October 01, 2014, 09:01:30 AM

Author Topic: Canon 400mm DO  (Read 4452 times)

traingineer

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2014, 08:51:38 PM »
There are some nice images from this lens, but for the people who do own it, do you think the price of a new one is gud?
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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2014, 08:51:38 PM »

CarlTN

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2014, 01:58:45 AM »
You wrote:
"For all the pomp about the 300 f/2.8 ii, once you slap on that 1.4x iii converter, it's not a vast improvement in sharpness, if any, over the bare 400 f/4 DO...from looking at Bryan's test comparison at the-digital-picture.com."

All I have said was what you wrote does not match up with Canon's own measurements and a simple examination of Bryan's site. I am not defending anything or have any of the motives that you somehow have attributed to me. Could we please restrict this to rational discussion.

Um, I say it does, because their own chart is not a "vast improvement" with the TC mounted, not in the center.  We have a difference of opinion, and I am being rational.  It is you who is constantly finding fault with me, that's what's irrational.  It's just not a vast improvement in the center.  It's there, but it's not vast.  For 99% of the people buying the new 300mm f/2.8 ii, they're not buying it to use most of the time with a 1.4x TC.  They're buying it to be able to use it bare, or with either of the TC's...to have a choice of 3 different focal lengths...besides the faster AF, the extreme sharpness at 300mm, and the better IS.  Sure some will stick with one TC combination because they like the focal length for what they're shooting.  But the results posted in this thread alone can speak for themselves.  The 400 DO is worth owning for some people, and it does not have poor image quality, or even poor contrast.  Even Lensrentals say it's a sharp lens if you read their commentary in the rental section.  (They say if you shoot jpegs and try to boost contrast you'll be disappointed...I can't say for sure, but I know I boost contrast all the time with jpegs, whether from my 6D, or even from my compact camera, and have no problems.)  I'll grant you (and as I said above), the 300 + 1.4iii actually is a vast improvement, in the corners...but in the center?  Nope.  And sure, if you can't get a 400 DO for any lesser of a price than the new 300 ii, it would seem foolish to buy it instead of the 300.  But if it costs a good bit less, I see no problem in buying one.  Why is that irrational?  It's not.  It's a fine and lightweight 400mm f/4 lens, that's what it is.  I don't understand why people have a problem with it, or like to slam it.  It's the only supertelephoto diffraction optics design that I know of, and hopefully there will be newer improved versions in the future.  If not from Canon, then somebody.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 02:01:29 AM by CarlTN »

AlanF

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2014, 02:10:31 AM »
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
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CarlTN

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2014, 02:46:05 AM »
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan

I don't believe I said I thought it would.  From when I looked at TDP comparisons, the series 1 600mm looked very poor at f/4, compared to the series 2 at f/4.  But I don't think I did a direct comparison...I will now.  Also, the one comparison I do recall, is that his center crops of the chart of the 600 ii vs the 500 ii, the 500 looked slightly sharper to me, in the center, wide open.  I suspect there's still sample variation, even with these series 2 lenses, so it would be hard to say (without someone like Lensrentals doing a test comparison with a lot of samples...like say 40 of each lens or something), to say which of these lenses is "generally" sharper than which.

However, from the above, if that is typical, then wouldn't that conflict with Canon's own published MTF charts of the 500 and the 600 version 2 lenses?  I thought I saw that Canon's chart for the 600 ii, looked the best of all the version 2 superteles, even the 300 f/2.8.  But is this chart of Canon's, "reality"?  I don't own any of these, and I don't claim to know.  Even if I owned one of each, that wouldn't really be enough to state what "most" of the samples produced of all these lenses, are like.

Ok I'm looking at TDP now.  If you're asking which is better, the 400 DO + 1.4 iii TC, vs. the 600 version one, both wide open (f/5.6 at 560mm, and f/4 at 600mm)...the 600mm lens is better, even in the center. But in the center it's not night and day, like it is at the borders and corners.

But in this test, clearly the 400 DO is sharper across the frame at 400mm and f/4, than the version 1 600mm f/4 is, at its wide open f/4. 

I suspect the sample he tested for the 600 version one here, might be a bad sample.  But I have no idea.  It looks like Bryan only tested one sample.  I know my cousin still has his version 1 600 f/4, and his shots with it seem pretty sharp.  He's owned it since like 2005.  Of course I don't think I've ever seen any of his shots at f/4...they're always closed down a little.  I guess he's shot some wide open, but I've not seen them.  Lately he's become obsessed with collecting guns and shooting target practice; he never wants to talk about cameras anymore!  I hope it's a passing phase, lol.

One more thing.  I still say, that such resolution tests, don't mean as much, unless the focus distance of the test, is at what would be typical for its use.

Now, it seems to me, that most of the great bird images posted on here, are filling the frame pretty good.  That means the camera is really closer than what might be the average distance for shooting birds.  So in a way, for these types of very close images, such tests like what Bryan does, are very relevant, because the distance is similar.

But at 100 feet, or 200 feet distance??  That's a whole other can of worms...that's the true test of resolving power of the camera, the lens, the system...the ability of the photographer...because you're forced to crop heavily to get a nice gigantic picture of a bird.

One thing I keep noticing though...it seems possible that all lenses get sharper at closer distance, than at, or close to...infinity focus.  There's probably a term for this, and no doubt you know it, and will school me on it!  (Not referring to atmospherics, either).


« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 03:00:15 AM by CarlTN »

Grant Atkinson

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2014, 09:33:09 AM »
Hi Traingineer, the price of a new one, EF 400DO, is quite high given that it is an older lens, but it is still the cheapest way to have a native 400f4 tele lens.  Nothing else matches it in terms of light weight, and that f4 maximum aperture (remembering that an EF 300 f2.8 L IS ii with a 1.4x extender comes close).  If you think you might need the extra versatility that having an EF 300 f2.8 would bring with extender removed, with regard to greater light gathering, then maybe the EF 400 DO is not the best solution at the new price.
There is also the EF 400L f5.6 to consider, similar in sharpness, but giving up one full stop of light gathering, less background blur and no image stabilization.

If you wish to have a good performing, very light, rewarding to use telephoto lens, and 400 f4 is important to you, then the 400DO is unlikely to disappoint.  Maybe see if you can rent one for an outing.
Cheers
Grant
Grant

johnf3f

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2014, 04:47:19 PM »
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
I have been searching for the images I took to illustrate my post but I have to admit I can't find them - sorry! They may be on my old PC (which I still have) so I will see if they are on there.
Basically I fancied one (but couldn't afford it!) so I tried out the 2 at my local camera shop. As a comparison I then mounted my Canon 600 F4L IS and took pictures of the same subject (a BMW 3 Series) from the same place. The difference was that we could see that the lacquer on the rear of the car had crazed slightly with the DO lenses we weren't easily able to pick this up with the 600.
As I said I will have another look for the images.
The 400 DO is certainly a very controversial lens - but the ones I have tried have impressed me though less so with extenders.

CarlTN

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2014, 10:18:15 PM »
Carl
What do you think of the 400 DO outresolving a 600 f/4 L?
Alan
I have been searching for the images I took to illustrate my post but I have to admit I can't find them - sorry! They may be on my old PC (which I still have) so I will see if they are on there.
Basically I fancied one (but couldn't afford it!) so I tried out the 2 at my local camera shop. As a comparison I then mounted my Canon 600 F4L IS and took pictures of the same subject (a BMW 3 Series) from the same place. The difference was that we could see that the lacquer on the rear of the car had crazed slightly with the DO lenses we weren't easily able to pick this up with the 600.
As I said I will have another look for the images.
The 400 DO is certainly a very controversial lens - but the ones I have tried have impressed me though less so with extenders.

Yes, I think the use case for the 400 DO is the bare lens.  If you plan on only using it with extenders, you won't be getting the most out of it.  That's true with all lenses, but especially with one that is not quite up to the "series 2" sharpness.  Even though I've yet to try one, I do feel the 400 DO is not deserving of the bad reputation...however I think I read somewhere that the earlier samples from a decade ago or so, may have had some production inconsistencies.  That alone could have contributed to a lot of the negative buzz on this lens, and has endured.  It was first introduced in 2000.  So most guys who are ready to blow a lot of cash on a supertele, want "the latest and greatest"...and anything that isn't, is sub-par to them.  It's a similar snobbishness that third party lenses usually get.  But I was surprised at how poor the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 looks in Bryan's tests, even compared to the "less than perfect" 400 DO.  Yet the images I've seen from it online, look pretty sharp with decent contrast.  I guess it just means the better lenses would be that much better doing the same shot.

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Re: Canon 400mm DO
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2014, 10:18:15 PM »