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Thread: Canon 400mm prime v 100-400mm zoom

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    Canon 400mm prime v 100-400mm zoom

    I have the 300mm prime f/4 IS L lens and am very happy with it. Combined with the 1.4 converter and the 1D it is nice combination buuuuut as is the case when chasing small birds a little longer reach would be great

    Anyways I have been considering buying the 400mm f5.6 or the 100-400mm zoom (while I would love something longer at f/4 or f/2.8 my pocket money does not stretch that far).

    Two questions:

    Is either lens better/sharper than the 300 combo??

    Which is the preferred lens from the two above.

    I appreciate any comment pro or con that might help me. Images taken with either might help too.
    cheers
    andy smylie
    __________________________________________________________________________

    “It’s not the subject that you are photographing – it’s the light that is falling on the subject. That’s what’s important..” Vincent Versace

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Search the forum. I am sure it has been asked before.
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...00mm-f-4.5-5.6

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    Quote Originally Posted by agb View Post
    Search the forum. I am sure it has been asked before.
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...00mm-f-4.5-5.6
    Thanks for the lead l- will do.

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    Member fairy bombs's Avatar
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    I own a 400 L prime I am very happy with it,I wanted a good long lens,My choice came down to 300 mm L,100-400 L.and the 400 L.

    I quickly decided the 100-400 was first of the list-reason I mainly wanted it for birding and wildlife,and would always be at the longest
    possible length,The 400 L is also very light compared to 100-400,a big plus when out in the field humping gear around,its easy to bring to
    the eye and us.The 100-400 has the pump action which I did not like,when at 400 its very long and harder to line up on a little wren.

    Also its so lovely and sharp,I checked some sharpness test between the two,and the prime was the pick,also,some say there are 'good
    copies' and 'bad copies' of the 100-400.Over on FM the 400 prime rates very well.

    Also the girth of the 400 L is the same as the 70-200 F 4,so easy to hang onto the tripod ring that comes with 400 L goes on the 70-200 F 4

    Anyhow,I hope this helps,You will not regret the 400 L and along with your 300 F4,a great set up!

    FB
    Canon 50D and 450D - Canon 10-22 F3.5-5.6, 17-55 F2.8 L, 70-200 F2.8 L, 400 prime F5.6 L, 60mm F2.8 macro, EX 430 Flash,and all sorts of other bits and pieces

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    Quote Originally Posted by fairy bombs View Post
    I own a 400 L prime I am very happy with it,I wanted a good long lens,My choice came down to 300 mm L,100-400 L.and the 400 L.

    I quickly decided the 100-400 was first of the list-reason I mainly wanted it for birding and wildlife,and would always be at the longest
    possible length,The 400 L is also very light compared to 100-400,a big plus when out in the field humping gear around,its easy to bring to
    the eye and us.The 100-400 has the pump action which I did not like,when at 400 its very long and harder to line up on a little wren.

    Also its so lovely and sharp,I checked some sharpness test between the two,and the prime was the pick,also,some say there are 'good
    copies' and 'bad copies' of the 100-400.Over on FM the 400 prime rates very well.

    Also the girth of the 400 L is the same as the 70-200 F 4,so easy to hang onto the tripod ring that comes with 400 L goes on the 70-200 F 4

    Anyhow,I hope this helps,You will not regret the 400 L and along with your 300 F4,a great set up!

    FB
    Thanks FB. Just what I wanted to hear. I have seen and used both for short stints and like you I think the 400 prime might win out.

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    I found the 100-400 pretty good wide open at 400mm, personally I found it very difficult to hand hold this lens, even with IS!!!!!! I think it has to do with it being very light + very long. So much so I would need at least 1/100s to get a decent image using IS, sometimes id get lucky and get a good image at slower speeds.
    Still, for what I used this lens for, I did not use IS very much, I would say only a few % of shots. I found the zoom to be useful in tracking birds, zoom in while focusing gets the bird in the viewfinder, however I found with practise, a long prime is not too difficult either.
    I used the 100-400 for surf images, and the 100mm was nice occationally to get some scenery.
    I was very pleased with the IQ, and focusing speed of this lens. just my 2c


    here are some enjoyable shots with the 100-400





    100mm



    100% crop 7d


    100% crop 1d3


    a situation where IS was useful!


    edit, i belive these were all shot wide open.
    Last edited by fabian628; 05-04-2011 at 1:52am.
    1DIII, 5DII, 15mm fish, 24mm ts-e, 35L,135L,200L,400L,mpe-65mm
    Film: eos 300, pentax 6x7

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    Member neds1's Avatar
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    i use the 100 to 400 with the 1.4 and it is good for taking shot at 6 feet or 1.8 meters but the 400 has a Closest focusing distance: 3.5m / 11.5ft. so i found 100 to 400 is good for small wildlife like wrens spiders flowers etc at 1.8 meters as well birds in trees at 400 mm end
    Ken

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    I have a 400 F2.8 and use it with 2X series iii converter on my 7 D.
    And i love it. I have no need for the 100-400 as my other lenses cover most
    of that range.
    Expensive, yes. But I get nice pictures.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    cheers Kerro



    I shoot with Canon cameras and
    Canon and Sigma lenses

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser DAdeGroot's Avatar
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    Although this has indeed been covered elsewhere in the forums, I'll reiterate my experiences.

    I tested the 100-400L for a month before deciding to go with the 400/5.6L. Why ? I used the 100-400 mostly at 400, the IS was not particularly effective (comapred to my 70-200), and the IQ of the prime was better straight from the camera. The 400L's light weight means it's a bit easier to hand-hold at less than the optimum shutter speed, and it focuses a lot faster than the 100-400L does.
    It will take a 1.4x TC and still focus on a 1 series body (as will the 100-400).

    In practice, esp. when birding, you don't need IS that often (I certainly don't miss it), but IQ is very important as cropping for smaller targets is somewhat of a necessity (although, I guess I should just buy some tubes to reduce the min. focus distance).
    Dave

    http://www.degrootphotography.com.au/
    Canon EOS 1D MkIV | Canon EOS 5D MkII | Canon EOS 30D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM | Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM | Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM | Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L & some non-L lenses.

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    Hey Fab - thanks for the images - nice collection of differing subjects. I did notice that you shot with the 100-400 but your signature shows you own the 400mm L

    Thanks Ned and Kerro too but the 400 f/2.8 is a pipe dream for me.

    Thank to to Dave - What you say make sense.

    I think I have made my mind up on the 400mm L Prime as I have the shorter distances covered with the 70-200 and the 300 f/4. Since I think I will mostly be using it for birding at the 400mm end and I can still use the 1.4 converter if I need to. I have got used to using my feet with the 300mm when I get too close and I know I will miss the closer shots without the zoom but compromise is what life is all about anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smylie View Post
    Hey Fab - thanks for the images - nice collection of differing subjects. I did notice that you shot with the 100-400 but your signature shows you own the 400mm L
    hehehe, i think i used past tense in my post
    For the record, the 100-400 did pretty well against the 300mm + 1.4, and 400. In terms of IQ the latter are a little sharper, and have little to no CA's. But you do really notice them shine in lower light, where even one stop of light makes such a huge difference.
    The second hand price of the 100-400 is pretty good value imo. Unfortunately i bought mine for 2.3k new

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quite frankly, the difference in focal lenght between 300mm and 400mm isn't that much. A zoom adds greatly to convenience but when shooting birds, I usually have my Sigma 150-500 at the long end. Anyway, fast long primes are very expensive.
    Cheers

    PeterB666


    My photo-mojo has gone

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Metabones Speed Booster and Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 - almost as insanely wicked as sin itself... but then again, the Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 is kinda fun.

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