LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 7:37 am

Im trying to decide on the best lens to cover long range for me. I already have the 70-200 + 1.4 converter. So im up to 280 mm. I really cannot decide between the following 3. This lens will only be used for long range aviation work mainly GA. But i have a special invite to Farnborough so would be using it there as well.

Canon 100-400 L IS
Canon 300 L IS F4.0
Canon 400 L F5.6

The 100-400 is the best all round lens but have been told it's not as sharp as the other two. And i believe it wont work on AF with a 1.4 converter + 20D.

The 300 is meant to be the sharpest of the lot (and works with a 1.4 converter on AF with a 20D) but i used to have one and it sucked !!!! It was very soft so sent it back. I have been told many times i was just unlucky !!!!!

The 400 is again meant to be sharp but though i like the idea of 400 mm im a bit concerned that it will be just too big !!!! And i dont think this works with the 1.4 converter in AF on a 20D.

Due to my pathetic inability to make my mind up for the last 4 months i wondered what you guys would go for  

Thanks
Simon C

[Edited 2006-05-13 00:45:50]
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
thowman
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:51 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 7:47 am

Simon, let's find a day and you can try mine out, and I'll try out yours!

Andy
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 7:51 am

Hi Andy.......

Yep i will. But your off to Madrid and im getting my Kitchen refitted  Smile

Seriously i will 100% take you up on the offer of a 100-400 test before i make my mind up...

I just wanted to also weigh the views up on here also before i take the plunge.

Cheers
Simon
 Smile
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
BigSkyBirds
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 8:03 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 7:53 am

I have had all three, the 100-400mm was soft at the tele end and went belly up with error 01, so did its replacement.

The 300mm must have been a dud because it was not sharp from day one, so I sent it back.

The 400mm is pin sharp and an excellent lens but you are restricted with no zoom.

Thats my experience but I am sure others will have much different views.

regards

Kevin
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 7:58 am

Thanks Kevin

Worrying on 2 points.

1) The 100-400 being soft at the top end + the error. As per Andy's offer i will test one of these.

2) Yet another duff 300 L. I was always told my pants 300 lemon was a one off. It seems thats not so !!!! So now im even more put off at the thought of getting another one !!! The problem is i have used a good 300 L when Martin Aves (Tin67) let me borrow his. If i could get one like that i think i would stick with the 300. But it seems such a lottery !!!!

At least the 400 turned out good. But you confirmed my again worry regarding zoom and over size.

Thanks
Simon C

[Edited 2006-05-13 01:00:56]
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
Interpaul
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 8:19 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 8:49 am

Hi Simon,
I own both the 100-400 and the 400 5.6 prime and all I can say is get the prime. It beats the zooms sharpness hands down. I just spent some days at AMS with that lens and when I saw the results my jaw dropped to the floor. It is that sharp. I could show you some examples and 100% crops if you like.

The 100-400 is obviously much more versatile and the image strabilizer is another advantage over the 400 5.6, but since you already own the 70-200 and you intend to use the 100-400 at the long end most of the time, I think you should get the prime for maximum quality.

Quoting BigSkyBirds (Reply 3):
and went belly up with error 01

Haha, guess why I sent mine back to Canon last week.  mad 

Cheers
Jan
 
AdamWright
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 2:58 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 9:45 am

The ultimate telephoto setup in my mind:

70-200 IS
300L IS
1.4x

Gives the best range of options for shooting. 70-280 and 300-420mm with IS all the way.

-Adam

[Edited 2006-05-13 02:49:13]
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 5:02 pm

Quoting AdamWright (Reply 6):
The ultimate telephoto setup in my mind:

70-200 IS
300L IS
1.4x

Gives the best range of options for shooting. 70-280 and 300-420mm with IS all the way.

That would be my set up.
Simon,  wave  haven't spoken to you in a while mate, how you keeping and how is the hockey photography going?
You know my feeling on this and I have to agree that the 300 f4 is a cracking lens. I am replacing mine next month, for the 300mm f2.8 and the big boy, 500mm f4 Big grin I am surprised that you are going back to the 300 f4 after what you went through but also pleased to, it is a cracking lens and I hope this time you get a good one. I'd sell you mine but I already have two people declaring their interest in it, if they fall through you can buy it off me, but since the move I have lost the box.

Good luck and take care.

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 9:19 pm

Hi Fergul. Nice to talk again.

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 7):
how you keeping and how is the hockey photography going

Very well.... Doing all sorts now. Local Papers x 3 , national magazines etc etc .... Its been keeping me very busy (to busy to be honest) , and hence the reason why im now only just getting round to editing April 2005's work !!!!!

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 7):
I am replacing mine next month, for the 300mm f2.8 and the big boy, 500mm f4

Have you won the lottery Fegul !!!!   If so send some my way   Those 2 are going to cost a pretty penny. Are they just for aviation as thats a hell of an outlay !!!

[Edited 2006-05-13 14:20:20]
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 9:52 pm

Quoting LHRSIMON (Reply 8):
Have you won the lottery Fegul !!!! If so send some my way Those 2 are going to cost a pretty penny. Are they just for aviation as thats a hell of an outlay !!!

Nope  Smile Its a long storey but to make it short, about 6 years ago I had an opertunity to buy out my ex in her share of the house. Since then the house has been rented and suddenly the market has opened up in the area that it's in. So I have decided to sell and I am making a tidy profit, less the tax man with his capital gains tax! So apart from putting the majority away in a pension, treating Tina, paying off the car loan, I am going to spoil myself. The 500 is for wildlife so is the 300 in a way and I hope to do some sport photography as well, with the 300 and a 1.4TC. I am in the market for a good body later on in the year and I think I may go for the 5D as it wood be good for weddings and portrait work.

I wish I could send you some your way mate but Tina is going mad at me spending this money on camera gear, but I want my fun and as they say, 'You can't take it with you when you die!' She just doesn't wnat to know the amount I'm spending Big grin

Anyhow on to your choice, the 300 and the 70-200 is the best combo Simon and I really thing you should get it, I loved it and when I was in Africa this year doing some wild life I did get some great shots with the 300 and the 1.4TC, see below!
http://www.pbase.com/fergulmcc/image/54360303/original
http://www.pbase.com/fergulmcc/image/54360304/original

Glad to hear you hockey work is going well, congrats and keep it up!!

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
LHRSIMON
Topic Author
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 13, 2006 11:05 pm

Im pleased for you Fergul  Smile Enjoy it mate !!! As you say you can't take it with you..... Im not jealous at all  Smile

I have a couple of offers from kind people to try out a couple of pieces of kit. So im going to try and get some sort of get together going. Will have to be in a few weeks though as im off on holiday soon...

Great photo's by the way Fergul. You seem to be yet another succesfull student of the A.Net school of photography. I wonder just how many of us there are out there now doing our thing.....
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
 
norfolkjohn
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:20 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sun May 14, 2006 12:45 am

Simon,

I have all three of the lenses you mentioned in your original post and also the 70-200 F2.8 LIS. My comments on each are as follows :

100-400 LIS : Still the lens I use most. It is soft at the very top end but if you keep it below about 380mm and the aperture no wider than f7.1 the results are generally excellent. The only other thing I have found is that my example really does not like having any form of filter attached. Adding a filter - of any sort - increases the top end softness to some extent.

300 f4 LIS : Pin sharp and very easy to hand hold. Fully compatible with X1.4. Only down side id the fact it is only 300mm

400 f5.6 : Pin sharp and surprisingly easy to hand hold. Lacks flexibility and in windy conditions when shooting props at 1/250 the lack of IS results in some problems with camera shake.

70-200 f2.8 LIS : In my experience actually the sharpest of all the lenses mentioned. A good zoom range makes it versatile but my one major gripe is that I find it is not too well balanced on a 20D and hence quite awkward to hold. The zoom ring is nearer the camera body than I would like and hence there can be a tendency to let the lens tilt downward if you hold it by the zoom ring - which I tend to do. It would, in my view, have been much better if the manual focus ring had been at the rear with the zoom ring at the front rather than the other way round.

My normal set up is to have one body with the 100-400 and another with the 70-200. I only use the primes for specific circumstances where I know there will not be a need to change focal lengths.

Just my experience for what it is worth.

All the best,

John
One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sun May 14, 2006 2:10 am

Quoting Norfolkjohn (Reply 11):
I find it is not too well balanced on a 20D and hence quite awkward to hold. The zoom ring is nearer the camera body than I would like and hence there can be a tendency to let the lens tilt downward if you hold it by the zoom ring - which I tend to do. It would, in my view, have been much better if the manual focus ring had been at the rear with the zoom ring at the front rather than the other way round.

Hi John,  wave 

I would have to agree with you in part, I balanced mine out with a battery grip so that helped me. As for the zoom ring, I find it ok but I do think that the 300 f4 ring is too far out as I tend to hold the lens a bit further out and I sometimes knock off the focus because my finger hits the focusing ring. I would have liked the focusing ring a bit further back on the 300 f4, but I guess if you do need to go MF then it is suitable where it is.

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sun May 14, 2006 5:19 am

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 12):
s for the zoom ring, I find it ok but I do think that the 300 f4 ring is too far out as I tend to hold the lens a bit further out and I sometimes knock off the focus because my finger hits the focusing ring. I would have liked the focusing ring a bit further back on the 300 f4, but I guess if you do need to go MF then it is suitable where it is.

I used to have a similar problem with the F4. I was shooting up at SOU one afternoon when Colin Work was about, and noticed that he supported the lens using the hood; since then that's how I've done it.

Cheers


James
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
jrowson
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 7:18 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sun May 14, 2006 8:20 pm

I've hardly touched my 100-400 since I converted to a 70-200 f2.8 LIS and 1.4x. The consistency of sharpness through the entire zoom range impressed me alot compared to the soft long end on the 100-400. I'm starting to miss the long end a bit now and I think one of the 2 primes is the way to go. Might be time to sell my 100-400 and use the money to get a prime instead.

Not to mention the problems I had with the 100-400's IS failing and it was petty soft after Canon repaired it, but seems much better after I had the AF motor replaced aswell and it was re-calibrated.

The other thing about the 100-400 is that it seems to suck dust into my 20d (maybe a vacuum created by the push-pull) much more than any other lens I use.
James Rowson
 
BigSkyBirds
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 8:03 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Mon May 15, 2006 12:01 am

Its appears several people have experienced IS failure on the 100-400mm and I was concerned to have this problem on two separate lenses. Fortunately they were both in warranty otherwise it would have been a costly repair.

As for dust, I nicknamed mine the Dyson.

The 400mm L is a nice lens and very light compared to the 100-400mm. If you can do without the zoom then give it a try.

regards

Kevin
 
Interpaul
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 8:19 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 20, 2006 10:06 am

Sorry for the plug but this shot gives you an idea of what the 400 5.6 L can do.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jan Szidat



Cheers
Jan
 
Morvious
Posts: 637
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:36 pm

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sat May 20, 2006 9:55 pm

Quoting Interpaul (Reply 16):
Sorry for the plug but this shot gives you an idea of what the 400 5.6 L can do

Why sorry for showing us THAT!!!
Ive send you a PM for this one, can you please answere it? thanks Big grin
have a good day, Stefan van Hierden
 
Tin67
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 3:49 am

RE: Canon 100-400 Or 300 L Or 400 L?

Sun May 21, 2006 5:38 pm

Hi Simon,

I know you tried my 300 f/4 before, but if you want to meet up and try again with and without and extender let me know.

Cheers
Martin

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