Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM 35mm Zoom

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EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5- 5.6L IS USM lens offers high resolution, superb contrast, neutral color balance, and Canon's original built-in Image Stabilizer function. High zoom magnification is achieved by means of a 6-group configuration with 5 movable groups. Fluorite and Super UD glass completely eliminate secondary spectrum for superb color rendition. Autofocusing is fast and silent with Canon's ring USM, and AF speed is further enhanced through an advanced, lightweight rear focusing design that incorporates a floating element for consistent image quality at all focusing distances from 5.9' to infinity. This lens is also equipped with a dual-mode Image Stabilizer suitable for panning as well as stationary subjects. With full-time manual focus, one-touch zooming with a wide grip, and a special ring that permits adjustment of zooming friction, this is a lens that's extremely easy to use, and ideal for a wide variety of applications including nature, wildlife, sports, and documentary photography.

User Reviews (64)

Showing 1-10 of 64  
Leo   Expert [Feb 10, 2013]
Strength:

Nice reach, good IQ even on a Fullframe , solid build,IS

Weakness:

IS shows it's age. I need two hands to control the tightening ring.

Very nice zoom with very big reach, there is no alternative. I have had the 400 F5.6L but saw no better IQ. The IS makes it possible to work without a mono-pod, but you need daylight off-course. Nice zoom for a visit to the zoo for example.
I am extra careful for dust, after use I blow the lens clean. I have seen examples of this lens with dust between the lenses, the design of the push and pull could have to do with that. Just be a little more careful, that's all.
Second hand you can get this lens for about 900 euro, a great buy.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
ksbryan0   Intermediate [Sep 01, 2010]
Strength:

Coupled with the 7D, this lens has a very convenient reach that allows captures of skittish wildlife. The focus sweet spot on my copy is in the F8-11 range, but is performs well at most any aperature smaller than wide-open. Though heavy, this lens is built like a tank and could probably be used as a defensive weapon or a baseball bat, without suffering any damage! Nearly all my shooting is done hand-held, and I have found the IS effectively delivers 1.5-2 F-stops. This is a little less than Canon advertises, but my hands tend to shake considerably normally-even worse after lugging this tool around for a couple hours. The Canon-provided lens hood has effectively prevented flare during all my shooting. The lens offers a very useful field of view range for a lot of all around shooting. I have used this lens for pseudo-macro photography of flowers and insects, and it has produced exceptional results, and does a nice job of blurring the background and delivers subtle bokeh when lighting conditions are right.

Weakness:

You won't have to read many reviews to find that a common complaint about this lens is it's weight, and there is no question that it is a heavy unit. Some will see this as a drawback, but it is also a testatment to the quality of construction. I suspect it could take a lot of abuse and still perform well, but I am not going to intentionally test that theory. If you haven't packed around long L-lens before, it will take some getting use to before it feels natural. The only performance weakness that I believe is serious is that, even when mounted on the 7D, in AF mode it has a hard time accurately adjusting focus on fast moving objects that are approaching or moving away, such as birds in flight. To some degree, it also seems to need more contrast for the AF to sharply lock focus than the Canon EF 70-200 2.8 L. I have tried to use a 1.4 TC II with this lens and have determined that the magnification becomes too great for me to effectively hand-hold the lens while shooting. The AF does not function when using the TC unless the pins are taped, but even then I have not been satisfied with the keep-rate of my results.

After viewing a large number of images on a multitude of forums that were created using the Canon EF 100-400 4-5.6 IS L, I decided to give it a try myself. A Craigslist ad described a used, two-owner copy as near mint condition, which I determined to be accurate when I inspected it. Mounted to a Canon EOS 7D, I started to get to know my new L-lens. The push-pull method this model requires for the tele-zoom takes a little getting use to, but within a reasonable amount of time it started feeling 'normal' to me. The bigger adjustment was simply getting use to the extra weight of this lens and finding a comfortable way to carry it for a long period of time, especially when extended to the 400 mm setting. Over the past 6+ months I have had the opportunity to challenge the lens in a wide variety of shooting situations and conditions, and am satisfied enough with it that I have reached a point where I nearly consider it permanently installed to the 7D, and my "go-to" wildlife lens choice.

Customer Service

Haven't needed it yet.

Similar Products Used: Canon EF 70-200 2.8 L
Canon EF 24-70 2.8 L
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
ben wigg   Intermediate [Jun 27, 2009]
Strength:

easy to use

Weakness:

none if you ask me

i am a sporting photographer for a local soccer club and if u ask me this lense
is the best telephoto zoom lense i have ever used i tema it up with a canon eos 50d and on my other camera i have a 28-135 standard lense canon eos 500d
i would reccomend this lense to any one from amatures to proffesional i also like the idea of the slide zoom it is conveniant because of the size of the lense

Customer Service

never need service by me or the previous owner

Similar Products Used: sigma 50-500
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
iclick   Professional [Jan 28, 2008]
Strength:

Well made, Excellent sharpness smooth operation. I love the push pull zoom it is fast and smooth.

Weakness:

None, it is just an allaroud wonderful tool.

Excellent images on both FF 5D and 1.6 20D. Allows sharp selective focusing close in and long reaching telephoto. Teamed with the 24-1o5 an outdoor photographer will need only a superwide and a Macro to cover all aspects of the world. With the 20D crop factor you can rewach out and capture wildlife at incredible distance without disturbing anything. I have sold many 24 x 36 images taken with this lense with little or no software processing.

Customer Service

Have never needed any work done on any canon products in over 35 years of use. Still have and use 35mm equipment purchased in 1970.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
readingr   Intermediate [Apr 25, 2007]
Strength:

Quick to acquire focus
IS is a bonus hand held
Construction
Contrast
Balance with the 5D
Hood included in price

Weakness:

Small amount of vignetting at full open max zoom (bird against bright sky) but not a real problem
Zoom tightening control requires two hands
Cost of filters

Recently bought with a 5D with the intention is to use for wildlife photography.

Still learning to use the IS and its 2 modes but seems quick to focus on the subject.
Still learning how to use the lens and the camera features to get the most out of the lens.

The pictures so far seem sharp at all lengths. The zoom ring needs to be kept reasonably tight to prevent the lense slamming forward when pointing down and to prevent unintentional movement when zooming. Still not found an easy way of doing this one handed yet.

Manual focusing is quick and easy and the zoom being in the same ring makes composing easy.

Still mastering but at the moment I am pleased with the ability on the 5D and the pictures so far are terrific and getting better as I'm getting used to it.

Weight I thought would be an issue but not finding this as it seems to be balanced nicely with the 5D body.

Construction is excellent and everything feels well put together.

Customer Service

Jessops (Basingstoke) - exceptional as usual

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
SmartWombat   Expert [Dec 15, 2006]
Strength:

Good IS.
Surprisingly lightweight.
Easy to handhold at 400mm with IS.

Weakness:

Push-pull design, external zoom changes length of lens.
Therefore not as water resistant as the 70-200 L IS 2.8.

Mode switches (IS, AF etc) are easily knocked when taking it out of a camera bag.
You need to get into the habit of checking them every time you use the lens.

Seems soft at 400mm/f5.6 but good at f/9.
Some vignetting evident wide open, improves at f/8.

Not usable with the 2x TC, no AF and manual focus is very sensitive, viewfinder is rather dark with the f/11 maximum aperture with the TC on.
Bear in mind I wear glasses and younger users may find manual focus acceptable.

I've used this lens for a year and half now, and I'm happy with it.
I started out cheap, with a comparable Sigma, and upgraded after a week.
It's proved good for wildlife and motorsport, though limited by the f5.6 maximum aperture at 400mm.
Like most zoom lenses it's better stopped down from wide open, particularly on the 1D series bodies which show up the fall-off in the corners not so evident on the 20D with its 1.6 crop factor.

I'd recommend it for the 1.6 crop factor bodies (20D, 30D, XTi etc).

Purchase price was £1180

Customer Service

Jessops took the Sigma back no questions asked, and sold me the more expensive Canon lens with no re-stocking fee. Excellent !

Similar Products Used: Sigma 80-400 DG EX IS (about £300 cheaper)
Sigma has twist zoom, not push pull, but still changes length of lens.
Sigma proved slower AF on 20D, and many flares at night from diaphragm blades on car headlights at le Mans 24h.
Sigma IS wandered all over the place when lens braced instead of hand held.
Nevertheless the Sigma was quite capable with stationary or slower moving subjects.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
bdunk   Expert [Dec 10, 2006]
Strength:

Good balance with used on my tripod. IS and Focus are ecellent. Lens is built like a tank.

Weakness:

If the tightening ring on the lens is not set and you let the lens move forward without your hand on it the lens will fully extend causing the lens to slam.

Weight when handholding

When using a Circular polerizor you have to set it to your desired spot before adding the lens hood.

I purchased this lens before a recent trip to Hawaii to visit my brother. I debated over this lens and the 70-200L f/2.8 IS with a 2x converter. I decided on this lens in part because of the savings in cost. With that extra money I also purchased a 17-40L.

I used this lens to shoot my brothers surfing from numerous beachs in Hawaii. I use this lens with a Canon 5d and my Gitzo tripod with ulitmate ballhead. With the lens mounted to my tripod on the beach I was easily able to track the surfering. The focus was instant with VERY few mis focuses. I mostly used the lens at the 400mm area, and at that point with the lens fully extended and slight compression on the ballhead, I was able to easily track in any direction with very good balance.

In the next few weeks I plan on doing some shooting at the local zoo using primarily this lens. I am also planning a couple of trips into the Everglades and will be using this lens for the various wildlife.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
vhemmati   Intermediate [Jul 10, 2006]
Strength:

FL Range, IS, Built Quality, Color and sharpness

Weakness:

Personally I don't like its white color but it's not a big deal for me.

I bought this lens couple of months ago and man I like it! But I have to mention that this lens is my first exprience with Canon Tele lens in L series. The great thing about it is the IS which ables you to take handheld pictures. It is kinda heavy but what do you expext for this FL range and built quality? In my opinion having this lens beside a 24-105 IS is the best option for any intermidiate photographer.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
RikWriter   Intermediate [May 28, 2006]
Strength:

Light, fairly compact, easily hand-holdable, versatile, good color.

Weakness:

Not as sharp as the 400 f5.6 prime, IS not that useful, zoom lock complicated to use.

I bought this lens to replace my 400 f5.6L prime, since I wanted a lens that was shorter and more compact that I could take with me while hiking in a lens carrier on a waist pack. I kind of wish I had the 400 prime back, as it was a much sharper lens and produced more "keeper" shots than this one. The 100-400 is a great lens, but its IQ is just not as good as the 400. Also, for all the vaunted value of the IS system, frankly I have found it not that useful since my main use for this lens is wildlife, and while the IS can keep your image from moving it can't do a thing about the animal moving during a longer exposure.
It's still a very good lens, and I don't plan on getting rid of it, but it's a compromise, as all zooms are.

Customer Service

NA

Similar Products Used: Canon 400mm f5.6L
Sigma 50-500 f4.5-6.3
Sigma 120-300 f2.8
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
David Money   Expert [May 23, 2006]
Strength:

The IS REALLY does work. San Diego zoo, late afternoon, shaded enclosure, 400ASA film but light so low that the best it could manage was 1/20 second at f5.6 with lens at 400mm. No chance? Every whisker on those Meercats came out sharp and clear! I really bought it for airshows and the focussing is fast enough to keep a jet in focus. A front cell focussing lens can't do that. Have to grumble about all the money I wasted not buying the right lens to start with!

Weakness:

Big and heavy. I got a lot of comment from the teeny digital users at the zoo - they were certainly impressed, but I had to tell them they wouldn't like to carry it all day. Haven't yet found a snoot bag that will carry the lens on a body with battery grip. Leave the tripod mount on the lens - it makes holding onto the thing much safer. No complaints about push pull zoom as there is a friction lock

Had it for just over a year. Bought it for the rear cell focussing and IS. It semi replaces a Tokina ATX 80-400 which was very sharp but too slow on focus. I have kept the Tokina as it is a lot smaller and the 80-100mm bit is useful sometimes too.

Customer Service

Not needed

Similar Products Used: Tokina ATX 80-400mm (sharp, slow focus, noisy)
Canon 75-300mm (light, compact, not very sharp)
Sigma 70-210mm (last Sigma I buy)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 64  
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