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I 've been looking at the photo gallery every day recently as I'm sure most of you do, and I have made a note of the photos taken with 100 - 400 L Tele and the 400 5.6 L Prime and I can't make up my mind which is the better of the two. Although I think the Prime gets image quality by a whisker I think.
Anyone else have an opinion? lets see which one gets the thumbs up and why.
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Its pointless trying to judge from a bunch of low res cropped images. The prime lens wins hands down at 400mm but is not much cop at the shorter focal lengths . If your main use is going to be wildlife go for the prime (or get the 300mm f4 + 1.4 converter) for general use the zoom will be more versatile.
if you dont need the zoom and are happy to up the iso the 400 5.6 I say is the way to go. Bare in mind a tripod/monopod will be useful.
I bought the 100-400 for its versatility and because it has IS so it depends on how you will use it.
If I was buying now I would also be sorely tempted by the 300mm f4L+ third-party tc (Tamron or equivalent) where you can use it at f4 in low light and crop the image.
I do own the prime lens which is nice and light and the lack of IS can be compensated for with the use of a monopod. I think if it came to replacement though I would probably go down the 300 + 1.4 route to take advantage of IS and its closer focusing ability.
I've got the 100-400 and use it for loads of things. Make a good "macro" when you put extension tubes on. But like the others have said, it's a compromise so the 400 prime will always be better than the zoom at 400mm
I too own the 100-400 and its very handy to have the zoom, but no doubt in my mind the 400 prime is better if you only need 400mm, and the 300mm is better if you only need 300mm. It depends if you need a flexible solution or the best with a narrower range of uses. Is can be handy, especially if you do panning shots.
If you are doing birds in flight the prime may well be better as you are moving etc and you probably end up with a shutter speed high enough to get close to hand holding. And many wildlife photographers I have seen stick the lot on a tripod, so the prime again is fine.
It all comes down to cost and flexibility. Another solution is to get the 70-200 f2.8 and a 2x converter. Or the 70-200 and 1.4x converter and 400mm prime if you have the cash Or the new 75-300L with 400mm prime .
Thanks for all your advice and comments. I have decided on the 300 F4 L IS with a 1.4xmk2 at a later date. I'll keep you posted as to how I get on with it. Of course should I win the Lotto I will be upgrading all my kit.........
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