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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 01 Feb 2009 (Sunday) 21:32
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The Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS Thoughts

 
ReF
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Feb 02, 2009 20:09 |  #16

a friend and I both own a 400 f4 DO IS. this lens is fantastic and worth the cost imo. i honestly don't understand comments about this lens having low contrast, i really don't. i used the 100-400 f5.6 IS and wasn't wowed with results at 400. i then used a 400 f5.6 L for about 2 years which proved to be very high in contrast and sharpness, not to mention it's feeling of being small and light in use, plus a relatively low price tag. in my experience the 400 f4 DO edges out the 400 f5.6 in every way except when it comes to size/discreetness and hood design. there is no way i am seeing lower contrast or sharpness in real world pictures compared to the 400 f5.6 (or 70-200), whether in flat light or high contrast light. I find the 400 DO's bokeh more pleasing as well, pics have more pop, and color is fantastic.

I carry my equipment most of the time and tend to shoot telephotos. i considered a 500 f4 but it is much much bigger and would definately only leave the house for dedicated birding trips or airshows. it is not a lens you just carry around. that also meant paying for a 500 f4 on top of the 400 f5.6, which would remain my carry around lens. with a 400 f4 DO i could sell my f5.6 to cover the cost, gain a stop, and AF quickly at 560mm with the 1.4x TC . a 300 f2.8 was also considered for it's similar price and weight but I already have a 70-200 f2.8 IS + 1.4x for the 300-ish range (also have a 70-200 non-IS and used to own the f4 non-IS). I decided i prefered a 400 + 1.4x over a 300 + 2x for the 560-600mm range for sharpness and AF speed reasons.

the 400 DO filled a need for portability, reach, IS, and max aperture that the others couldn't. fyi, my model is fairly recent (date code UV) and has been used with crop camera as well as the 5d mkII. have not seen any odd bokeh patterns.




  
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bobbyz
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Feb 02, 2009 22:38 |  #17

To be honest to me I am not seeing anything speacial in these pictures. Could have done something similar with 100-400L or any other lens.


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Bubble
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Feb 02, 2009 22:58 |  #18
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Art Wolf from the show "travels to the edge with art wolfe" use this lens most of the time due to portability and ofcourse excellent result.


Canon 5D II, 7D | 16-35L II | 24-70L | 24-105L | 50L | 85L II |  iMac 27 | Redrock Micro DSLR Cinema Bundle | Elinchrom Ranger RX-AS Kit| Elinchrom Digital Style 1200RX/600RX | Turbo SC |

  
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ctwehues
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Feb 03, 2009 09:25 |  #19

Well, I cannot imagine using a TC with the 100-400mm at f/5.6 (impossible in other words) and maintaining this quality. Artistically, as I mentioned, these are not great shots, just samples of the lens' resolution. The 100-400mm is slower, worse IS IMO, and does not match the sharpness or build quality of this lens. But sure, any picture can be taken with any lens--if you want to scoot up to within 3 feet from the polar bear, you could use a 50mm, but this lens makes things happen with a variety of environmental conditions. Conditions that prevent other lenses from being used.

Take care,




  
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Recon ­ Photojournalist
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Feb 03, 2009 09:53 |  #20

I have to agree with ctwehues, will never put a TC on a 100-400.

Must say the 400 DO is a specialty lens that is light weight and takes a TC very well.

I am probably the only one who's weird enough to own all the 400mm made by canon through out the years and here's what I've found:

400mm f 2.8 : very good optically but very heavy too. Unless you have a tripod/ monopod and a shoulder of steel, this is not the lens for you to carry around. Way too expensive. I've traded it for a 600 f4 ( same weight ).

400mm f4 DO : very well built, optically superb and light. It's samller than 300mm f2.8 and the 100-400 at 400. Takes TCs very well and suitable for long term carrying in field, keeper when I need the reach with TC and run at the same time.

400mm f5.6: My 1st 400mm lens, good optic quality and well built. Not suitable for low light due to no IS and no AF with TC ( ok, except 1.4x with 1 series body), great for daylihgt bird, wildlife, airshow...........

100-400 f4.6-5.6: This is a zoom lens and should not be compared to the primes. It's very versitle with good optics for zoom lens but I will never put a TC on it. Great for walk around and I use it on daily assignment.




  
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RikWriter
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Feb 03, 2009 09:55 |  #21

bobbyz wrote in post #7242475 (external link)
To be honest to me I am not seeing anything speacial in these pictures. Could have done something similar with 100-400L or any other lens.

I don't mean to be harsh or prickish, but I have to agree. The shots don't look as good as what I've seen from a 400 5.6 at 100%. I give you, they are with a TC, but they're really nothing that would impress me enough to buy the 400 DO.


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RikWriter
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Feb 03, 2009 09:59 |  #22

Recon Photojournalist wrote in post #7245086 (external link)
400mm f5.6: My 1st 400mm lens, good optic quality and well built. Not suitable for low light due to no IS and no AF with TC ( ok, except 1.4x with 1 series body), great for daylihgt bird, wildlife, airshow...........

This doesn't parse well for me...how does it not AFing with a TC on non-1-series bodies not make it suitable for low light?
Also, generally the 400 5.6 is considered a wildlife/birding lens. How does IS help you in low light for wildlife, given that you're going to need a fairly high shutter speed to take wildlife shots to begin with? And, if you do need to go to a lower shutter speed, why not use a monopod?


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ctwehues
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Feb 03, 2009 10:11 |  #23

Hey guys,
Don't worry, I will not be offended by differing opinions. In terms of the samples, however, you must remember you are looking at a compressed JPEG image that is not full size on a relatively-low resolution computer screen. I can send the full size images to print if you are interested. Also, these shots are wide open--any lens can make any shot look sharp if it is stopped-down. Shooting wide open is a different beast altogether, and your options for 560mm at f/5.6 are very limited at that point.

But again, this discussion is good. I dont see how these results are any worse than from a 500mm f/4, which is normally a point of contention among photographers.




  
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Recon ­ Photojournalist
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Feb 03, 2009 10:19 |  #24

The 400 f5.6 will NOT AF with 1.4 TC ( at f8 )except 1-series bodies , with a 2x TC, it will not AF at all. I will never shoot low light action with MF as 1) after the MF, the action might be gone and 2) I'd rather have the confirmation.

The 400 f5.6 is considered a wildlife/birding lens with the limitation of available light, the IS in the 400mm f4 helped with stationary objects( wildlife are not always moving, they stop from time to time, if you hunt you know what I am talking about) under limited lighting condition when I am shaking/breathing hard.

Monopod or tripod is a personal thing, I ever so rarely use them due to the size. Bean bag or my weak arm are my choice. Besides, I find it difficult to hide with tripod of monopod as things are rarely straight and long in nature and I really don't want to set up / or make adjustment to tripod / monopod as the noise might alert the target.


The 1 series can AF with apertures as small as f/8
Models include; EOS 1D, 1Ds, 1DMkII, 1DMkIIN, 1Ds MkII, and film cameras EOS 1 and EOS 3

All other EOS bodies require f/5.6 to AF
Models include D30, D60, 10D, 300D, 350D, 20D, 30D, and 5D




  
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buddy4344
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Feb 03, 2009 10:24 |  #25

I have the 400 DO. I also have the 100-400 dust pump and a 500 f4, so I will be in good shape to comment. I say "will" since I only acquired the 400 in late December and our weather has been bad. I can make a few quick observations:
- Compared to the 500, this thing is sooooo light and portable.
- Compared to the 100-400, I see pro's and con's. A sharp 1-4 is ultra portable and has all those zoom advantages. The 400 DO is less portable due to diameter, but is still small in length and quite light. It focuses lightning fast compared to the 1-4. Also, since it is an f4, you can autofocus with a crop camera whereas the 100-400 is manual focus (and soft) with a tcon. On the down side, since it is a prime, 400 isn't always the right length, so I find myself moving forward and backward (most often backward) to get the right composition.

Yes, this lens is pricey, but the size/weight, ability to use teleconverters and the "prime sharpness" of this image makes this a winner for me so far.


Buddy4344

Gear: Canon 1Dx MkII, 7D MkII, Canon Lenses: 100 macro, 100-400 Ver.IIL IS, 24-105L IS, Canon 17-40, Canon 1.4x TCon, Rokinon 14mm. Kenko extension tubes, Kenko 1.4x pro TCon.and Kiboko 30L and 22L+

  
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gasrocks
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Feb 03, 2009 10:35 |  #26

OK, here's a good question - has anyone ever traded in their 500/4 for the 400/4? (Maybe this should be a separate thread?)


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Recon ­ Photojournalist
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Feb 03, 2009 10:55 |  #27

I really doubt it, the 500/4 is at the 400/2.8 class.

But, I've seen wildlife photographer trade their 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4 for the 400/4 DO for expeditions say Antartica.

Photographer Bill Caulfeild - Browne uses the 400/4 DO for his trip to Antartica and Africa as far as I can remember.

http://billcaulfeild-browne.com/bcb_gallery​.html (external link)




  
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ed ­ rader
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Feb 03, 2009 11:02 |  #28

bobbyz wrote in post #7242475 (external link)
To be honest to me I am not seeing anything speacial in these pictures. Could have done something similar with 100-400L or any other lens.

me neither. i get results as good, or better, with my 100-400L.

ed rader


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ed ­ rader
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Feb 03, 2009 11:04 |  #29

Recon Photojournalist wrote in post #7245499 (external link)
I really doubt it, the 500/4 is at the 400/2.8 class.

But, I've seen wildlife photographer trade their 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4 for the 400/4 DO for expeditions say Antartica.

Photographer Bill Caulfeild - Browne uses the 400/4 DO for his trip to Antartica and Africa as far as I can remember.

http://billcaulfeild-browne.com/bcb_gallery​.html (external link)

i more frequently see 300L f2.8 + TC. in fact i've never seen anyone using the DO.

ed rader


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RikWriter
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Feb 03, 2009 11:27 |  #30

Recon Photojournalist wrote in post #7245221 (external link)
The 400 f5.6 will NOT AF with 1.4 TC ( at f8 )except 1-series bodies

Yeah, I think we established that. The question is, why does that make it unsuitable for low light? There is no requirement for you to use a 2X TC or any TC to take a low-light shot. It may mean you need a longer lens, but it has little relation to low-light shooting.

The 400 f5.6 is considered a wildlife/birding lens with the limitation of available light, the IS in the 400mm f4 helped with stationary objects( wildlife are not always moving, they stop from time to time, if you hunt you know what I am talking about) under limited lighting condition when I am shaking/breathing hard.

I hunt and I do a lot of bird/wildlife photography and frankly I've never had IS be that important to a widlife shot. Animals stop, true, but as a rule, you need higher shutter speeds for wildlife shots.

Monopod or tripod is a personal thing, I ever so rarely use them due to the size. Bean bag or my weak arm are my choice. Besides, I find it difficult to hide with tripod of monopod as things are rarely straight and long in nature and I really don't want to set up / or make adjustment to tripod / monopod as the noise might alert the target.

I guess it depends on whether you're in a blind or stalking or how you're getting to the place you're taking the photograph. I don't tend to use blinds...don't have that kind of patience, I suppose.


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