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Rumors => Lenses => Topic started by: g-spot on January 11, 2013, 08:52:47 AM

Title: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 11, 2013, 08:52:47 AM
Hi all!  :)

As the title says it all, what do you pro's suggest me to do?
I'm currently shooting the 100-400 mm IS on 50D, and am more or less satisfied about the results (aviation spotting), but as it has had its best time I'm looking for an alternative.

Both the 300 mm and 400 mm primes crossed my mind, but I miss -or mm for the 300 mm or IS for the 400 mm- .
So, would it be wise to buy a 400 mm prime f5.6 non-IS, or 300 mm f4 prime IS with extender now.. or just keep the 100-400 mm IS a bit longer until rumors become reality at an affordable price tag (max would be $3000)?

Note: I love playing with the photoshop elements 'cropping tool', so which one gives the best results for some heavy cropping?

Thanks for your help !  ;)

G.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: tron on January 11, 2013, 10:27:10 AM
According to http://www.the-digital-picture.com (http://www.the-digital-picture.com)

EF400mm f/5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

EF400mm f/5.6L > ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L

Center fully open:
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

Edges, Corners fully open
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L < EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III


Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: tron on January 11, 2013, 10:29:22 AM
Just an addition:

My EF300mm f/4L (NON-IS) + EF 1.4X II is sharper than my 100-400 f/5.6L

But that's the very old EF300mm f/4L NON-IS which is out of the equation...
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Don Haines on January 11, 2013, 11:13:48 AM
We had the 400/5.6 and the 100-400/5.6 IS in here to evaluate. The image quality of the 400 was better, but I was outvoted and we got the zoom lens instead. The lure of zoom and IS was deemed more important than the better image quality.... though to be fair, it was a noticeable difference when you pixel peeped, but it was not what I would call a significant difference.

No experience with the 300f4 and teleconverter...

My recomendation would be to find a camera shop with your three choices and go try them out and do some comparison shots.... bring a tripod for comparing image quality and try hand-held shots to see what effect IS (or lack of) has on you. Some people have steadier hands than others so IS is less of an issue for them, but in the end it is a personal choice based on your needs...
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: alan_k on January 14, 2013, 03:20:10 PM
I'll be waiting for reviews of the new Sigma 120-300/2.8 + tc.  Might be a tad higher than your price point but that seems like the only thing filling in the gap between < $2k "telephoto" and >$4k "!!TELEPHOTO!!"

Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: bycostello on January 14, 2013, 08:07:21 PM
don't wait...  grass is always greener...
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on January 14, 2013, 11:59:57 PM
I've had the 300mm f/4, the 100-400mmL and the 400 f/5.6 L.  All are fine lenses, but I kept the 100-400mmL.  Sharpness at 400mm is pretty much identical between the 400mm and the zoom.  The 300 plus TC was not up to matching the native lenses.  This has been confirmed over and over, with the occasional user seeing it different, likely due to a bad sample.
The big advantage of the 100-400L and the 300mmL is their much greater magnification.  If you are photographing small birds like humming birds, you need a close focusing lens. 
If you are photographing birds in flight at a long distance, thats where the 400mm f/5.6 shines.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 29, 2013, 03:41:46 PM
According to http://www.the-digital-picture.com (http://www.the-digital-picture.com)

EF400mm f/5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

EF400mm f/5.6L > ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L

Center fully open:
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

Edges, Corners fully open
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L < EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

Hi Tron, do you mean the 100-400 gives the same results as the 300 with extender III ?

And a question that still plays : I use a 50D, that auto-adds a crop of 1.6.. with a 1.4 III extender extra, do I loose more than 1 stop? (300mm F4 + extender III + 50D = f5.6 or .. higher? AND does it still has AF?)

Gert.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: viggen61 on January 29, 2013, 04:14:51 PM
According to http://www.the-digital-picture.com (http://www.the-digital-picture.com)

EF400mm f/5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

EF400mm f/5.6L > ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L

Center fully open:
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L > EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

Edges, Corners fully open
ΕF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L < EF300mm F/4L IS + EF1.4X III

Hi Tron, do you mean the 100-400 gives the same results as the 300 with extender III ?

And a question that still plays : I use a 50D, that auto-adds a crop of 1.6.. with a 1.4 III extender extra, do I loose more than 1 stop? (300mm F4 + extender III + 50D = f5.6 or .. higher? AND does it still has AF?)

Gert.

No, he means the 100-400 is better at one thing (>), but the 300+1.4xIII is better at another (<). Read the "Greater Than" (US English...) or "Less than" signs (> & <) as "Better Than" and "Lesser Than".

As for the second question, no, the crop has no effect on the f/stop of the lens. 5.6 is still 5.6...

Regarding the question of which to get, that depends on if you want the versatility of the 100-400, over just 300 & 420mm, or if you really want the better image of the 300 straight up. Unfortunately, about all that waiting for a revamped lens will get you is a much lighter wallet, if Canon's recent history is any indicator! Oh, and prbably a better image, but...

Good Luck!
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: vargyropoulos on January 29, 2013, 04:45:30 PM
I recently tested the 400L and 100-400 and I found that for shots faster than 1/500 sec, the 400L gave me sharper images so I bought the 400L... I agree with Mt Spokane that this lens shines for birds in flight but far I have used it successfully for still images of flowers, celestial bodies and of course "still" wildlife.... of course wildlife never sits still....
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: emag on January 29, 2013, 04:46:15 PM
Just an addition:

My EF300mm f/4L (NON-IS) + EF 1.4X II is sharper than my 100-400 f/5.6L

But that's the very old EF300mm f/4L NON-IS which is out of the equation...

I bought a used one of those for astro, it's amazing at f/4.5.  Every once in a while one comes up for sale but for the most part it seems folks just hang on to them.  I know I will.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: AlanF on January 29, 2013, 04:55:19 PM
The 300mm L f/4 is very sharp. But, it is killed by the 1.4xTC and the combo has a bad reputation. Lenstip has measured the MTFs in http://www.lenstip.com/211.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_300_mm_f_4L_IS_USM_Image_resolution.html (http://www.lenstip.com/211.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_300_mm_f_4L_IS_USM_Image_resolution.html) where you can see the dramatic lowering of resolution with the TC.

My copy of the 200-400mm is as sharp at the centre, but not the edges, as the 400m L, which I sold.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 29, 2013, 05:16:53 PM
Correct me when wrong, but that review seems from 2009, and probably tells the story about the extender I or II version.. the one I want is the III version and should not eat away quality.. or am I wrong?
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: AlanF on January 29, 2013, 05:34:17 PM
The reviews of the II and III TCs show very little improvement in resolution - look at The-digital-picture.com iso tests, where you can see the effects of both TCs on the 300 f/4.  The Series III were introduced to pair with the Series II supertelephotos where they talk better to the lens and the camera for better autofocus. 
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: brad-man on January 29, 2013, 05:41:30 PM
The 300mm L f/4 is very sharp. But, it is killed by the 1.4xTC and the combo has a bad reputation. Lenstip has measured the MTFs in http://www.lenstip.com/211.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_300_mm_f_4L_IS_USM_Image_resolution.html (http://www.lenstip.com/211.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_300_mm_f_4L_IS_USM_Image_resolution.html) where you can see the dramatic lowering of resolution with the TC.

My copy of the 200-400mm is as sharp at the centre, but not the edges, as the 400m L, which I sold.


+1     I have the 300 f/4 IS and as a stand alone it is great. But it's IQ is killed with the 1.4X. Frankly, none of my lenses are benefited by the extender and I am considering selling it. I think it is only good for 2.8 teles or f/4 superteles. As I have neither, it is of little use to me presently...
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: MrFotoFool on January 29, 2013, 05:43:50 PM
For years I used the 300 f4 (non-IS that I got used cheap) and 1.4x ii extender.  Very sharp with or without and I have no hesitation recommending it.  I have seen online that the IS version of the 300 f4 is not quite as sharp as the older non-IS that I had, but I think the difference is too small to notice in real life usage.  I even used the lens with the 2x ii for awhile, though of course it was manual focus only.  Got perfectly acceptable results with that and with the 1.4x outstanding results.  Two main advantages to this (over 400 5.6) is ability to use a larger aperture (300 f4) and much closer focus.

The only reason I sold my 300 f4 is I needed a zoom so I got the 70-200 2.8 to use with 1.4x extender.  (Well first I got a Sigma 100-300 f4, but then the autofocus broke and Sigma said it was too old to fix...)
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 29, 2013, 05:44:11 PM
Thanks for the replies so far!  ;D

.. so the Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM could do a better job (with the sigma extender 1.4) as it is a 2.8.. even better than Canon primes (with ext)?


Gert.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Lurker on January 29, 2013, 05:44:37 PM
For your budget you could get a 70-200 f/2.8L II and a 2x iii.

I've only used this combo a couple of times.  IQ is very good and it has IS.  Some say AF is slow and I think I noticed this too and it hunted some.  This could have been due to low contrast sceen (water, snow, or ice) and hand holding.   Balance is a bit off I thought and I had some issues with the controls due to heavy gloves in cold weather.   This was not an issue with the 100-400 due to push pull design or the 400 which has no zooming.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 29, 2013, 06:10:09 PM
300 f4L IS can be had pretty cheap used
I snapped mine up off ebay for $800
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 30, 2013, 10:21:37 AM
well, my budget is limited to max $3000, and for that I can have the following:
- Canon 300mm IS L with converter 1,4 III + 70-300mm IS non L
OR
- Canon 400mm non IS L + 70-300mm IS II L
OR
- Sigma 120-300mm 2,8 + convertor 1,4 from Sigma.

Shall I launch a poll to see who chooses what?  ;D

G.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: tron on January 30, 2013, 10:26:29 AM
I would choose Canon 400mm non IS L + 70-300mm IS II L BUT:

It seems you are using now 100-400 with 50D.

I do not think the improvement will be 3000$ worth and you will be carrying more lenses for the same job!
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on January 30, 2013, 11:28:08 AM
Well one can fit on my 5OD and the other on my 500D..  :) It's good to have a zoom and a prime ready for the flying action.

However your remark is true, for that price.. that was my initial worry: will the budget give me better IQ results? It is important for me as I love heavy cropping for close-ups..
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: bluenoser1993 on January 30, 2013, 05:17:09 PM
Looking at the ISO 12233 charts I definately would not buy the Sigma at that price.  The Sigma with no converter still isn't as good as 70-200 2.8 II IS L with 2XIII converter attached.  I use the latter combination on a 7D and like it a lot.  I will admit that my primary use isn't at 400, and that was why I went the way I did, but when the reach is needed it meets my needs. 
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on February 01, 2013, 02:53:05 AM
SO the 70-200 f2,8 IS L gives better results, even with a 2x convertor? Better than a 400mm L non is or 100-400mm L IS?

Ofcourse for the price of the 70-200mm 2,8 with convertor, one can buy two good lenses; 70-300 IS L + 400 5,6 L..


G.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Random Orbits on February 01, 2013, 07:23:08 AM
SO the 70-200 f2,8 IS L gives better results, even with a 2x convertor? Better than a 400mm L non is or 100-400mm L IS?

Ofcourse for the price of the 70-200mm 2,8 with convertor, one can buy two good lenses; 70-300 IS L + 400 5,6 L..


G.

70-200 IS II gives similar results compared to 100-400 but might have slower AF.  The 400 5.6 is better IQ wise than either 70-200 IS II or 100-400 but it doesn't have IS.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: tron on February 01, 2013, 07:39:54 AM
Unfortunately Canon has ignored that focal length (and price, size and weight) range. Both 100-400 and 400/5.6L are very old and would benefit from upgrade (but not so for our wallets  ::) ...)
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Random Orbits on February 01, 2013, 09:09:09 AM
Unfortunately Canon has ignored that focal length (and price, size and weight) range. Both 100-400 and 400/5.6L are very old and would benefit from upgrade (but not so for our wallets  ::) ...)

So true, but they're giving you time to fatten your wallet, so that they can pillage more of it.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: AlanF on February 01, 2013, 12:32:35 PM
The best value for money is the Sigma Tele Macro 400mm f/5.6, with or without HSM. Photozone.de have measured its mtf and found it is much sharper than the Canon 400mm f/5.6 L. I bought one on eBay for £150 in pristine condition and found that is indeed far better than the Canon. Some will autofocus only wide open at f/5.6. But that is not serious as it is very sharp wide open and a non-IS lens is usually used hand held at the highest speeds. My one does focus stopped down but it is hardly sharper at f/8. OK, it is doesn't focus as fast as the Canon. But, it costs less than an extender and gives a fantastic image. THey turn up frequently on eBay, but don't buy the 400mms that are not Tele Macro.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: g-spot on February 22, 2013, 04:43:01 AM
Thanks for the useful replies guys, I think a combi of both the 70-300mm L IS + 400mm 5.6 L will be the final decision, so .. now eagerly awaiting some bonus news, in case I don't get a nice one, I will have to go cold turkey..  ;)

Gert.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: tron on February 22, 2013, 07:00:35 AM
Some will autofocus only wide open at f/5.6.
Quite an indication that they are not really value for money as there are already incompatibility issues. By the time next generation canon cameras are introduced they may not even function fully open...
True some models work as you said but the future is unknown. Someone would have to find a truly cheap - and working - lens to take this risk...
Now, for Sigma fanatics I have a wonderful 14mm f/3/5 which works only wide open! In addition it serves as a nice paperweight... (there is no additional charge for that  ;D  )

Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Jan Jasinski on February 22, 2013, 07:43:29 AM
Hi,

I am also an aviation photographer (spotter) and also had a hard time deciding on my super tele.
I own the 70-200 f/4 and was considering the 100-400L but I've seen a lot of soft shots and complaints from people who own them. I was leaning towards the versatility and the "IS" which is of course useful in our case. Yet the 100-400L new was 1700$ and ended up buying the 400L + some accessories. The 300 f/4L IS + 1.4 II was something I didn't look at too much because I do believe it was slightly more expensive than the 400L and the 1.4x was another 300$ which would turn out to be even more expensive than the 100-400L. Also, since I already have a 200mm lens I found that their won't be a huge difference to have 100mm extra.

Although, sometimes I feel as if I made the wrong decision purchasing the 400L because on my cheap body (Rebel XS/1000D) the results aren't superb. The lens seems soft or oof most of the time (probably camera fault) with all possible manual settings. With speeds under 1/100 it's also soft even if I have good stability or support. I don't see it performing badly on the 50D as i've seen great shots from the 40D and above.

Depending on your spotting locations and the type of shots you want you should consider:
- Do I want the most zoom with the best IQ?- 400L
- Do I want more versatility and the possibility to have 420mm f/5.6L with some IQ loss? - 300L + 1.4
- Do I want complete versatility with not as good IQ (even with 1.4x). - 100-400L

Here are a few examples from my friend's:
50D + 300L
 http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=7446219&nseq=3 (http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=7446219&nseq=3)

40D + 400L
http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/229768/zk-okq-air-new-zealand-boeing-777-300er/ (http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/229768/zk-okq-air-new-zealand-boeing-777-300er/)

The lack of IS on the 400L is a bit tricky but it still get's some great results with practice and maybe a monopod at times.

Jan
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Eimajm on February 22, 2013, 09:40:24 AM
My 400mm f5.6 is sooooo sharp and I can highly recommend it. If you are cropping heavy then it would appear you need the reach rather the flexibility of a zoom / lens and t.c. combination. I don't particulary miss IS as need a high shutter speed for the photography I do (birds and birds in flight) if your are shooting planes in flight then I would assume similar.
If you want to see how sharp the 400 f5.6 is have a look at my bird photos on flickr.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eimajm/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eimajm/)
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: kirispupis on February 22, 2013, 10:47:14 AM
I own both the 400/5.6 and the 300/4.  I also have the 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III and have owned the 100-400 in the past.  For your purposes (aviation) the 400/5.6 would seem to be a no brainer.  You will already be using a high shutter speed so you won't miss the lack of IS.

Contrary to what you may read elsewhere the 300/4 takes extenders very poorly.  I tried it once and was so disappointed by the results that I never tried it again.  That being said, it is a great lens.  If you can get close to your subject then it has a great macro capability. On the aviation side it could be used for interesting closeups of aircraft on the ground.

I heavily use my 400/5.6 for birding now and I keep it in my bag vs. the 300/4 which stays in my closet.  It is a bit annoying when a bird gets too close and I can't focus on it, but otherwise it does a very good job.  The 300/4 bare lens does AF faster, but that is probably more a case of the camera being able to use more focus points at the lower aperture.  It is far quicker AF-wise than my 100-400 was.

This was taken with the 300/4 - demonstrating the close up capabilities. (not cropped)
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8234/8442699229_021923f107.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calevphoto/8442699229/)
JSC_3116-Edit.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calevphoto/8442699229/#) by CalevPhoto (http://www.flickr.com/people/calevphoto/), on Flickr

This was taken with my 400/5.6. (cropped)
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8375/8475495631_817fba7304.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calevphoto/8475495631/)
Taking Flight (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calevphoto/8475495631/#) by CalevPhoto (http://www.flickr.com/people/calevphoto/), on Flickr
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 11:37:31 AM
I just used my 400/5.6 for only the 2nd time in the field for birding and was very pleased with the results.  I was using my 7D on a tripod at ISO 400 and high shutter speed.  These images are heavily cropped.  I think the 400/5.6 is a great value compared to Canon's other super telephotos.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: AlanF on February 22, 2013, 11:49:12 AM
Are they 100% crops with the same number of pixels taken from the full or have they been reduced in size further? What sharpening did you to to them?
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 12:17:45 PM
I am a complete newby to Photoshop as I just finished a series of video tutorials and used ACR, Photoshop for the first time on this set of images, so excuse me if I don't fully understand your questions.  :o In ACR the crop % shows 54 for the seagull and 45 for the eagle.  I believe I settled on Unsharp mask for the sharpening method.  Some of the sharpness seems to have been lost in posting to this website so I have much to learn and improve upon!
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: wsheldon on February 22, 2013, 12:45:12 PM
I spent a lot of time debating this very choice. I shot with a 70-200 f4L IS on my 50D for a couple of years, with and without a 1.4ii extender. Loved the IQ of the naked lens, and the lens+1.4 was still very, very good, but it always seemed too short for my needs. I eventually opted for the 100-400 and I have been very pleased so far. Technique is crucial at the longer focal lengths, but when I nail focus at 1/60-1/125 (or use a good tripod) I think the IQ is just fantastic (unless shooting over ISO 800, of course, then noise prevails).

This funny shot of a suberb starling at the Atlanta Zoo was taken from about 12 feet at 400mm/f6.3 at 1/60 hand-held (200ISO) and minimally processed in Lightroom (basically just cut a portrait out of a landscape, so it's only cropped horizontally a bit, and bumped up clarity and optimized exposure). At 100% there's great detail in the feathers and the bokeh is really nice. I find this lens sharp wide open but it's hard to get the right DOF for many subjects so I bump to 6.3-8 more for DOF than lens performance. Even on this starling I'd like more of the beak in focus at 6.3, but it still works.

I was sorely tempted by the close focusing of the 300 f4 IS and AF of the 400 f5.6, but I wanted that 100-300 range too much. I think this is really splitting hairs and comes down to minor preferences until you get to options like the 300 f2.8L which is in another league (and price orbit).
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: AlanF on February 22, 2013, 01:11:37 PM
I am a complete newby to Photoshop as I just finished a series of video tutorials and used ACR, Photoshop for the first time on this set of images, so excuse me if I don't fully understand your questions.  :o In ACR the crop % shows 54 for the seagull and 45 for the eagle.  I believe I settled on Unsharp mask for the sharpening method.  Some of the sharpness seems to have been lost in posting to this website so I have much to learn and improve upon!

What we mean by 100% crop is that the actual pixels you see on the crop  eg 1000x700 is the same as what that crop had in the original digital image (eg a 1000x700 section taken from the 5184x3456 for a 7D). You can use Photoshop to reduce the number of pixels, which is often done in the forums to give images that are smaller and load faster. Did you reduce the size of the image of the eagle as well as crop it?
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 01:23:24 PM
Yes, the images were shot in RAW and cropped as well as sized down in PS to a reasonable level for web posting.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: CarlTN on February 22, 2013, 02:20:42 PM
To the original poster:

I have rented both the 400 f/5.6L and the 300 f/4L IS.  The 400 is sharper, the 300 gives a wider field and the convenience of IS...and a faster aperture.  Neither is very sharp with a 2x TC, and I didn't try them with the 1.4x.  Only the 300 would autofocus on any camera smaller than a 1 series, with a 1.4x TC attached. 

Since you have the 100-400 already, I am betting you would miss the ability to zoom, more than you would like any small improvement in sharpness.  You would also miss the IS.

If you have $3000 to spend, in addition to the funds you could get from selling the 100-400, you might consider buying a larger supertele, such as the 200 f/2, 300 f/2.8, and so on.

You should rent the lenses you are considering for purchase.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: jasonsim on February 22, 2013, 02:20:42 PM
Perhaps save a little more mula ($$$) and purchase a used but nice EF 300mm f/2.8L IS lens.  They are about $4000 in mint condition and work great with a 1.4x teleconverter and make for a really good 600mm f/8 ( stopped down 1 stop) lens.

I would stick with what you already have ( 100-400mm L ), if size and weight are a concern.  You might find that you can wait even longer and maybe get a nice used 500mm f/4L IS. 

A shot using the 100-400mm on a 5D III:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8520/8497633519_b9801e2555_h.jpg)
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: CarlTN on February 22, 2013, 02:32:25 PM
300 f/4 IS + 2x ii TC (= 600mm f/8) + 1D Mark IV, center point only AF, hand held, ISO 1250, 1/1000, f/10. cropped 100% pixel to pixel.  This is the sharpest shot I got with the 2x teleconverter added.  Outside of the center image, weird wavy distortions were subtle (in other shots on the ground).  They could be seen viewed at 100%...so I was surprised this shot was able to go as sharp as it did (which I admit isn't all that sharp).  I used the "multiple half press" technique in single shot AF mode, to attempt the most accurate AF.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Jan Jasinski on February 22, 2013, 06:06:35 PM
Forgot to show some sample shots of my own:
Whenever is does perform well on my DSLR, the results can really be very nice!
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: nda on February 22, 2013, 07:20:41 PM
I use the 70-300L with a 1d4(attached pic) or the 300f/4is with 2xiii for a super tele but sharpness is compromised :(
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: CarlTN on February 26, 2013, 08:56:06 AM
Ricecanon, NDA and Jan, kirispupis, Jason...great pics!

Here's a couple more with the 300 f/4 IS and the 1D Mark IV

Moon ISO 640, 100% crop, handheld; Raccoon ISO 6400, handheld, slight crop, scaled down.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: Phil L on March 14, 2013, 07:58:19 PM
I can relate my experience in testing the 400 5.6

I have been shooting for a while with a Canon 300 f4 with a Canon 1.4 III extender attached and last summer I had thoughts about buying the straight 400 5.6
My thinking was that a similar size and speed lens would possibly have better IQ and faster AF then a lens using an extender.

Before buying I was able to test two different 400 5.6 lenses. One was new right out of the box and the other had some use.
I tested them on two different 7D bodies and a 50D body.
I did tests in the field on birds and wildlife (which is what I primarily shoot) and tests on stationary subjects under more controlled conditions.
I was hoping to be wowed by the 400 5.6
However, my results were that in nearly every case images from the 300 with 1.4 were sharper with better detail then those made with the 400 5.6 and AF speed was roughly equivilant. The 400 5.6 may have had a small advantage in AF speed. But I'm talking small.
It got to the point where I could immediately tell which lens took which shots just by looking at them. Enlarging to 50% only confirmed this impression.
Keep in mind this was a lens I really wanted to like and I was fully prepared to buy it if I was happy with the performance.
So needless to say I did not buy one and continue to use my 300 with 1.4 with what I feel are excellent results.

In the future, should Canon come out with a new version of the lens with updated, and upgraded optics and focusing (and maybe IS) I will revisit the 400.
But for now I'm staying away.

I know there are photographers that have gotten very nice results with the 400 and are quite happy with it.

What I described was my experience.

For examples of birds and other wildlife photos where virtually all were taken with the 300 4 and the 1.4 feel free to check out my photo blog which is updated daily.

http://phillanoue.com (http://phillanoue.com)
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: CarlTN on March 23, 2013, 02:41:32 AM
Phil, I like most of your bird pictures very much.  You've got some inspired work there!  However, if these are not 100% crops, then the differences you are talking about are pretty meaningless.  Anyone can make a 1280 pixel width image look sharp if it was originally much larger.  I can even make a jpeg shot with my little SX150IS look fantastic at web sizes.

I am happy with the third party zoom lens I bought.  It cost around half the price of the Canon equivalent.  So with the money I saved...I put towards a new full frame body.  This lens is 99% as sharp as the best copies of the Canon 100-400, it focuses decently fast, it has a richer color saturation (most evident in the wider half of the zoom range) than Canon's cooler colors via the 300, or especially the 400. 

But I do definitely agree, Canon need to update their lenses.  Or preferably, abandon them and make something much better, like a 450mm f/5 and a 350mm f/4, and a 70-450 zoom that beats the new Nikon one.  I doubt they will do any of these things, though.  They're more interested in making more Rebel and M bodies for the masses, and tiny lenses to put on them.

Even if they did do what I want, those lenses would cost $3500 to $4000, given Canon's tendency to raise prices a lot on new high quality lenses, over what they replaced.  Which is probably why they're reluctant to update them.  They don't want to price them out of existence for their target users.

It appears we will all get only one new telephoto lens this year, the 200-400 f/4.  Even though it was widely used by a lucky few at the Olympics last year, you or I still can't buy one until perhaps Christmas.  And at $10,000 or more, I will pass.  Maybe when they make a camera that is truly worthy of the resolution from these series 2 lenses...I will find a way to pay up.  That won't be until 2016 at the earliest (unless you get to be a lucky "tester").  Maybe by then, I can justify spending another $20,000 on camera and lenses...assuming there is anything left to take pictures of.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: dolina on March 24, 2013, 08:17:02 AM
After using a 400/5.6 I am eagerly awaiting for a copy with IS.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: ScottyP on March 24, 2013, 09:49:37 AM

I wonder if Sigma will make its first S lens a telephoto that is as good as its first A lens (35mm f/1.4) is.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: bwfishing on March 24, 2013, 11:09:28 AM
+1 on the used 300mm f2.8

http://www.keh.com/camera/Canon-EOS-Fixed-Focal-Length-Lenses/1/sku-CE06999037094Z?r=FE (http://www.keh.com/camera/Canon-EOS-Fixed-Focal-Length-Lenses/1/sku-CE06999037094Z?r=FE)

Here is an example with TWO extenders on this great lens if your interested...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pancamo/5572274357/#in/faves-77724886@N06/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pancamo/5572274357/#in/faves-77724886@N06/)

I was more impressed with the 70-300 L than the 300mm f4 or the 100-400 this updated lens is fantastic, but for cropping and using TC the 300mm f2.8 is the easy winner.
Title: Re: 400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?
Post by: CarlTN on April 19, 2013, 05:10:05 AM
That looks like several of my shots done at much shorter focal length...of course I was at a closer distance.