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Canon 400 f5.6 L

Munro 13 45 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 9:18PM
I have been considering the above lens for the occasional wildlife shots I may take. I would be attaching this to my 7D. From a number of reviews the consensus seems to be that whilst this lens may not have IS, the image quality is slightly sharper than that produced from the 100-400.

I am curious if anyone has any first hand experience of these 2 lenses. I appreciate the flexibility the 100-400 would give me, but I am not too concerned at just working with a prime. I also know the 400 has been in production for some time now and is it likely this will be due for an upgrade, although by current canon revamps, in both bodies and lenses, this would likely be a considerable price hike.


Louise_Morris 11 2.5k England
4 Jun 2012 9:34PM
Have you though about the 300 f4 + 1.4 extender? I find this isn't a bad combo and does let you have a little flexibility without compromise on the quality. Also the auto focus still works with the 300 but I don't think it does if using a 400 - it certainly doesn't with the 100-400. I am still able to use this lens for macro images too. Hope this helps. Lou
tomcat 15 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 9:40PM
For the price, the 400mm 5.6 is unbeatable

One or two members on her made the transition from Sigma stuff, to it.

Not sure if your 7D supports the AF with a 1.4x converter, but if it does, you won't go far wrong for the price

Check out my PF. Most of my bird/animal images are taken with the lens, albeit I use an extension tube (12mm) for my wood shots as it reduces the minimum focal distance

ianrobinson 11 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 11:22PM
try the sigma 120-300mm f2.8, it's an awesome lens and i have had some superb results from this lens with the 2x converter on it too.
At 2000.00 it is more affordable than the equivalent canon 300mm f2.8 l is usm lens which cost 5500,00 and is as good.
Overread 13 4.1k 19 England
4 Jun 2012 11:40PM
But at 2K its double the price of the other options - and much heavier than the 100-400mm, 400mm f5.6 or the 300mm f4. Whilst the latter 3 are easily handholdable the 120-300mm is much more a lens you'll find a monopod or a tripod very important for helping steady shots (unless you're very very well built - even then after a day shooting it will strain on you).

The 400mm f5.6, in every review I've read isn't just slightly, but noticeably sharper than the 100-400mm - especially wide open. The 400mm end of the 100-400mm is usable, but improves a lot if you shift to f7.1/8. That said the 100-400mm does deliver photos that are perfectly usable once processed so its no slouch of a lens by any means.

This is really a market area where its a case of choosing the option that best fits your needs - each of the options suggested will perform very well - but each has its own features and properties. You might want to hunt down a local camera club and see if you can't get a try of anyone there who has a copy of one of the lenses - or you can try a local camera shop to see if they have stock you can go in to see.
robs 17 685 2 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 11:44PM
I had the 400 f5.6 on the 5D II. It was an absolutely stunning performer and I thought better than the 100-400 at the long end.
Munro 13 45 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2012 2:40PM
Thanks for the feedback guys, a little food for thought - 300 + 1.4, or 400, mmm...


brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2012 2:48PM
I used both the 400L and 300 F4 LIS + 1.4xTC in the past.

The 400 gives best focus speed and sharpness but has a long minimum focal distance and no IS

The 300 + TC has IS + shorter MFD, is slower focusing and slightly less sharp.

If you want to be able to grab a bird in flight in one shot then a butterfly close-up in the next its the 300 + 1.4TC

on the other hand the 400 is spot on for birds in flight, and animals at speed (but maybe better off a monopod unless you have good light or a very stable)

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