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the old Canon 100-400 L IS?
Old 11-07-2016   #1
Spanik
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the old Canon 100-400 L IS?

Can anyone tell me if this would be a decent choice? I do not have much experience with teles as I'm more a wide angle adept. But I'd like to "shoot" a few birds in the (small) back garden. No intention of doing this on a grand scale, just when sitting outside to have something to do. A second hand one would just be in the budget.
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Old 11-07-2016   #2
mfunnell
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I've had mine for a great many years and given it lots of use - often but not exclusively for photos of birds. Here are some examples:









[PM me if you'd like to see full-sized samples. But I can assure you that mine is a very sharp lens indeed.]


I think it's an excellent lens and I've had great use of mine. It has been retired now in favour of the new Mk II version (faster focus, closer MFD and better stabiliser) - I keep meaning to sell the old one, I just haven't got around to it yet. But I'll be very sad to see it go as it's taken a lot of photos I really like.

...Mike
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Old 11-07-2016   #3
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So for occasional use it would be "good ebough" I guess. The birds in my garden are not that exotic.
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Old 11-07-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
So for occasional use it would be "good ebough" I guess. The birds in my garden are not that exotic.
I suppose you could see some of our birds as exotic. Most of our other critters are pretty ordinary, though:


[Also with the original 100-400 IS; but near my father's place, not mine.]

...Mike
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Old 11-07-2016   #5
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Great lens. I used one on safari for several years. Sharpness begins to drop at 400mm, but going to F8 pretty much offsets this. The push-pull mechanism tends to inhale dust (hence the name 'dust trombone' for this lens in online discussions), but this is mostly an issue in Africa and other dusty places.

Go for it!

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Old 11-07-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEH View Post
Sharpness begins to drop at 400mm, but going to F8 pretty much offsets this
I'm not entirely sure that's so, though no doubt stopping down does increase sharpness a little, and DOF as well. While I've not done the testing to be able to tell for sure, I've always thought that miniscule differences in focus (more critical at longer focal lengths) are the more likely culprit. Here's a comparison of 100% unsharpened crops @400mm of successive frames using the same camera, same lens (original 100-400L) and exposure, but with re-focus (birds move!) between them. Nailed one, just barely missed focus on the other:


[of course, the photo I like better is the one with the slight "miss"]

...Mike
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Old 11-07-2016   #7
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I've had one since it came out. It's been repaired once - by Canon - and isn't the sharpest lens going. I get better results from a non-IS 70-200 2.8 and enlarging the photo. Perhaps I just have a weak lens. Don't know.
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Old 11-08-2016   #8
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You might look at the Canon 400/5.6L as an alternative. It lacks IS but it's sharp as a tack--at least mine was/is. It sort of developed a cult following with bird photographers for its sharpness and ease of handling. I bought it for use with 35mm cameras to photograph birds and I had to use it on a tripod most of the time due to film ISOs. With digital, it was easy to handhold even without IS. And since I used it with APS-C bodies, it magically became a 640mm lens--a very Good Thing when photographing birds.

I've also used the older non-IS 70-200/2.8L with the Canon 2X Extender. I was pretty happy with the results although it wasn't as sharp as the pictures with the 400/5.6L.
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Old 11-08-2016   #9
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If its just for birds etc why not go for the 300mm f4 that is a sharp lens, I had one years ago and its one of the lenses I wished I hadn't sold but it was in the days of poor high iso with canon 1ds and d60s so you really needed 2.8 lenses, now with more modern dslr it would be really good. that with a 1.4 converter becomes a 420 5.6 I would be very surprised if the 100-400 was ever as sharp as the 300mm f4 or the 400mm f5.6 I think you would have to go for the newer one. The 2x converter is ok but any of the 1.4 converters are much better. Since canon went full frame I use my 1.4x converter on my 300mm 75% of the time.
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Old 11-08-2016   #10
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I have one, and use it for sports - albeit just my sons' rugby games. The images are - at least to my eyes - really good. I think the only limitations are the reasonably slow aperture, push-pull zoom and rather distant minimal focus distance. Other than that, for the price and flexibility, it's excellent.
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