Mathew,thanks for this thread,it's been a real joy to read through.I came from a 300F2.8 is to the 400 DO is II ,the 500is II always featured in my thinking ,but I went for the lighter choice. Whether that was the right choice without living with these beasts how can one know?? We are all individuals persuing our own niches of wildlife image making. I've only been using the DO II for a few months Matt, alot of dull grey light and being time pressed,means few chances in cool light to see what she really can do. Mathew this lens was the second biggest purchase in my life,so I have no way to try both bar renting ,and renting wouldn't give me time enough to evaluate,with my experience level.
I have tended to specialise on few subjects mate,our UK brown hare being one I just adore. I up graded simply because my 300 was no longer supported here by canon.that means little if someone can fix an older lens,but having been told by a friend he had the last switch plate in EU made me move to an upgrade quicker than I probably would have,other wise. So I got the DO both for use with ext 's and that portability. I am working up a technique were I can get to them (hares) ,it's part wait in the right spot part move to the best spot,which might mean a crawl for a couple of hundred yards. I've also armed myself with a little induro hi hat tripod. 'it's a pain to get out in the filed a leg on a dead stem is a disaster I'd slide over. But with a little gimbal it helps on those occassions where one is simply waiting for a dozy hare to wake up and do sommit it also helps when panning : I struggle panning off my elbows when lying on the floor. Not to mention a tripod set right is always going to help with IQ
Mathew so many of your emotions I have gone through have I done the right thing being the biggest. It has to be said that not being the most affluent guy,the 500 was a bigger stretch for me financially,one that if I've got my really sensible head on was good I didn't make. I got an incredible deal because of blackfriday deals and also had to part ex my beloved 300,so now here I am with this 400DO II as my only lens. I shoot with a 1Div so suspect I won't really see the best of her until I upgrade the camera,leastways with the TC part of things.
Maybe what I do is slightly unusual this very light supertele really works for me,I yearn to be close to me subject but found I really need to back off a bit,the 400 makes it easier for me to get into that sweetspot I desire. the weight is a godsend when crawling long distance with little cover. The intangible with the DO ii for me is just how it handles,for me it's incredible. Mathew I came to this as a sort of arty guy I paint wildlife have done since childhood,looking to combine painting(with light I guess) with my obsession with wildlife and nature. From the off I felt as a guy not rich monetarily wise lenses like this would always be out of reach for me, financially. But I could work around that lack of reach because I've always been able to get pretty close to my country's wildlife,for me that was my in. The aspect of extenders meant I could add a bit of reach to the 300f2.8 and now the 400DOii if I so desired.
For me this was the right tool for the job I needed it for, I'm unsure as to whether I made the right choice,I feel I have but my lack of expertise will always make me question myself. I could have stayed with the 300 in the mark ii guise and remove the unsupported monkey off my back. But I did want that bit more reach. The 100-400,might well be the best tool for me hares,with a prime..............hmmm , when they come to see what I am i'm scuppered,the min focus distance being a player there beyond the ability to zoom.. but i know every now and then that reach 800mm at f8,is something i'll one day utilise.
It's a remarkable lens this 400DO ii i do see it as a niche product.I love the fact it's handling is opening doors for some older guys,because of it's deminutiive size and allowing them to continue,as with Robert MM here ,whom i'd also thank. For me that handling really opens door to images that maybe I wouldn't have otherwise,that's a tuff call to make ,but I believe it is true,leastways for me. It's quite nice in some ways only having one lens to shoot wildlife an birdz,my rig is tiny,I still don't have a "proper" tripod mind this little hihat is wicked for my needs . Horses for courses I guess.
I'd add in here for the brits,my experience with canon was not great,a little word of advice,buy from somewhere who has stock if you have any form of deadline. My experience with canon UK was a complete mare,it appears demand for this lens is higher than expected and Canon can't track a batch of 6K lenses once they get put on a boat,they don't even know what is beiing shipped or has been ordered. I was promised a delivery daye which turned into weeks waiting correspondence from canon a nightmare,my shop were awesome by the way LCE leamington. But be careful guys,i'd hate what happened to me to happen to another
Thanks Matty, really great thread for me to read,cheers for the honesty here all the luck with your choices,not easy all this is it??? I'm a happy bunny lens wise,just trying to work out which camera to save for now
all the luck