Old 06-16-2009, 02:50 PM   #1
Peter MacCauley
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Default Canon 100-400 F/4-5.6L IS

Another lens thread here.

I currently have a 70-200 F/4L (which i love) but there are a few locations that i frequent where i could use a bit more zoom (300 mm would do). I have read several reviews of the 100-400 lens (mostly associated with bird, airplane or wildlife photographers). Granted, i probably don't need all 400 mm, but i think its' kind of like buying a Ferrari: Do you need it, probably not; do you want it, oh yeah. That may be overstating it a bit, bit you get my point.

I was wondering if any RP photographers own/have used this lens and how the optics compare to the 70-200. Any info would be great.

Thanks,

Peter.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:42 PM   #2
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If you are not going to need the extra range too often, you might consider buying a 1.4x or 2x tele-converter for $250 or so dollars rather than dropping the money for a 100-400 that you'll only use a couple times a month.

Some of the pros of the tele-converters are they are inexpensive and don't take up a whole lot of space in the camera bag.

Some of the cons are that they cause a decline in image quality, have a tendency to exacerbate any lens flare or other image imperfections, will be manual focus only when paired with your 70-200 F4L, and will take longer to put on the camera than just a straight super-zoom. (i.e. you need to mount the tele-converter and the lens, not just a single lens)

I use a 2x tele-converter and really have been quite pleased with it. The decline in image quality was not nearly so bad as I figured it would be, especially if you take the time to get the focus right. In fact, the IQ is quite tolerable to me, and I'm very picky in that department.

Couple of samples.

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Taken from a mile away. A little soft, but even my 70-200 going solo doesn't get crisp photos of stuff that far away, at least on a 30D.

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This is actually a near 100% crop with my doubler and 70-200. IQ will look close to this coming out of the camera (with a little sharpening) if you nail the focus. Note, however, the increased headlight flare.

http://zwsplac.rrpicturearchives.net...spx?id=1435512

Finally, this low light shot. Good IQ again, but now very noticeable headlight flare, to the point of being unnacceptable to me. If you are going to be doing low light super-tele shots, I'd go with the 100-400. Otherwise, definitely consider a tele-converter.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
will be manual focus only when paired with your 70-200 F4L,
Really interesting stuff, Ken, Just a minor correction, the 1.4x teleconverter should AF with the 70-200 f/4 L.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:09 PM   #4
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...but, if you do buy a 100-400, you may find that it opens up new photo opportunities and you'll use it much more often than you think. As far as optics go, I believe it's pretty close to the 70-200 and it has IS. Off the top of my head, I know that Jim Thias shoots with it, so I'll let you be the judge of his work.

I say, if you have the money, buy the 100-400.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:42 PM   #5
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300 F4 L is a damn nice lens to if you can get away with out a zoom. 70-200 F4L + 1.4 works well to i have both, but 300 is a good bit longer with the 1.4 = 420 + 1.6 from the camera = 672 mm.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Really interesting stuff, Ken, Just a minor correction, the 1.4x teleconverter should AF with the 70-200 f/4 L.
but not with a 2X unless you have a 1D variant.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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I'd get a 1.4x TC, personally. The 70-200 F/4 has the reputation of being the sharpest canon zoom lens, and the 100-400...not so much. I own the 100-400, and it's sweet, but I rarely use it for trains. I can think of maybe 3 photos I have in the DB that were beyond 300mm.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:51 PM   #8
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Peter,
I keep my 100-400 bolted to my 30D at all times. The opportunities open to use it are more frequent than you might think (yeah, even on the Oakville Sub!).

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=266472

The only time it comes off is if I need to use my Sigma 12-24 which won't work with the Mk II (even that doesn't happen very often as the 24-105 on the Mk II gives almost all the width I need most times), or if I want to go long on the Mk II with something I think justifies the extra res of the full-frame 21 mp sensor. If you get one, I think you'll like it. If you don't, you might not miss it as much as I would having had one for the past couple years.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=265240

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Old 06-16-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter MacCauley View Post

I was wondering if any RP photographers own/have used this lens and how the optics compare to the 70-200. Any info would be great.

Thanks,

Peter.
Most of my photos at 100mm and above are with the 100-400 (I'd estimate about 75% or more of my photos on RP are with that lens.)

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=18321

It's a GREAT lens for railroad photography, IMO.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:14 AM   #10
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Chalk up another YES vote for the 100-400L IS. I've been shooting with it for nearly 6 years now and its undoutedly the mose versatile lens in my bag. I have the 70-200 2.8 IS too and the 100-400L is nearly as sharp. If I want to travel light all I've got to do is grab the camera with 24-105L IS and 100-400L IS lenses and I have everything covered.
However, if you want to try and get by on the cheap side you can get a Canon 1.4x extender for less than $300 and use it with your 70-200L F4.

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Old 06-17-2009, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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However, if you want to try and get by on the cheap side you can get a Canon 1.4x extender for less than $300 and use it with your 70-200L F4.
Aren't you stuck with a max ap of f8 then?
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Aren't you stuck with a max ap of f8 then?
It would be f4, you loose one stop with the 1.4x and two with the 2x.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:29 PM   #13
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Thanks, all, for your responses. I was kind of leaning towards getting one anyway, but wasn't sure how effective it would be for railroad photography.

Wayne,
The Oakville sub is actually where i was thinking of using it, at locations such as Snake (200mm just doesn't cut it), Lemmonville, waterdown rd, as well as places like Copetown, Paris, etc. It will be my third L series (the other being a 24-105) and just can't say enough about the build and optical quality.

Once again, thanks.

Peter.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
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It would be f4, you loose one stop with the 1.4x and two with the 2x.
Ah, ok, I couldn't remember what you lost with each extender. Wait, don't you mean it would be f5.6 witht he 1.4?
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Ah, ok, I couldn't remember what you lost with each extender. Wait, don't you mean it would be f5.6 witht he 1.4?
Yeah 5.6, sorry.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #16
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Another yes from me, I use the 100-400 and most of my shots are taken between 100-300 and on that range I find them very sharp, it tends to loose a bit at full 400.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter MacCauley View Post
Wayne,
The Oakville sub is actually where i was thinking of using it, at locations such as Snake (200mm just doesn't cut it), Lemmonville, waterdown rd, as well as places like Copetown, Paris, etc. It will be my third L series (the other being a 24-105) and just can't say enough about the build and optical quality.
Oh, yeah, down that end is great for it! This look at all familiar?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=211208

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Old 06-17-2009, 09:03 PM   #18
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As you can see, it can handle tricky light situations pretty well, too.
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