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Author Topic: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?  (Read 13882 times)

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2011, 09:01:06 PM »
Update:  It's not the lens, it's the camera...the 120-300 f/2.8 still hunts now and then in more or less the same situations that the 120-400mm did.  Now I'm interested to see what a better AF sensor would do.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2011, 10:14:26 PM »
Update:  It's not the lens, it's the camera...the 120-300 f/2.8 still hunts now and then in more or less the same situations that the 120-400mm did.  Now I'm interested to see what a better AF sensor would do.

Ok, so not a cheap-o lens.  But still, a Sigma lens, and Sigma has to reverse-engineer the AF algorithms, plus the fact that Sigma lenses are often reported as having less than stellar AF.  So, frankly, I'm still not convinced it's the camera.  Does a Canon lens of the same aperture hunt like the Sigmas do?
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kubelik

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2011, 05:01:30 PM »
here's why I believe a 500mm f/5.6 L IS would have pretty good AF speed and accuracy:

1. people have been highly complementary of the Canon 400mm f/5.6 L, which we've noted is the same max aperture

2. my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II on a 5DII body focuses pretty quick except in extremely low lighting situations.  most people agree that a native f/5.6 lens will AF better than an f/2.8 lens + 2x extender, so if the 70-200 is already pretty good, a 500 f/5.6 would be better.

that's good enough for me, and I suspect for almost anyone interested in buying a 500 f/5.6

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2011, 05:52:35 PM »
most people agree that a native f/5.6 lens will AF better than an f/2.8 lens + 2x extender, so if the 70-200 is already pretty good, a 500 f/5.6 would be better.

The accuracy should be equivalent with and without extender.  But using the 2x extender will result in ~50% slower AF, by design, than the bare lens; a 1.4x extender slows AF speed by ~25%, also by design.
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autochrome

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2011, 06:38:58 PM »
On the weather sealing issue, seems all pre-1999 lenses have some basic form of weather sealing:

Quote
Chuck Westfall (Canon USA) has provided information about the weather sealing found in some pre-officially-sealed lenses.
 
According to Mr Westfall, "Pre-1999 white EF lenses such as the 200/1.8L, 300/2.8L, 300/4L, 300/4L IS, 400/2.8L, 400/5.6L, 500/4.5L, 600/4L, 35-350/3.5-5.6L, 70-200/2.8L, and 100-400/4.5-5.6L all lack mount gaskets but have moderate dust and moisture resistance for their switches, focusing rings and zoom rings where applicable."
 
For example, "The EF400mm f/5.6L USM lens was designed before Canon started offering "dust and drip resistant" lenses, so it does not have a mount gasket or a built-in protective filter. However, it does have seals under the switches and the focusing ring, so it is weather-resistant to a point. For best results in wet conditions, I suggest using a clear filter on the front of the lens and covering the lens barrel with a plastic wrap."
 
"Canon will not retrofit mount gaskets to EF lenses that were not introduced with that feature." I of course had to ask that question.
 
(Thanks John!)
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=996&Title=Partially-Weather-Sealed-Canon-Lenses


The 400mm f5.6L is tempting. Sure the IS would be nice, but the price would jump from 1300 euros to 2500 at least, that's almost certain (if not more, judging by the massive leap in price in the latest super telephotos with the addition of IS mode 3) - and this when Canon decides it's time to update it, which probably won't happen soon. Everything considered it seems the best bargain around, price and optical quality considered. The lack of full weather sealing is another annoyance though. Other ones that also need weather sealing are the 35mm f1.4L, 85mm f1.2L, 200mm f2.8L II, 180mm f3.5L macro and 135mm f2.0L at least, some of which were rumoured to be replaced here (the 35mm and the 135mm if i remember it well).

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2011, 10:56:19 PM »
On the weather sealing issue, seems all pre-1999 lenses have some basic form of weather sealing:

Quote
Chuck Westfall (Canon USA) has provided information about the weather sealing found in some pre-officially-sealed lenses.
 
According to Mr Westfall...

(Thanks John!)
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=996&Title=Partially-Weather-Sealed-Canon-Lenses

Yep.  In fact, it was this very thread that resulted in the news post on Bryan's TDP site.  From p.2 of this thread:

I'll do a little more digging...
Apparently, the 400mm f/5.6L is partially sealed.  According to Chuck Westfall (Canon's tech support guru)...

My 'digging' consisted of contacting Mr. Westfall, and I forwarded his responses to initial and follow-up questions to Bryan at TDP (John = me, neuroanatomy is part of my day job  ;) ), thinking the fact that these 'unsealed' lenses do have partial sealing was pretty interesting and worth disseminating.  In particular, the fact that a push-pull zoom like the 100-400mm actually has dust-resistant seals around the zoom ring is worth noting, since that lens is sometimes aka the "dust pump."

Other ones that also need weather sealing are the 35mm f1.4L...

I agree...but remember that for sealing on a lens to be effective, the body must also be sealed, and although some non-1-series bodies have partial sealing, only the 1-series are truly weather-sealed (the rank ordering for sealing is 1-series >> 7D > 5DII = 50D/60D).
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autochrome

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2011, 04:50:45 PM »
On the weather sealing issue, seems all pre-1999 lenses have some basic form of weather sealing:

Quote
Chuck Westfall (Canon USA) has provided information about the weather sealing found in some pre-officially-sealed lenses.
 
According to Mr Westfall...

(Thanks John!)
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=996&Title=Partially-Weather-Sealed-Canon-Lenses

Yep.  In fact, it was this very thread that resulted in the news post on Bryan's TDP site.  From p.2 of this thread:

somehow i missed that

Quote
I'll do a little more digging...
Apparently, the 400mm f/5.6L is partially sealed.  According to Chuck Westfall (Canon's tech support guru)...

My 'digging' consisted of contacting Mr. Westfall, and I forwarded his responses to initial and follow-up questions to Bryan at TDP (John = me, neuroanatomy is part of my day job  ;) ), thinking the fact that these 'unsealed' lenses do have partial sealing was pretty interesting and worth disseminating.  In particular, the fact that a push-pull zoom like the 100-400mm actually has dust-resistant seals around the zoom ring is worth noting, since that lens is sometimes aka the "dust pump."

I see :) You're the person that asked about the gasket retrofitting? That would've been great to have, even unnoficially, or even implying voiding the warranty.

Quote

Other ones that also need weather sealing are the 35mm f1.4L...

I agree...but remember that for sealing on a lens to be effective, the body must also be sealed, and although some non-1-series bodies have partial sealing, only the 1-series are truly weather-sealed (the rank ordering for sealing is 1-series >> 7D > 5DII = 50D/60D).

At the moment i have a 7D. I thought about a 2nd body, a 5D Mk.II, but resisted the temptation and invested in lenses instead. I'll skip the 5D Mk.II and get a 1D when the time is right.
In fact i just got the 400mm, lack of full weather sealing and all. I thought the lack of IS would make it unusable (since it's a 640mm equivalent on APS-C), but it's not that bad. I'll just have to get some sort of weather protection when using it outdoors, other than this issue, my first impressions are positive. The 100-400mm was too cumbersome, i would be using it at 400mm mostly, and i got the 70-200mm range covered already. I'm not sure the 400mm f4.0 DO is fully weather sealed, but at the price Canon is charging for the DO you can make a bit of extra effort and go straight to the 500mm which is a far better investment (and would be even better if it included a chiropractor ).

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 400mm L 5.6 .. So what's changed in 19 years?
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2011, 09:29:05 AM »
I see :) You're the person that asked about the gasket retrofitting? That would've been great to have, even unnoficially, or even implying voiding the warranty.

No, Bryan asked about the retrofitting.  I posed the original question to Mr. Westfall about sealing on the 400/5.6L.


At the moment i have a 7D. I thought about a 2nd body, a 5D Mk.II, but resisted the temptation and invested in lenses instead. I'll skip the 5D Mk.II and get a 1D when the time is right.
In fact i just got the 400mm, lack of full weather sealing and all. I thought the lack of IS would make it unusable (since it's a 640mm equivalent on APS-C), but it's not that bad. I'll just have to get some sort of weather protection when using it outdoors, other than this issue, my first impressions are positive. The 100-400mm was too cumbersome, i would be using it at 400mm mostly, and i got the 70-200mm range covered already. I'm not sure the 400mm f4.0 DO is fully weather sealed, but at the price Canon is charging for the DO you can make a bit of extra effort and go straight to the 500mm which is a far better investment (and would be even better if it included a chiropractor ).

Almost always good advice to invest in lenses more than bodies.  The 400mm f/4 DO is fully weather-sealed, yes, but I agree - the reduced contrast with DO is a turn-off, especially in that price bracket. 

The 100-400mm is bulky, but one thing I like over the 400/5.6 is that the 100-400mm stores more compactly - I frequently go out with the 7D + 100-400mm in a Toploader Pro 75 AW and it's a perfect fit; the 400/5.6 is too long for that.
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