June 18, 2018, 11:12:13 PM

Author Topic: Best telephoto clarity for the money  (Read 14808 times)


  • EOS 5DS R
  • ******
  • Posts: 867
  • Canon 1Dx
Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 07:31:59 PM »
I sold my 100-400 as soon as I tried a 300 F4 L IS - simply because of the improved IQ and ability crop further. Basically I could crop to a 400mm field of view and get better pictures with the 300 F4 IS.

I wonder if you had a bad copy of the 100-400L, or needed a focus adjustment.  Lens testing websites show that the 300/4L IS is only slightly sharper than the 100-400L @ 400mm, and that the zoom is sharper than the 300/4 IS with a 1.4x TC.  My own experience after owning the 300/4L IS and 100-400L matches the published tests.

I have heard much about bad copies of the 100-400 but I cannot speak with any authority on that as I only had the opportunity to test mine against 2 other examples and we couldn't find any discernable differences on my 1D4. However my 100-400 really shined on my 5D Mk1 and gave some of the best pictures I have taken with that camera - well until I got the 300 F4 IS.
Obviously there must be some sample variation even in the best lenses, perhaps I have a particularly good 300 F4 IS? I can say that it gives up VERY little to my 300 F2.8 L IS which is why I am so loathe to sell it - but I can't justify having 2 300mm lenses.
Canon 1DX, 7D2, 16-35 F4 L IS, 24-70 F2.8 V2, 100 F2.8 Macro, 100-400 L IS Mk2, 300 F2.8 L IS, 800 F5.6 L IS, Holga Pinhole lens.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 07:31:59 PM »


  • EOS 5DS R
  • ******
  • Posts: 1024
Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 05:13:52 AM »
Some claim the same thing for 200mm vs 300mm, that a 70-200 f/4 IS at 200mm, for instance, easily upscales to something better than any 300mm non-L to bring more detail. Not even close. Sure the 100% view looks sharper than from a 70-300 non-L or tamron 70-300 VC or a sigma 70-300 etc. but the actual total captured detail doesn't match the lenses that hit 300mm. Even the old 75-300 IS disaster would bring in a bit more total detail (although the hazy lack of contrast and CA and so on might be enough in that case that you wouldn't care that it brought in any more total detail).
OK, this is very debatable. I was about to wade in and say 'look at this':


But, or course, with the 70-200/4 IS cropped in to 320mm equivalent, its now got 18MP of 60D resolving power behind it instead of just ~8MP from your typical FF when cropped down to that field of view.

However, what this does highlight is that this sample of the 70-200/4 IS can resolve more fine detail when cropped to the same AoV than this sample of the 70-300 non L does natively. All you need is enough pixels behind them both to reveal each lenses potential. And, of course, sample variance might mean that other 70-300's are better.
5D II | M2 | 16-35/4 L IS | 24-70/2.8 L II | 70-200/2.8 L IS II | SY 12/2.8 | 40/2.8 | 85/1.2 L II | 100/2.8 L IS | 22 M | 18-55 M | EF-EOS M | 1.4x TC II | 580EX II | 90EX


  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *********
  • Posts: 3554
Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2013, 06:33:44 AM »
I know that my 300mm f/2.8 II rezzed up to 400mm gives better resolution than my 100-400 or former 400mm f/5.6. I did a "virtual" experiment to test out published data on lenses. slrgear.com has carefully analysed several lenses and plots the data as "blur" units. A blur unit equates to ~1 blur in the Photoshop Filter menu (for more on blur units see: http://www.imatest.com/docs/blur_mtf/ ).

The procedure was have as the original a crop from a very sharp bird photo where the feather structure can just be seen. To mimic 300 vs 400, I reduced the image by 3/4 times, added 1 blur unit to equal the published blur of 1 unit in slrgear.com for the 300mm f/2.8 II, then rezzed it up to 400 by times 4/3. To compare the other lenses, I added blur units 1 at a time. The 400 f/2.8 II has 1 blur unit, the f/5.6 lenses have 3. Of course this test does not take into account other flaws of the lenses etc, and I think the Photoshop blur is too low for the poorer lenses.

But, the results are interesting. The images indicate the loss of high detail resolution for each blur unit. The uprezzed 300mm f/2.8 II is about the same as the 400mm f/2.8 II with one added blur unit, slightly better than the 400 f/5.6.

Those data are for high resolution details. You would not not notice any differences for subjects that lack fine detail but are composed of coarse elements. But, if true, those results show that a phenomenally good (and expensive) 300 is as good as, if not better, than a 400mm that in many quarters is considered as being very sharp.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 10:51:35 AM by AlanF »
5D IV, 5DS R, 400mm DO II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, EF 1.8 STM,  EF 24-105, 100-400 II, EF-S 15-85, Sigma 150-600mm C, EOS-M5 15-45, f/2 22, 11-22, Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye: sold 7D II, EOS-M, Powershot G3 X,  Sigma 10-20, EF 300/2.8 II, 70-200/4 IS.


  • EOS M5
  • ****
  • Posts: 214
  • I shoot what i find interesting; nothing else
    • My flickr
Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 08:13:16 AM »
how about the new sigma 120 300 2.8?
Bodies: 5d mk iii, 60d
Primes: 24L 1.4, Sigma 35 1.4, 40 pancake, 50L 1.2, 85L 1.2 ii, 8mm fisheye, lensbaby, 100L macro.
Zooms: 16-35 2.8 ii, 24-70 2.8 ii, 70-200 2.8 is ii, 120-400


  • EOS Rebel 300D
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 06:45:40 PM »
If you can get a high enough shutter speed with the 400/5.6, that's sharper than the 300/4.  Both are very slightly sharper than the 100-400, but there is copy variation to consider, so you may find some 100-400s that best the 400/5.6.  The 70-300L is sharper than all three.

Wide open, yes. But at 300mm f/5.6 (the best both zooms can do at that focal length), the ISO 12233 test chart appears to show the prime being sharpest, followed by the 70-300L and then the 100-400.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Best telephoto clarity for the money
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 06:45:40 PM »