Canon Announces Availability For 200-400mm f/4L IS Telephoto Zoom Lens With Built-In Teleconverter

Canon Lenses News

Canon says their drool-worthy EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM telephoto monster zoom will be available at the end of the month for the low, low price of US $12,000. The new Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x telephoto zoom lens (that’s a mouthful!) was first seen last summer at the London Olympics where a few select professionals got to shoot with it (see our Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens preview). As if the 200-400mm zoom range and fixed f/4 aperture wasn’t cool enough, the lens also has a built-in 1.4x tele-converter that increases the focal length to 560mm with an f/5.6 maximum aperture.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Zoom Lens

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Zoom Lens Key Features And Specs:

  • Focal length: 200-400mm
  • Built-in 1.4x tele-extender increases focal length to 560mm (decreases max aperture to f/5.6)
  • Optical image stabilization (IS) with three modes: standard, panning, and during exposure only
  • Dust and weather-sealed
  • Nine-blade circular aperture
  • Fluorite crystal and UD glass optical elements
  • Minimum focus distance: 6.6 feet / 2m
  • Filter size: 52mm drop-in
  • Weight: 8 pounds / 3620g
  • Dimensions: 5.0 x 14.4 inches / 128 x 366mm

With a retail price of nearly $12,000 and weighing in at 8 pounds (3620g), most of us won’t be buying the new Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens. However, I expect it will be a popular rental for professional sports photographers as well as wildlife photographers who need a lot of reach. It’s levels above Canon’s aging 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS zoom, although it also costs nearly 10x as much. But the fast, continuous f/4 aperture and built-in switch-activated tele-converter makes it a sports and wildlife photographer’s dream lens. I can already think of a couple sports events I’d like to have it for. Most photographers will probably use it with Canon’s high-speed professional level EOS-1D X full-frame DSLR body (more on the Canon EOS-1D X). However, mount the 200-400mm f/4L IS on an APS-C sensor camera like the EOS 7D and the 1.6x crop factor increases the lens’s 560mm maximum reach to 896mm. That’s a lot of lens, bubba!

Tele-converter Switch On Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens

As you would except of any Canon L lens – especially one that sells for this much money – the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM zoom is dust and weather sealed and has the best available optical and auto focus performance. Canon also gave it image stabilization for up to four stops of camera shake compensation and three different IS modes – standard, panning, and during exposure only.

Canon included a bit of testimonial from Peter Read Miller, an award-winning professional sports photographer and one of their sponsored pros, in the official EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM zoom press release. So if you want a little bit of info from someone who’s used the lens, click on the press release link below. I am hoping we can get our hands on one for review soon because this is a really interesting lens.

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens is scheduled to be available at the end of the month (May, 2013). The suggested retail price is US $11,799, and of course, that includes the built-in 1.4x tele-extender.

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens Press Release >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • smartwombat says:

    Having seen a wet race for the Le Mans round of the Moto GP, I’m thinking this will be a great lens for the WEC round at the 24 hours of Le Mans.
    I don’t think that the f/4 aperture will be a handicap even with the night racing when using this with a 1DX.

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