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Thread: Wildlife: Canon EF 100-400 VS EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS MKII + 2x Extender MKIII

  1. #1
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    Wildlife: Canon EF 100-400 VS EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS MKII + 2x Extender MKIII

    Hello

    I am about to acquire some L lenses for my 7D and now I'm a bit confused on what to go for, due to the various advantages and disadvantages of the lenses I am considering.

    I mainly shoot wildlife and nature, and I will likely be doing a reasonable amount of shooting in not-so-favorable weather, so I may have the need to expose my lenses to the elements from time to time (I do have a storm jacket, but it is quite cumbersome for handheld use). I also really do need the 400mm. I have a 300mm Tamron with me at the moment, and even on an APS-C camera, I find that sometimes it is not enough.

    The option that appeals to me the most is buying the 70-200 f/2.8L IS MKII and a 2x Extender MKIII. It is a weather sealed setup, offers the 400mm I need, and I get an f/2.8 tele whenever I need. However I am worried about:

    • Focusing speed & accuracy
    • Sharpness compared to the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L @ 400mm

    If someone could provide some 100% crops of both lenses It'd be great, if not I'd love to hear your opinions just the same.

    The other setups I have as an alternative are:

    EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L and EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L (one being weather sealed)
    EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L and EF 400mm f/5.6L (both sealed, but limited to the prime if 400mm are needed)


    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Chromarok; 09-28-2012 at 12:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Andy Stringer's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    I use the 100-400 a lot for wildlife and nature shots and I am very pleased with the results. For some examples, my Galapagos gallery on Flickr contains many shots with the 100-400. Take a look at Canon 100-400mm on a 7D, who uses it? for some more examples from the other forum members.

    The 100-400 has the advantage of convenience for a wide range of focal lengths. If you're out in the rain, you won't want to be taking a lens off to add an extender. This lens will deliver better quality at 400mm than a zoom plus extender combination, but I believe that the 70-200 with a 2x extender is not far behind, although I have not used it myself.

    I'm not sure that it's worth getting both the 70-300 and the 100-400. It seems like too much overlap, but the 70-300 is sharper, smaller and lighter so I can see the attraction of it when you don't need to use 400mm. If you do choose the 70-300, I would pair it with the 400 f/5.6L prime as this will be sharper than the 100-400 at 400mm.

    Note that these lenses are only partially weather sealed. There is no rubber gasket on the lens mount, but the buttons and focus/zoom rings are resistant to water and dust.

  3. #3
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    I have the 100-400 and also the 70-200 II + 2x II (reportedly the MkIII is very slightly sharper, although it's not really evident in Bryan's ISO 12233 crops). I've used both on my 7D, and I prefer the 100-400mm - it's slightly sharper at 400mm, AF is slightly faster. I have used the 70-200 II + 2x in the rain. From an IQ standpoint the slight sharpness difference is probably not too relevant in the real world - both options are quite sharp.

    Below are full shots from each, you can click through to Flickr and the All Sizes option will get you a reasonably large view. I picked a pair with similar framing and birds close in size (the eastern towhee is a little smaller). Do note that the 70-200+TC combo was used in inclement weather, meaning dark clouds, low light, and high ISO (for the 7D, that is...my 1D X handles ISO 3200 much, much better).


    EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 200


    EOS 7D, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM + EF 2x II Extender @ 400mm, 1/160 s, f/5.6, ISO 3200
    Last edited by neuroanatomist; 09-28-2012 at 12:51 PM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member ZoeEnPhos's Avatar
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    Dear Neuroanatomist,
    Thank you so very much for the enlightening and good answer about the EF100-400 vs EF70-200 II with 2x II.
    This second photo captured with: "EOS 7D, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM + EF 2x II Extender @ 400mm, 1/160 s, f/5.6, ISO 3200", is simply an amazingly good in IQ - when considering that it is with APS-C DSLR 7D and ISO3200!!!

    I myself like the EF 70-200 f/2.8L II (also having the 4L IS USM with fluorite lens) and using it with EF Extender 1.4x III and 2x III with specially the full frame 5MKII, but also when more reach is needed I use the 7D and being quite satisfied with the possibilites to extend the reach by the extenders.

    However I maybe would wait for the coming even affordable a new EF400 f/4L, that I was reading about from the Canon Rumors - if you sir Chromarok, aim to find a very good solution for the focal lengt of a lens, with the native focal lengt of 400mm. By the way, one thing I seldom have heard is, that a wildlife photographer has complained about having too much of tele-focal-lengt!

    Here is the News! but please take these news with some cautious because they are yet only rumors...even if they are nice and promising!

    New Lenses in January [CR1]

    Two f/4 Telephotos Coming
    I’m told we can expect two new f/4 telephotos to be announced in January, 2013.

    The first will be an EF 300 f/4L IS II, you can obviously expect better coatings, IS and a slightly lighter weight.
    The second is said to be an EF 400 f/4L IS, no mention of it being a DO lens. With the price of the coming EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x, mixed with the also expensive 400 f/4 DO IS, there is probably a big market for a 400 f/4 prime that is “affordable”.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    My personal feeling about the EF 100-400mm is that it is simply not a zoom-lens for me - because it is already a bit old, and also having this "pumping-effect" when you use the zoom, that can suck some dust into the lens barrel and to that added, also that I am a bit afraid of the possibility, about the risk of getting an exemplar of this older zoom-lens, that is not a top notch in IQ but being a soft one. But this is me - sorry for all you who have perfect lenses of this EF 100-400mm.
    The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II, is so much better in action and especially out in the field even with wet conditions or harsh environment and having four-f-stop IS! and fluorite lens-elements that gives absolutely excellent IQ that gives me big smile every time I examine the raw files!
    (
    The EF70–200mm f/2.8L IS II USM newly incorporates a fluorite lens element and includes five UD (ultra-low dispersion) elements, one more than its predecessor. Employing an optical design that makes generous use of special optical materials, the lens effectively minimizes the occurrence of chromatic aberrations, making possible enhanced image quality with high-resolution, high-contrast performance across the entire zoom range.

    The EF70–200mm f/2.8L IS II USM’s high-performance Image Stabilizer, combined with an optimized AF algorithm, also provides image stabilization equivalent to approximately four shutter-speed stops,a one-stop improvement over its predecessor.
    Additionally, the model’s minimum focusing distance has been reduced from 1.4 meters to 1.2 meters throughout the entire zoom range, allowing closer access to subjects.
    Additionally the Canon lens delivers enhanced durability through its high-rigidity body construction and features an improved structure for joining parts to realize a high level of durability to satisfy the rigorous demands of professional users. Moreover, the mount, focus-mode switch and focusing ring employ a dust-proof and moisture-proof structure for added peace of mind when shooting in inclement conditions.)
    //Wishing you all the Best and to you especially Chromarok to find a good solution in your choice of a good wildlife equipement suiting perfectly your needs in future!

    //Charl

  5. #5
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    The 100-400mm was my first L series long lens. After I bought my 500mm I never used it and my brother has it now. I own the 70-200mm II.

    If I didn't have the 500mm I wouldn't rebuy the 100-400mm, I would just get an extender for the 70-200mm II. Provided I am looking for a one lens solution.

    If I had the money to own both the 70-200mm II and the 100-400mm, I would sell them both and buy a used 300mm f/2.8 L IS and a 1.4 extender.

    This is why the 70-200mm over the 100-400mm, granted the 100-400mm will be a bit sharper than the 70-200mm II with the 2x at 400mm. That will be its only advantage and not an extreme one. Sharpness is only one issue, the 70-200mm has the latest coatings that improve the quality of its images, where the 100-400mm is old technology. To some the coatings may be a small issue, but I can see the diffrence in the lens I have that have the coatings and the older that do not. In the 100-200mm range there is no comparison, the 70-200mm is substantially better, and the best Canon zoom lens you can buy. To boil it down you are only buying the 100-400mm to get the 400mm end, you sacrifice in almost all the other areas.

  6. #6
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoeEnPhos View Post
    Dear Neuroanatomist,
    I maybe would wait for the coming even affordable a new EF400 f/4L, that I was reading about from the Canon Rumors
    You're going to have an interminable wait...unless you consider $6-7K to be 'affordable'. A rumor is just that, but the fact is that a 400/4 lens will have the same front element diameter as the 200/2 lens, slightly less than a 300/2.8, and thus will almost certainly be in the price range of the 300/2.8L IS II or a more likely a little higher.

  7. #7
    Junior Member ZoeEnPhos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    You're going to have an interminable wait...unless you consider $6-7K to be 'affordable'. A rumor is just that, but the fact is that a 400/4 lens will have the same front element diameter as the 200/2 lens, slightly less than a 300/2.8, and thus will almost certainly be in the price range of the 300/2.8L IS II or a more likely a little higher.
    Thank you for your note (but the thought of "affordable" would not be directed to you but to Chromarok primarly!) - and by the way I am also a native Swedish speaking and not too good in English, even if I try to do my very best, so I needed to look up this new word for me that I have never seen before "endless or seemingly endless because of monotony or tiresome length"//"interminable - tiresomely long; seemingly without end; "endless debates"; "an endless conversation"; "the wait seemed eternal"; "eternal quarreling"; "an interminable sermon"endless, eternal
    long - primarily temporal sense; being or indicating a relatively great or greater than average duration or passage of time or a duration as specified; "a long life"; "a long boring speech"; "a long time"; "a long friendship"; "a long game"; "long ago"; "an hour long".

    Yes "affordable" would had to been written in quotation marks (as in the text I quoted from CR) - and in the comparison to the very expensive Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM II and by that the meaning would had been understood that a EF 400 f/4L might at least be lower in cost than a f/2.8L new version II :-)
    Thank you for your opinion and note of this sir!

    Wishing you all the Best!

    //C
    Last edited by ZoeEnPhos; 09-28-2012 at 03:07 PM.

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    Well, thank you very much for all your replies!

    After thinking about it for a while, I decided to go for the 100-400 first. Maybe I'll get some other long tele or prime lenses in the future, but right now, I'm going for the 400mm.

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
    Senior Member FastGass's Avatar
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    Another note is don't pay any attention to CR, there rumors are nothing more than a prank gone out of hand!

    John.
    Amateurs worry about gear, pros about the pay, masters about the light, and I just take pictures!

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