Long telephotos

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
Hi all,

So a day that I never thought would come might actually be approaching this year. Specifically, that's the day I might actually be able to splurge on one of the big whites :eek: But just one. And only the handholdable ones...

We're talking the $5K-7K price range, which narrows it to 3, essentially. Specifically I am asking for those who own a 200f2, a 300 2.8 (version 2) or the new 400 DO to shed some thoughts on their experiences.

I am leaning towards the new 400 DO - although I do have the 100-400 already, the 400 f4 with a 1.4x yields a 560 5.6 which puts it right in animal/bird territory. 300 on crop is just starting to approach that sweet spot, but 400 would be even better. And with 560 I could even use the 5D3.

The other option I'm considering is the 200 f2 IS. Poorly lit ice skating shows push me in that direction - one show I just squeaked by with 135 f2 and 7D (original, now have Mark II)...200 with a 5D3 would be an additional stop (through ISO) to work with...I cap the 7D at 3200. Still, rumblings of a version II - and potential resale difficulty - have me a bit hesitant.

As for the 300 2.8, I probably have the least need for that focal length - the 100-400 covers it nicely and I've also got a 70-300 (which may get sold)...and indoors, more likely to grab a 70-200 2.8 - still, it's in the same price range and the IQ seems to be astounding - with a 1.4x it becomes a 420 f4 and difference seems minuscule between that and the bare 400 f4...but seems like the 400+1.4 is superior to the 300+2.0 according to TDP.

Anyone with these lenses - specifically the 400 DO II, seems to be rare - chime in with their experiences? It could help me out. Remember, I'm looking for something I can handhold...

Thanks!
 

mackguyver

Master of Pain
The 400 DO II certainly makes this a harder decision than when I bought my 300 f/2.8 IS II, but I think I'd still buy it. If you have the 1.4x and 2x III extenders, it's a great combo and the IQ with the 1.4x looks to be almost identical to the bare 400 DO II. Plus, you get f/2.8 at 300mm. There are plenty of times when an extra stop makes or breaks the shot for me in low light. At 600mm with the 2x, especially with a crop body, it works well for birds and other work. I have the 70-200 f/2.8 II IS as well and while it's quite good with the 1.4x III, there's no comparison to the 300 at f/2.8 in terms of blurring the background and AF speed, plus you get mode 3 IS.

My typical shoot goes like this:

Pre-dawn, 1D X + 300
Dawn, 1D X + 300+1.4x and 5DIII + 70-200
Golden hour and beyond, 300+2x & 5DIII + 70-200 +1.4x (with adjustments as needed)

The 200 f/2 is sweet, but is pretty specialized and doesn't take extenders quite as well. Unless you are planning to do a lot of indoor sports and/or portrait work, I'd go longer. According to the charts on the Digital Picture, the 400 DO II looks excellent, but f/4 is still f/4 and the performance at 800mm doesn't look that great. The 300mm +2x compares well with the 400 + 1.4x (esp. at f/6.3 or f/8) and gives you another 40mm.

Apparently, the killer feature of the 400 DO II (other than size) is the IS system. According the SLRGear, it's pretty remarkable and a significant improvement over the other big whites. Canon says it's the same system but has been tuned.
 

ScottO

I'm New Here
Sep 16, 2014
14
12
Hi,
I scored a 400f4 DO II from Canon about a week ago. First thoughts, it's everything Canon says it is. It handles and balances well even on the lighter 7D mk II.

A friend and Nikon shooter stopped by shortly after it arrived and could not believe the image quality. The image stabilization was allowing us to get sharp images at 1/60s handheld on a 7D mk II. Since then I have tested as low as 1/30s on a 1Dx with good results.

It takes 1.4X teleconverters very well and 2X fairly well.

Color and contrast are much better been on the mk I, I find I'm still adding more contrast in lightroon then with the 100-400 mk II.

That said the 100-400 MK II is an Excellent option for much less money if you can live with f5.6 and f8 with the 1.4X extender. I had they fairly good copy of the 100-400 MK I but the MK II is in a class by itself.

Hope this helps
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
Thanks for your input!

I should clarify that I actually do not have any extenders now. They degrade IQ too much on all but the sharpest of the supertelephotos, so I wrote them off. This is the lens in which I will make an exception however. In that case the teleconverter would be an added expense. It looks like with the 300 2.8 I'd need both a 1.4x and a 2x, whereas with the 400 I would pick up only a 1.4x (quality with 2x not good enough).

I had no idea about the new IS, that's pretty cool. Wow.

ETA: I do have the 100-400 II, chances to use it have been so far limited however. I would rather not deal with the f/8 limitation.
 

mackguyver

Master of Pain
If you have the 100-400 II (I didn't realize it was the Mark II), the 400 DO II and 1.4x are probably going to work best for you. The only thing you'll lose is being able to shoot at f/2.8 at 300mm and f/4 at 420mm. If that's not important for your work, then the 400 is probably your best bet.
 

Dylan777

EOS 1D MK II
Nov 17, 2011
5,515
6
You can't go wrong with any of these: 200mm f2 IS, 300mm f2.8 IS II, 400mm f2.8 IS II and 100-400mm mrk II

Edit: since you already have 100-400, I would look into 300mm f2.8 IS II or 400mm f2.8 IS II for longer reach. I haven't try 300mm + TC yet. The 400mm f2.8 IS II works very well with 1.4 and x2 TC III. With x2 TC III, you getting 800mm @ f5.6

Here are 400 + x2 TC III: http://dylannguyen.smugmug.com/Sports/Surfing/

Edit AGAIN: I missed your budget setting
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
mackguyver said:
If you have the 100-400 II (I didn't realize it was the Mark II), the 400 DO II and 1.4x are probably going to work best for you. The only thing you'll lose is being able to shoot at f/2.8 at 300mm and f/4 at 420mm. If that's not important for your work, then the 400 is probably your best bet.
Yeah...the biggest decision factor for me will be whether I need f2.8 at 300mm or not. But how about weight? That's another big thing. I'll have to look it up, but if the difference in weight between the 300 and 400 is significant, that's something else to consider...

A question for Scott: on the 400, do you find it easy to manage by hand/shoulder for several hours of shooting? Is the difference in contrast only slight (like perhaps just a few tenths of contrast tuning makes up for it) or noticeable (+1 or +2 adjustments required to match)?
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
Dylan777 said:
You can't go wrong with any of these: 200mm f2 IS, 300mm f2.8 IS II, 400mm f2.8 IS II and 100-400mm mrk II

Edit: since you already have 100-400, I would look into 300mm f2.8 IS II or 400mm f2.8 IS II for longer reach. I haven't try 300mm + TC yet. The 400mm f2.8 IS II works very well with 1.4 and x2 TC III. With x2 TC III, you getting 800mm @ f5.6

Here are 400 + x2 TC III: http://dylannguyen.smugmug.com/Sports/Surfing/

Edit AGAIN: I missed your budget setting
Thanks. Nice shots - and hard to tell on my phone but looks good even with a 2x!

Yeah, unfortunately the 400 2.8 II remains out of reach as far as my budget is concerned. Weight is another concern - seems to be 8 pounds(!) - sounds like a lot to manage. OTOH, the 300 2.8 II I could swing - and is a more manageable weight as well. Not going to be a very easy decision TBH.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,104
There probably should be a separate thread on the 300mm f/2.8 II or 100-400mm II vs 400mm f/4 DO II. Bryan at TDP has just measured the IQ of the 400 DO II on the 7DII, following the 1DsIII. One of the unique things about his very thorough and dispassionate approach is that he tests lenses with extenders as well on both crop and FF. Here is a relevant comparison with the 300mm II.

It’s difficult to see the difference between the 400mm DO II vs 100-400 II on the FF at 400mm
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=972&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=1

but the DO just wins at 560mm.
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=1&LensComp=972&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=1

On the less tolerant 7DII, the 400mm DO II is clearly sharper than the 100-400 II on 7DII.

400mm
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=963&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=1&LensComp=972&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=2

560mm
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=963&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=0&LensComp=972&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=2

The 300mm + 1.4xTC at 420mm on both the FF and 7DII appears to have a very slight edge over the 400 DO II, but there is really nothing between them.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=1

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=963&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0


The 300mm + 2xTC at 600mm on the 7DII is less sharp than the 400 DO II + 1,4xTC at 560mm at f/5.6, but stopping down to f/8 gives the 300 a slight advantage, if any.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=963&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=1&LensComp=739&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=2

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=963&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=3&LensComp=739&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=4

On FF, the 300mm + 2xTC at 600mm may be infinitesimally less sharp than the 400 DO II + 1,4xTC at 560mm at f/5.6, but stopping down to f/8 reverses the situation.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=1&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=0

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=3&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=4

At 800mm, the 400 + 2xTC is very good on FF but soft on the 7DII.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=962&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=0&LensComp=962&CameraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=2

My conclusion, weight and IS aside (which are not that disparate), is that unless you intend the 2xTC with the 400 II on FF, the 300 mm f/2.8 II is as good as and more versatile than the DO. However, I am tempted for the DO with the 2sTC on my 5DIII to capture small birds at a distance (I would use neither lens with 2xTCs with the 7DII).
 

ScottO

I'm New Here
Sep 16, 2014
14
12
AlanF

I don't think you have a problem carrying the 400 DO on the correct strap. I've used it with a Black rapids strap for about two hours without a problem. As far as the contrast goes I'm kicking in +10 on average in lightroom.
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
Ah, thanks. He must have just put up the 7D2 shots because it certainly wasn't there last night...


I've also been comparing it against the 500 f/4 II (although that would really pushing it both in terms of expense and weight) just to see. I suppose the 500 is in a different class altogether though. Anyone have that lens?


I don't think you have a problem carrying the 400 DO on the correct strap. I've used it with a Black rapids strap for about two hours without a problem.
I remember thinking I was going to have trouble with the 28-300 when I tried it out, but managed it just fine on the normal strap (although I slung it cross-shoulder instead of around my neck like I usually do).

+10 sounds like quite a bit but I'm not too familiar with the Lightroom setup (I use DPP).
 

candc

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 22, 2013
1,264
6
Wautoma, WI USA.
the new 400 doii seems to be really good. according to lensrentals it is sharper wide open than the 300ii wide open so the 400 is sharper than the 300 + 1.4x tc.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/01/more-canon-400m-do-ii-comparisons

it would seem to be an ideal hand holdable wildlife and bif lens. i like the idea that you can use it with a 1.4x tc and not just have the center point. i use large zone a lot for bif.
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
Not too surprising actually. I think the TDP test makes it pretty clear that while good in its own right, the 400 DO just isn't quite in the same league as its L counterparts. I must say that the thought of compromised performance (even a little) at $7,000 doesn't really sit that well with me, but I guess it's still an extra stop at 400mm and that in itself could make a big difference in IQ in certain scenarios.

Curious to get thoughts on the 500, although it seems to be a significantly heavier (and costlier!!) package than the 400.

ETA: Partly answering my own question, interesting take on the 500 by this guy who claims he could handhold it for a few hours http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2012/09/21/hand-holding-the-canon-500mm-f4-l-is-ii/ wonder if others agree.
 

candc

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 22, 2013
1,264
6
Wautoma, WI USA.
So roger at lensrentals tested the 400doii lens and says its sharper than the 300ii wide open by a fair margin. Dxo says the 300 is significantly better than the 400. Either therer is some faulty testing or some drastic copy variation.
 

mackguyver

Master of Pain
candc said:
So roger at lensrentals tested the 400doii lens and says its sharper than the 300ii wide open by a fair margin. Dxo says the 300 is significantly better than the 400. Either therer is some faulty testing or some drastic copy variation.
The difference is that DxO also looks at "homogenous results across the frame" and results all apertures. That means that they aren't just looking at center sharpness wide open, as Roger usually is in his tests. He uses multiple copies, however, but IIRC, he didn't find much variation with this lens.

Comparing them using their comparison tools, they look very, very close in sharpness, so I don't get their statements. The only thing that corroborates them is the 2x extender performance of the 300mm looks quite a bit better than the 2x performance of the 400 DO II at TDP. That suggests a sharper underlying lens.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,104
candc said:
So roger at lensrentals tested the 400doii lens and says its sharper than the 300ii wide open by a fair margin. Dxo says the 300 is significantly better than the 400. Either therer is some faulty testing or some drastic copy variation.
Not quite, this is what he wrote:

"We tested the 300mm lens at both f/2.8 and at f/4 to level the playing field a bit.

400mm f/4 DO II 300mm f/28 IS II f/2.8 300mm f/2.8 IS II f/4
Ctr 1490 1395 1580
Avg 1350 1220 1330
Avg Corner 1100 1100 1160

These results are about what I expected, since we already knew that the 400 DO II is really excellent. Shot at its native f/4 it has a bit better resolution than the 300 f/2.8 does shot at f/2.8. Stop the 300mm lens down to f/4, though, and it's a bit sharper than the DO."
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/page/2

Also slrgear has the 300 slightly sharper
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=1747
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1369/cat/10

But, they are both spectacular, and we are splitting hairs. I am waiting for DxO to do the 100-400mm II and the Sigma 150-600mm C and S.
 

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
931
19
Wales
Act444 said:
Curious to get thoughts on the 500, although it seems to be a significantly heavier (and costlier!!) package than the 400.
I don't own a Canon 500 F4 L IS Mk2, but I know a man who does.
The performance of this lens is simply superb, AF is very fast (very!) and the IQ is probably the best at/or around this focal length. Secondly the weight isn't much of an issue, I carry a Canon 300 F2.8 L IS (Mk1) + 2 extenders as my mobile setup which is very close to the weight of the Canon 500 Mk2 with no extenders.
I have used it handheld with success - but I wouldn't want to do this all day. For reference I do frequently handhold my Canon 800 F5.6 L IS and I have arms like matchsticks!
Whilst I love my 300 F2.8 and the mobility it offers, I would much prefer to have the 500 Mk2.
Apparently the newer IS systems on the Mk2 Superteles is an improvement on the older models, I cannot comment as I don't use IS.
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
1,018
115
I see...thanks for your thoughts!

Wow, now I'm not quite as set on the 400 as I was when I first started this thread, you have clearly done your jobs :p ;)