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Author Topic: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?  (Read 12081 times)

drjlo

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400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« on: May 30, 2012, 05:31:19 PM »
Since getting 5D III, 70-200 II with 1.4x is not quite reaching far enough.  Is there any 400mm f/4 out there that does not cost more than 70-200 II (preferably less) yet works with 1.4x TC on 5D III?  Could be Canon or another brand. 

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400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« on: May 30, 2012, 05:31:19 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 06:04:02 PM »
Not AFAIK. You'll need to go to f/5.6 for a modern lens.  I believe there are some old manual lenses that would work, with adapters (probably f/4.5).
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1982chris911

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 06:56:17 PM »
How about the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM AF ???
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Rat

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 07:09:03 PM »
How about the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM AF ???
That, with a 1.4 you apparently already have, will do just nicely. Flip side: not as sharp as your 70-200 2.8II with a 2.0 TC - although that is F5.6, of course. Still, if you're not ready for a 5K+ lens, I'd say a 2x converter is probably your best bet. (edit: OK, you're aiming for 560@F5.6. Missed that the first time. In that case, go Sigma :) )

I was going to suggest the Sigma 300mm F2.8 HSM. 20% more expensive than the 70-200 2.8II and no OS, but it 'll give you a very fast 300 too, and 420mm @ F4, and 600mm @ F5.6, and at least the HSM is there. I have no idea how the IQ holds up on that one though, I just know it exists :P
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 07:22:55 PM by Rat »
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Chewngum

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 07:24:45 PM »
I have the sigma 120-300 2.8 non OS. Amazing lens, for the versatility and the IQ. Ok so unlike the 70-200 mkII it wont give you the IQ of comparable primes, but it will give you a 240-600 f5.6 with fast AF, and the OS version also gives you weather sealing and OS. It an incredible lens and the optics between both version are fairly similar other than a coating or two. As per the OP, it will give you a 420mm F4 when used with your 1.4x converter with great performance and very useable performance with IQ and AF with a 2x converter should you buy one. Highly recommended lens and one that Canon currently does not compete with (we'll see what the 200-400 F4 1.4x is like when it comes out).
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drjlo

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 07:28:00 PM »
Not AFAIK. You'll need to go to f/5.6 for a modern lens.  I believe there are some old manual lenses that would work, with adapters (probably f/4.5).

Well, the Canon 400mm f/5.6 would have been perrr..fect, if it was f/4.  This is when I start cursing Canon for no f/8 autofocus (with 1.4x TC).  Seems like there is a huge gap in 400mm f/4 lenses.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 07:38:18 PM »
How about the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM AF ???

I would have suggested this as well, except:

Is there any 400mm f/4 out there that does not cost more than 70-200 II (preferably less) yet works with 1.4x TC on 5D III?  Could be Canon or another brand.

...which, it isn't. 

Well, the Canon 400mm f/5.6 would have been perrr..fect, if it was f/4.  This is when I start cursing Canon for no f/8 autofocus (with 1.4x TC).  Seems like there is a huge gap in 400mm f/4 lenses.

The main issue with making fast and affordable super telephoto lenses is the size of the physical aperture, and the amount of glass needed to fill that aperture with light.  A 400mm f/4 lens means a 100mm diameter iris diaphragm, meaning lots of glass, meaning expensive.   Many people have suggested they want Canon to make a 500mm f/5.6L IS lens as an 'affordable' supertele prime, similar to the 300/4 and 400/5.6 - such a lens would actually be closer in spec to the 300/2.8 than the 400/5.6, likely pushing the lens into the >$4.5K range (well outside of 'affordable' for most people).
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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 07:38:18 PM »

drjlo

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 08:17:28 PM »
Looks like I may just go for Canon 300mm f/4 IS with 1.4x TC.  Not as much reach as I wanted, but at least it should be more portable.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 08:46:01 PM »
Looks like I may just go for Canon 300mm f/4 IS with 1.4x TC.  Not as much reach as I wanted, but at least it should be more portable.

I'd also consider the 100-400mm - optically better (slightly) than the 300+1.4x, versatility of a zoom, and I really like that it collapses to the same size as the 70-200 II (the 300mm and 400mm primes are inconveniently long, IMO).
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bdunbar79

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2012, 10:57:09 PM »
I second the 100-400L.  I loved it when I had a 7D, and like it on the 1D Mark IV.  The IQ is suprisingly good at 100 and 400mm, looking at my photos.  I have it and I really like it.
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briansquibb

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 01:27:27 AM »
Is the 400DO suitable?

drjlo

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 03:46:46 AM »
Is the 400DO suitable?

Really?  For a $6500 400 mm lens, it seems to underperform. For example:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-400mm-f-4.0-DO-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx

BTW, what are people's feelings about Canon 300mm f/4L IS vs. Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS?  I do like my 70-200L MkII, so I wish there was a reasonably priced 200-400L, but alas..

briansquibb

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 03:56:48 AM »
Is the 400DO suitable?

Really?  For a $6500 400 mm lens, it seems to underperform. For example:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-400mm-f-4.0-DO-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx

BTW, what are people's feelings about Canon 300mm f/4L IS vs. Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS?  I do like my 70-200L MkII, so I wish there was a reasonably priced 200-400L, but alas..

Hey wasn't suggesting it was suitable - just asking

I get most things used so list price is neither here nor there to me

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 03:56:48 AM »

DigitalDivide

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 04:48:47 AM »
Looks like I may just go for Canon 300mm f/4 IS with 1.4x TC.  Not as much reach as I wanted, but at least it should be more portable.

I have the 300L f/4 IS and I've been very happy with it on my 5D2.  Fast AF, good IQ, and not excessively heavy.  The IS is awesome, and is the main reason I picked this lens over the 400L f/5.6.  I just got the 1.4 x mk3 TC, taking advantage of the current rebates.  This gets me 420mm at f/5.6 and IS for not a huge amount more $$$ than the 400 would have been.

I am on a business trip to Japan right now and I didn't want to lug along the 300, so I've been trying out the TC with my 70-200L f/4.  That combination seems to be working pretty well, although I haven't looked closely at the results off camera yet.  I took a bunch of shots of formula cars at the Motegi racing circuit, and the AF seemed to track pretty well even with the TC.  So I'm hopeful that the combination of 24-105, 70-200 and 1.4 TC will make a nice light and compact kit for casual travel when I don't want to carry my full set of gear.

I'm looking forward to trying out the 300 plus 1.4 TC combination in earnest when I get home.  I only had time for a few quick shots of birds at a feeder before I left, and I didn't nail the focus.  I did do my homework before buying, and came to the conclusion that the IQ of the 300/1.4 TC pairing was close enough to the 100-400L and the 400L f/5.6 to make this combination viable.

Like you, I have been vaguely evaluating 400 f/4 (or equivalent) options.  The cheapest Canon solution would probably be a used copy of the 400 DO, which can be had for less crazy money than things like the 300L/f2.8 with TC, for example.  But I'm thinking my best option will be to pick up a 7D to get the reach I want.  The 7D is far less expensive than most fast 400 options, and has an AF system that is up to the demands of bird photography which the 5D2 really isn't.  As a bonus I get a backup body as well.  Until then I am stuck with borrowing my daughter's T3i when I can get away with it. 8)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 04:52:11 AM by DigitalDivide »

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 07:42:03 AM »
Does the Sigma 120-300 take the Canon teleconverters? I like the look of this lens. Right now, my Canon 300 f4 IS lives on my 7D as the equipment I use for maximum reach. I also use the 1.4 II TC when I need more reach. It's pretty good, especially with good light. This is one of the cheapest ways to get this type of reach and still maintain decent quality. 420mm at 5.6 in a decent size package.

There is also the Sigma 150-500 to consider.

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Re: 400mm f/4. Anything good and "affordable"?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 07:42:03 AM »