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

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

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.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 11  
[Aug 19, 2008]
Xavier
Intermediate

Strength:

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

Weakness:

Price, average optical quality, weakness at f/4

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.

Customer Service

Adjustment from Canon pro was necessary with a Erro 99 message on my Eos 1 D Mark III.
Done quickly and with no charge by Canon France Pro services.

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

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
[May 18, 2008]
snapperZ
Intermediate

Strength:

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

Weakness:

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.
Expensive.
Large hood (almost as big as the lens) and awkward lens cap.

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!

Similar Products Used:

300mm 2.8L, 500 f4L

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 05, 2005]
armani22
Expert

Strength:

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.

Weakness:

25000 shots no weaknesses.....

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.

Customer Service

None Needed

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 07, 2004]
mark1958
Expert

Strength:

Lightweight. IS, handhold capabilities.

Weakness:

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.

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.

Similar Products Used:

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

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Dec 12, 2003]
rkj674
Intermediate

Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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

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.

Customer Service

None required.

Similar Products Used:

300 4.0 500 4.5

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Oct 20, 2003]
dwimages
Professional

Strength:

This lens is lightweight so you can use it with a monopod or handhold it.The use of teleconvertors with this lens makes it even better in that it increases your length without adding a lot of weight which makes this lens worth every penny.This lens is very sharp and very user friendly wether it you are a Professional or a serious amatuer.

Weakness:

In my use of this lens I did not find any weakness.

In using this lens I found that it is very light and remarkable in that it is a very sharp lens.This is the second time I have used this lens and it is also the second time I have come away impressed with the sharpness of my images. Until this last year I have used a Canon 300mm 2.8L lens and after a long day at the races I end up being exhausted at the end of each day.So whenever I get the chance to try something new that is lightweight and handholdable I tend to jump at the chance.I truly enjoyed using this lens at the ALMS Races in September at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Similar Products Used:

In my equiptment package I have with my business,Canon 300mm 2.8IS,70-200mm 2.8,300mm 4.0,400mm 2.8,500mm 4.5 and the 600mm 4.0.The one thing about all this big glass is that is heavy the nice thing about the 400 DO is that it is light and very manageable.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 05, 2003]
Wojtek Rychlik
Expert

Strength:

Bright, small and more useful than f5.6 lenses of the same focal length.

Weakness:

Too little gain for so much money (value suffered dramatically). Lens cap is ridiculous and useless (should be rather called a case) - you need to make one on your own.

I've purchased this lens because of great reviews, especially praising the sharpness. The sharpness is slightly better than my Canon 100-400 IS zoom, not by far, as read in some of the reviews. I tested it on my own resolution chart (ISO 12233 not good enough for 1Ds), along with other lenses, as I don't believe that field tests are accurate (could be impressive though, but misleading as well). It is slightly worse than 70-200 IS (but it's only 200mm). My scores (center field, Canon 1Ds body, in 100's lines per pict. height @f8): this lens - 25, 100-400 IS (@400mm) - 24, 70-200 IS (@200mm) 26. There is one thing that clearly distances this lens from 100-400 zoom: with a 2x teleconverter it can still correctly autofocus, so you can make sharp pictures at 800 mm hand held! Autofocus of the 100-400 IS (@400mm) is always minimally off, also on D60. But this lens autofocus is fast and right on. Of course, lens performing well on resolution charts is excellent in the field.

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used:

Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[May 22, 2002]
sefrischling
Professional

Strength:

Light, Compact, Bright, Crisp, Fast AF. Everything I expected and more in a compact 400mm lens

Weakness:

It's not a Nikkor :0)

I demo'd a 400f4 DO during the Olympics for a few days from CPS (I am a Nikon shooter generally), with the EOS 1D and I loved the lens. When I don't want to schlep my 400f2.8 around I often haul my 300f2.8 with a 1.4x, but after carrying the compact and light 400f4 DO I wonder why Nikon can't make one! The AF was extremely fast under rapidly changing conditions, and the optics were wonderful when compared against my Nikkor 300f2.8 AF-I and Nikkor 400f2.8 AI-S lenses. I used this lens to shoot into bright snow, backlit situations, artificial light, and diminished light, most images were shot at f4, all were bright and crisp. If I was to switch to Canon it would probably be because of the EOS 1D and the 400f4 DO.

Customer Service

N/A Traditionally Canon Pro Services is excellent

Similar Products Used:

Canon 200f1.8, Canon 300f2.8 IS, Canon 400f2.8, Canon 500f4.5, Canon 600f4 Nikkor 300f2.8 AF-I, Nikkor 300f2.8 AF-S II, Nikkor 400f2.8 AI-S, Nikkor 400f2.8 AF-S II, Nikkor 500f4-P, Nikkor 500f4 AF-S,

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 05, 2002]
Dick Boer
Professional

Strength:

Compact; lens speed, AF

Weakness:

Soft, not as sharp as I expected. Typical ''halo'' like aberration in certain backlight situations. Expensive.

I traded this lens in after 3 months of use, disappointed by the results. Bought the lens after long waiting and after I read some raving reviews. My results were reasonable on a Canon D30, but on film relatively bad. I have been working on my workflow trying to get better results. But when a friend and I exchanged for a weekend my 400 DO against his 100-400 L IS, I knew it wasn''t me. The results from 100 - 400 were definitely sharper and had more brilliance than the 400 DO IS. In the meantime I read some more reviews with mixed results, they were at least not by far as positive as the very first recommandations (do those Photo-WEB masters get sponsormoney for their positive tests from Canon?) Anyway, I sold my 400 DO against a 100-400 mm L IS and though I am happy with the results now, I still regret the financial loss that I made. Don''t buy this expensive trendy high tech product, unless you really need the compact size and are willing to compromise on image quality!

Customer Service

not needed

Similar Products Used:

Canon 100-400 L IS

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
[Apr 04, 2002]
mark1958
Intermediate

Strength:

Lightweight and relatively easy to carry.

Weakness:

The sharpness and contrast were relatively poor.

I bought this lens after reading some very positive reviews on luminous landscapes. After loving the images captured on the 300/2.8IS, I thought a 400mm lens that was light and easier to carry was my dream. However, I was relatively disappointed in the sharpness and contrast in the images I obtained with this lens. I compared outdoor and indoor photos with the 400mmDO and 300/2.8IS +1.4xTC (canon). All shots were on a gitzo tripod with a kirk ballhead. Center AF was used. All of the photos were taken with a canon EOS 1D. Aperatures compared with f4, 5.6, and 8. In my opinion, in all examples, the sharpness and contrast was better with the 300TC combo. While I believe the 300/2.8 is one of canon''''s best lenses, a 5+K lens should at least equal the 300+TC combo to be reasonable.

Similar Products Used:

300/2.8IS, 100-400L IS

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Showing 1-10 of 11  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

photographyreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com