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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Apr 2011 (Thursday) 13:42
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Canon 100-400mm vs. Canon 400mm f/5.6L

 
Jason401
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Apr 14, 2011 13:42 |  #1

Can anyone help me learn about these two lenses? I'd love to have one someday, but for now I'm just trying to figure out why one would be better than the other. I have looked through the photo archives of both. Great pics. I'll try to ask specific questions as I know the general ones can have many different answers and usually the answers depend on what type of shooting will be done.

If I was to be photographing almost strictly wildlife with one, is there a better choice? How far away from your subject would you want to be with the 400? Is one lense better suited for a particular type of photography? Obviously there is the difference in FL, maybe that's what I don't understand. If you had the 100-400, would most of your wildlife shots be at 400mm? What would you use the 100-200 range for? I guess that depens on the person though right? Is the 400 strictly a wildlife type lens and the 100-400 more versatile? Can be used for sports or something else? If you had the 400, would there be a time that you wished you had the 100-400?

Sorry for all the questions, I am just really enjoying learning all I can about this stuff. So if you know of a blog or something that explains this already, I'd love to read it.

Thanks a bunch for your thoughts!




  
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ssq
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Apr 14, 2011 13:59 |  #2

Those are exactly the kind of questions I wrestled with in January, and ended up getting the 400mm F5.6. I realised I shoot virtually everything at my then longest (70-300mm) setting, so I got the prime.

It's wonderful for birds and other wildlife, and not much else... :)

Love the lens!




  
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Tanglefoot47
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Apr 14, 2011 14:00 |  #3

I am struggling with this same question I have the best 100-400 I have ever owned and thinking of selling it to buy a 400 5.6. My 100-400 does very well and most of my shooting is at 400mm but it also has IS the 400 doesn't. I have had this lens 100-400 for months now bought it off a person on FM and you can't tell from new and it has a newer date code UX11 which is good.

The AF is not as fast as the 400 and you can't zoom back when you need to. Overall the IQ is about the same if you get a 100-400 with a newer date code they seem to be more consistent




  
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Tyreman
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Apr 14, 2011 14:16 |  #4

This has been tossed around here before
I have had both and just kept the 100-400L


1D Mark III / 100-400 L Version II
430ex II

  
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muusers
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Apr 14, 2011 14:23 |  #5

Versatillity vs. eeehrm... somewhat sharper pictures, but you'll have to manage those 'sharper' pictures without IS.

I chose the 100-400.


50D + 17-55 | s100 | flickr (external link)

  
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HKGuns
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Apr 14, 2011 14:28 |  #6

See below and search on 100-400 for a wealth of other information. I own both, can't tell the difference in pic's between the two and if I had to sell one it would be the Prime because of IS and 100mm.

https://photography-on-the.net …1024540&highlig​ht=100-400




  
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crn3371
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Apr 14, 2011 14:38 |  #7

I think it really comes down to the general prime vs zoom debate. Primes are generally sharper, fastster, and lighter. Zooms are more versatile. I prefer the versatility and IS of my 100-400.




  
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Jason401
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Apr 14, 2011 14:39 |  #8

Thanks for all the input.

HK thanks for that link. Pretty much answers all my questions.




  
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harcosparky
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Apr 14, 2011 14:40 |  #9

I have a Canon 100-400mm IS L, my cousin has the 400mm F/5.6. After a weekend of shooting out in the woods ( wildlife ) he came away wishing he had bought the 100-400mm IS L and I was glad I did not buy the 400mm 5.6.

Why?

Primarily versatility and IS.

With incoming birds I was able to pull back on the zoom and get pics of birds where all he could do was get pics of bird parts.

The way I see it, the 100-400mm IS L lens can do much much more than the 400mm fixed lens and it does it exceptionally well. Heck I've even used the 100-400mm IS L for portrait work outside. I took it to a motorcycle show in February where I used it to shoot performers up on stage when the crowds would not let me close enough to use my 24-105mm IS L lens.




  
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riverdog1
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Apr 14, 2011 14:47 as a reply to  @ Jason401's post |  #10

This is an often discussed question. Usually it involves 400 5.6 vs 100-400 vs 300 f4 IS w/1.4x tc. I have owned them all and for my purposes I kept the 400 5.6 and the 300 f4 IS
w/1.4x tc.

400 5.6 Very sharp, lightening fast AF fantastic affordable BIF lens.
100-400 IS It is my understanding that the more recent versions are sharper generally at
400 than many of the earlier production models. I can only say that my lens
lost sharpness from 380-400 but was an earlier version. It appears from many
posts that the recent zooms are generally very sharp, maybe not quite as sharp
as the 400 5.6 prime, but also offer IS and the zoom.
300 IS 1.4x The AF on this lens is not as fast as on the zoom or 400 5.6. A big plus of
this lens is the MFD. With a 1.4x on it you can get about 4 ft away from
insects (the MFD on the 400 5.6 is something like 11 ft) and then turn to
take a shot of a perched bird some distance away. I use this lens a lot as
I tend to shoot small things close and far away.
None are bad, but they are all different and excel in different ways.
Without question, the zoom is the most versatile.




  
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atlrus
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Apr 14, 2011 14:52 |  #11

I could not imagine trying to hand-hold the 400 and take pictures without any IS or lugging and setting up tripod if you go looking for the wildlife.

You can try it yourself - turn off the IS on the 55-200, fully extend it and look at a distant object, like a bird on a tree. Then turn on the IS and look again :)

P.S. I am personally leaning towards the 100-400 as a replacement for my 70-300.


Gear: Sold :cry:

  
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tcssas
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Apr 14, 2011 15:09 as a reply to  @ atlrus's post |  #12

My 100-400 produces such an amazing results that I would never sell it for any other lens...

Both have their own advantages.

If you only shoot BIF go with Prime...Else 100-400 will serve you very well.

You need some patience to deal with 100-400 in low light and I have not used Prime so not sure how it works in low light.


Feedback: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (Sold to wkuszmaul)
Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS Sold to nvydoc
Feedback on POTN
Feedback for 500mm
Feedback5

  
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Silverfox1
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Apr 14, 2011 15:19 as a reply to  @ tcssas's post |  #13

Just sold my UY dated 100-400L but only because i am hopefully upgrading to the 500/f4 IS.

Either lens your considering is very nice, but bear in mind for most any stationary subject matter over 35 ft. you will need at least a monopod for the 400/f5.6 prime minus the aid of IS. Plus shoot a little higher then normal ISO versus the 100-400L to keep your SS up.

There is a very nice 100-400L for sell right now below here on POTN that is essentially new:

https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1026951

Regards whatever your decision, ;)


Silverfox1 POTN Feedback / TC Extender Tests / Gear List

  
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tcssas
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Apr 14, 2011 15:31 |  #14

Silverfox1 wrote in post #12222463 (external link)
Just sold my UY dated 100-400L but only because i am hopefully upgrading to the 500/f4 IS.

I recently upgraded to 500mm f/4 but could not part with my 100-400 as it is muchmore easier to carry this lens around even when I am taking a casual walk around lakes :-)


Feedback: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (Sold to wkuszmaul)
Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS Sold to nvydoc
Feedback on POTN
Feedback for 500mm
Feedback5

  
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Silverfox1
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Apr 14, 2011 16:04 |  #15

tcssas wrote in post #12222535 (external link)
I recently upgraded to 500mm f/4 but could not part with my 100-400 as it is muchmore easier to carry this lens around even when I am taking a casual walk around lakes :-)

I agree but after i bought the 70-200 f2.8 MKII a few months back, and seen how well it accepts even a 2X extender the 100-400L became a little redundant for me anyways.

Regards, ;)


Silverfox1 POTN Feedback / TC Extender Tests / Gear List

  
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Canon 100-400mm vs. Canon 400mm f/5.6L
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