the 100-400 Mkii and re-aquire the 400 f5.6 and bank the financial saving. Yes I know there is no IS on the 400 but TBH it's mostly turned off for my birding shots on the 100-400. The loss in weight would be considerable not to mention the gain in my bank account as a 400 f5.6 can be had for a muchly reduced cost. But would I be disappointed in the IQ?

Sensible input would be appreciated, especially from those members who have or have had both of the above lenses.


Canon: EOS 1DX, 70-300 f4-5.6 mkii, 24-105L
Sigma: 150-600C, 105 f2.8 EX DG OS, 50 f1.4A.

  
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Bassat
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Jun 19, 2017 10:56 |  #2

I use my 100-400 at all focal lengths. I don't have much use for a 400mm prime, especially one without IS.




  
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DWE53
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Post edited over 1 year ago by DWE53. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 19, 2017 11:56 |  #3

I owned the 400 5.6 when I bought the 100-400 mk2.
I sold the 400 5.6 soon afterwards and have never regretted that decision. Like the previous poster I use all focal lengths and especially appreciate the minimum focus distance. I've been able to get some decent butterfly and dragonfly photos with the mk2 which would not have been possible with the prime.

However if the weight is a real issue for you the 400 prime is a great walk round lens. My wife has it, loves it and would not contemplate the heavier 100-400 mk2 having tried mine.

Neither of us has ever been disappointed with the IQ from the prime.

Good luck.

Dave




  
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oingyboingybob
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Jun 19, 2017 12:03 |  #4

DWE53 wrote in post #18381948 (external link)
I owned the 400 5.6 when I bought the 100-400 mk2.
I sold the 400 5.6 soon afterwards and have never regretted that decision. Like the previous poster I use all focal lengths and especially appreciate the minimum focus distance. I've been able to get some decent butterfly and dragonfly photos with the mk2 which would not have been possible with the prime.

However if the weight is a real issue for you the 400 prime is a great walk round lens. My wife has it, loves it and would not contemplate the heavier 100-400 mk2 having tried mine.

Neither of us has ever been disappointed with the IQ from the prime.

Good luck.

Dave

Thanks Dave. Yes the MFD of the 400 is cack however I have other glass for close focussing but it's dependent on whether I'm carrying it with me of course. I agree the 100-400 is probably a better all-round performer and that's why it's not cheap. Oh dear, not at all sure here.


Canon: EOS 1DX, 70-300 f4-5.6 mkii, 24-105L
Sigma: 150-600C, 105 f2.8 EX DG OS, 50 f1.4A.

  
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DWE53
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Jun 19, 2017 12:09 as a reply to  @ oingyboingybob's post |  #5

Agreed tough decision....
However IMHO and I'm no expert or pixel peeper but I can see little or no difference in IQ if that's your main concern.
I stand to be corrected by others who are better informed :-)
Dave




  
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mcoren
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Jun 19, 2017 17:26 |  #6

Hi Bob. I've never used either lens, but hopefully you will find my input to your decision "sensible". Since you previously owned the 400 and you now own the 100-400ii, no doubt you have a collection of your own images taken with both that you can use to decide if you like the IQ of one better than the other. You already said that most of your top shots were made with the 400 prime, so it sounds as though you are happy with its IQ even after using the 100-400ii for a while.

Primes generally have better overall IQ than zooms. Maybe the 100-400ii is a special case, but I would consider it to be in essentially the same price class as the 400 prime (taking into consideration Canon's usual premium for IS). From what I have read here on POTN, the IQ from both lenses is top notch.

Looking at their specs, the weight difference between the 400 and the 100-400ii is less than 400g. Do you feel that difference will be sufficient for you?

You also mention that you use your 100-400ii most often at 400, so it sounds to me as though you wouldn't miss the rest of the zoom range, or the IS. Assuming IQ is comparable between the two lenses, based on your original post, I would think that the only reason to keep the 100-400ii is for one of those reasons (zoom range or IS).

Hope that's helpful!
Mike


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EOS M5, and EOS 100 (film SLR)
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jimmy_racoon
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Post edited over 1 year ago by jimmy_racoon.
     
Jun 19, 2017 19:36 |  #7

love the 400mm f/5.6 even with no IS

I also have the 70-200mm f/4 IS

just wanted a spectacular prime to use in good light and would not sell it due to the IQ and reach!

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4205/35375537046_92d9b1c31f_b.jpg

Canon 5D2 w/ BG-E6 | Canon 7D Mark 1 | Canon EF 17-40 f/4L | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II | Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM | Canon EF 400 f/5.6L | Manfrotto 055XPROB w/ 488RC2 Ballhead | Canon Speedlight 430EX II
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Phoenixkh
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Jun 20, 2017 00:27 |  #8

I realize I only have anecdotal experience but I also had the 400 f/5.6 when I got my 100-400ii. I sold my 400 prime after a few outings with the 100-400ii. I've had many more keepers with the new lens. Truth be told, I did better with my 70-300L than I did with the 400 f/5.6.

That being said... I know so many people here who have had great success with the 400 f/5.6, I almost hesitated to make a comment.


Kim (the male variety) Canon 1DX2 | 1D IV | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS | 100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
RRS tripod and monopod | 580EXII | Cinch 1 & Loop 3 Special Edition | Editing Encouraged

  
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Elton ­ Balch
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Jun 20, 2017 09:15 |  #9

After owning the 100-400 for a few months, I just can't imagine parting with it for the non IS 400 mm prime, but if your use pushes you in that direction, then do it. I do find I use mine predominantly at 400 mm but I get excellent results through the entire zoom range. Your signature shows the Sigma 150-600; had you considered selling that instead? I do understand the weight issue but the functionality trumps the weight from my perspective. I'm 72 so carting the 100-400 around for a couple of hours does take a toll!

If you can, I'd suggest buying a used 400 and keeping your 100-400 until you can do your own head to head comparison and then selling the
'Loser".


Elton Balch
5D Mark III, 7D Mark II, 24 mm f/1.4 L, 35 mm f/1.4 L, 50 mm f/1.2 L, 85 mm f/1.2 L, 100 mm f/2.8 macro, 135 mm f/2 L, 300 mm f/4 L, 16-35 f/4 L IS, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 24-105 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS ii, 580 EX Flash, Speedlight 600 EX RT, 1.4 extender, extension tubes and other stuff.

  
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oingyboingybob
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Jun 20, 2017 12:08 |  #10

Elton Balch wrote in post #18382624 (external link)
After owning the 100-400 for a few months, I just can't imagine parting with it for the non IS 400 mm prime, but if your use pushes you in that direction, then do it. I do find I use mine predominantly at 400 mm but I get excellent results through the entire zoom range. Your signature shows the Sigma 150-600; had you considered selling that instead? I do understand the weight issue but the functionality trumps the weight from my perspective. I'm 72 so carting the 100-400 around for a couple of hours does take a toll!

If you can, I'd suggest buying a used 400 and keeping your 100-400 until you can do your own head to head comparison and then selling the
'Loser".

On the nail there Elton. Yes I do have the Sigma 150-600c but it's used mainly from static positions on a tripod, ie a hide or similar. I've tried swinging it around for BIF shots with comical results - it keeps going when I have stopped! It does, however, have excellent IQ at the long range IMO and so for the money is good value. I'm starting to think that I should just dig deep, buy a used 400 prime and, as you suggest, suck it and see so to speak. Both the 400 prime and the zoom are eminently sellable, hopefully?


Canon: EOS 1DX, 70-300 f4-5.6 mkii, 24-105L
Sigma: 150-600C, 105 f2.8 EX DG OS, 50 f1.4A.

  
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mkkaczy
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Jun 21, 2017 09:38 |  #11

I liked 400/5.6 because it was giving me pictures that overall looked similar to much more expensive white long prime brothers. Mainly creamy blur and good sharpness. Something I do not see even with more expensive zooms. I pay more attention to the background and light than main subject. But it's my preference, your may by different.


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Elton ­ Balch
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Jun 21, 2017 15:10 |  #12

oingyboingybob wrote in post #18382748 (external link)
On the nail there Elton. Yes I do have the Sigma 150-600c but it's used mainly from static positions on a tripod, ie a hide or similar. I've tried swinging it around for BIF shots with comical results - it keeps going when I have stopped! It does, however, have excellent IQ at the long range IMO and so for the money is good value. I'm starting to think that I should just dig deep, buy a used 400 prime and, as you suggest, suck it and see so to speak. Both the 400 prime and the zoom are eminently sellable, hopefully?

Hey Bob--Both lenses are easily "sellable" so treat any loss as though it was a rental fee. There seems to be an adequate supply of used 400 mm primes here in the US at around $800-850 dollars which is a real bargain considering the f4 IS version is almost $7000 new! The 100-400 version ii is also in demand in the used market. Once you own both, I think you'll be inclined to keep both in my opinion.

Come on, you know you want it...:mrgreen:


Elton Balch
5D Mark III, 7D Mark II, 24 mm f/1.4 L, 35 mm f/1.4 L, 50 mm f/1.2 L, 85 mm f/1.2 L, 100 mm f/2.8 macro, 135 mm f/2 L, 300 mm f/4 L, 16-35 f/4 L IS, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 24-105 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS ii, 580 EX Flash, Speedlight 600 EX RT, 1.4 extender, extension tubes and other stuff.

  
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Thorsten
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Jun 21, 2017 23:15 |  #13

I've moved from the 400/5.6 to the 100-400 MkII, and then after some time back to the prime. I'm much happier with the 400/5.6. I've shot them side by side and the images are the same, I could not see any difference in sharpness, either. The zoom has several advantages of course: Well it zooms, it has a short MFD and IS. But I found that I practically always use it for birds (at 400mm, no use for the zoom or MFD), and often shooting them in flight (no use for IS). On the other hand, hand-holding the zoom, especially for BIF, always bugged me: The diameter is too big to hold the barrel and holding the foot is awkward. The 400/5.6 is much more pleasant to hold up. Then next, putting that plastic hood on and off the zoom gets old pretty quickly. The prime has a built-in hood. Finally, when walking around and spotting a subject, I often had the zoom at the wrong focal length (i.e. at 100mm). Eventually I resorted to locking it at 400mm. And finally reached the conclusion I may as well go back to the proper 400mm lens. It also weighs less yet feels more solid. Fool that I am, I had already sold the 400/5.6, so I got me another one, sold the zoom and now I'm good.

Keep in mind that this is my specific use case, and most others will likely appreciate the advantages of the zoom. But the prime still has it's benefits.


Thorsten (external link)
Canon 5D3, 24 IS, 35L, 50/1.8 STM, 85/1.8, 100L, 135L, 200/2.8L, 400/5.6L, 16-35/4L, 24-70/4L, 70-200/4L IS, Rokinon 12/2.8

  
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oingyboingybob
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Jun 23, 2017 10:18 as a reply to  @ Thorsten's post |  #14

Well there we are, a varied set of responses - all received with thanks.

I now have a used, but in excellent condition, 400 f5.6L on its way to me.

It will be interesting to see how I do without IS along with the relative slowness of an f5.6 prime lens, however as other have also said IS is not needed for BIF and can actually be a hindrance regarding AF speed and I doubt that I shall use this lens for anything else.

My 100-400 mkii remains with me as well, certainly for the time being anyway. Possibly more versatile than the prime yet heavier and no faster at the mid to long end of the FL. IQ between the two lenses is probably very close, if not indistinguishable.

I shall update in good time for those who may be interested...in the meantime thanks again to those who contributed.


Canon: EOS 1DX, 70-300 f4-5.6 mkii, 24-105L
Sigma: 150-600C, 105 f2.8 EX DG OS, 50 f1.4A.

  
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Peter2516
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Peter2516.
     
Jun 23, 2017 12:34 |  #15

I sold my 400 f5.6 so I am now just waiting for a better deal with 100-400mm mkII then I heard about the Sigma 100-400mm....added to the equation I am now more confused :) I am just hoping that a price drop for canon mkII is around the corner.


Peter
http://www.flickriver.​com/photos/peterbangay​an (external link)
EOS 5D Mark IV, 1Dx1, 7D Mark I & II/Canon T2i Gripped/EF 500mm f/4L IS USM MK1 / EF70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM / EF100 -400 f4.5-5.6L USM/ EFS 10-22mm/EFS 17-55mm/EFS 18-200mm/Canon 1.4x II/Canon 2x III/ 430EXII / 580EXII.

  
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EF 400 f5.6L v EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L Mkii
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