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Author Topic: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?  (Read 15087 times)

CanonMan

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Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« on: June 05, 2013, 05:35:26 PM »
Hi. Well I just posted a 70-200L / IS / 70-300L question and got some great comments. Food for thought.
I was not sure if to keep that post going or create a new one. As you can see I decided on the latter  :D

I read recently that the 100-400L out sells the 70-300L by 4 to 1. If this is true how can that be ? It really confuses me more when I read that the 70-300L has better IQ, AF and IS. Build quality is amazing and no push pull.

Do people need the extra 100mm that much?
Do people compare the two lenses or just buy the 100-400L because so many other photographers use it?
Are people buying now because yes they would love the version II but are scared that it will be to expensive?

I had all the advice and helpful tips I needed to get my new camera sorted but the lens side for me is still driving me crazy  :P
I really would still prefer a zoom over a prime.

As usual thanks in advance for your feedback.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 06:03:36 PM by CanonMan »

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Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« on: June 05, 2013, 05:35:26 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 05:40:15 PM »
It continues to sell well because it's a very good lens, and the only 'affordable' way to get 400mm with IS.
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Skulker

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 06:31:59 PM »
It's an underrated lens. Better than you might think reading some posts.

One of the good things is "it's a push/pull"  ;D not everyone's favorite option at all, but it makes for a compact walk around with lots of reach. I've taken tens of thousands of shots with mine and have no trouble selling shots taken with it.
If you debate with a fool onlookers can find it VERY difficult to tell the difference.

clostridium

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 06:56:18 PM »
As Skulker noted the 100-400 tends to not fare well in internet discussions.  That's probably because you can find better lenses at each of the focal lengths but can't (currently) find a lens that covers such a range and does it so competently.  It is very convenient to use and provides a good range of focal lengths for both APS-C and FF cameras.  It is a great zoo and safari lens and a decent general nature lens.  It is also a great airshow lens.  It is pretty compact and reasonably lightweight and is no issue to handhold.

Perhaps the Sigma 50-500 is competitive with it but I'm not familiar with that lens so can't comment. 

People gripe about the push-pull but it is actually pretty handy once you get used to it. 

I'd rent or borrow one and try it out and see what you think.  Ignore the naysayers on the net and figure out if it works for you. 

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 07:02:24 PM »
I have both the 100-400L and 70-300L and they are quite different. In practical terms, there is no significant difference in image quality between them. The stronger IS of the 70-300L may sound helpful at times, but as a major application of these lenses are wildlife, you tend to need to keep the shutter speed up anyway so it isn't so essential.

The push-pull I do find much better than any twist zoom as it is simply a LOT faster and more accurate to re-frame. Also the 100-400L seems to be near enough parfocal within its zoom range, whereas the 70-300L focus goes all over the shop on zooming.

The 70-300L seems to be better sealed, and is obviously smaller and lighter. My 100-400L has survived being used in the rain unprotected on many occasions, up to the point the internals mist up. Dry it out and it's good to go again.

Overall, you couldn't say one is unquestionably better than the other. Get the one that suits you and your application best. Or both.

If you said I could only ever have one of them, it would be the 100-400L without hesitation.
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pj1974

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 07:07:05 PM »
It continues to sell well because it's a very good lens, and the only 'affordable' way to get 400mm with IS.

+1  I wouldn't buy the 400mm f/5.6 prime because of 2 reasons
a) it doesn't have IS and
b) isn't a zoom

Most of my telephone zoom photos - eg birds - are often up close, or where zooming helps in composing / capturing the subject (eg BIF - then zooming in)

So I can understand how for many the 100-400mm L meets their needs.

For me, I much prefer the design (ie size, shape, zoom mechanism) of the 70-300mm L.  The 'big deal'  is that I can transport my 70-300mm L in my Lowepro shoulder bag, with my 7D and 15-85mm lens (either lens attached) and shoot all day with it.  This is my perfect 'travel zoom combination'  - and I might throw in a prime (or my UWA) for certain situations.

More often than not however, my 2 lens combo is the 70-300mm L and 15-85mm.  The 100-400mm L is substantially longer and more difficult to transport & carry than the 70-300mm L. Still I can understand it's a great lens for many ppl who really want that 400mm reach.  The 100-400mm L isn't quite as sharp as the 70-300mm L nor has the newer IS or quite the same AF speed / accuracy (just a bit slower / more hunting in my experience)- but the 100-400mm L is still a very decent lens!

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 07:30:03 PM »
I also own both lenses and agree they are two very different lenses. The 70-300 L is half of my two-lens go anywhere, shoot anything kit. The other half being my 15-85.

If I'm traveling, or just out for a day shooting, these two lenses are always in my bag. I wouldn't want to be carrying the 100-400 around all day. But, if I'm trying to shoot birds or wildlife, it's the 100-400 all the way.

One reason the 70-300 L doesn't sell as well is because it's in a very crowded field and it is much more expensive than other offerings either from Canon or third-party manufacturers. (Except of course for the 70-300 DO lens, which I totally do not get).

Both are great lenses. They are about the same price. Pick one now and then buy the other one later.
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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 07:30:03 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 07:32:43 PM »
Seems to me it sounds like the APS-C shooters prefer the 70-300 for size & needed reach while the FF shooters that want a bit more reach will go for the 100-400, and sometimes for the 70-300 if that seems to suit their needs better.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 07:34:57 PM »
I have both the 100-400L and 70-300L and they are quite different.

The 'big deal'  is that I can transport my 70-300mm L in my Lowepro shoulder bag, with my 7D and 15-85mm lens (either lens attached) and shoot all day with it.  This is my perfect 'travel zoom combination'

This is the main reason I'm considering the 70-300L - smaller and lighter than the 70-200 II.  The 100-400 will continue to be used for bird/wildlife outings when the 600 II isn't feasible.
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CHROME77

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 07:40:00 PM »
Not to derail the post, but I've read comments that seem to suggest not all 100-400mmL are sharp? Is this true? how would I know if I were to buy one if i got a sharp copy or not?

Vivid Color

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 07:41:30 PM »
Try them both out before you buy, if you can. I wanted a lens to take photos of wildlife on an upcoming safari and I thought the 100-400 would be perfect. But, I have short arms and could only get about 50 percent of the shots in focus. I bought the 70-300L because I have no difficulty getting hand-held shots with it. I'll also note that the push pull did not bother me at all. Sometimes it just comes down to ergonomics and what works for the individual. In my own case, I'm going to match the 70-300L with a crop body to get some extra reach. (And, there's also the Kenko 1.4x teleconverter for even more reach.) And, it also comes down to whether you need the extra reach or whether you'd prefer to trade that off for a lighter, shorter lens.

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 07:43:22 PM »
I had a 600mm L as well as the 100-400mmL.  I sold the 600 because the 100-400mmL was more usable and practical, even if it was not quite as sharp.  I've never regretted that decision.
I've also owned the 400mm f/5.6L.  The IQ is about the same as the 100-400L, the AF might be a bit faster, but... without IS, its limited to high shutter speeds or a tripod.  It does not focus closely, and its a pain to carry in a ordinary camera bag.  It also takes TC's, so I can get 560mm and AF with my 5D MK III.

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »
I have a 100-400mm L and have used it a lot. It's a handy lens for travel because it packs up small. But, it is only an OK lens, and my enthusiasm for it has waned. For animal life and safaris it is very useful. But, the IQ isn't very good and it's too soft for serious bird photography unless you get close as it can't resolve fine details of plumage at a distance. In practice, a 300mm prime, f/4 or f/2.8, is so much better that it beats the 100-400mm despite the shorter length (the 400mm prime is no better than the zoom). I wish people would stop buying it and force Canon to produce a more modern lens with better IQ and IS.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 07:52:41 PM by AlanF »
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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »

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Don Haines

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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 08:53:13 PM »
the 400mm prime is no better than the zoom

1. According to TDP the prime lens is better at mid-frame and MUCH better at the edges

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=113&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=7&API=0&LensComp=278&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

2. You can also check:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/forgotten-400.shtml
I had a borrowed 100-400 and a borrowed 400F5.6 to do some side by side tests about a year ago. The 400F5.6 was obviously the sharper lens so my recommendation was to buy it.... but they went with the 100-400 zoom instead because it zooms.... despite the fact that it gets used almost exclusively at the 400 end... SIGH!

I'm hoping for a version II of the 400F5.6....
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Re: Why Does the 100-400L Sell So Well Still ?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 08:53:13 PM »