TCs on the 100-400mm II

AlanF

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The 100-400mm II looks like having a useful future because all accounts are that it focuses fast and well with a 2xTC on the R5. As I am contemplating purchases with the R5, I wanted to know more about its IQ with the 2xTC to help my choice of gear. Unfortunately, the standard websites, like TDP, are not that useful for comparisons because they use monochrome charts at unknown distances, and lenses' performance can vary a lot with distance.

So, I decided to put the lens through a series of tests with TCs and compare it with the Sigma 150-600mm C, benchmarked against the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF, which is reckoned to be up with the very best primes. The EF lenses are on the 5DSR, which is of similar resolution to the R5, and the Nikon on the Nikon D850, whose 45 Mpx sensor is again up there with the very best. The target was a British £10 note, which has lots of different types of detail, colouring and shading. But, when I started to make a collage of the results, PS clammmed up with a notice it was illegal to process pictures of these notes. Sure enough, it is a criminal offence to reproduce even fragments! Here then is just a summary.

At a distance of 3.2m (10 feet), the results with the TCs were very disappointing. Adding, the 1.4xTCIII to the 100-400mm II hardly increased resolution, and the 2xTCIII if anything lowered resolution and contrast despite the 2x 2 larger image. The Sigma was actually better, and adding the Sigma 1.4xTC was quite good. The Nikon PF at 500mm and with a 1.4xTC at 700mm, absolutely blew them away - which didn't surprise me as I get very sharp images of butterflies and dragonflies with it at that distance. So, I was a b it despondent.

At a distance of 19m (60 feet), the situation fortunately changed dramatically. Adding the 1.4xTCIII to the 100-400mm II gave an image that had poorer contrast than 500mm on the Nikon, but after sharpening with the lens sharpening tool in DxO PL, it was pretty close to the 500mm prime, which I knew from experience. And, the resolution was nearly as good. The same was true with the 2xTCIII on the 100-400mm II compared with the 500mm + 1.4xTC - a pretty good performance with the 100-400mm II with a 2xTC, it sharpens up really nicely. The Sigma at 600mm was similar to the Canon at 560mm, which I knew from experience. But, adding the 1.4xTC did not improve it.

So, Canon's TCs do what is logical, they work well at long distances, and I am going to be happy using the 2xTC on an R-series with my favourite zoom. And, be careful with those TDP charts because they might not work for your shooting distances.
 
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RGB49

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A quick grab shot,
R5 with EF 100-400mm II + 2 x TC III @ 1/1250 F11 800mm ISO 1280
Focus very fast and seems like no need to buy the 800 F11

_N4A0249.JPG
 
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Jack Douglas

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A quick grab shot,
R5 with EF 100-400mm II + 2 x TC III @ 1/1250 F11 800mm ISO 1280
Focus very fast and seems like no need to buy the 800 F11

View attachment 192555
Alan, quite some time has passed since you started this thread so you will have first hand experience. My daughter has yet to acquire the 100-500 (not locally available for the regular price) and I've thought of watching for a decently priced EF 100-400 for her. I gather you've kept yours - any thoughts?

Jack
 

neuroanatomist

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Unfortunately, the standard websites, like TDP, are not that useful for comparisons because they use monochrome charts at unknown distances, and lenses' performance can vary a lot with distance.
Just to clarify, the distance for the TDP tests is not unknown. If you go to specs page on TDP for each lens, the bottom of the table lists the framing distance(s) for the ISO 12233-type chart used, and the size of the chart (the charts are made in several sizes, with resolution scales up to 4000 lw/ph in every size).

Like Bryan, I have several sizes of the chart (the same ones he uses), I use the appropriate size with a reasonable distance allowing me to remain indoors so the lighting is fixed and the tripod is on a slab floor. The only time distances become unreasonable IMO is with UWA lenses, where framing distances for even the largest chart are <1 m.

For the EF 100-400 II + 2xIII, the distance is 12.833 m / 42.1’.
 
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AlanF

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Alan, quite some time has passed since you started this thread so you will have first hand experience. My daughter has yet to acquire the 100-500 (not locally available for the regular price) and I've thought of watching for a decently priced EF 100-400 for her. I gather you've kept yours - any thoughts?

Jack
I sold mine. If she has an R, get her the RF 100-400mm. It’s best bargain in the whole Canon line up - very sharp, great AF and IS, and cheap and light.
 

PCM-madison

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Cooper's hawk with prey, R5 + EF 100-400 ii + 2X iii, 1/1000 sec, F11, iso 1600. Cooper's hawk 011622 01_Ls.jpg
 
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AlanF

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Just to clarify, the distance for the TDP tests is not unknown. If you go to specs page on TDP for each lens, the bottom of the table lists the framing distance(s) for the ISO 12233-type chart used, and the size of the chart (the charts are made in several sizes, with resolution scales up to 4000 lw/ph in every size).

Like Bryan, I have several sizes of the chart (the same ones he uses), I use the appropriate size with a reasonable distance allowing me to remain indoors so the lighting is fixed and the tripod is on a slab floor. The only time distances become unreasonable IMO is with UWA lenses, where framing distances for even the largest chart are <1 m.

For the EF 100-400 II + 2xIII, the distance is 12.833 m / 42.1’.
Thanks for the information that I have missed for the past 10 years. I wonder how many other users of the charts know that? He has the "Image Quality" section under one link, and "Specifications" as an entirely separate entry. The chart distances and sizes used for the Image Quality charts are filed in Specifications under "Features". It would have helped if relevant information was on the IQ page instead of being filed elsewhere as a feature. On checking these for the RF 100-400mm and EF 100-400mm II, I see he uses different charts for them at 400mm, with the EF chart at 13063mm away and the RF at 6885mm. He doesn't have the chart sizes and distances for the RF 800mm f/11 and RF 100-500mm.
 
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Jack Douglas

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I sold mine. If she has an R, get her the RF 100-400mm. It’s best bargain in the whole Canon line up - very sharp, great AF and IS, and cheap and light.
Thanks for the reply Alan. My immediate response would be, upon what do you base this assessment, specs only? Have you tried it or shot with those having it? I'm very interested, perhaps even for my own more casual use.

I thought you had said you were considering going back to the EF 100-400 based on size/weight??

How's the dear old back? I'm also a back problem guy with sciatica type issues - no fun.

Jack
 

AlanF

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Thanks for the reply Alan. My immediate response would be, upon what do you base this assessment, specs only? Have you tried it or shot with those having it? I'm very interested, perhaps even for my own more casual use.

I thought you had said you were considering going back to the EF 100-400 based on size/weight??

How's the dear old back? I'm also a back problem guy with sciatica type issues - no fun.

Jack
I own it, have used it extensively, and reviewed it here https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/threads/canon-rf-100-400mm-f-5-6-8-is-usm-first-impressions.40938/
There are of shots from it now in the Bird Portraits thread from @OskarB and others. It's so light my wife loves it, and she had given up on the EF. It's a lens everyone should have! (It's even better on the R6 than the R5 because it's less affected by diffraction at f/8 or with extenders.)
My back is a lot better - thanks for asking.
 
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Jack Douglas

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I own it, have used it extensively, and reviewed it here https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/threads/canon-rf-100-400mm-f-5-6-8-is-usm-first-impressions.40938/
There are of shots from it now in the Bird Portraits thread from @OskarB and others. It's so light my wife loves it, and she had given up on the EF. It's a lens everyone should have! (It's even better on the R6 than the R5 because it's less affected by diffraction at f/8 or with extenders.)
My back is a lot better - thanks for asking.
Thanks, Alan. She likes birding but only has an R and now that you've got me thinking in this direction I started checking reviews. This one claims AF is a pain with the R but I think that's more of an indictment of the R vs. R5.

 

neuroanatomist

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Thanks for the information that I have missed for the past 10 years. I wonder how many other users of the charts know that? He has the "Image Quality" section under one link, and "Specifications" as an entirely separate entry. The chart distances and sizes used for the Image Quality charts are filed in Specifications under "Features". It would have helped if relevant information was on the IQ page instead of being filed elsewhere as a feature. On checking these for the RF 100-400mm and EF 100-400mm II, I see he uses different charts for them at 400mm, with the EF chart at 13063mm away and the RF at 6885mm. He doesn't have the chart sizes and distances for the RF 800mm f/11 and RF 100-500mm.
Not sure about the missing info, human error presumably. The chart comes in four sizes, from ~5x8” to ~38x62” (those are the full sizes, the 3:2 area on the charts is smaller), ranging from US$400-1100.

I suspect something about his testing setup changed between the EF 100-400 II and the RF 100-400, perhaps just the time of year. In my previous home, I had ~10 m distance indoors on the lowest level (unfinished basement). Being on an upper floor (wood, tile, doesn’t matter) results in too much vibration, the tripod must be on either a concrete slab or flooring installed over one with no subfloor. We moved a few years ago, now I have ~17 m indoors, and in clement weather I can open the mudroom door and set the camera up outside (target still indoors with controlled lighting) and be ~25 m away from the chart.
 

AlanF

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Thanks, Alan. She likes birding but only has an R and now that you've got me thinking in this direction I started checking reviews. This one claims AF is a pain with the R but I think that's more of an indictment of the R vs. R5.

Yes, it’s the R. The 100-500mm has turgid AF on the R according to some reliable reviewers but stellar on the R5 and 6.