canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: traingineer on March 23, 2014, 10:09:01 PM

Title: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: traingineer on March 23, 2014, 10:09:01 PM
So, has anyone here used before the Canon 400mm DO lens? And maybe have some sample images?  ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Jim Saunders on March 29, 2014, 10:59:27 AM
I got this one at Canon's Image Square in Calgary.  I didn't spend a lot of time with it but it seems comparable for size and weight to a 300 f/2.8.

Jim
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: traingineer on March 29, 2014, 12:52:51 PM
I got this one at Canon's Image Square in Calgary.  I didn't spend a lot of time with it but it seems comparable for size and weight to a 300 f/2.8.

Jim

Kewl. ° ͜ʖ °
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Sporgon on March 29, 2014, 01:39:44 PM
There was a (short) thread in the Lens Gallery section on the 400 DO but it seems to have been lost when that section was reorganised. I have no experience with the 400 but after using the 70-300DO ( which isn't as competative in 'IQ' to convential lenses as the 400 is), I think the loss of IQ is worth it if smaller size is very important to you.

However I expect most on CR will disagree  ;)

I should add that I wouldn't ever buy a DO lens new. They take such a beating in reviews and other such 'sites their used value plummets, making them good value second hand but unprecedented depreciation (for a Canon lens) from new.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on March 29, 2014, 04:48:20 PM
I have tried to post some 400DO sample images for Traingineer to view, via the attachment option, but being new to participating in this forum, I must have done something wrong...my post is not showing up and when i tried to do it again I got a message saying I was now double-posting.  Any advice on how to post a 500kb jpg in a thread reply like this would be appreciated.
Thanks
Grant
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: steven kessel on March 30, 2014, 12:51:04 AM
I own a Canon 400DO and it is my principal wildlife lens.  I love it for its relatively compact size and its sharpness.  All of my shots with this lens are hand held and I find the results to be excellent as long as I keep the shutter speed at about 1/400 or above. 

The lens sort of got a bad reputation back in 2003 when it was first issued.  But, if it had bugs they've long since been ironed out.  I would recommend this lens unhesitatingly to anyone who wants a fairly compact 400 for field use.

One aspect of the lens that I don't like.  It comes equipped with a monstrous lens hood that is nearly as long as the lens itself.  Apparently it's the same hood that Canon supplies with the 300 f2.8.  My suspicion is that this is overkill and its enormous bulk works against the lens' compact size.  I've been scouring the photographic equipment sites for something more compact but have found nothing yet.

Here's a recent image that gives a pretty good idea of this lens' sharpness. 
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: steven kessel on March 30, 2014, 12:56:46 AM
And, here's another recent shot of a nonmoving subject that really shows how sharp this lens is.  As with the case of all of my wildlife shots, this photo was hand held.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: steven kessel on March 30, 2014, 12:59:27 AM
I should have noted that both of these photos are at least 50% crops from the originals.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on March 30, 2014, 01:37:36 AM
I asked about this lens, I forget which thread...and nobody chimed in.  Good to see some users actually have and enjoy it.

I've considered renting it, and still might...but I've decided to hold off on renting anything for a while.

I agree it should not be bought new at full price.  However, a good used one, or perhaps a refurb...seems like a decent value, from the images and tests I've seen (although if you assume a refurb is a flawed lens that's been returned...then you might want to be leery...but I'm not sure how often this is the case with this lens, or any of the superteles via canon's "refurb").

For all the pomp about the 300 f/2.8 ii, once you slap on that 1.4x iii converter, it's not a vast improvement in sharpness, if any, over the bare 400 f/4 DO...from looking at Bryan's test comparison at the-digital-picture.com.  It's really just when you compare both lenses bare with no TC, that the new 300 beats it hands down...along with every other L lens including the other series 2 superteles.

So the reasons I see for getting this instead of the new 300, is if you absolutely need the pound or so lighter weight...you want to save perhaps $800 to $1000 off the used price, and you can live with what must be vastly inferior image stabilization...and I would have to think a vastly slower autofocus (the 300 ii is said to be the fastest autofocusing lens in the world regardless of manufacturer).

The overall contrast is said to be poor via the 400 DO, but based on the great examples in this thread, and also if you have a look at other websites (such as pbase.com...although most examples there are small and shot over 5 years ago on inferior cameras)...you will find that it doesn't really lack for contrast all that much...especially if you add a touch in post, or in camera.

I've called for a new version at a wider focal length, but with a built in switchable TC or two.  Most commenters did their best to say it was a stupid idea that would never happen, but I say that's a shame.  A 250mm f/2.5 DO, or a 350mm f/3.5 DO, with built in TC, with similar sharpness to the other series 2 superteles...would be a fantastic, ultra lightweight lens...it seems to me.  Maybe when they've sold all the 200-400 f/4 zooms they can build, they will consider trying a different approach, but I'm not holding my breath. 
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on March 30, 2014, 01:45:56 AM
Steven, those are great shots!!
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on March 30, 2014, 09:30:30 AM
Canon's own MTF charts show the 300mm f/2.8 II + 1.4xTC III (bottom) to be significantly better than the 400 DO (Top).
ps
Just checked Bryan's TDP comparison: the 300 at 420mm is distinctly sharper

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: docfrance on March 30, 2014, 10:13:00 AM
While I haven't shot the 300mm f/2.8 with a 1.4X telecon, I have shot it indoors and love it.  However, for outdoor shooting during hikes and climbs, I love the 400mm DO because of it's size.  I've lugged it up 14,000' mountains with no issue, and gotten what are (for an amateur like me) great results.  I have a well-connected friend who loans me both of these lenses from time-to-time, so I'm a lucky guy...(http://martyfrance.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v89/p1713259187-5.jpg)
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on March 30, 2014, 10:25:54 AM
The Tamron 150-600mm is the same weight as the 400 DO, costs less than 1/5th of the price, has much better IS, and you will have a shock when you compare them at 400mm:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Steve on March 30, 2014, 06:39:40 PM
One aspect of the lens that I don't like.  It comes equipped with a monstrous lens hood that is nearly as long as the lens itself.  Apparently it's the same hood that Canon supplies with the 300 f2.8.  My suspicion is that this is overkill and its enormous bulk works against the lens' compact size.  I've been scouring the photographic equipment sites for something more compact but have found nothing yet.

I use a $5 rubber plumbing coupler I got from Lowes as a lens hood for my 300mm f2.8.  I covered it in camouflage duct tape. It's pretty awesome. 
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: traingineer on March 30, 2014, 07:09:55 PM
Some of these pics look superb, and to AlanF, the Tamron has a variable aperture. :|
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: luckydude on March 30, 2014, 07:21:04 PM
I've got the 400mm DO as well as the 600mm II and the 400+1.4x II gets more use.  It's much much easier to hand hold (though that said I hand hold the 600mm II w/ 1.4x III.  I'm a nut job :)

The Tamron is interesting but it's slower right?  Pretty impressively sharp though and not that much slower.  I hadn't considered it as a replacement for the 400mm DO, that's an interesting idea.  Wonder what I can get for it on the used market.

Has anyone done a 400mm DO -> Tamron 150-600 swap?  If so, any regrets?  Or are you happy you did the switch?

Birders would be high on my list of interesting people.  How well does it autofocus on a 5DIII?
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on March 30, 2014, 10:01:19 PM
Most telephoto lenses give stunning results if you can fill the frame with the subject. The differences show up when the subjects fill just a small portion of the frame - the better the lens the smaller the image that can be used. To show what a lens is really capable of, you need to show the whole frame, a 100% crop of the image to illustrate the detail, the aperture, ISO, camera, shutter speed etc.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on March 31, 2014, 03:12:51 PM
Sample image with the EF 400DO, on a Canon 1Dmk4, 1/800sec at f4, iso 640, resized to 1500x1000, from a 14mp slightly cropped original. Processed in ACR and CS6
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on March 31, 2014, 03:42:26 PM
With regard to Traingineers OP, and AlanF's mention of deep crops, this next image from the EF 400DO was taken with a 5Dmk3, Shutter speed 1/3200sec at f4, Iso 400, resized from a 22mp original and a 3mpixel crop. Sharpened in Adobe Camera Raw and resized to 1500x1000.
Overall, I found the EF 400DO to be very sharp with shorter shooting distances, and still decent with far-off subjects.  With its light weight, and rapid focus performance, it is an fun lens to shoot with, and quite responsive.  I found it very comfortable to use for tracking moving subjects.  Although it delivers images not quite as sharp as the EF 300 f2.8 IS  or the EF 500f4L IS it is still good enough for my purposes.  The new price is a bit steep though, although a well-priced, good condition used lens would be a viable option.
I have also written up a review on the lens, here:  http://www.grantatkinson.com/blog/canon-ef-400-f4-do-is-usm-field-review

I also saw an earlier responders thoughts on a new version of this lens, that would definitely be something to consider if Canon ever made one
cheers
Grant

cheers
Grant
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on March 31, 2014, 05:50:58 PM
Canon's own MTF charts show the 300mm f/2.8 II + 1.4xTC III (bottom) to be significantly better than the 400 DO (Top).
ps
Just checked Bryan's TDP comparison: the 300 at 420mm is distinctly sharper

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0

Well, I did too, and it's not "distinctly sharper" except in the extreme full frame corners.  I would say "somewhat noticeable" on the full frame borders, and "not much different in the center".
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on March 31, 2014, 05:52:02 PM
The Tamron 150-600mm is the same weight as the 400 DO, costs less than 1/5th of the price, has much better IS, and you will have a shock when you compare them at 400mm:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0

Except that the Tamron is only f/5.6 at 400mm, much slower than f/4.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on March 31, 2014, 05:55:45 PM
With regard to Traingineers OP, and AlanF's mention of deep crops, this next image from the EF 400DO was taken with a 5Dmk3, Shutter speed 1/3200sec at f4, Iso 400, resized from a 22mp original and a 3mpixel crop. Sharpened in Adobe Camera Raw and resized to 1500x1000.
Overall, I found the EF 400DO to be very sharp with shorter shooting distances, and still decent with far-off subjects.  With its light weight, and rapid focus performance, it is an fun lens to shoot with, and quite responsive.  I found it very comfortable to use for tracking moving subjects.  Although it delivers images not quite as sharp as the EF 300 f2.8 IS  or the EF 500f4L IS it is still good enough for my purposes.  The new price is a bit steep though, although a well-priced, good condition used lens would be a viable option.
I have also written up a review on the lens, here:  http://www.grantatkinson.com/blog/canon-ef-400-f4-do-is-usm-field-review

I also saw an earlier responders thoughts on a new version of this lens, that would definitely be something to consider if Canon ever made one
cheers
Grant

cheers
Grant

So the original pixel dimensions of this crop are what?  You're saying this crop was originally 3 megapixels? 
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on April 01, 2014, 02:22:44 AM
Hi Carl
To answer your question, I have attached a downsized version of the 22mp original frame of the bee-eater image.  I posted the deep crop to show the IQ that I got from the EF 400 DO, as it can be better examined in that way, as per AlanF suggestion.
It is not quite as crisp at those distances/crops as an EF 300f2.8, 4002.8 or 500 f4 but still pretty decent.
If Traingineer wishes to see more real-world samples from the EF 400DO I can share others, some in extreme low light, and also some birds in flight...
Hope that helps
cheers
Grant
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 01, 2014, 02:41:54 AM
Hi Carl
To answer your question, I have attached a downsized version of the 22mp original frame of the bee-eater image.  I posted the deep crop to show the IQ that I got from the EF 400 DO, as it can be better examined in that way, as per AlanF suggestion.
It is not quite as crisp at those distances/crops as an EF 300f2.8, 4002.8 or 500 f4 but still pretty decent.
If Traingineer wishes to see more real-world samples from the EF 400DO I can share others, some in extreme low light, and also some birds in flight...
Hope that helps
cheers
Grant

Thanks Grant.  The amount of crop looks like less than I first thought.  It's quite nice results, I agree...and I'd definitely like to see more samples.  I know I'm not the original poster, so if I could see them some other way, let me know.  I posted in the "bird in flight" thread from my 70-300, at 300, even more cropped than that (and only starting at 20MP)...at ISO 1600, and it didn't look too bad (and I'm pretty sure I was shooting through a window too).  Nobody seems to have liked or noticed it though!  (the squirrel eating seeds in a bird bath, while a cardinal flies below him!).
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on April 01, 2014, 04:12:23 AM
Here's another real-world image taken with the EF 400 DO IS, and 1Dmk4, handheld, S/speed 1/5000sec at f4, Iso 500, and a downsized image for web with ACR and CS 6.  Cropped to 2 mpixels from a 16mp original.
And I checked out your cardinal at very high iso Carl, in the BIF thread, amazing results that the sensors can produce at such high sensitivities.  Think the highest I have shot at in the field is iso 10 000
Cheers
Grant
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on April 01, 2014, 06:04:29 AM
Canon's own MTF charts show the 300mm f/2.8 II + 1.4xTC III (bottom) to be significantly better than the 400 DO (Top).
ps
Just checked Bryan's TDP comparison: the 300 at 420mm is distinctly sharper

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0

Well, I did too, and it's not "distinctly sharper" except in the extreme full frame corners.  I would say "somewhat noticeable" on the full frame borders, and "not much different in the center".

What about Canon's own MTFs? Have they got it wrong showing the distinct superiority of the 300 @ 420mm?
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 01, 2014, 06:06:09 AM
Here's another real-world image taken with the EF 400 DO IS, and 1Dmk4, handheld, S/speed 1/5000sec at f4, Iso 500, and a downsized image for web with ACR and CS 6.  Cropped to 2 mpixels from a 16mp original.
And I checked out your cardinal at very high iso Carl, in the BIF thread, amazing results that the sensors can produce at such high sensitivities.  Think the highest I have shot at in the field is iso 10 000
Cheers
Grant

Nice work on this one too!  I liked the 1D4 a lot when I rented it, it had amazing speed.  I much prefer the noise performance of the 6D, though.  Yes, I didn't venture too far out in the field for those shots, I was inside my house.  It was pretty dark for the cardinal in flight about to land on the sill.  I would prefer to shoot wide open with such a fast aperture lens, but it's very hit or miss, getting the bird in the plane of focus while it's flying toward me at almost mach...lands...eats its seed...is gone again, sometimes all this in the span of about 1/3 of a second.  So I wind up closing down more and more to try to get a bird that is not "bird bokeh"...!!
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 01, 2014, 06:20:11 AM
Canon's own MTF charts show the 300mm f/2.8 II + 1.4xTC III (bottom) to be significantly better than the 400 DO (Top).
ps
Just checked Bryan's TDP comparison: the 300 at 420mm is distinctly sharper

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=338&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0

Well, I did too, and it's not "distinctly sharper" except in the extreme full frame corners.  I would say "somewhat noticeable" on the full frame borders, and "not much different in the center".

What about Canon's own MTFs? Have they got it wrong showing the distinct superiority of the 300 @ 420mm?

Yes, yes they got it wrong, because they just did, ok?  They can't draw their own charts...Let's not get silly Alan.  Look...I believe I originally said the 300 + 1.4iii combo was "not that far ahead" of the bare 400 DO, or something to that effect.  Their MTF chart shows the 135L as even softer than the 400 DO, but the one I own, is not soft at all.  Why would that be? 

In any case, if you must defend the 300 ii as if it is your child and I'm attacking it or something, go ahead.  But just know that's what you're doing.  Frankly if your 300 were your girlfriend it would have already whooped your ass for cheating on it with the Tamron!!  How do you like them apples?

It doesn't change what shows on Bryan's test...in the center of the image, anyway.  Like I said, by the borders, and especially corners, yes the 400 DO is quite bad, wide open (and even closed down a tad).  But it's a DO, designed perhaps 20 years ago.  It's not a terrible lens given this, especially if it can be bought for $1000 or more, less than the new 300 f/2.8 ii (either new, used, or refurb...but I'll admit not many are out there).  And the 400 is a pound lighter.  The 300 is the more versatile lens overall, and performs better overall...but you pay for that.  It doesn't mean the 400 DO is not worth owning and using, if someone wants lighter weight and doesn't mind the slower AF and lower performing IS...yet still wants f/4 at 400mm.

Canon build both lenses at the present time, and they have not stopped production of the 400, that I'm aware of.  Are you calling them fools for doing so?  I think you are...and they (yes the whole company) want you to step outside and discuss it in the street!
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on April 01, 2014, 09:54:05 AM
You wrote:
"For all the pomp about the 300 f/2.8 ii, once you slap on that 1.4x iii converter, it's not a vast improvement in sharpness, if any, over the bare 400 f/4 DO...from looking at Bryan's test comparison at the-digital-picture.com."

All I have said was what you wrote does not match up with Canon's own measurements and a simple examination of Bryan's site. I am not defending anything or have any of the motives that you somehow have attributed to me. Could we please restrict this to rational discussion.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: johnf3f on April 01, 2014, 08:23:29 PM
You wrote:
"For all the pomp about the 300 f/2.8 ii, once you slap on that 1.4x iii converter, it's not a vast improvement in sharpness, if any, over the bare 400 f/4 DO...from looking at Bryan's test comparison at the-digital-picture.com."

All I have said was what you wrote does not match up with Canon's own measurements and a simple examination of Bryan's site. I am not defending anything or have any of the motives that you somehow have attributed to me. Could we please restrict this to rational discussion.

Have you tried out a 400 DO?
 What do MTF charts mean in the real world? I don't know, but what I do know is that I tested 2 second hand Canon 400 DO lenses against my Canon 600 F4 L IS at the same range and both out resolved the 600. I recently tried another 400 DO against my, current, Canon 800 F5.6 L IS and it was out of it's depth. However at half the focal length is was FAR from shabby!
I fully accept that images from the 400 DO need more processing and that they don't work well with 2 x extenders - but, as a bare lens, their resolution is top notch.
Do not let me put you off decrying this lens - PLEASE carry on! If more people keep doing this then prices will fall and then I can afford one!
P.S. I do have a Canon 300 F2.8 L IS and with the 1.4 extender I find it does not quite equal the 400 DO as a bare lens.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: traingineer on April 01, 2014, 08:51:38 PM
There are some nice images from this lens, but for the people who do own it, do you think the price of a new one is gud?
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 02, 2014, 01:58:45 AM
You wrote:
"For all the pomp about the 300 f/2.8 ii, once you slap on that 1.4x iii converter, it's not a vast improvement in sharpness, if any, over the bare 400 f/4 DO...from looking at Bryan's test comparison at the-digital-picture.com."

All I have said was what you wrote does not match up with Canon's own measurements and a simple examination of Bryan's site. I am not defending anything or have any of the motives that you somehow have attributed to me. Could we please restrict this to rational discussion.

Um, I say it does, because their own chart is not a "vast improvement" with the TC mounted, not in the center.  We have a difference of opinion, and I am being rational.  It is you who is constantly finding fault with me, that's what's irrational.  It's just not a vast improvement in the center.  It's there, but it's not vast.  For 99% of the people buying the new 300mm f/2.8 ii, they're not buying it to use most of the time with a 1.4x TC.  They're buying it to be able to use it bare, or with either of the TC's...to have a choice of 3 different focal lengths...besides the faster AF, the extreme sharpness at 300mm, and the better IS.  Sure some will stick with one TC combination because they like the focal length for what they're shooting.  But the results posted in this thread alone can speak for themselves.  The 400 DO is worth owning for some people, and it does not have poor image quality, or even poor contrast.  Even Lensrentals say it's a sharp lens if you read their commentary in the rental section.  (They say if you shoot jpegs and try to boost contrast you'll be disappointed...I can't say for sure, but I know I boost contrast all the time with jpegs, whether from my 6D, or even from my compact camera, and have no problems.)  I'll grant you (and as I said above), the 300 + 1.4iii actually is a vast improvement, in the corners...but in the center?  Nope.  And sure, if you can't get a 400 DO for any lesser of a price than the new 300 ii, it would seem foolish to buy it instead of the 300.  But if it costs a good bit less, I see no problem in buying one.  Why is that irrational?  It's not.  It's a fine and lightweight 400mm f/4 lens, that's what it is.  I don't understand why people have a problem with it, or like to slam it.  It's the only supertelephoto diffraction optics design that I know of, and hopefully there will be newer improved versions in the future.  If not from Canon, then somebody.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: AlanF on April 02, 2014, 02:10:31 AM
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 02, 2014, 02:46:05 AM
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan

I don't believe I said I thought it would.  From when I looked at TDP comparisons, the series 1 600mm looked very poor at f/4, compared to the series 2 at f/4.  But I don't think I did a direct comparison...I will now.  Also, the one comparison I do recall, is that his center crops of the chart of the 600 ii vs the 500 ii, the 500 looked slightly sharper to me, in the center, wide open.  I suspect there's still sample variation, even with these series 2 lenses, so it would be hard to say (without someone like Lensrentals doing a test comparison with a lot of samples...like say 40 of each lens or something), to say which of these lenses is "generally" sharper than which.

However, from the above, if that is typical, then wouldn't that conflict with Canon's own published MTF charts of the 500 and the 600 version 2 lenses?  I thought I saw that Canon's chart for the 600 ii, looked the best of all the version 2 superteles, even the 300 f/2.8.  But is this chart of Canon's, "reality"?  I don't own any of these, and I don't claim to know.  Even if I owned one of each, that wouldn't really be enough to state what "most" of the samples produced of all these lenses, are like.

Ok I'm looking at TDP now.  If you're asking which is better, the 400 DO + 1.4 iii TC, vs. the 600 version one, both wide open (f/5.6 at 560mm, and f/4 at 600mm)...the 600mm lens is better, even in the center. But in the center it's not night and day, like it is at the borders and corners.

But in this test, clearly the 400 DO is sharper across the frame at 400mm and f/4, than the version 1 600mm f/4 is, at its wide open f/4. 

I suspect the sample he tested for the 600 version one here, might be a bad sample.  But I have no idea.  It looks like Bryan only tested one sample.  I know my cousin still has his version 1 600 f/4, and his shots with it seem pretty sharp.  He's owned it since like 2005.  Of course I don't think I've ever seen any of his shots at f/4...they're always closed down a little.  I guess he's shot some wide open, but I've not seen them.  Lately he's become obsessed with collecting guns and shooting target practice; he never wants to talk about cameras anymore!  I hope it's a passing phase, lol.

One more thing.  I still say, that such resolution tests, don't mean as much, unless the focus distance of the test, is at what would be typical for its use.

Now, it seems to me, that most of the great bird images posted on here, are filling the frame pretty good.  That means the camera is really closer than what might be the average distance for shooting birds.  So in a way, for these types of very close images, such tests like what Bryan does, are very relevant, because the distance is similar.

But at 100 feet, or 200 feet distance??  That's a whole other can of worms...that's the true test of resolving power of the camera, the lens, the system...the ability of the photographer...because you're forced to crop heavily to get a nice gigantic picture of a bird.

One thing I keep noticing though...it seems possible that all lenses get sharper at closer distance, than at, or close to...infinity focus.  There's probably a term for this, and no doubt you know it, and will school me on it!  (Not referring to atmospherics, either).


Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: Grant Atkinson on April 02, 2014, 09:33:09 AM
Hi Traingineer, the price of a new one, EF 400DO, is quite high given that it is an older lens, but it is still the cheapest way to have a native 400f4 tele lens.  Nothing else matches it in terms of light weight, and that f4 maximum aperture (remembering that an EF 300 f2.8 L IS ii with a 1.4x extender comes close).  If you think you might need the extra versatility that having an EF 300 f2.8 would bring with extender removed, with regard to greater light gathering, then maybe the EF 400 DO is not the best solution at the new price.
There is also the EF 400L f5.6 to consider, similar in sharpness, but giving up one full stop of light gathering, less background blur and no image stabilization.

If you wish to have a good performing, very light, rewarding to use telephoto lens, and 400 f4 is important to you, then the 400DO is unlikely to disappoint.  Maybe see if you can rent one for an outing.
Cheers
Grant
Grant
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: johnf3f on April 02, 2014, 04:47:19 PM
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
I have been searching for the images I took to illustrate my post but I have to admit I can't find them - sorry! They may be on my old PC (which I still have) so I will see if they are on there.
Basically I fancied one (but couldn't afford it!) so I tried out the 2 at my local camera shop. As a comparison I then mounted my Canon 600 F4L IS and took pictures of the same subject (a BMW 3 Series) from the same place. The difference was that we could see that the lacquer on the rear of the car had crazed slightly with the DO lenses we weren't easily able to pick this up with the 600.
As I said I will have another look for the images.
The 400 DO is certainly a very controversial lens - but the ones I have tried have impressed me though less so with extenders.
Title: Re: Canon 400mm DO
Post by: CarlTN on April 02, 2014, 10:18:15 PM
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
I have been searching for the images I took to illustrate my post but I have to admit I can't find them - sorry! They may be on my old PC (which I still have) so I will see if they are on there.
Basically I fancied one (but couldn't afford it!) so I tried out the 2 at my local camera shop. As a comparison I then mounted my Canon 600 F4L IS and took pictures of the same subject (a BMW 3 Series) from the same place. The difference was that we could see that the lacquer on the rear of the car had crazed slightly with the DO lenses we weren't easily able to pick this up with the 600.
As I said I will have another look for the images.
The 400 DO is certainly a very controversial lens - but the ones I have tried have impressed me though less so with extenders.

Yes, I think the use case for the 400 DO is the bare lens.  If you plan on only using it with extenders, you won't be getting the most out of it.  That's true with all lenses, but especially with one that is not quite up to the "series 2" sharpness.  Even though I've yet to try one, I do feel the 400 DO is not deserving of the bad reputation...however I think I read somewhere that the earlier samples from a decade ago or so, may have had some production inconsistencies.  That alone could have contributed to a lot of the negative buzz on this lens, and has endured.  It was first introduced in 2000.  So most guys who are ready to blow a lot of cash on a supertele, want "the latest and greatest"...and anything that isn't, is sub-par to them.  It's a similar snobbishness that third party lenses usually get.  But I was surprised at how poor the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 looks in Bryan's tests, even compared to the "less than perfect" 400 DO.  Yet the images I've seen from it online, look pretty sharp with decent contrast.  I guess it just means the better lenses would be that much better doing the same shot.