Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Camera & Photo
Equipped with an Image Stabilizer, the Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens makes it easy to capture the far-off action of fast-paced sports or zoom in for an intimate portrait with a blurred background. The lens offer such features as fluorite and … see full wiki
I shoot with a Canon 20D and have used the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM telephoto zoom lens. I've always noticed the limitations of this lens when shooting amateur softball. I reviewed the lens lineup at the Canon website and decided on the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM Lens. Even so, I was apprehensive about the push/pull zoom system. Since this lens seems so expensive, I wanted to try it before I bought it. After renting the lens and using it over a weekend at a softball tournament, I knew this was the right lens for me.
This is a serious lens meant for serious photographers. Being an L lens, there is a lot more features and is manufactured with better materials. The construction is sturdy and consists of 17 elements in 14 groups. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate the secondary spectrum. This lens is compatible with the Canon EF 1.4X II and 2X II telephoto extenders. The Canon EF 100-400mm lens weighs in at about 3 lbs/1,380g, and accepts 77mm filters. Be sure to get a good quality UV haze filter.
Being white, this lens looks a bit strange, but helps keep it cool when using in the sun. Some people are concerned that being white, it attracts attention to criminals. From my experience, my 20D attracts attention regardless of what lens I put on it. I personally doubt a thief looking for something to steal is taking the time to evaluate the cost of the item and are more concerned with the ease of taking something they can unload. I try to make things difficult for would be thieves and have insurance as a back up.
The dual IS system has two modes. Mode 1 is for stationary subjects while mode two is for moving subjects. It is recommended that the IS function is not used on a tripod; however I have used it on my monopod with success. The IS helps to eliminate camera shake and helps stabilize the lens when shooting from a moving vehicle. While there are limitations to what the IS can do, it can give you a couple extra stops. Just keep in mind, the IS attempts to eliminate camera movement, not the movement of the subject being photographed.
This lens permits for auto or manual focus depending on how the switch is set. There is also a switch to shift from a 1.8m/5.9ft to infinity or 6.5m/21.3ft to infinity.
Zooming with this lens takes a little time to get used to if you have never used it before. Once it is gotten used to, it seems to be much faster than the typical twist zooming. A resistance ring is used to tighten or loosen the resistance to zooming. This allows for practically locking the zoom in place or providing no resistance at all. Zooming is as simple as pulling or pushing the lens as its name suggest.
The push/pull system causes air to be noticeably pushed around. Because air is pushed into the camera, there is a myth that the lens causes dust to settle and accumulate on digital camera sensors. I mostly use this lens in one of the dirtiest environments I shoot in for amateur softball pictures. Even so, my experience does not support the myth. I have not seen any evidence to support the myth from any reputable source either.
Included with this lens are the tripod mount, lens hood, and storage case. The tripod mount is the best option to use when mounting to a tripod. This helps to balance the load. Mounting the camera instead creates an unbalanced set up that may topple over. The case is a zippered soft case (LZ1324) that can also be purchased separately. The lens hood (ET-83C) is used to reduce lens flare and can protect the front element in certain situations.
The Canon EF 100-400mm is such an awesome lens, it almost fails to compare to the Canon EF 75-300mm. The clarity and sharpness is incredible. The auto-focus is quiet and quick. The features add creative versatility. The Canon EF 100-400mm comes at a price, but it is worth every bit of it. Now that I have both lenses, the Canon EF 75-300mm is no longer used.
PROS: Incredible clarity and sharpness Quiet and quick auto-focus Features add creative versatility Dual IS system
CONS: Heavy and bulky (This should be expected with these types of lenses)
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