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Author Topic: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L  (Read 10655 times)

Don Haines

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2013, 03:33:08 PM »
Another link of interest on this topic - Roger at Lensrentals measured all of the 400mm lenses recently - scroll down to "Imatest Results":
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/06/canon-200-400mm-f4-is-quick-comparison

You'll notice that the 400 5.6 holds it's own against the big boys

It holds it own in the same way as someone coming 3rd in the 100m a second behind the winner.

The numbers for sharpness Center-Avg-Corner
400F2.8  - 935-865-740
200-400 -  910-835-740 (a hair behind, call it a photo-finish)
400F5.6  - 880-785-680 (close, but no cigar)
100-400 - 740-655-540 (way behind)

To make it easier to see, change the numbers to how far the lens is behind the 400F2.8
400F2.8  - 0  0  0
200-400 -  20 30 0
400F5.6  - 55 80 60
100-400 - 195  210  200
The 400F5.6 is not really that far behind the 400F2.8 or the 200-400, but is significantly ahead of the 100-400. Given that the top two lenses are in the same price range, and the bottom two lenses are in the same price range, it should be noted that the 400F5.6's numbers are significantly closer to the two expensive lenses and not to the 100-400....

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2013, 03:33:08 PM »

tron

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2013, 09:37:08 PM »
Another link of interest on this topic - Roger at Lensrentals measured all of the 400mm lenses recently - scroll down to "Imatest Results":
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/06/canon-200-400mm-f4-is-quick-comparison

You'll notice that the 400 5.6 holds it's own against the big boys

It holds it own in the same way as someone coming 3rd in the 100m a second behind the winner.
200-400mm at f/4           910   820   720
200-400mm at f/5.6        910   835   740
400mm at f/5.6                880   785   680

It doesn't seem like a big difference to me.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 09:56:30 PM by tron »

AlanF

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #47 on: December 15, 2013, 12:38:41 PM »
This what the difference in MTFs of the 400 f/2.8 II at f/2.8 (top) and the 400 f/5.6 at f/5.6 (bottom) mean in practice as measured by SLRgear's blur tests.
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tron

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #48 on: December 15, 2013, 02:54:18 PM »
My comment was for 200-400 vs 400 5.6. So the above does not describe anything. 400 2.8 would (and should) be of course better than 400 5.6.
But 200-400 stands in between.

9VIII

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #49 on: December 15, 2013, 03:50:09 PM »
This what the difference in MTFs of the 400 f/2.8 II at f/2.8 (top) and the 400 f/5.6 at f/5.6 (bottom) mean in practice as measured by SLRgear's blur tests.

I think this is one situation where we need to keep in mind that there is still copy to copy variance. Lensrentals essentially did the same test, and I don't think they got the same numbers. Some of the 100-400 zoom lenses are sharper than some of the 400f5.6 lenses, it's entirely possible for someone to have a dud (and I'm not saying that a 400f5.6 that's "only" as sharp as the average 100-400 would qualify as a "dud").
Another thing that makes this lens in particular really interesting is that we have copy to copy variance over a period of 20 years. How many steps in Canon's lens manufacturing process have been improved in that time? I'm betting there aren't many components besides the shell that my 2012 vintage 400f5.6 shares with a 1993 model.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 03:52:18 PM by 9VIII »
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AlanF

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2013, 05:49:39 PM »
You are absolutely right that there is real and significant copy to copy variation between lenses. I have a very good copy of the 100-400, but have just been offered another copy that is unbelievably sharp. Trouble is that 400mm is now too short for me, and I have got used to the 300mm f/2.8 II with TCs.
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GMCPhotographics

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2013, 04:26:37 AM »
This what the difference in MTFs of the 400 f/2.8 II at f/2.8 (top) and the 400 f/5.6 at f/5.6 (bottom) mean in practice as measured by SLRgear's blur tests.

I do question that 400mm f2.8 lens test....we all know it's a more capable lens than that, I suspect there is a flaw in their testing method for longer lenses. It's a comon issue with lens tests...the photozone.de lens test of the 300mm f2.8 IS L was laughable...it suggested that it was no better than a consumer zoom...and subsequantly the review got pulled, but some of us still remember it.
I have a 400 f2.8 L IS and I had until recently a 400mm f5.6 L, they are both very sharp lenses but the f2.8 is in a different league.

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2013, 04:26:37 AM »

AlanF

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2013, 01:02:38 PM »
GMC
I think you have misinterpreted the figures: the test for the 400mm f/2.8 shows that it is about as good as you can get. The 400mm f/5.6 is not as sharp.
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GMCPhotographics

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2013, 06:59:55 PM »
GMC
I think you have misinterpreted the figures: the test for the 400mm f/2.8 shows that it is about as good as you can get. The 400mm f/5.6 is not as sharp.

Opps...soz, I was looking at this on a mate's non calibrated laptop...the purple looked blue...lol

scottkinfw

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2013, 11:17:18 PM »
Beautiful shots!

I owned a 400/5.6L for a number of year and used it on both 400D and 40D bodies, I sold it only when I moved to a 300/2.8L and to some extent regret doing so. The lens was light weight, very sharp and very fast focusing, certainly better than any 100-400 that I've borrowed (although the IS on that lens is a bonus). I could handhold it down to around 1/250th fairly successfully.

Few sample images

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9VIII

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2013, 03:45:44 PM »
This what the difference in MTFs of the 400 f/2.8 II at f/2.8 (top) and the 400 f/5.6 at f/5.6 (bottom) mean in practice as measured by SLRgear's blur tests.

I do question that 400mm f2.8 lens test....we all know it's a more capable lens than that, I suspect there is a flaw in their testing method for longer lenses. It's a comon issue with lens tests...the photozone.de lens test of the 300mm f2.8 IS L was laughable...it suggested that it was no better than a consumer zoom...and subsequantly the review got pulled, but some of us still remember it.
I have a 400 f2.8 L IS and I had until recently a 400mm f5.6 L, they are both very sharp lenses but the f2.8 is in a different league.

That's interesting. Part of my reasoning for saying that I don't trust the results of the SLRgear test is that when you go to Photozone.de and compare the 400f5.6 wide open with the 40mm Pancake at f16, the Pancake at f16 should be obviously worse than the 400f5.6. Now go compare that with the SLRgear tests, according to them the Pancake at f16 is far superior to the 400f5.6 wide open.
Someone doesn't have their numbers straight. To get an average, when I look at the TDP charts the 400f2.8ISII and 400f5.6 "look" nearly identical wide open.
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AlanF

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2013, 11:29:00 AM »
This what the difference in MTFs of the 400 f/2.8 II at f/2.8 (top) and the 400 f/5.6 at f/5.6 (bottom) mean in practice as measured by SLRgear's blur tests.

I do question that 400mm f2.8 lens test....we all know it's a more capable lens than that, I suspect there is a flaw in their testing method for longer lenses. It's a comon issue with lens tests...the photozone.de lens test of the 300mm f2.8 IS L was laughable...it suggested that it was no better than a consumer zoom...and subsequantly the review got pulled, but some of us still remember it.
I have a 400 f2.8 L IS and I had until recently a 400mm f5.6 L, they are both very sharp lenses but the f2.8 is in a different league.

That's interesting. Part of my reasoning for saying that I don't trust the results of the SLRgear test is that when you go to Photozone.de and compare the 400f5.6 wide open with the 40mm Pancake at f16, the Pancake at f16 should be obviously worse than the 400f5.6. Now go compare that with the SLRgear tests, according to them the Pancake at f16 is far superior to the 400f5.6 wide open.
Someone doesn't have their numbers straight. To get an average, when I look at the TDP charts the 400f2.8ISII and 400f5.6 "look" nearly identical wide open.

GMC apologised for misreading the slrgear charts, which do show clearly that the f/2.8 is far superior to the f/5.6. Have you also misread the charts from photo zone and slrgear?

Photozone shows that the 40mm STM is far superior to the 400mm wide open, the mtf approaching the maximum resolution (borne out by slrgear's 1 blur unit at the centre compared with nearly 3 for the 400mm) and slightly better at f/16. The slrgear charts show that the 40mm is just a tad better at f/16, not far superior. Photozone and slrgear are in excellent agreement. So, I think they have got their numbers straight.

The TDP tests are too crude to distinguish between sharp lenses - you need to see the high resolution parts of the iso charts.
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9VIII

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2013, 06:34:59 PM »
That's interesting. Part of my reasoning for saying that I don't trust the results of the SLRgear test is that when you go to Photozone.de and compare the 400f5.6 wide open with the 40mm Pancake at f16, the Pancake at f16 should be obviously worse than the 400f5.6. Now go compare that with the SLRgear tests, according to them the Pancake at f16 is far superior to the 400f5.6 wide open.
Someone doesn't have their numbers straight. To get an average, when I look at the TDP charts the 400f2.8ISII and 400f5.6 "look" nearly identical wide open.

400f5.6 at f5.6 vs. Pancake at f16. You've got the Pancake at f16 right there and the 400f5.6 is already posted above. Big difference.
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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2013, 06:34:59 PM »

9VIII

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2013, 06:59:20 PM »
Also notice that the SLRgear review has the 400f5.6 getting worse at f8, not better, and then it gets better at f11 and f16? That just doesn't make sense.

Come to think of it we actually have four sets of data, with Lensrentals, Photozone, and TDP all agreeing that the 400f5.6 is very sharp and/or nearly as good as the 400f2.8ISII at f2.8.
At this point I think it's safe to completely throw out the SLRgear review of the 400f5.6.
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nc0b

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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2013, 10:08:55 PM »
It depends what you are shooting, but I finally pulled the trigger on the 400mm f/5.6 a year ago.  I already had the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, and for BIF I tried the 1.4X and 2X Version III TCs.  For general wildlife I still use the the TCs to have IS. The IQ loss with the 2X is modest, but the focus speed by design is drastically slower than the 400mm prime. With the 70-200 & 2X TC combination, if I lost focus on a bird in flight, the focus would get lost on the sky and never recapture it. With the 400mm, particularly set on 8.5m focus limit, the prime can reacquire focus quickly. Even though I have read many comments discounting the auto-focus capability of the 6D, I have been very pleased with the 6D / 400mm f/5.6 combination. I crank the ISO up as needed to keep the shutter speed at 1/1000, shooting everything handheld. The 400mm 6D combo is quite light weight, well balanced and a joy to use. With the newer Canon bodies, I don't find noise an issue, and I don't need to spend a fortune on a big white that too heavy to hand hold for any length of time.
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Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2013, 10:08:55 PM »