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Thread: Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM Lens

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    Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM Lens

    Does anyone know about the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM Lens. I want a good, long prime that is fast and works in low light. I have a chance to go on a photographers expedition to Stewart Island next February. This is just below New Zealand and hosts a lot of wildlife and icebergs. A lot of the tour we will be on a boat traveling around the Island and another 2 hour tour in a helicopter (with 2 stops on ice).

    My biggest lens at the moment is the 70mm-200mm F2.8L IS L series lens. I also have the Canon Extender EF 2x II which turns it into 400mm without much loss of F-stop. If I married this to the 400mm then I have a pretty reasonable 800mm focal length. Some of the tours will be done in the dark or dusk so that is why I am looking at an F2.8.

    I have looked at the Sigma 50mm-500mm as an option but I tend to think the images at the longest focal length for that lens are not as sharp as I would like.

    The reason I am looking at this lens is that a friend has offered his for about half the price new. I took some photos through his 1D MKIV and was really impressed. It is a very heavy lens but the thing is, a lot of the time I would not be able to get very close to the wildlife/icebergs I want to shoot.

    Is there any other option out there?

    I did check out the post by Satine in 2009 on this subject...but just wanted an update or new opinions...would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Doninoz; 03-06-2011 at 1:21pm.
    DON - Teachable, always learning, always experimenting, just want to know everything I can about photography!

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    i think a 600 f/4 would be choice #1 money being no issue

    canon have a 500 f/4 ?
    Darren
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    B&H has the “IS II” listed as “New item - No arrival date known”, I think you should check which item you are being offered.
    "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!"

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    you could hire one too by the way

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    i think a 600 f/4 would be choice #1 money being no issue

    canon have a 500 f/4 ?
    Yes to the 500/4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I want a good, long prime that is fast and works in low light
    I do believe that's the actual official definition of the EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM.
    Last edited by jim; 03-06-2011 at 2:31pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    you could hire one too by the way
    Yes I did think of that, then as a mad photographer I like building my nest (much to my wife's disgust sometimes <grin>). I don't really have any other vices so she lets me indulge sometimes but several thousand dollars is not just sometimes! Also the trip is costing nearly as much as the lens but it is a chance in a lifetime so I want to go snap happy.

    I was also asked by the group coordinator to make sure I bring a camera that can tolerate sub zero temps. I am assuming that the Canon 5DMKII can?
    Last edited by Doninoz; 03-06-2011 at 3:14pm.

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    The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I was also asked by the group coordinator to make sure I bring a camera that can tolerate sub zero temps. I am assuming that the Canon 5DMKII can?
    Don,
    here's a couple of articles that might help.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...9-worked.shtml
    http://canonfieldreviews.com/7d-1-weather-sealing/
    The LL article seems to indicate a lot of problems with the 5DII, particularly with water (rain) getting in between camera & grip. The CFR seems to indicate the MKII is OK but without a grip!?

    The EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM isn't available yet, latest estimate is late August 2011. It's supposed to be significantly lighter than the "Mk1" your friend is selling... which is a good thing as it's a "Lump" of a lens! But that's to be expected for a fantastic super-tele f2.8. When you talk about mainly shooting from a boat... is that the main ship or an inflatable tender? The 400f2.8 is not really a handheld option so you need to be able to set up a sturdy tripod. I shot quite a bit with a 500f4 in Africa, handheld was difficult and that's about 1.5kg lighter. Perhaps a 300f2.8 might be a more versatile option (particularly for helicopter) and it takes 1.4 & 2x extenders very well.

    Cheers
    John

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Whatever else you do, take a 100-400. You need something light enough to take in a helicopter, small enough to hold in your hand, and with IS. 70-200 doesn't cut it for that role.

    But don't go past the opportunity of the 400/2.8 if it really is the value your friend says it is. (He will be planning to replace it with the new version when that comes out, any day now.) 400/2.8, 500/4. 600/4, 200-400/4 and 800/5.6 - all of the the big whites have costs and benefits. I think most of us would like to own all of them, and be happy just to own any one of them.
    Tony

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    Oh, and if at all possible, take a 1 Series or a 7D. I thgink these are the only weather sealed Canon bodies. Absolutely for certain, take a spare body. You would be stark, staring crazy to go on a trip like that without a backup. I'd take at least three, just in case.

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    I have an EF 400mm f/2.8L I IS USM and with the 2 x Converter is an awesome combo.
    I was going to wait till the series 2 came out but the extra $3000 was a bit more than I wanted to pay.
    I have it attached to a 7D and the pictures are as clear as you would ever want. I have a Sigma 120-300
    but at the 300 end are not as sharp as I would have liked. Nice lens though.
    I dont regret buying it and have lots of fun with. It's amazing how many people stop for a chat when
    I take it out. I love it.
    cheers Kerro



    I shoot with Canon cameras and
    Canon and Sigma lenses

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wobbles View Post
    Don,
    here's a couple of articles that might help.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...9-worked.shtml
    http://canonfieldreviews.com/7d-1-weather-sealing/
    The LL article seems to indicate a lot of problems with the 5DII, particularly with water (rain) getting in between camera & grip. The CFR seems to indicate the MKII is OK but without a grip!?

    The EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS USM isn't available yet, latest estimate is late August 2011. It's supposed to be significantly lighter than the "Mk1" your friend is selling... which is a good thing as it's a "Lump" of a lens! But that's to be expected for a fantastic super-tele f2.8. When you talk about mainly shooting from a boat... is that the main ship or an inflatable tender? The 400f2.8 is not really a handheld option so you need to be able to set up a sturdy tripod. I shot quite a bit with a 500f4 in Africa, handheld was difficult and that's about 1.5kg lighter. Perhaps a 300f2.8 might be a more versatile option (particularly for helicopter) and it takes 1.4 & 2x extenders very well.

    Cheers
    John
    Thanks John,

    I wasn't aware of the problem with the battery grip. I have one but haven't used it much as it makes the camera cumbersome and heavier...so only used it once at a wedding and I think, one other event where I was mostly posing! The lens I have an option on is heavy and even though I did use it to take a bunch of photos hand held I know that the tripod will be the go when waiting and sustained use. It is the Mk1. The thing is that it is only going to cost me $4,000.00 and I can actually pay it off over a couple of years if I want to. The new one is more than $10,000.00 I am led to believe.

    Shooting will be from the main boat. The only time we will be in the tenders is to get to shore. I'm not aware they are using the tenders for any sight seeing. The helicopter, I am told, is one of those big old Russian things that fit 24 people but not too many positions to take photos...It's more about getting to isolated spots and setting us down.

    I have a Manfrotto 190CXPRO03 Carbon fiber tripod with a Black Widow Junior 3 Gimbal Head Kit on it so It's pretty light and supports heavy lens very well...good for the ship deck.

    I have looked at the 300mm but again that is going to cost me about 7-8 grand and I am not sure if my budget will extend to that amount. Maybe I'll look around to see if there are some second hand ones. the other option is to rent a couple of lens and see if I can't sell some of the photos when I get back and invest in the newer one.

    The more I look into it the more confusing it gets!!!

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    4000 ? Too good to be true , take it if you get a chance at that price

    Id be upgrading your tripod and head I think , check the weighting on what you have now

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wobbles View Post
    It's supposed to be significantly lighter than the "Mk1" your friend is selling...
    It might be worth the OP's time to find out which 400/2.8L is up for sale.

    Including the latest from Canon, there have been four 400/2.8Ls:

    1. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L USM
    2. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L II USM
    3. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
    4. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM
    Last edited by Xenedis; 04-06-2011 at 11:12am.

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    $4k get all over it if it is the 400mm IS version. I am not sure of the non IS versions, but they are selling second hand arounf that $4k mark.
    The 300mm f/2.8 sells approx 3.5-4k second hand, it is much more compact and with a TC get 420 f/4 its not bad. It may be difficult holding the 400 on a boat and in a helicopter, but the result would also be very good. I would go for it as long as it is the IS version, if not I'd probably buy a second hand 300 IS and attach a TC
    1DIII, 5DII, 15mm fish, 24mm ts-e, 35L,135L,200L,400L,mpe-65mm
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    I wasn't able to get in touch and find out about the lens till today...It is the IS version...The IS USM. It is worth more than $4,000 but as a business it has been written off and if he gets any more, he has to pay tax on it or something like that...so I get a bargain. I can get it early July and I am thinking seriously even if the weight is a bit over the top. I can't afford the 10 to 12 thousand for the new one!

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    It's certainly a quandry. Have you talked to others who have been on prior trips with the group ? If not try to, it will give you more of an idea of how mobile you have to be, shooting locations, distances from wildlife, lenses used etc.

    oh, and if you pass up the 400 at that price, put me down as 2nd on the list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I wasn't able to get in touch and find out about the lens till today...It is the IS version...The IS USM. It is worth more than $4,000 but as a business it has been written off and if he gets any more, he has to pay tax on it or something like that...so I get a bargain.
    Jump at it. The lens on offer is still a current item, and that price is significantly cheaper than what it's worth.

    Like the 300/2.8L IS, it is a stellar lens. It's hefty at 4.37kg, but a monopod will solve that problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I wasn't able to get in touch and find out about the lens till today...It is the IS version...The IS USM. It is worth more than $4,000 but as a business it has been written off and if he gets any more, he has to pay tax on it or something like that...so I get a bargain. I can get it early July and I am thinking seriously even if the weight is a bit over the top. I can't afford the 10 to 12 thousand for the new one!
    I would buy a second one for that price lol.

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    It's mine in July!

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