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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 29 Mar 2018 (Thursday) 07:55
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Choice 100-400 II or 400 DO I (original)

 
iroctd
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Mar 29, 2018 07:55 |  #1

I've been reading a lot and having a hard time deciding. I know the 100-400 has a lot going for it.

I'm currently using a 7D II with a Sigma C 150-600. I find at times ISO can easily be at 6400 for some of my shots which I'm not a fan of.

This morning I was out around 7am EST, the sun was full side light and it wasn't good lighting for the Sigma but that is the time when all the birds are active. I do static bird shots but really fancy birds in flight and the Ospreys are fishing now.

The 400 DO would provide that niche improvement at those morning hours but probably not offer much else the rest of the day compared to the 100-400. They are both around the same cost.

What do you guys think?


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Post edited over 1 year ago by mcoren.
     
Mar 29, 2018 08:17 |  #2

The 100-400 is a great lens, but with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 400, you’ll only gain 1/3 stop versus your Sigma at f/6.3.

The 400 DO I believe is an f/4 lens fo that will give you 1-1/3 stops. Beyond that it really depends on if you are willing to give up the convenience of a zoom. I don’t know much about the 400 DO in terms of IQ and other factors.

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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 29, 2018 09:04 |  #3

The 100-400 version 2 is a stellar performer in every way - at 100mm at 400mm, wide open, stopped down - it is pretty much perfect at any aperture and any point within its range.

The 400 DO version 1 is known for a lot of copy variation; perhaps more so than any other Canon supertelephoto.

.

iroctd wrote in post #18596252 (external link)
This morning I was out around 7am EST, the sun was full side light and it wasn't good lighting for the Sigma but that is the time when all the birds are active. I do static bird shots but really fancy birds in flight and the Ospreys are fishing now.

If you are primarily looking for a bird in flight lens, then I think that the 100-400 version 2 is the obvious choice.

Why? . Because wth large, often tame subjects such as Ospreys, one can usually get so close to them that 400mm is much too tight, and the ability to zoom out to a wider field of view enable you to capture fantastic images when the Ospreys are real close. . Also, because it can be difficult to initially find a flying bird in the viewfinder at 400mm, the zoom allows you to start out wide, so that you can readily find the bird in the viewfinder, and then once you have it, you can then zoom in tight to get a more close-up view as you track the bird through the flight path.

Additionally, having a wide aperture doesn't matter much for most bird in flight photography, because normally people prefer to do most BIF shooting during sunny times, when having enough light isn't an issue and when sunlight falling on the bird's plumage makes for better looking photos. . I usually stop way down when shooting birds in flight, because I usually want the most depth of field possible to ensure that the bird is sharp and that the feather detail is highly resolved.

So the one real advantage that the 400 DO has going for it over the 100-400 zoom is a larger maximum aperture, but this advantage doesn't matter for most bird in flight photography because one isn't typically using large apertures for this anyway.

If you are looking for a 'static bird shot' lens, then I think that the 400 DO is a pretty obvious choice over the 100-400 v2.

Why? . Because that extra stop will allow you to blur the background to a greater extent and further isolate your subject from any potentially distracting background elements. . Also, the f4 aperture means that you can use a 1.4 tele-extender and be at f5.6 wide open, whereas use of the 1.4 extender would bring you to f8 when used with the 100-400mm zoom. . These things are not a concern for bird in flight photography because most successful BIF photographers are shooting in bright conditions and stopping down to ensure that the rapidly moving subject falls within the depth of field.

So one is better for birds in flight, and the other is better for bird portraiture. . I think that in order to decide between the two, you will need to determine which type of bird photography you want to gear up for the most.


.


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umphotography
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Mar 29, 2018 10:14 |  #4

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18596273 (external link)
The 100-400 version 2 is a stellar performer in every way - at 100mm at 400mm, wide open, stopped down - it is pretty much perfect at any aperture and any point within its range.

The 400 DO version 1 is known for a lot of copy variation; perhaps more so than any other Canon supertelephoto.

.

If you are primarily looking for a bird in flight lens, then I think that the 100-400 version 2 is the obvious choice.

Why? . Because wth large, often tame subjects such as Ospreys, one can usually get so close to them that 400mm is much too tight, and the ability to zoom out to a wider field of view enable you to capture fantastic images when the Ospreys are real close. . Also, because it can be difficult to initially find a flying bird in the viewfinder at 400mm, the zoom allows you to start out wide, so that you can readily find the bird in the viewfinder, and then once you have it, you can then zoom in tight to get a more close-up view as you track the bird through the flight path.

Additionally, having a wide aperture doesn't matter much for most bird in flight photography, because normally people prefer to do most BIF shooting during sunny times, when having enough light isn't an issue and when sunlight falling on the bird's plumage makes for better looking photos. . I usually stop way down when shooting birds in flight, because I usually want the most depth of field possible to ensure that the bird is sharp and that the feather detail is highly resolved.

So the one real advantage that the 400 DO has going for it over the 100-400 zoom is a larger maximum aperture, but this advantage doesn't matter for most bird in flight photography because one isn't typically using large apertures for this anyway.

If you are looking for a 'static bird shot' lens, then I think that the 400 DO is a pretty obvious choice over the 100-400 v2.

Why? . Because that extra stop will allow you to blur the background to a greater extent and further isolate your subject from any potentially distracting background elements. . Also, the f4 aperture means that you can use a 1.4 tele-extender and be at f5.6 wide open, whereas use of the 1.4 extender would bring you to f8 when used with the 100-400mm zoom. . These things are not a concern for bird in flight photography because most successful BIF photographers are shooting in bright conditions and stopping down to ensure that the rapidly moving subject falls within the depth of field.

So one is better for birds in flight, and the other is better for bird portraiture. . I think that in order to decide between the two, you will need to determine which type of bird photography you want to gear up for the most.

.



in addition to what Tom just posted

I have had my Eye on that 400 DO for a while. The new one is supposed to be stellar. I have a 300 F/2.8 IS so its hard to make a change. But I like to be very mobile when I shoot wildlife. Its super light and super easy to hand hold. It take a TC very very well and because of the way I shoot I see it more as a competitor to the 500 F/4 v/s the 100-400

100-400 is just a superb versatile do all lens

I dont have to drag a tripod out with the 400 DO where as I would and have to have an expensive mounting set up to use that 500 F/4 with reasonable success for a full day of shooting. With the 400 DO...I can just hike closer and get better results. Im not hiking in a 500 F/4


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amfoto1
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Post edited over 1 year ago by amfoto1. (3 edits in all)
     
Mar 29, 2018 14:05 |  #5

My favorite BIF lens is an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM. It's easily hand held (under 1200 grams... or close to half the weight of the 2100 gram 400 DO II or 2350 gram 300mm f/2.8 II). In fact, I use it enough that I have two of them!

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2762/4020576990_bccb834338_o.jpg
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2801/4020587780_e945696bea_o.jpg
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2653/4019826339_787249d779_o.jpg

Above was shot with full frame, which I wouldn't normally do for BIF. But I was shooting some scenic shots when I noticed the redtail hawk hunting nearby and quickly switched lenses to try to get a few images (turned out I was able to photograph the bird for around 45 minutes as it repeatedly hunted around a field). I also wouldn't normally use 1/8000 shutter speed, but the bird went from shade to full sun far faster than I could change my camera settings!

I like using the 300mm for it's size and weight... sometimes use it with a 1.4X, too (I use the Canon 1.4X II Extender).

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8062/8188386737_929f2d414d_b.jpg

That combo gives me the equivalent of 420mm f/5.6... with image stabilization. The EF 400mm f/5.6L USM is a great lens and popular for BIF, too... but it lacks IS.

I haven't used any of the 150-600s, so can't compare directly. I do use the EF 100-400 II and have to say they're similar. The 100-400mm II is heavier and bigger, so I more often use it on a monopod or tripod w/gimbal. The 300/4 I almost exclusively use hand held. That's one of the earliest Canon lenses that got IS and has the type that needs to be turned off at the switch, if the lens is locked down on a tripod. In comparison, the 100-400 II uses the most advanced type of IS, much like what is used in the various super telephotos. The 100-400 II is probably the least expensive Canon lens with "Mode 3 - Instantaneous IS". It's also the modern type that's self-detecting and shuts itself off when on a tripod and gives about a stop more assistance than the earlier type.

Like many of Canon's telephotos the 100-400 II uses a fluorite element, while the 300mm f/4L is one of the few that doesn't (the 400/5.6L and 70-200/2.8 without IS are the only other two that don't use it, that I can think of. FL reduces chromatic aberrations and makes the lens extremely sharp. I gotta say, though, that the 300/4 ain't no slouch. AFAIK, the DO lenses don't use fluorite, either (but prob. don't need it).

I also don't regularly use either of the 400mm DO... have only toyed around with the original a little and don't claim to be an expert on either. I do know that the II works much better with teleconverters than the original did. Many users of the original would not use it with any teleconverter, found the IQ took too much of a hit. The II also got improved IS. Canon only rated the original DO lens' IS for two stops worth of assistance... while the II's is rated for up to 4 stops (note: exactly how many stops improvement depends a lot upon the user).

Where I would expect the 400 DO II to excel is the background blur it renders. The 300/4 and 100-400 II can make for slightly coarse background blur in certain situations, even wide open. Not sure about the original 400 DO, but I know the II has a 9-blade, curved aperture. I imagine the DO lenses can render bokeh close to what my 300mm f/2.8 and 500mm f/4 can do. The backgrounds with them can be stunning... though I have to be careful to have adequate depth of field.

ISO 6400? I shoot a lot of indoor sports and use my 7DIIs at ISO 6400 and 8000 fairly often. I sometimes even use 12800 or 16000, though those usually require some additional work in post-processing. I mostly use an Imagenomic Noiseware Photoshop plug-in noise reduction plug-in. I've made 8x12 and 11x14" prints from those images, with little trouble. Probably could make larger with the 6400 and 8000 ISO images.

Following is a test shot done at with one of my 7DIIs at ISO 16000....

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1659/25860530783_b933736438_b.jpg
IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1499/25860527623_5a5e0b01f2_b.jpg

As you can see in the enlarged detail, there is some noise. But I think it's pretty well controlled and that detail is FAR more enlarged and magnified than I'd ever print the image and view it from 18 or 20", the way we're doing with our computer monitors. Image was shot RAW with care to avoid underexposure, lighting was by a single 60 watt bulb about 10 feet from the subject and a small window about 8 feet away. Lens was EF 100-400mm II. Image was ONLY post-processed through Lightroom with default noise and sharpening settings. Slight boost of contrast and curves adjustment, but nothing else and not much cropping (just from 4:3 to 5:4 aspect ratio).

My point is that a change in workflow and/or different post-processing software which allows you to use higher ISO may be as good or even better solution than a different lens. I don't know your workflow or what you're looking for in your end results and would find acceptable, though. Only you can say.

Besides, it's probably more fun to get a new lens! :-)

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Canon ­ Bob
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Canon Bob.
     
Mar 30, 2018 10:15 |  #6

I'd advise against buying the DO MkI unless you can try it first. I bought one a couple of years ago and it was very disappointing.

If the light was decent and could give the images some sparkle then it worked a treat but anything dull or overcast just produced mush.....kind of nullifies the advantage of the faster aperture. I'm aware that some are like this and others are better....hence the advice to roadtest it first.


Bob


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Mar 30, 2018 22:03 |  #7

Canon Bob wrote in post #18597023 (external link)
I'd advise against buying the DO MkI unless you can try it first. I bought one a couple of years ago and it was very disappointing.

If the light was decent and could give the images some sparkle then it worked a treat but anything dull or overcast just produced mush.....kind of nullifies the advantage of the faster aperture. I'm aware that some are like this and others are better....hence the advice to roadtest it first.


Bob


Bob

I got same information and opted for the 300 F/2.8

But I understand the new 400DO is killer. I need to rent one and find out. Dang it is expensive as well


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Canon ­ Bob
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Mar 31, 2018 02:49 |  #8

umphotography wrote in post #18597389 (external link)
Bob

I got same information and opted for the 300 F/2.8

I have the 300/2.8 and use it along with the 200/2 for sport....the results are identical but when I used the 400/4 with the 200/2 it was like I'd shot two matches on different days.


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iroctd
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Post edited over 1 year ago by iroctd.
     
Apr 05, 2018 15:23 |  #9

Thanks everyone for your comments and sorry I couldn't get back to this post sooner. I spent a lot of time thinking about what you guys have said, researching different things and again thinking about my options and possible decisions.

I'm now the proud owner of a Canon 100-400 II :)

Tom, thanks for your response. It really helped to see all that on one page and split my thinking about bif & static shots. With the prices being similar and more offered on the zoom it was a no brainer for me. I wish the 400 DO was less then I could justify buying it and dedicating a camera body to it when I'm out.

Alan, 300mm has always felt good to me. I had a 70-300 L a few years back and it was both amazing to use and see the results. I'm more of a zoom person and almost talked myself into getting a used 70-300 L again but the thoughts of not having 400 when coming from 600 along with wanting to try IS mode 3 kept me from buying it.
Thanks for the information on the DO v1, that is good info. For now the mark II big whites are out of the budget unless I downgrade the car.
I think the lighting combined with cropping is making me displeased with 6400 iso. Sometimes I can crop down a lot and I'm not in a position to get any closer to my subjects. It is a work in progress. I will check into that plugin you mentioned and I have a bookmark of another noise reduction software, prime dxo?

Thanks Bob, very helpful first hand account.


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Apr 05, 2018 18:35 |  #10

Congrats on the 100-400 Mk2 - you will like it!

As to:
"Just had a thought, 600mm on a crop body is a pretty narrow field of view. I would almost say hand holding would make better sense/results on a full frame body (thinking 1DS III)(but the weight ). Maybe I'm onto something? The focal length lessens the need for cropping. Thoughts?"
Just don't go there!

I used to have a 600 F4 L IS (now an 800 F5.6 L IS) and things get heavy/expensive - still the images are worth it! I use a 1DX and 7D2 and make no allowances for the pixel density of the smaller sensor. I try to stay above 1/250 sec when hand holding and 1/160 sec when the 800mm is on a tripod. Note I never use IS with this lens.


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Apr 05, 2018 18:43 |  #11

amfoto1 wrote in post #18596481 (external link)
My favorite BIF lens is an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM. It's easily hand held (under 1200 grams... or close to half the weight of the 2100 gram 400 DO II or 2350 gram 300mm f/2.8 II). In fact, I use it enough that I have two of them!

QUOTED IMAGE
QUOTED IMAGE
QUOTED IMAGE

Above was shot with full frame, which I wouldn't normally do for BIF. But I was shooting some scenic shots when I noticed the redtail hawk hunting nearby and quickly switched lenses to try to get a few images (turned out I was able to photograph the bird for around 45 minutes as it repeatedly hunted around a field). I also wouldn't normally use 1/8000 shutter speed, but the bird went from shade to full sun far faster than I could change my camera settings!

I like using the 300mm for it's size and weight... sometimes use it with a 1.4X, too (I use the Canon 1.4X II Extender).

QUOTED IMAGE

That combo gives me the equivalent of 420mm f/5.6... with image stabilization. The EF 400mm f/5.6L USM is a great lens and popular for BIF, too... but it lacks IS.

I haven't used any of the 150-600s, so can't compare directly. I do use the EF 100-400 II and have to say they're similar. The 100-400mm II is heavier and bigger, so I more often use it on a monopod or tripod w/gimbal. The 300/4 I almost exclusively use hand held. That's one of the earliest Canon lenses that got IS and has the type that needs to be turned off at the switch, if the lens is locked down on a tripod. In comparison, the 100-400 II uses the most advanced type of IS, much like what is used in the various super telephotos. The 100-400 II is probably the least expensive Canon lens with "Mode 3 - Instantaneous IS". It's also the modern type that's self-detecting and shuts itself off when on a tripod and gives about a stop more assistance than the earlier type.

Like many of Canon's telephotos the 100-400 II uses a fluorite element, while the 300mm f/4L is one of the few that doesn't (the 400/5.6L and 70-200/2.8 without IS are the only other two that don't use it, that I can think of. FL reduces chromatic aberrations and makes the lens extremely sharp. I gotta say, though, that the 300/4 ain't no slouch. AFAIK, the DO lenses don't use fluorite, either (but prob. don't need it).

I also don't regularly use either of the 400mm DO... have only toyed around with the original a little and don't claim to be an expert on either. I do know that the II works much better with teleconverters than the original did. Many users of the original would not use it with any teleconverter, found the IQ took too much of a hit. The II also got improved IS. Canon only rated the original DO lens' IS for two stops worth of assistance... while the II's is rated for up to 4 stops (note: exactly how many stops improvement depends a lot upon the user).

Where I would expect the 400 DO II to excel is the background blur it renders. The 300/4 and 100-400 II can make for slightly coarse background blur in certain situations, even wide open. Not sure about the original 400 DO, but I know the II has a 9-blade, curved aperture. I imagine the DO lenses can render bokeh close to what my 300mm f/2.8 and 500mm f/4 can do. The backgrounds with them can be stunning... though I have to be careful to have adequate depth of field.

ISO 6400? I shoot a lot of indoor sports and use my 7DIIs at ISO 6400 and 8000 fairly often. I sometimes even use 12800 or 16000, though those usually require some additional work in post-processing. I mostly use an Imagenomic Noiseware Photoshop plug-in noise reduction plug-in. I've made 8x12 and 11x14" prints from those images, with little trouble. Probably could make larger with the 6400 and 8000 ISO images.

Following is a test shot done at with one of my 7DIIs at ISO 16000....


As you can see in the enlarged detail, there is some noise. But I think it's pretty well controlled and that detail is FAR more enlarged and magnified than I'd ever print the image and view it from 18 or 20", the way we're doing with our computer monitors. Image was shot RAW with care to avoid underexposure, lighting was by a single 60 watt bulb about 10 feet from the subject and a small window about 8 feet away. Lens was EF 100-400mm II. Image was ONLY post-processed through Lightroom with default noise and sharpening settings. Slight boost of contrast and curves adjustment, but nothing else and not much cropping (just from 4:3 to 5:4 aspect ratio).

My point is that a change in workflow and/or different post-processing software which allows you to use higher ISO may be as good or even better solution than a different lens. I don't know your workflow or what you're looking for in your end results and would find acceptable, though. Only you can say.

Besides, it's probably more fun to get a new lens! :-)

Been considering the 400DO as well. Thanks for the info.


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Apr 05, 2018 20:03 as a reply to  @ iroctd's post |  #12

Congrats!

I purchased the 100-400 II for Christmas and have been very pleased.




  
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