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Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM 35mm Primes

4 star rating
                      4 / 5 (11 Reviews)
MSRP : $8900.00

Product Description

Canon’s breakthrough multi-layer diffractive optical lens technology provides photographers with superior super-telephoto performance in a smaller and lighter design with enhanced correction for chromatic aberrations. We’ve also added our highly effective Image Stabilization system that gives the equivalent effect of a shutter speed two stops faster. And, it’s built it to our professional standards with fast AF, full-time mechanical focus and dust and water-resistant construction.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Xavier a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2008

Strengths:    Size, weight, stabilizer, AF, aperture at f/4

Weaknesses:    Price, average optical quality, weakness at f/4

Bottom Line:   
After a first disappointing try, I bought one of these lenses second hand as new, to take care of my back suffering from my practice of the 500 mm f/4 and for traveling light.
My lense has been made in 2002 I think.
I dont believe one second that the production has been changed after 2002, despite the statement made by some users. You cannot change a production line in that way, and as far as I know, Canon has never indicated that they changed the manufacturing of these lenses, a fact they would have advertised as they were confronted to mixed reviews of their new 400 DO.

If you look at serious tests (and not user reviews), whatever is the date of production of the 400 DO, the opinions are convergent.

After thousands of pictures and careful testing, I share these opinions :
This lens is a pleasure to use. It is light, compact, the autofocus is fast, the stabilizer is excellent.
With the 1,4 converter, it works also technically very well, and the autofocus still works decently.
Minimal focusing distance is not extremely convenient.
The main problem is the quality at f/4.
At f/4, the optical quality is between average to good, and less than average in the corner (and it is not only a problem of contrast).
When you close at f/5,6, the quality is good, and improved at f/8.
With the converter, forget the use at f/5,6 (i.e. wide opened at f/4 + converter), the optical quality is too low. If you close one stop (f/8 with the converter, the quality is acceptable).
Just for information, I have used a f/2,8 400 mm, f/5,6 400 mm, various 300 mm and I still use my f/4 500 mm and my 100/400 plus various lenses.

So no, the f/4 400 DO is not as good as the 500 mm or the 2,8 300 mm.
Even the supporters of the DO aknowledge the fact that the 2,8 300 with the converter 1,4 is better...
I have mine, I will keep it, but the far less expensive 5,6 400 mm is probably better at f/5,6... But cannot be used with a converter easily and has not stabilization so far... And I keep my 500 mm, when weight is not a problem.

In conclusion, if weight and size is a priority, if you need a f/4 aperture, and if you can afford it, take the 400 DO. I walked hours with the Eos 1 D Mark III and this lens withouh suffering of the weight. This is the reason to buy it.
If you have to be careful with your photographic budget, and care about optical quality, 5,6 400 mm is the best option, while 100-400 is a valid and flexible alternative.
If quality is the priority, and you have the budget and do not care much about the weight, the 500 mm is the choice.
And of course, if you can afford it, usually need a 300 mm and occasionnaly would like to go beyond 300 mm, the 2,8 300 mm is a vary valuable solution with the possible use of the converter. Quality will exceed the result you will have with the 400 DO.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Similar Products Used:   Canon 2,8 400, 4 300 mm, 4,5 500mm, 4 500mm, 5,6 400 mm, 100-400, 70-200 + Nikon 3,5 400mm and 2,8 300mm

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by snapperZ a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: May 18, 2008

Strengths:    Excellent optical qualiy.
Sharp wide open.
Takes extenders very well.
Fast AF
Low weight and small size for focal length and aperture.

Weaknesses:    Slightly lower in contrast than 300 2.8, 500 f4 etc.
Poor reputation, presumably due to many poor copies when initially introduced - it seems to get much better reviews from 2003 onward, possibly due to improved QC.
Large hood (almost as big as the lens) and awkward lens cap.

Bottom Line:   
Sharp at f4. Excellent image quality with 1.4X extender. Surprisingly good with a 2x extender too. Very fast autofocus on a 1 series body. All the typical attributes of Canon's superteles except the weight. Contrast with DO lenses is a little reduced compared to refractive lenses but this is only occasionally an issue and is easily rectified in post processing. I have no problems with the quality of 'bokeh' with this lens and the often mentioned problem with weird out of focus highlights is something I have not yet noticed at all. Overall I am very pleased with this lens apart from the price!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Similar Products Used:   300mm 2.8L, 500 f4L

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by armani22 a Expert

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2005

Strengths:    Sharpness, size and weight, price is reasonable now. rivals any canon lens.
results with adapters, everything you want in a super tele in a small hand holdable package.

Weaknesses:    25000 shots no weaknesses.....

Bottom Line:   
This lens had a bad rap as the earlier versions, before 2003 were soft. A issue Canon was aware of and fixed. I had a earlier version and was just content with the sharpness and contrast. I had a fellow bird shooter purchase a 2004 model and another one in 05, These two lenses and are tact sharp! and I mean 300 2.8 sharp as I own one also along with a 500 and 600 F/4, The DO is the only lens I can shot birds in flight with off the tripod, and since I received my new copy, I dont think I will ever use my 300 plus 1.4 again, Its too heavy for the reach and the hair or sharpness you gain is not worth the extra weight. This lens is The best lens in canons lineup for handheld sports and birding, with the 1.4 or without it dosent seem to matter. If you have not used the 400 DO lately you have not used it period. Its like night and day, And the price is inline with the product now.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $4999.00

Purchased At:   47th st photo

Similar Products Used:   24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 2.8 IS, 100-400 F/4-F/5.6, 300 2/8, 300/F4, 400 2.8, 500 F/4, 600 F/4

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by mark1958 a Expert

Date Reviewed: August 7, 2004

Strengths:    Lightweight. IS, handhold capabilities.

Weaknesses:    Still slightly on the pricey side, NOt the 300/2.8 L IS in regards to sharpness but close when you add the TC and do a comparison. I have changed my opinion and respect for this lens.

Bottom Line:   
I wrote a review on this lens after getting my first copy shortly after it was released. I was really disappointed in the relative sharpness and contrast compared to the 300/2.8 +TC. After reading various reports and hearing different things, i decided to try a new copy. I am really pleased. I believe there has been some adjustment or perhaps better QC of recent with this lens. I have compared it with my 400/5.6 prime which is an incredibly sharp lens without IS, and the DO is as sharp and contrasty. In addition, it is also very very close to the 300/2.8 + TC. I have made some inquires and there have been a least a handful who have had similar stories with early version being quite marginal at best but on retry with a newer copy have had satisfactory results.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $4850.00

Purchased At:   Adorama

Similar Products Used:   100-400L, 300/4 LIS, 300/2.8 L IS, 500/4. 600/4, 400/5.6 All canon

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by rkj674 a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2003

Strengths:    Extremely well built, and light for a lens this long

In my initial tests, the lens is sharp and has good contrast.

Super fast and accurate auto focus.

Weaknesses:    I have heard and read it will produce halos if shot directly into very bright lights. I have not seen that yet.

Bottom Line:   
An expensive lens, but worth every penny if you're looking for one long telephoto in a small, easy to carry package.

I had a bought a 300 and a 500 lens. I found the 300 too short, and the 500 way to heavy and long to be a practical option.

Many people say this lens is overpriced. My feeling is that if you can live without a 2.8 speed, the lens will totally replace my need for a 300 and a super tele. Looked at in that light, it saved me money! (We can all rationalize, cant we!)

This lens is a dream if you like to hike through the woods with a camera. I was able to get very sharp shots at speeds down to 1/60th on a monopod.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $4950.00

Purchased At:   BH Photo

Similar Products Used:   300 4.0
500 4.5

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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