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Hi I'm looking for some advice on the canon 400mm 5.6 USM
I am about to purchase a longer lens for bird photography etc and after looking around at various lenses and what other people use I am considering buying the 400mm. I already own the 70-200 IS USM & a 1.4x extender but want the extra focal length.Can anyone give some advice pro's con's on the lens or alternatives.
Flashcamera are selling it for £915 which seems a great deal as opposed to £1,000+ which most other places are selling it for.
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Probably the best performing lens at reasonable cost in the Canon line up for birding
Whilst it's light, cheap, and delivers good IQ and AF speed, it has the following major deficiencies
Only 400mm ie a bit short
Depending on what sort of bird photography you want to do, the Tamron 150/600 zoom should be considered also because it overcomes both the above issues for a similar cost
The best results will come from Canon second generation super teles but they come at a heck of a price, as do even the second hand mark one types
There wasn't any cheap way to 600mm until the Tamron was introduced recently
For the money there is nothing as sharp, I had a siggy 120-300 f2.8 and a 1.4 and took a gamble on the 400mm 5.6 from flash camera....I Sold the siggy the next day!!
Mine is used on a 7d and it was back focusing as was my mates (which he didnt realise!) , I calibrated both and settled on a +9 setting in af micro adjust and both are pin sharp so I would say that make sure your camera has the af micro adjust feature.
This image is straight from the camera....no sharpening etc
very versatile and not too heavy- nothing really comes close- should be sharp wide (f5.6) open
I used to have one - AF is excellent, very sharp too - for BIF IS doesn't matter, but for my a fixed length was the killer - fine for some though.
Other alts include the Sigma 150-500 OS (although the top reach is closer to 470) or the Tamron, but check for AF issues as I've read a bit about AF speed\locking at long end which is what you'd be looking at.
If it helps you at all here is my set from when I had the 400.
Contrary to john's view, I have found that for BIF shots, IS is important, because you are invariably moving the camera in order to track the bird
At longer focal lengths, I have found that IS increases my sharpness and hit rate, be it hand held, on a bean bag, gimbal or tripod, this is why I believe that IS is still important feature to have if at all possible
I would rather stick with canon and would really like an IS version but funds will certainly not
let me go for one of the higher models ( or the mrs ).
The 400mm will certainly suit my requirements as I am more inclined to take closer images of birds
Thanks for all the good advice and comments
The 300mm f4L IS with the 1.4x converter is an alternative and focus is closer, but the 100 400 L is probably better( the ef 400mm f5.6 is better than the zoom though.)
So many options
The minimum focus distance is around 3m+(?), so bear that in mind,
however, adrian(tomcat) used this lens with an extension tube, and got some outstanding results with bird photography.
I had this lens, sold it to fund a 27-70, which I still use a lot, but would get another 400F5.6 tomorrow if I had the money.
I have both the 100-400 & the 300 f4 - both of which I use with a 1.4 extender - no problems with either at all. I would be wary of the Tamron 150-600 as I have read and heard that a lot of folks have returned theirs as there is a focusing issue and you cannot use it very successfully with AI Servo allegedly! The 100-400 would be more versatile and as Ive said works well with a 1.4 but its obviously dependent on whether you want a fixed length or zoom.
Quote: I have both the 100-400 & the 300 f4 - both of which I use with a 1.4 extender - no problems with either at all. I would be wary of the Tamron 150-600 as I have read and heard that a lot of folks have returned theirs as there is a focusing issue and you cannot use it very successfully with AI Servo allegedly! The 100-400 would be more versatile and as Ive said works well with a 1.4 but its obviously dependent on whether you want a fixed length or zoom.
I have the 70-200 which I use with the 1.4 extender which will suit me for the closer work
And would prefer the fixed focal length of the 400mm.
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