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Thread started 08 Sep 2018 (Saturday) 17:34
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List all reviews of Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, reviewed by CyberDyneSystems

 
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Post edited 4 months ago by CyberDyneSystems.
     
Sep 08, 2018 17:34 |  #1

December 17 2014,
https://photography-on-the.net …read.php?t=1411​834&page=1

Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM First Impressions Review

I received my 100-400mm MkII this morning on a gray dismal day, but was anxious to get out with it and I had time, so I put it on the 1D4 for familiarity, pocketed the 1.4x II just in case, and off to the beach I went.

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AutoFocus: Let's start with one of the most important factors for a lens in this category.
At the risk of being too enthusiastic I must say that This lens is the fastest most accurately focusing lens I have had opportunity to shoot.*
In many situations, it is the fastest, going from infinity to near.
It is also very accurate, giving me more keepers than the previous version or any previous zoom I have used.
With birds in flight it is a monster, amazing. and yet, there is something missing. When I shoot with the 500mm Prime, one of it's abilities that I simply can not explain is it's profound need to always achieve focus on the subjects eye. I don't understand why this happens so effortlessly, but it does. Even with it's much narrower DOF, it appears to pull this off better than the new 100-400mm.
I can not quantify this. It really is like magic on the 500mm, but I have round the world photos that show this. With the 100-400mm I am more likely to get a wing tip or body part.

On the 1D4 and 5D3 side by side it has mopped the floor with the otherwise amazing 200mm f/2L! Quicker, quieter, and more confident. In fact the assertion with which this lens snaps into correct focus is absolutely unequaled. Dead silent, it is a quick "snick" sound then it's in focus. I've never seen anything like it. Going from near infinity on a distant house peak to the tree 3 feet in front of me offers ZERO hunt, just the brief blur as it travels from all the way out to nearly all the way in and solid perfectly accurate lock.

It is absolutely faster than the 400mm f/5.6L prime.

It also bested the 200mm f/2 indoors in low light for af speed and lack of hunting on both 1D4 and 5D3.

I am quite sure that when I do the side by side, it will be faster than the 500mm f/4L IS (v I)
(it is)

Folks, I did not believe it was possible for a zoom to focus so fast and confidently. Canon has really made some significant improvements with the MkII designs.

Tracking on the 7D2: I a lot of time with this combo and find I get near 100% results in many difficult birding situations.

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1.4X T-Con: I tried out the 1.4x MkII when the light was good and the AF did not seem to slow or lose accuracy. This is better than the results I get from any other zoom I have tried, besting the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (VI) and better than most primes.
UPDATE: With the 5D4 or other most modern Canon AF system and the MkIII 1.4x T-Con the results are amazing. F8 focus on all AF points.

Minimum Focus Distance: At approx 3" 6" it is nearly half what the MKI gave us with it's already impressive and useful 6 foot MFD. Compare it to the 400mm f/5.6L prime and it's a shocking upgrade for those that are not always shooting things at long distances. This feature literally multiplies the magnification (and overall flexibility) of this lens over it's predecessors.
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Image Stabilization: Once again, it appears to be the best I have had opportunity to use. It is fast to engage and quieter than any other IS system I have used, besting the 500mm f/4L IS, and 200mm f/2L IS handily. I was shooting @ f/16 to get 1/10th of a second shots hand held and was rewarded with dead on sharp images. This IS system will be a lifesaver. Clearly one of the best implementations available and LIGHT YEARS ahead of the 1st Generation IS that is installed in the older MkI 100-400mm.


Image Quality:
Well frankly again I am amazed. I have not had opportunity to use the new MkII 70-200mm, or the 70-300mm L, but I have seen images and heard a lot of good things. Clearly this lens is in that class of new "primelike" zooms. It is a significant improvement over the VI 100-400mm and any other zoom I have shot with other than ones costing much more.
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For the pixel junkies, here are some 100% crops and a link to what I have uploaded so far.
(NOTE: The un-cropped images I have uploaded were in camera small jpegs from the 1D4. The crops are taken from RAW files with everything zeros to default using Capture 1 v7)
http://jakehegnauer.ze​nfolio.com/p605089996 (external link)

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CyberDyneSystems
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Sep 08, 2018 17:34 |  #2

Grommett

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100% crop with detail of fur. This is ISO 200 f/5.6
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Portrait lens replacement? 135mm f/5.6
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Handling:
It weighs a bit more than the VI, more along the lines of a 70-200mm, and certainly feels more "beefy" than the VI. The focus ring is smooth and placed for ease of access (too easy?, more on that later)
All the usual switches are there and within reach, with some additions over the previous model including additional IS modes.

Zoom Control: Well, this review had to have some detraction, and this is the biggest one. To those of you that have read my posts on this forum it may come as no surprise that the switch from the "one touch" push pull zoom of the VI to a rotating zoom mechanism is not going to go over well for me. Now the preference for rotating zoom vs. push pull is obviously a personal one. But preferences aside, it is also an impersonal fact that one touch zooming made the 100-400mm L IS VI the fastest lens available when it comes to accurately zooming to recompose. No rotating zoom can compete. And this where I question Canon's understanding of how THIS lens is used most. It is an action lens. And fast action is aided by the push pull zoom. Nearly (you'll see, wait for it) everything else about the changes made to upgrade this VII lens aid the action shooter. Speed all the way. The internals of the rotating zoom also = weight. This lens is heavier specifically because of this switch. Is it too heavy? No I will manage easily but again, I would have preferred the lighter weight of the VI.

And then there's that Tension Ring? I can just see the designers considering this feature. "Well the old one had it" And the old one needed it. It was a one touch "push pull" zoom. What on earth do we do with the tension ring on a twist zoom? The zoom ring as it is , is a bit on the stiff side when you open the box. I am sure it will soften up, in fact today I already was aware of it,. but I just can't see the need for this tension ring.
And as some others have mentioned, in it's current state of stiffness, I could not use it as a push pull in a way that was smooth enough to use.

Lens Collar: So what else is NOT an improvement for the intended use of this lens? The non removable lens collar. The things is very well designed. The removable foot as a concession works well, and as a built in part it rotates smooth as a dream in its built in collar just like the big primes. I like the idea and execution, but .. and here's that question for Canon re: intended use. "Just who do you think it going to use this new feature?"
On THIS lens it makes no sense. Give use the removable collar and 98% of us will put it in the box upon receipt of the lens and never use it again. This is a HAND HELD lens and is was in no urgent need to have an improved rotating collar, let alone one I can't just take off.

The Hood: It works like any other hood with the addition of the little window to allow you to adjust a rotating filter like a polarizer without having to remove the hod. Nice.

In Summary:

This is the new Must Have action zoom lens for all manner of subject matter. Wildlife and sports, anything that you do in the great outdoors that requires fast auto focus, good zoom range and 400mm max focal length. This is the new standard.
Superior image quality in a flexible zoom, that has some of the best Auto focus and IS ever installed in a lens.
Excellent compatibility and usability with a 1.4x T-Con makes it even more flexible.[/QUOTE]

UPDATE March 2015:

It may come as no surprise that this continues to amaze me in it's overall flexibility.

Further, after more time with it I have become absolutely convinced that the new MkII 100-400mm Zoom beats the fantastic 400mm f/5.6L at it's own game, ie: AF speed, and IQ.

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There is no reason to own both anymore, and yes, as of today I only own the new zoom having just sold my old standbys, the 400mm f/5.6L Prime and the original 100-400mm.


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Post edited 1 month ago by CyberDyneSystems.
     
Sep 08, 2018 17:41 |  #3

Botswana 2017

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Sep 12, 2018 17:14 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #4

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that one of the reasons for the large improvement over the Version 1 lens is the use of a screw thread instead of a push pull zoom feature.
Probably able to hold much tighter tolerances on the Version 2.
BTW, you just sold me on the newer version. Now I have to unload the 7D V1 and 100-400L V1 as I have tried out the old version lens on my new 5D MK IV.
I would also like to know what the heck they did to make the 7D MK2 so much better as well.




  
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Post edited 4 months ago by CyberDyneSystems.
     
Sep 12, 2018 17:58 |  #5

Lycomech96 wrote in post #18706686 (external link)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that one of the reasons for the large improvement over the Version 1 lens is the use of a screw thread instead of a push pull zoom feature.
Probably able to hold much tighter tolerances on the Version 2.
BTW, you just sold me on the newer version. Now I have to unload the 7D V1 and 100-400L V1 as I have tried out the old version lens on my new 5D MK IV.
I would also like to know what the heck they did to make the 7D MK2 so much better as well.


That's a fascinating theory, which I would caution is most likely just an assumption. But it certainly could have merit.

For me, it is the biggest aspect of the Version II that I consider a HUGE DOWNSIDE vs. the version 1. No other modern zoom could could allow the user to frame more confidently and fast as the old push pull did.

Despite this the new lens is still vastly superior to the old one in all other aspects. Most of those aspects people will tend to agree are more important. I've been shooting the new lens for many years now, and still do not, and assume never will, have the same instant framing ability I used to have with the "trombone" . It's just not possible to regardless of practice, to force a twist zoom to be as instantaneous in framing as the push pull.

If that's not important to you, then you will LOVE this lens even more! It really is at the top of it's class.


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Sep 12, 2018 22:22 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #6

I was reading some reports on the new version on the official CanonUSA website and there were some complaints about dust getting into this lens. Do you find this problem more so or less than the version 1?




  
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Sep 13, 2018 10:00 |  #7

For me it's the same. i never really had dust problems with the older version, despite taking it with me to Africa, (Namibia and Botswana during the dry season) It survived being on the Etosha "coast", an alien landscape of dust and atomized salt,

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Never had a problem with the "dust pump"

The new lens has been much the same for me. It been with me for several extended journeys including another dusty trip to Botswana,

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And no dust problems there either.

On the forum, member "PondRaider" in the epic long thread linked at the top of my review documented his own rather difficult problems with dust and the new lens. Very bad. I don;t know iof the difference is the copy to copy variation in sealing, environment, or what, but personally mines been fine. It does have a spec or two in there, but nothing to worry about.

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Sep 20, 2018 08:51 |  #8

Great review!

I got to use the v1 of this lens very briefly during a shoot at the track, the guy next to me was shooting wide and let me test it out. The push / pull was a little weird for me because I had no previous experience with it. I'm sure I could have gotten used to it and I can definitely see the value in being able to change your focal length so quickly.

As I read the reviews on the v2, it seemed like there was enough there to pull me into the v2, and since the push / pull wasn't really a factor for me at the time, I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

I'll say it's easily my favorite lens I own, very close second is my 24-70 2.8 v1. I have used the 70-200 2.8 IS, and I decided I wanted the 100-400 v2 before the 70-200 and I really enjoy this hefty lens. It's so fast and sharp. At the track or in the woods, this thing is on it, all the time.

Anyone looking through this thread in interest should definitely pick one up!




  
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Sep 23, 2018 10:33 |  #9

I'd like to add some comment re dust and the 100-400mm lenses, both the mark 1 and mark 2. I've often read comments referring to the old version 1 as the “dust pump” and have also read comments re the mark 2. I live in Africa so when shooting wildlife I will always be surrounded by dust unless it's just rained. My old version 1 had some specs of dust in it and my mark 2 copy also does. I have NEVER noticed any loss in IQ due to dust though - you can see it if you look closely into the lens but I never see results of this in my images.

My theory is that if you have a lens that does not zoom internally (like the 70-200 f2.8 mk11) some dust is bound to get into the lens. I've used my 70-200 and 500 for years in the field and there is not a speck of dust in either. I stress again though - this does not make any difference to my images.

If I had to go on a wildlife trip and could only take 1 lens, the 100-400mm mkii would be it.


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Oct 31, 2018 13:35 |  #10

Would this lens be "held back" by being used on a 5D Mark II in your opinion?


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Nov 01, 2018 10:42 |  #11

Only from an auto focus speed stand point.


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Nov 11, 2018 18:16 |  #12

so there's a huge instant rebate on these right now. i may need to get one for a buddy to the 500mm.




  
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Nov 12, 2018 00:27 as a reply to  @ N.V.M.'s post |  #13

Often, this lens and something wide is all I carry/pack.
I can truthfully say that anytime I carry the 500 into the field, the 100-400 is with me on a second body.


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Nov 12, 2018 09:45 |  #14

N.V.M. wrote in post #18749104 (external link)
so there's a huge instant rebate on these right now. i may need to get one for a buddy to the 500mm.

The $200 rebate?


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Post edited 2 months ago by N.V.M.. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 12, 2018 21:42 as a reply to  @ ozziepuppy's post |  #15

$600 CDN. just got a plate so now i can clip it onto my Wimberley!

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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, reviewed by CyberDyneSystems
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