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Author Topic: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6  (Read 8625 times)

Steve Campbell

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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 07:49:26 AM »
I have to give thumbs up to the 300 F4 IS. It's a very fun lens. I added a canon 1.4 TC II, picked up used which gives me 420mm at 5.6 with no real drop off in IC. The thing with primes vs zooms however is versatility. 300mm gives you 300mm and that's it. When I first picked up my TC I tried it out at a local pond. There was a large goose on the ice and at 420mm that was too close to frame properly, so I had to drop off the TC, making the 300mm a good range. This is much easier with a zoom. However, for most birds, 300mm is not quite long enough. The 300 F4 is good for semi macro shots, close up of statues etc. It gives a nice look and bokeh. Bottom line, all lenses are comprimises depending on the situation.

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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 07:49:26 AM »

Swamp Gator

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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2012, 08:10:18 PM »
I shoot wildlife (mostly birds) and use a 7D with a 300 f4, often with a 1.4 extender.
This past summer I became interested in possibly purchasing a 400 5.6 thinking it might be a better way to go then using the 300 with the extender.
Before buying however I had the opportunity to try out the 400 first. I was able to test two different 400 5.6 lenses. One had some use, the other was new right out of the box. I tested them on two different 7D bodies, and one 50D body.

I tested them both in the field on bird action, and on stationary objects until controlled conditions.
In virtually every instance my results were that the 300 f4 both alone and with the 1.4 extender, produced a sharper, more detailed image then either 400 5.6 tested.

It got to the point where looking at images taken with a 300 plus extender side by side with images taken with the 400, without knowing which was which, I could immediately pick out the ones taken with the 400 as they appeared softer.

In addition, although the 400 may have been just a bit quicker in the AF, vs, the 300 with 1.4, it was barely noticable.

Now I know a lot of people use a 400 5.6 for BIF and get fine results. But these were my experiences.
I passed on purchasing the 400 but may reconsider down the line should Canon ever introduce a new version with updated optics and focusing.

As far as the 100-400 goes, I'm not a huge fan of super zooms, and don't care for the push/pull operation of this lens. I do prefer a prime, but know some other photogrpahers that do fairly well with the zoom. Although I hear some say they have actually missed action shots because they were busy zooming when they should have been concentrating on getting their pictures.
I also know at least three photographers, that either plan to or already did sell their 100-400 and switch over to a prime.


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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 08:57:20 PM »
@Swamp Gator - were you using autofocus, and if so, had you done a proper AFMA on the 400/5.6 lenses?  If the answers are yes and no, I'd suspect they were soft due to missed focus.  The bare 400mm prime should absolutely best the 300mm prime + TC (as would the 100-400 @ 400mm, with less of a margin).

Also, the 100-400 isn't a superzoom - generally, those have a >5x zoom ratio, the 100-400 has a 4x ratio, less than the 24-105mm, in fact.  The only L-series superzoom is the 28-300mm (and its predecessor, the 35-350).
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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 09:51:08 PM »
   I owned a 400mm F5.6L lens and use it for birding with my 60D. My reason for choosing 400mm F5.6L over 300mm F4L IS because:
1) 300mm F4L IS + 1.4x is more expensive than 400mm F5.6L as I'm on a tight budget.
2) I don't think I have the strength and stamina to carry the 300mm F4L IS for my whole birding session, so I'll be using a tripod all the time. Since I'll alway using a tripod, I can live without the IS... so I choose the cheaper option.  ;)

   IMHO, if your daughter is not going to use a tripod most of the time, 300mm F4L IS probably is the better choice. But if your daughter going to use a tripod most of the time (like me), 400mm F5.6L is a good choice and it's cheaper.

   Have a nice day.

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Re: 300L 4.0 or 400mmL 5.6
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 09:51:08 PM »