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400 mm f5.6 non-IS / 300 mm f4 IS with extender 1.4 III or waiting?

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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 !  ;)


According to

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

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...

Don Haines:
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...

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!!"


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