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Author Topic: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910  (Read 6234 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2013, 10:48:45 AM »
Okay, so is it safe to assume that since your still wanting to get the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super Telephoto lens that it has some advantages to the other two lenses correct?  Not trying to be funny in asking this question. Just trying to learn more.

I don't see where Mt. Spokane suggested he personally wanted the 400/5.6L.  My take was that he was posting the listing on the refurb site as a public service, in case others are interested.
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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2013, 10:48:45 AM »

bwfishing

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2013, 11:25:27 AM »
Okay, so is it safe to assume that since your still wanting to get the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super Telephoto lens that it has some advantages to the other two lenses correct?  Not trying to be funny in asking this question. Just trying to learn more.

I don't see where Mt. Spokane suggested he personally wanted the 400/5.6L.  My take was that he was posting the listing on the refurb site as a public service, in case others are interested.

Yes, and I was asking him seeking more information as I was trying to determine if he wanted the lens again, even with the other two. It appears from your comment that he does not want to purchase. If this is the case then thank you for the clarification. I mean no disrespect I was only trying to learn more. I understand this lens is good, but not so much better than the other two. 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:31:30 AM by bwfishing »

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2013, 11:27:38 AM »
Folks, if you already have a 100-400mm or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, then stick with what you have.  I actually had all three of these lenses and, well, kept only one.  The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II is so sharp, I don't see much difference between it and the 100-400.  When using the 1.4x III or 2x III, the image quality is suburb.  Stop is down one stop and it gets a bit better.

Here are some I took last Sunday using the 2x III (two at f/5.6 and ISO 3200 on a 60D, last one at f/8 ISO 640). None of these would have been possible using the 400mm f/5.6L.  My shutter speed was 1/200s or longer.


 

 

 
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2013, 11:40:12 AM »
Yes, and I was asking him seeking more information as I was trying to determine if he wanted the lens again, even with the other two. It appears from your comment that he does not want to purchase. If this is the case then thank you for the clarification. I mean no disrespect I was only trying to learn more. I understand this lens is good, but not so much better than the other two.

Understood - that was clear.  I can tell you that personally, I don't have any real interest in the 400/5.6.  It does offer slightly better IQ than the 100-400mm, but the real-world difference is minor, it lacks IS (which is helpful for perched birds in shade), and the form factor isn't convenient. 

What I'd really like is a new version of the 100-400!
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miah

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2013, 12:02:14 PM »

Understood - that was clear.  I can tell you that personally, I don't have any real interest in the 400/5.6.  It does offer slightly better IQ than the 100-400mm, but the real-world difference is minor, it lacks IS (which is helpful for perched birds in shade), and the form factor isn't convenient. 

What I'd really like is a new version of the 100-400!

But Neuro, I'm in the market for a 400 and this seems like a great price on what everyone says is a great lens. I agree, the 100-400 is more compact to carry & more versatile, being a zoom. I also understand you have a 600 f/4 at your disposal. But for a guy like me who can only occasionally rent a 600, already has a 70-300L, and would like something in the 400 range, this seems like a good buy. Finally, I was recently speaking with Greg Downing from naturscapes.net at the NANPA Summit where he gave two talks on BIF shooting. He carries the 600 f/4 and the 400 f/5.6, insisting in his talks that primes are the only way to go for BIF because they focus so much faster than zooms.

Can you add your thoughts, please? I'm a newbie to BIF shooting, but having a whole lot of fun getting into it.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2013, 12:28:11 PM »
But Neuro, I'm in the market for a 400 and this seems like a great price on what everyone says is a great lens. I agree, the 100-400 is more compact to carry & more versatile, being a zoom. I also understand you have a 600 f/4 at your disposal. But for a guy like me who can only occasionally rent a 600, already has a 70-300L, and would like something in the 400 range, this seems like a good buy. Finally, I was recently speaking with Greg Downing from naturscapes.net at the NANPA Summit where he gave two talks on BIF shooting. He carries the 600 f/4 and the 400 f/5.6, insisting in his talks that primes are the only way to go for BIF because they focus so much faster than zooms.

Can you add your thoughts, please? I'm a newbie to BIF shooting, but having a whole lot of fun getting into it.

The 400/5.6 is an excellent lens, no question.  For BIF, you'll be shooting at shutter speeds high enough that IS isn't needed.

For me, it's a question of compromise, exactly as you say - flexibility, IS, and convenience.  With a 70-300L, a 400mm prime makes sense - assuming you'll have time to switch lenses.  Not sure, but I expect Greg Downing may have a body for each of those primes.

The 100-400 does fine for focusing on BIF, IMO.  Not a great shot, but as an example here's one I took yesterday.  The camera was hanging from my BR strap when I saw this red tail take off for a short flight from one tree to another, so this is a snap-shot - grab camera, raise to eye, focus and shoot.  It grabbed onto the bird desipte the trees in the background.
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AlanF

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2013, 12:33:16 PM »

Understood - that was clear.  I can tell you that personally, I don't have any real interest in the 400/5.6.  It does offer slightly better IQ than the 100-400mm, but the real-world difference is minor, it lacks IS (which is helpful for perched birds in shade), and the form factor isn't convenient. 

What I'd really like is a new version of the 100-400!

But Neuro, I'm in the market for a 400 and this seems like a great price on what everyone says is a great lens. I agree, the 100-400 is more compact to carry & more versatile, being a zoom. I also understand you have a 600 f/4 at your disposal. But for a guy like me who can only occasionally rent a 600, already has a 70-300L, and would like something in the 400 range, this seems like a good buy. Finally, I was recently speaking with Greg Downing from naturscapes.net at the NANPA Summit where he gave two talks on BIF shooting. He carries the 600 f/4 and the 400 f/5.6, insisting in his talks that primes are the only way to go for BIF because they focus so much faster than zooms.

Can you add your thoughts, please? I'm a newbie to BIF shooting, but having a whole lot of fun getting into it.

"Everyone says it is a great lens"?? Well, it has a few devotees who do rave about it. And they will take up arms against any criticism, but, they clearly have never used a real tack sharp prime. See http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2011/03/14/which-is-the-best-under-1500-canon-intermediate-telephoto-lens-for-me/ where Art Morris says "At this point in my life, I would not consider a lens without IS so my old toy lens (= 400mm f/5.6L) is on the shelf (though it is likely that I could still use it effectively. :) Unless you wish to use a tripod all the time (except when doing flight photography), your choice is between the 100-400 IS and the 300 f/4 IS. It is a tough choice. Good luck making it :)"
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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2013, 12:33:16 PM »

miah

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2013, 12:46:28 PM »

The 400/5.6 is an excellent lens, no question.  For BIF, you'll be shooting at shutter speeds high enough that IS isn't needed.

For me, it's a question of compromise, exactly as you say - flexibility, IS, and convenience.  With a 70-300L, a 400mm prime makes sense - assuming you'll have time to switch lenses.  Not sure, but I expect Greg Downing may have a body for each of those primes.

The 100-400 does fine for focusing on BIF, IMO.  Not a great shot, but as an example here's one I took yesterday.  The camera was hanging from my BR strap when I saw this red tail take off for a short flight from one tree to another, so this is a snap-shot - grab camera, raise to eye, focus and shoot.  It grabbed onto the bird desipte the trees in the background.

I believe Greg uses two bodies, as do I. He feels strongly that the 400/600 combo is the most versatile set-up for BIF (he replaced his 300 f/2.8 with the 400 f/5.6 to reduce weight). Interestingly, when I asked him if I could only afford one lens for BIF, he was adamant: get the 300 f/2.8 + a 2x extender.

I too have friends who think the 100-400 is a great, versatile, fast-enough-focusing lens. But since I already own a 70-300L, which I love, the 400 prime seems to be a better fit.

A little off topic, but since I know you're using a 1DX, what AI Servo focus parameters are you set to for walking around, so that when a hawk jumps up in front of you, you're ready?

miah

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2013, 01:04:39 PM »

"Everyone says it is a great lens"?? Well, it has a few devotees who do rave about it. And they will take up arms against any criticism, but, they clearly have never used a real tack sharp prime. See http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2011/03/14/which-is-the-best-under-1500-canon-intermediate-telephoto-lens-for-me/ where Art Morris says "At this point in my life, I would not consider a lens without IS so my old toy lens (= 400mm f/5.6L) is on the shelf (though it is likely that I could still use it effectively. :) Unless you wish to use a tripod all the time (except when doing flight photography), your choice is between the 100-400 IS and the 300 f/4 IS. It is a tough choice. Good luck making it :)"

Thanks for the link, AlanF, I hadn't seen that blog post. I have, however, looked over his site a number of times and there are a boatload of EXCELLENT shots taken with the 400 f/5.6.

I decided to pull the trigger and went ahead and ordered the 400 from the refurb page (thanks to Mt Spokane for posting the heads up). If for any reason it doesn't perform to my satisfaction, I'll probably wait for the mythical new 100-400 with the latest IS to be released, then consider selling both my beloved 70-300L and the 400 f/5.6.

jcollett

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2013, 02:52:50 PM »
FYI, the lens is currently OOS at the Canon site.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2013, 03:26:34 PM »
A little off topic, but since I know you're using a 1DX, what AI Servo focus parameters are you set to for walking around, so that when a hawk jumps up in front of you, you're ready?

That shot was just basic Case 1, manual AF point selection with 8-point expansion. 

Interestingly, when I asked him if I could only afford one lens for BIF, he was adamant: get the 300 f/2.8 + a 2x extender.

Indeed.  AlanF uses this combo, and I have a strong feeling I'll add a 300/2.8L IS II to my kit at some point.  The bare lens is about the same length as the 400/5.6 (although not with the hoods on/extended).  That's sort of my point - for the 'inconvenience' of a physically longer lens, I'd like more performance benefit than the 400/5.6 provides compared to the 100-400 (and the 300/2.8 certainly delivers that...albeit at a hefty financial cost).

Regardless, enjoy your lens!
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2013, 04:01:58 PM »
Its a good lens for BIF, fast AF and reasonably sharp.  I had one and sold it in favor of the 100-400mmL.  The issue I had was its length, its a great lens for the price.  It is fairly long, and does not fit in a lot of camera bags, while the 100-400mmL is actually shorter when collapsed than a 70-200mmL MK II.  A 70-200 with 2X TC is cumbersome to hold, but can produce excellent images.

Do you still have the 100-400mmL and/or the 70-200 with 2X TC?

Yes, I have both.  I much prefer to use the 100-400L at 400mm.

Okay, so is it safe to assume that since your still wanting to get the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super Telephoto lens that it has some advantages to the other two lenses correct?  Not trying to be funny in asking this question. Just trying to learn more.
I'd say that the 400mm f/5.6 is great for BIF or any use where you use a fast shutter speed and don't need IS.  I decided that IS was a advantage for me, and allows me to hand hold the 100-400L with lower shutter speeds.
 
The Three or Four options all are good.  I was merely posting the article so that those who were looking for one would be aware of it.  I'm not recommending it or against it, its a very fine lens, and the right pick for some applications, but the wrong one for others. 
Example - If you want to take images of small birds that will let you get close, maybe 5 or 10 ft away, the 11 ft minimum focus distance might be a disappointment.  The 100-400L lets you focus to 6 ft.

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2013, 04:19:27 AM »
What I'd really like is a new version of the 100-400!
+1 ... but going by Nikon's new 80-400 VR II pricing, I'm afraid Canon will charge us close to $3000 (if not more) for the new 100-400 L IS II ... which would make it almost twice as expensive as the current one. :(
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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2013, 04:19:27 AM »

dolina

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2013, 06:55:55 AM »
Those used to IS be aware that this lens does not have IS. When I was testing my uncle's 400/5.6 I found it a big adjustment to deal with.

Those who want IS should look at the 100-400 IS.

BTW $910 a very good price. My uncle paid $1,000 for his and it was used.
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Duade Paton

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2013, 07:23:41 AM »
I use the 400 5.6L and IMO is the best valued birding lens available. It is pin sharp, super fast and excellent image quality. Here are a couple of shots taken with a 7D and 400 5.6L.

Beach Stone Curlew


Red-backed Fairy-wren


Good luck with the lens.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 07:25:31 AM by Duade Paton »

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Re: Canon Refurb 400mm f/5.6L $910
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2013, 07:23:41 AM »