alexjames23
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Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:03 am

Hi everyone,

I posted a topic a while ago asking for opinions about what lens I should get. It was between the 24-105, 70-200 (series), 100-400, or 70-300L.

Since then, I've purchased a 24-105, and a 70-200 2.8 IS II. I'm very happy with them both, as they perform incredibly!

Problem is.... you guessed it... I need more range.

I've read dozens of reviews between the following lenses/TC, and each lens/TC receives good, and bad reviews. I need some tips, and, if possible, experience input between a couple of them.

-Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 IS ~$1500
-Canon EF 400 f/5.6 ~$1220
-Canon EF 300 f/4 IS ~$1350
-Canon 1.4 TC (to put on my 70-200) ~$450

Several more points:
-I'd like to get the best value for my money (obviously), and am not looking to spend more than $1500.

-Also, I am not interested in any of the Canon rumors.. All of the rumors for the 100-400 and the 400 have just seemed to started, then died shortly after.. No recent updates or further news, which doesn't make them promising at all.

-I am very concerned with sharpness as well. I don't want to spend $1000+ for a lens only to find it's "soft". *cough* 100-400....

-If I get the 100-400, I will only use it between the 200-400 range, as I will have my 70-200 sitting next to me on another body.

-If anyone has experience **aviation-wise** with the 70-200 2.8+1.4TC, please comment !

Thanks to everyone reading + replying!

[Edited 2013-07-18 21:05:19]

[Edited 2013-07-18 21:05:29]
 
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Moose135
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:55 am

I'm using the 100-400 - and have for some 8 years now, on everything from a 300D to my new 7D, and wouldn't part with it. That said, I have three or four aviation photographer friends who have recently sold their 100-400 and gone to the 70-200+1.4 and are very happy with the results.
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len90
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:03 am

I don't have the 2.8, but I have experience with the 70-200 f4L and Canon 1.4x III. I have still been getting pictures accepted on here with that set-up and for everything else I think the sharpness and quality are still up there. There might be a small drop-off in quality, but for me not worth spending over $1000 on another lens that might not be as sharp as the 70-200 is. Just remember your 70-200 2.8 ISII will turn to a 98-280 f4 ISII when you do the math for the conversion and account for the full stop you lose. In addition you might see a slight decrease in the autofocus of your camera with the converter, I personally only saw that when I played around with it in a dark room.

As for your other options: the 400 without the IS I personally wouldn't get something with such depth and no IS now. The 300 is nice, but no variability and I personally like to have something variable. The 100-400 as posted some love it and some don't love it. There is also the 70-300, but it's annoying to use since the focus and zoom rings are reversed when compared to other Canon lenses.

Overall, I really enjoy my converter. I pretty much always have it mounted on my 70-200 since I do also have the 24-105. It's the route I went with to get that lost extra reach when I upgraded to a full frame.

Hope this helps!
Len90
 
vir380
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:04 am

Go with the Canon EF 300 f/4 IS ~$1350 !

Ive owned 3 100-400mm's and every one has been a disappointment .. woudnt touch another with a barge pole..

I currently have a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 plus extender (1.4) and that really does take some beating image wise.


Ive owned a 300mm f4 and it was a VERY capable lens ,which does provide stunning images.
Moved away from this lost website to better things !
 
ckw
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:36 am

Tough choice.

I'd say the 70-200 with the 1.4 is as good as the 100-400 - the mk3 convertor might be better still. So just how important is the extra reach of the 400?

If ultimate image quality is the goal, then its between the 300 and the 400 - obviously here you are trading extra reach against having IS.

Personally given the options I would opt for the 300 AND the convertor. I'd also save a bit of cash by going for a used 300 from a reputable dealer (to get some warranty protection). The 300 is solid and should be a safe bet used.

I think the combination, coupled with what you already have gives you both the max reach, a lot of flexibility and ensures high IQ.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
alexjames23
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:10 pm

Thanks guys.

Now that I look at at, I don't think the 1.4 on the 70-200 will actually be enough (280mm). I was hoping for something at least 300mm.. and I'm definitely not going to go for the 2x.

Also, as some of you said, IS is very nice to have, especially since I pan a lot. The absence of IS at 400mm just sounds lethal to me..

I got to use a 300 f/2.8 once, and I was actually shooting at f/6.3 the whole time. So 300@f/4 shouldn't be a problem, as I would be stopping down anyways for the a/c. As for being locked into 300mm, I didn't find it a problem at all. If the aircraft gets too close, you can get killer closeup shots which are just as satisfying to me. If I need extra range, I throw on the 1.4.

^I like that idea CKW. Thanks.

I'll let this thread run a bit longer to allow for some more opinions.

PLEASE if there are any viewers who own both the 100-400 and the 300 f4, jump in !!

Thanks again!

[Edited 2013-07-19 08:11:27]

[Edited 2013-07-19 08:13:47]
 
ckw
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:38 pm

Quoting alexjames23 (Reply 5):
if there are any viewers who own both the 100-400 and the 300 f4, jump in !!

I did own both and ran extensive tests (also with the 70-200 f2.8 mk II) in order to "rationalise" my lens collection in order to buy the 500 f4.

Image quality - both the 70-200 and 300 are significantly better than the 100-400. With a 1.4 attached, 300 was still a bit better. 70-200 - too close to call.

Don't get me wrong - the 100-400 is good - remarkably good considering its zoom range, and certainly better than say the 28-300. The 300 is just better. In fact I think this is the only lens I've owned which produced decent results with the 2x convertor (mind you that was in the less hypercritical days of film).

As it happens I sold both my 300 and 100-400 - possibly a mistake. I'm often on a shoot and wish I had one or the other.

BTW - you may have made yourself hard to please if you've used the 300 f2.8 - this lens is in a league of its own, and if you expect the same quality from the f4 version, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Any of the Canon 'big whites' are very special lenses - they need to be to justify the price!


Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
alexjames23
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:07 am

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
I did own both and ran extensive tests (also with the 70-200 f2.8 mk II) in order to "rationalise" my lens collection in order to buy the 500 f4.

Image quality - both the 70-200 and 300 are significantly better than the 100-400. With a 1.4 attached, 300 was still a bit better. 70-200 - too close to call.

Don't get me wrong - the 100-400 is good - remarkably good considering its zoom range, and certainly better than say the 28-300. The 300 is just better. In fact I think this is the only lens I've owned which produced decent results with the 2x convertor (mind you that was in the less hypercritical days of film).

As it happens I sold both my 300 and 100-400 - possibly a mistake. I'm often on a shoot and wish I had one or the other.

BTW - you may have made yourself hard to please if you've used the 300 f2.8 - this lens is in a league of its own, and if you expect the same quality from the f4 version, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Any of the Canon 'big whites' are very special lenses - they need to be to justify the price!


Cheers,

Colin

Oh, good!

Well, the part about it being better, even with the 1.4, than the 100-400 is the breaking point to me, at least.

The 300 f/4 sounds like a fantastic lens, and should open up the door to using primes with aviation. It also sounds like it has the level of sharpness I am looking for.

The IS should also add a huge advantage. I mean, 400mm with no IS? I can understand that when using a SS of 1/640 or higher, or I'll even say 1/400 or higher would cancel out most camera shake, but I use shutter speeds less than 1/400 [actually] most of the time- Especially since I enjoy panning for the majority of my A/C shots. Also, the fact that I have a low-performance rebel DSLR that doesn't process high-ISO shots the best doesn't add any positives to using those high SSs.

So to conclude, I think the 300 f/4 sounds like a great lens, and a perfect fit for my needs.

Obviously, I also plan to purchase a 1.4x as well in the near future.

Thanks for everyone's input.
 
stevemchey
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:39 pm

I agree with everything that has been said above (especially Colin's advice is spot on as usual). However, I want to play devil's advocate for one second:

If all you do is aircraft photography, the 300mm f/4 is great. However, if you do any other sort of photography, I want to point out that a 300mm prime lens is extremely limiting. Unless you have another lens (or multiple) that cover the 70 to 280mm range, I would go for the 70-200 with the converter.

I do the majority of my photography outside the aircraft world, so I could never work without my 70-200 f/2.8 IS. It is such an incredibly flexible lens and worth every penny. With the 1.4x extender (and even the 2x extender) pictures are still extremely good (unless you really need absolutely perfect images). I use it for everything, from weddings to sports and its low light capabilities are phenomenal (for a non-prime lens).

I am not saying that the 300mm is not the right choice. But depending on your other needs, it might be worth considering going for the 70-200 + 1.4 first and down the line add the 300 to compliment your collection.

Good luck and have fun with whatever lens you get.  Smile

PS: One more thing... when you say you want to use IS for panning, make sure you get a lens with IS Mode 2. Using Mode 1 is not recommended for panning shots.

[Edited 2013-07-21 12:02:26]
 
alexjames23
Topic Author
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:42 pm

RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:49 pm

Quoting stevemchey (Reply 8):
Quoting stevemchey (Reply 8):

I agree with everything that has been said above (especially Colin's advice is spot on as usual). However, I want to play devil's advocate for one second:

If all you do is aircraft photography, the 300mm f/4 is great. However, if you do any other sort of photography, I want to point out that a 300mm prime lens is extremely limiting. Unless you have another lens (or multiple) that cover the 70 to 280mm range, I would go for the 70-200 with the converter.

I do the majority of my photography outside the aircraft world, so I could never work without my 70-200 f/2.8 IS. It is such an incredibly flexible lens and worth every penny. With the 1.4x extender (and even the 2x extender) pictures are still extremely good (unless you really need absolutely perfect images). I use it for everything, from weddings to sports and its low light capabilities are phenomenal (for a non-prime lens).

I am not saying that the 300mm is not the right choice. But depending on your other needs, it might be worth considering going for the 70-200 + 1.4 first and down the line add the 300 to compliment your collection.

Good luck and have fun with whatever lens you get.  

PS: One more thing... when you say you want to use IS for panning, make sure you get a lens with IS Mode 2. Using Mode 1 is not recommended for panning shots.

Well, yes.

As stated in the OP, I currently own a 70-200 f/2.8. I find it to have a good range for all non-aviation applications.

Also, the 300 f/4 has mode 2 IS, I made sure.
 
stevemchey
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:24 pm

Quoting alexjames23 (Reply 9):
As stated in the OP, I currently own a 70-200 f/2.8

I am very sorry. I completely missed this statement.  

If that is the case I would definitely go with the 300... That will make a great collection of lenses.
 
alexjames23
Topic Author
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:23 pm

Quoting stevemchey (Reply 10):
I am very sorry. I completely missed this statement.  

If that is the case I would definitely go with the 300... That will make a great collection of lenses.

No worries!

Thanks for the input!
 
speedbird128
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:36 am

Quoting alexjames23 (Thread starter):
If anyone has experience **aviation-wise** with the 70-200 2.8 1.4TC, please comment !

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bryan T Clarke



I will let those two do the talking. I used the 70-200 f/2.8L with the 1.4TC very happily...

EDIT: I have no idea why somebody elses photo comes up with my number. Weird.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/UK---...fighter-EF-2000-Typhoon/1091898/L/

[Edited 2013-07-29 17:37:27]
A306, A313, A319, A320, A321, A332, A343, A345, A346 A388, AC90, B06, B722, B732, B733, B735, B738, B744, B762, B772, B7
 
Tonyholt777
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:18 pm

Quoting alexjames23 (Thread starter):
-I am very concerned with sharpness as well. I don't want to spend $1000+ for a lens only to find it's "soft". *cough* 100-400....

Well mines tack sharp throughout the range 5.6 up. What it doesnt do brill at is instant focus/lock but I use it for wildlife and aviation no probs at all.

Quoting alexjames23 (Thread starter):
-If I get the 100-400, I will only use it between the 200-400 range, as I will have my 70-200 sitting next to me on another body.

Many do including me

Quoting alexjames23 (Thread starter):
-If anyone has experience **aviation-wise** with the 70-200 2.8+1.4TC, please comment !

I have but it still leaves you short - Your post titles says '100-400 or other options' There are many great images on a.net with the 100-400 and the 70-200 plus extender.

Its important to remember that with any lens you will get lemons. For me the 100-400 is just great and an instant add to my bag when I need convenience/reach and very good image quality. The 70-200 also goes when I am after fast action.

Also have you considered the 200 2.8 mk11? its superb and takes extenders well at a fraction of the weight/cost.

Good luck - Tony
 
JakTrax
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:02 pm

Quoting len90 (Reply 2):
The 100-400 as posted some love it and some don't love it

Some have great copies, some don't. I think that's the brunt of it. The problem with the 100-400 in my experience is not sharpness throughout the range but unreliability of the IS system. In my opinion its design also leaves it a little more vulnerable to damage and dust than other lenses in this class.

If you land a good copy, it's awesome. If you're unlucky, then it won't be a satisfactory lens.

Karl
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Canon 100-400, Or Other Options?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:42 pm

Quoting alexjames23 (Reply 7):

The 300 f/4 sounds like a fantastic lens, and should open up the door to using primes with aviation. It also sounds like it has the level of sharpness I am looking for.

Hadn't read through this thread till now, but the 300 F4 is a fantastic lens. My current setup is:

17-40 F4L
70-200 F4L
300 F4L IS
1.4x

...and for the most part I couldn't be happier. I use the 70-200 and the 300 wide open at F4 all the time with no issues. Now to be fair, my 1.4 doesn't work well on the 70-200; it works better on the 300, but honestly I'd rather just use the 300 and crop in a bit.

I don't find the gap between 200 and 300mm to be a big deal (the gap between 40 and 70mm is far more annoying).
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