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Author Topic: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced  (Read 62582 times)

Bob Howland

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2011, 04:29:53 PM »
Here's a question: to what extent will the 200-400 reduce the sales of the 300, 400, 500 and 600mm L primes? A typical Sports Illustrator photographer goes to an NFL game with both a 300 f/2.8 and 400 f/2.8 plus both 1.4X and 2X TCs. Are they now going to use the 200-400 zoom instead? I realize that the new prime lenses are extremely sharp, (much) better than the old versions but will the zoom be "good enough" for most purposes?

Also, if Canon is expecting to have to amortize the R&D expenses of the new prime lenses over half (or less) the expected number of units of the old, that might explain the rather dramatic increase in prices.

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2011, 04:29:53 PM »

Justin

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2011, 04:32:20 PM »
Right. It remains to be seen what the 200-400 will deliver in the MTF chart regard. The 500 is insane for sure.

And now I'll expound on potential pricing scenarios.

With the super tele refreshes, Canon is competing with itself more than any other outside factor. Canon can replace the super teles which are already epic performers and charge more only if they exceed (or shame) the predecessor's performance, or offer a weight savings or some other tangible). The MTF charts on the 500 appear to do so along with a respectable wight savings.

Or take the 70-200 2.8 II IS refresh for example. Canon's objective was to offer a superior optic to the 70-200 2.8 I IS. To do this it introduced an expensive, time consuming to grow, fluorite element among other things to the lens. it also improved the IS and decreased the minimum focus distance. Canon could raise the price for a superior product knowing that the 70-200 I IS would still continue to sell through available stock and on the secondary market. Canon was competing with itself largely.

The Canon 200-400 is different. Canon is clearly competing directly with Nikon with this product. This lens (the Nikon version) is a brand differentiator. Up until now, Canon did not offer said lens. Sure, Canon one-uped the Nikon lens (with built in, on the fly, 1.4x), but Canon is only really competing with Nikon with this lens, not itself, as there is no real analogue to this lens in the current Canon lineup. You could argue this, that Canon is competing with the 400 and 500 and 600 teles (and version IIs), but these really aren't the same products. Since Canon is competing directly with Nikon with this lens, it makes sense for Canon to price the product in-line with Nikon (1.4x and all), or even perhaps, even more aggressively. I think a lens at $6500 (to Nikon's $6791) makes the most sense for Canon. This splits the difference between two pricing scenarios for Canon:

1) low margin, high volume ($4000 US)
2) high margin, low volume ($8000 US)

And most likely will keep demand high enough to meet or exceed production capability. Canon is going to be producing a lot of these big white Ls this year. I can't see production being able to keep up with the first pricing scenario, although I'd love to be proven wrong.

And I do, for the record, think the first scenario, $4000 US, makes the most sense for Canon. It's how I would do it if I were in charge. But then, I don't have complete information about manufacturing costs, IQ quality, weight, etc. Still, I think this lens could help do two things for Canon, stem some of the bleeding in terms of brand switching, and potentially attract some folks back from the dark side. A new pro body wouldn't hurt either.

I think the real question becomes ... shell out $7500 for this lens, or $9500 for the 500 f/4 L IS II?

I dunno...my guess on the cost of the new lens is at least $8500. 

Personally, given the choice I think I'd opt for the 500/4 II - then, for 10K you'd have the option of a 700mm f/5.6 IS.

Have you looked at the MTF charts for the 500/4 II?  Almost all the lines are squished against the top of the plot.  It puts the 70-200 II to shame...

neuro, the MTF charts for all the IS II lenses are insane, even with the series III TC's slapped on.  I was sort of doubtful when canon came out with the claims of creating lenses that could resolve at 40 MP but it looks like they were being serious, and successfully so

Justin

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2011, 04:38:04 PM »
Bob,

A lot of shooters I see carry a 70-200 2.8 IS and a tele, but in your scenario there is no replacement for f/2.8 for speed and narrow DOF/subject isolation. I'm going to guess that the MTF chart on the 200-400 zoom isn't going to rival the 300mm II or 400mm II for example. It may be that Canon is OK with some erosion here too. I think it could support a lower entry point for the zoom on the back of higher volume sales.

The 200-400 zoom strikes me a particular creature, separate and apart from the prime super teles. I'd be up for more debate on this though.

Here's a question: to what extent will the 200-400 reduce the sales of the 300, 400, 500 and 600mm L primes? A typical Sports Illustrator photographer goes to an NFL game with both a 300 f/2.8 and 400 f/2.8 plus both 1.4X and 2X TCs. Are they now going to use the 200-400 zoom instead? I realize that the new prime lenses are extremely sharp, (much) better than the old versions but will the zoom be "good enough" for most purposes?

Also, if Canon is expecting to have to amortize the R&D expenses of the new prime lenses over half (or less) the expected number of units of the old, that might explain the rather dramatic increase in prices.

xyzzy

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2011, 05:15:05 PM »
This is pretty good news, I was recently looking at a 2nd hand Nikon 200-400 and lusting.

However, this Canon lens is going to be a heavier and probably more expensive lens than the Nikon (3275g), due to the built-in teleconverter.

In sunny UK, I can expect the launch price to be at least £6.5k and will probably never fall below £5k.

So I won't be getting one, but hopefully it and the newer 500 II will bring in some cheaper 2nd hand models...

contrastny

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2011, 05:22:23 PM »
Looks like a great lens!

Does anyone know what the dimensions and weight is?


kubelik

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2011, 05:30:42 PM »
Does anyone know what the dimensions and weight is?

canon doesn't release the specs upon development announcement, as it means the lens still have final design stages to go through, and thus none of the detailed specs are absolutely finalized.

Sime

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2011, 05:34:37 PM »
Carrying a 70-200 f/2.8L II and Tele is ideal! But which one: 300, 400, 500, 600, 800? The new Canon EF 200-400 f/4L offers new choices! Full frame: 200-400 and 280-560 with 1.4x extender. Frame 1.3 crop: 260-520 and 364-728 with 1.4x extender. Frame 1.6 crop: 320-640 and 448-896 with 1.4x extender. Your two body camera possible range is 70-896! Can't wait!

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2011, 05:34:37 PM »

traveller

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2011, 06:11:23 PM »
People are dreaming when they suggest this may be less expensive than the equivalent Nikon (it will almost certainly be more); this is not the successor to the 100-400mm L, it is in a completely different class.  Some people seem to think that the historic lower price of Canon lenses will continue, but recent history shows that Canon is now happy to price their glass higher than Nikon (look at the new 70-200 f/2.8s). 

funkboy

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2011, 07:41:47 PM »
I'd love to know which professionals &/or focus groups convinced them that building-in a teleconverter is preferable to using the separate units we all use now.  Granted, in this lens class the extra length, weight, complexity, & cost added by the built-in TC are probably not all that noticeable to folks already used to carrying these behemoths (& the pros using it will certainly appreciate the ability to switch it on quickly, & without exposing anything to the elements), but I wouldn't expect to see it on anything in the "accessible to mere mortals" lens lineup (to borrow a phrase from Photozone...).

I guess the pros aren't exactly clamoring for updated primes; haven't seen any non-supertele prime announcements in a good while.  Can we have just one fast IS prime for Christmas 2011 puhleeze?

funkboy

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2011, 08:03:58 PM »
I suppose that the design trade-off of TC+200-400 f/4 vs. simply doing a 200-560 f/4-5.6 makes sense, otherwise they would have just made the thing into a bigger zoom lens...  In a lot of ways though I find it kinda silly that the first EF lens they made with a built-in TC is a zoom.

Think about what a revised 300 f/4L IS with a built-in TC would look like (& cost) for example...

kubelik

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2011, 09:23:44 PM »
I'd love to know which professionals &/or focus groups convinced them that building-in a teleconverter is preferable to using the separate units we all use now.  Granted, in this lens class the extra length, weight, complexity, & cost added by the built-in TC are probably not all that noticeable to folks already used to carrying these behemoths (& the pros using it will certainly appreciate the ability to switch it on quickly, & without exposing anything to the elements), but I wouldn't expect to see it on anything in the "accessible to mere mortals" lens lineup (to borrow a phrase from Photozone...).

I guess the pros aren't exactly clamoring for updated primes; haven't seen any non-supertele prime announcements in a good while.  Can we have just one fast IS prime for Christmas 2011 puhleeze?

funkboy ... not sure what you're getting at here, since you basically answer your own question when you note that professionals are going to want to switch it on quickly and without exposing anything to the elements.  that's definitely the crowd that asked for this lens, especially the pro- and semi-pro wildlife shooters out there.

moreover, I don't know what you mean by "I wouldn't expect to see it on anything in the 'accessible to mere mortals' lens lineup" because there is no indication that this lens is for the consumer crowd.  almost everyone is in agreement that it's going to be in the $6000 - $8000 range

Isurus

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Announced
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2011, 10:37:40 PM »
Check the cost of Nikon's.  That's probably a decent reference point and it currently runs for $6800 at B&H.  $7500 is a very reasonable estimate.

So how exactly does "switching off the teleconverter" work?  That's the part that has me most intrigued.  You can't remove it, but you can turn it off?

I will wager $7499 USD.

I got my number by taking the 100-400, and adding 50%; but looking at the pricing of f/4L primes in that range, your numbers look more realistic.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 10:41:55 PM by Isurus »

Justin

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Announced
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2011, 10:59:03 PM »
By the looks of it there is a lever switch that moves the 1.4x elements back and forth in front of the camera sensor.

Check the cost of Nikon's.  That's probably a decent reference point and it currently runs for $6800 at B&H.  $7500 is a very reasonable estimate.

So how exactly does "switching off the teleconverter" work?  That's the part that has me most intrigued.  You can't remove it, but you can turn it off?

I will wager $7499 USD.

I got my number by taking the 100-400, and adding 50%; but looking at the pricing of f/4L primes in that range, your numbers look more realistic.

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Announced
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2011, 10:59:03 PM »

mikeeick

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2011, 11:37:23 PM »

The photo has a metal loop that I think is not a part of the lens, but rather a part of an anti-theft device (the one with a metal wire that has a lock on one side, and a big lump on the other side that wouldn't pass through the loop).


The metal loop is for a lens strap. All "big whites" have this loop (2 to be correct, 1 on each side). Or do you mean something different that I missed on the photo?

JasonInOregon

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2011, 03:53:22 AM »
Well I am just an enthusiast, but I am certainly excited about this lens.  I won't be buying it until its been out for awhile, both for the price to come down a little and to be vetted first by all you vets. 

Hopefully in a couple three years, I can get it for about $6500.  While that is a small fortune for me, it takes place of buying motorcycles and boats and such, so really, it's not so expensive of a hobby by comparison.  At least that's what I tell my other half!  :)

Since I started out, I have used a crop sensor and I always want more reach, for wildlife and whatever I want to compose and I would rather not use the computer to crop too much.  For me, zooms are heaven.  There isn't really any fixed application for my use, so flexibility and the best IQ (given a crop sensor and the extra reach the 1.6 gives me) I can get is my goal.  So, I have been focused using my budget on the best quality zoom optics.

With these lenses, I am quite happy with the tools in my bag:
10-22 EF-S
24-70 2.8L
70-200 2.8L IS II
100 2.8L IS Macro

For that extra reach that I've dreamed about with all the abundant wildlife in Oregon, especially birds along the coastal flyway and many preserves here for them to visit, I'd thought about the 100-400 lens.  I'd been waffling between that lens and just going with the 70-200L 2.8 IS, but then the 70-200 2.8 IS II came out and I couldn't resist.  Happy Birthday/Christmas to me!  That was the whole budget for a couple years.

Then I thought about the 2X III TC and put it on my wishlist for when the time comes, but I'm so not eager to be juggling all those parts and pieces while out and about with my son and all.  So, I have been looking at primes to give me that last tool to capture those amazing long reach shots.

Well, now, this amazing lens will be the last one I think I will want.  With the less extensive range as compared to the 100-400, it should have better IQ and a bigger sweet spot.  On those days when the light is good, that 1.4 TC built in will be amazing.  Since I have a 1.6 crop sensor, with this lens at 400, I really get 640.  Adding the 1.4 TC gets me to 896!  THAT is enough reach for me.  And it gives me a huge amount of flexibility that any single prime never could.

So, if anyone is wondering who wants a lens like this....I do.  :)

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Re: Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS Development Announced
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2011, 03:53:22 AM »