Professional nature photography Kevin Ebi took some time to write an interesting review of the brand new EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II.
Here is a summary of some of Kevin's thoughts.
- The Mark II doesn't zoom quite as far. The extreme telephoto end of the new 100-400 is a little more than 2% shorter than the Mark I.
- There is not a huge difference in image quality at the center of the two generation of lenses, but at the corners, there is less distortion in the Mark II. Sharpness is improved, but it's not a mind-blowing improvement. (A lot of people on your forums ask how it compares to a 70-200 Mark II with a doubler; it provides a readily visible improvement over that setup.)
- The 100-400 II does suffer a bit from the “onion rings” phenomenon, but I don't think it ruins any images. In fact, it's no worse than the 600mm f/4 IS. The weather conditions that allowed me to photograph the phenomenon evaporated fast, so I couldn't compare it to the Mark I.
- A minimum focusing distance of 3 feet/1 meter may seem overkill for a lens primarily used for wildlife, but it has opened new creative possibilities for me. For birds that you are able to get close to — either through opportunity or through remote rigs — it lets you capture sharp subjects with stunningly beautifully backgrounds.
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