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Canon 400mm 5.6 L USM

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    ade123
    ade123 e2 Member 1163 forum postsade123 vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    9 Mar 2014 - 2:55 PM

    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.

    Regards Ade

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    NeilS
    NeilS e2 Member 7876 forum postsNeilS vcard United Kingdom
    9 Mar 2014 - 5:19 PM

    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

    No IS
    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

    lawbert
    lawbert  71713 forum posts England15 Constructive Critique Points
    9 Mar 2014 - 5:50 PM

    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

    tpfkapm
    tpfkapm  3142 forum posts United Kingdom
    9 Mar 2014 - 6:24 PM

    fab lens



    very versatile and not too heavy- nothing really comes close- should be sharp wide (f5.6) open

    John_N2008
    9 Mar 2014 - 7:06 PM

    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.

    Last Modified By John_N2008 at 9 Mar 2014 - 7:08 PM
    NeilS
    NeilS e2 Member 7876 forum postsNeilS vcard United Kingdom
    9 Mar 2014 - 7:30 PM

    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

    ade123
    ade123 e2 Member 1163 forum postsade123 vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    9 Mar 2014 - 7:43 PM

    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
    Ade

    tpfkapm
    tpfkapm  3142 forum posts United Kingdom
    9 Mar 2014 - 7:52 PM

    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

    arhb
    arhb e2 Member 72276 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom68 Constructive Critique Points
    9 Mar 2014 - 8:04 PM

    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.
    Highly recommended.

    Louise_Morris
    Louise_Morris e2 Member 42347 forum postsLouise_Morris vcard England
    9 Mar 2014 - 8:42 PM

    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.

    ade123
    ade123 e2 Member 1163 forum postsade123 vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    9 Mar 2014 - 8:55 PM


    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.

    Hi Louise,
    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.
    Ade

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