November 20, 2014, 11:54:38 PM

Author Topic: 100-400mm vs. 70-300L for basically the same exact price used? Which one?  (Read 23076 times)

camerabug

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Can't say I've owned the 100-400 but I use my 70-300 frequently and find it to be very contrasty, sharp with great IS (4-stop) but the deciding point might be the reach and when used with a full frame, the 100-400 might be more appealing. Don't listen to the myth about the push pull being a vacuum. I hear its a perpetuated myth.
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neuroanatomist

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I must have some sort of innate Jedi-ninja girl blind skills... my whole life I've always been completely invisible to them.

That might change if they spotted you staring at them in public, holding your big, long...ummm...lens in your hands.  :o
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westr70

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I don't have the 300 but I love the 100 - 400mm.  It's so good for birds and I use it all the time handheld for BIF.  Can't beat it in my book.
5DIII; 600D; 7D; 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6; EFS-18-135, f3.5-5.6; 100mm, f2.8 IS; 70-200mm, F4 L IS; 17-40mm, f4 L USM; Sigma 50 mm, f2.8.
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Razor2012

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I must have some sort of innate Jedi-ninja girl blind skills... my whole life I've always been completely invisible to them.

That might change if they spotted you staring at them in public, holding your big, long...ummm...lens in your hands.  :o

Long, short, it's still in your hands, lol. ;)
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pknight

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Interesting conversation.  I don't have the 70-300, but I have used the 100-400 for six years, on a variety of crop bodies.  As suggested by others, this is great for birds, which is about all I use it for (although I shoot a lot of bird pics).  My copy is razor sharp at 400mm,  which is where I have it 99% of the time.

While true that you have 480mm FF equivalent reach with the 70-300 on a crop body, you have 640mm equivalent with the 100-400.  For serious birding without the money for a prime, this difference is substantial and worth any hassle stemming from the greater weight of the 100-400.

Rumors about a new 100-400 are very interesting, and if that pans out it will be what I replace my current long zoom with.

alan_k

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I have the 70-300L- really like the size and weight, and the IS is amazing. Very sharp and fast to focus in most cases. It is wide enough to be useful for portraits, tight landscape shots, etc. It is sharp enough that I'm usually able to crop with no problem. I think the only time I've felt like the extra reach of the 100-400 would be worth it is when photographing very distant, small animals (birds), when they are small enough that AF can't figure out what I'm pointing at. These aren't going to be great photos no matter what, but it takes me longer to get the shot since I have to try focus manually.

If you are always shooting small, far away things, the 100-400 is probably a good call. If you want more flexibility, maybe look at the 70-300L.
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Jettatore

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Semi-off-topic but may be of some use.  I was debating heavily between similar options (and was also heavily considering a 70-300 DO which I still would love to give a good test, especially on something like a 5DIII, etc., with it's great low-light performance, this lens can be found used for fairly cheap) -overall I needed smaller, lighter and faster as requirements.  Ultimately I ended up getting a mint but used 135L which on my 7D gets me to 216 @f/2 and when combined with a mint, used, 1.4x converter gets me to 302.4 @f/2.8, when used on my full frame it's a regular 135 or 189 with extender which realistically is when I will likely just opt switch it to the 7D without extender for the extra stop of light, but would like to test more to see what practical difference in DOF and IQ is for times when I don't need the extra light.

It doesn't have the same ease of use/practicality as a 70-200 or 70-300 zoom lens would, but...  combined with my 24-70 which is my main lens, I more or less have a decent portion of the same range basically covered (missing the 85mm and 100mm which if space ever allows, which currently it doesn't, would be filled with the 85L and 100L IS Macro), on top of this it's very light, fairly small, especially without the extender.  The quality is quite good.  It's a less obvious, black lens, and I hockey taped the extender to match and it has speed.  At worst this combo is an f/2.8 @302.4mm, at best it's a 216mm @f/2.  It's intended purpose is for night-time photo-journalistic style and street photography, allowing me to get in close while being far away.  So far, with limited experience in testing this setup (I got it rather recently), it can get great results, even in extremely low-light, but is no-where near as easy to use as a 24-70 or any other zoom.  I mean, it's a different range of photography, being tele, and it's a prime, but basically I'm just warning, if you want to try this setup for any of it's potential benefits, it's not the easiest style, at least not immediately.

Also, it lacks IS, which I make up for with shutter speed and raising the ISO.  I'll edit this post and upload a shot or two from my first run with it in a bit.

-----



Canon 7D, 135L @f/4.5, ISO 4000, Shutter 1/80, Effective Focal Length: 216mm

Very weird glitch!  (the bottom picture, the duller color wise of the two, is possibly a forum upload glitch??).  The picture I posted here, has completely different color than as the file I uploaded.  Even if I re-download and view it in the same image viewer it still has improper color vs. the original before uploading...  Somehow uploading it to Canon Rumors changed the .jpg file?  I'll put it on a different site so you can hopefully see the difference, very, very weird????  Here, same picture, different upload site, very different results: http://minus.com/mnmBys4cH/1f



Canon 7D, 135L + 1.4x Ext MKII, @f/2.8, ISO 6400, Shutter 1/320, Effective Focal Length: 302.4mm
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 01:36:02 AM by Jettatore »

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neuroanatomist

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and was also heavily considering a 70-300 DO which I still would love to give a good test, especially on something like a 5DIII, etc., with it's great low-light performance, this lens can be found used for fairly cheap

I bought one used, with the idea that it's small size and good range would make it a great combo with the 24-105 (the two lenses are identical in size).  I wasn't happy with the IQ of the 70-300 DO, and ultimately I sold it (for the same price I bought).  Even with boosting the contrast and sharpness in post, it wasn't up to the quality of my other lenses.  Side note, the zoom creep was pretty bad.

I'm still considering the 70-300L as a convenient adjunct to my 100-400, though.
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DianeK

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I really like my 70-300L and it basically lives on my 7D.  Color and contrast are great and the images it produces can withstand heavy cropping.  Both images below are substantial crops, especially the lichen.  But as you can see, if it wasn't for the noise from the 7D sensor, when tromping in the woods you can get away with just this one lens and be able to do plant closeups in addition to birds/wildlife.
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Jettatore

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and was also heavily considering a 70-300 DO which I still would love to give a good test, especially on something like a 5DIII, etc., with it's great low-light performance, this lens can be found used for fairly cheap

I bought one used, with the idea that it's small size and good range would make it a great combo with the 24-105 (the two lenses are identical in size).  I wasn't happy with the IQ of the 70-300 DO, and ultimately I sold it (for the same price I bought).  Even with boosting the contrast and sharpness in post, it wasn't up to the quality of my other lenses.  Side note, the zoom creep was pretty bad.

I'm still considering the 70-300L as a convenient adjunct to my 100-400, though.

That's mostly what I ended up figuring, and also saw it had some problems with flare.  Still, it's used price is no-where-near it's listed -as new price, while the 70-300L's used price is your regular discount off the new product price.  I've seen good results with the DO, with some consideration to it's inherent limitations, I believe I could make such a lens work, but I think it's aperture might be slightly slow for my purposes without a low-light 5DIII monster or the like to pair it with...  You obviously had the same idea and tried it all out first hand, still it feels like a really good value, albeit a compromise with some additional annoyances.  The zoom creep would probably be even more annoying in reality than I can even imagine. 

neuroanatomist

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The zoom creep would probably be even more annoying in reality than I can even imagine.

Let's just say that when I was shooting a bird that left his perch and flew overhead, I was glad didn't end up with a black eye from the eycup as the extended zoom slammed back into the barrel as I pointed the camera vertically while tracking the bird overhead.   :o
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AJ

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This photo proves that the lens is really good for shooting chicks.

Razor2012

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This photo proves that the lens is really good for shooting chicks.

Don't forget chicks playing in water.  ;)
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neuroanatomist

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Those chicks don't seem to be wearing clothes...   :o
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DianeK

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Those chicks don't seem to be wearing clothes...   :o

Obviously in the future I will have to be careful to post images that aren't as easily, how shall I say, subject to "interpretation"  ::)
Diane

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