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Thread: Is the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens the new Black?

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    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
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    Is the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens the new Black?

    As we all wait for Bryan to review this new monster I was wondering about the target market. There have been a number comments saying that its aimed at Wildlife and Sports Shooters, so I was wondering if this is true. Would you give up the quality of a prime lens for the flexibility of this zoom?

    PS: Bryan I was wondering why you used the term "healthy price", at $12,000 for many to buy this lens would be very unhealthy!
    Last edited by Raid; 05-15-2013 at 02:26 AM.
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    I saw a video of a guy who used it at the olympics (for water polo). He loved that he could just throw the switch depending where the action was and did not have to change cameras/lenses.

    And "healthy" for Canon I guess ... :-)
    Arnt

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    Yeah, I saw that video too. It's on B&H's youtube page, with guy from Lexar guy who just happens to be an Olympic photographer. Find the Olympics video, and you'll hear about this lens. He loved playing with it.

    On the other hand, assuming B&H's price is accurate, earlier today I spent less on a van.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Is the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens the new Black?

    If 560mm was enough for me, I'd be interested in this lens. As it is, I'm usually using at least the 1.4xIII on my 600 II for 840mm f/5.6, and sometimes I go to 1200mm f/8 with the 2xIII.

    I'm not sure f/4 (much less f/5.6) is optimal for sports, even with the high ISO performance of current FF bodies, in the 200-400mm range one often wants the additional subject isolation that an f/2.8 lens delivers.

    I can see the 200-400/1.4x as the ideal single tele lens solution on a safari, for example. But then, it's also worth considering that a package consisting of a 1D X, 300/2.8 II and 2xIII is not too far off in cost from this new lens...

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I'll have to read up more on the 200-400, but it seems to share the extreme optical quality of the recent big white lenses. What it seems to have over the 1D X, 300/2.8 II, and a 2xIII is, of course, the internal TC. In Rouse's article he talks about the potential advantages of the built in TC, namely he implies that the AF speed may not suffer as much as non-built in TCs, the speed at which you add the TC inline, and fewer opportunities for dust to enter the system. He has some sort of quote about less time cleaning your sensor and more time shooting. It seems to be a great lens. I'd say it favors those whose distance to subjects will vary quickly or frequently and you have reasonable lighting. I agree, this could be the ultimate safari lens. But my guess is that it will also become prominent for outdoor sport photographers as their subject distance changes both frequently and rapidly. For me, when I've saved enough for a big white (whenever that is), it will get some consideration, but my guess is that 560 mm isn't as long as I will want. I'd have to own a higher MP camera to consider it.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Is the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens the new Black?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrw View Post
    There was a section in a press release that talked about using with a 2x TC but the details on AF were lacking. Not sure if that means the built in 1.4x TC wasn't in use to be under f8 AF limit or not.
    Rouse addressed that. With the internal TC in use and a 1.4x mounted, you've got f/8 and thus center point AF on capable bodies. With a 2x mounted and the internal TC not in use, again f/8 and AF on capable bodies (and two 1.4x equals a 2x, would be interesting to see which gives better IQ). With the internal 1.4x engaged and a 2x mounted, f/11 and no AF (although Live View would work).

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    If 560mm was enough for me, I'd be interested in this lens. As it is, I'm usually using at least the 1.4xIII on my 600 II for 840mm f/5.6, and sometimes I go to 1200mm f/8 with the 2xIII.

    I'm not sure f/4 (much less f/5.6) is optimal for sports, even with the high ISO performance of current FF bodies, in the 200-400mm range one often wants the additional subject isolation that an f/2.8 lens delivers.

    I can see the 200-400/1.4x as the ideal single tele lens solution on a safari, for example. But then, it's also worth considering that a package consisting of a 1D X, 300/2.8 II and 2xIII is not too far off in cost from this new lens...
    I tend to agree w you on this based on my own major interests (for telephotos at least). For avian, this is not a realistic option, I have not yet regretted having the 1.4X on my 600 b/c of birds being too big, or too close. For mammals (deer, foxes etc...) I have found 600mm great and sometimes carry the 300 2.8 on a second body just in case I need a wider field of view - very rare w wary beasts. The fact that larger critters near me are active in poor light also makes an f-stop or two hard to lose - even w the 1DX low noise high ISO's.

    However, I am going to Alaska in June and will have my first opportunity to shoot bears. I plan to carry the 600 on a tripod mounted to the 5DMKIII and the 300 2.8 on the 1DX. With a 1.4X converter handy, I can cover 300-840 focal lengths pretty well, but the weight is going to take a toll and I can't achieve ideal framing at every distance. Likely to be raining, so taking a TC on and off is not ideal. I can see the 200-400 + 1.4X being very handy in this situation. Maybe when I retire and have more time to travel places with larger mammals to capture, this lens could be attractive. The Rouse review made it sound pretty sweet for bigger animals moving around.

    Final thought - why not built in 1.4X TC's on all the big super tele's? I would not think the weight has to change that much and everyone uses TC's on the 500 & 600. Would be great to quickly and quietly make the swap. The extra cost is not really an issue in this price range - IMO once you are over $10K, plus or minus 10% doesn't make or break the market.
    Last edited by Vern; 05-15-2013 at 08:47 PM.

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    If you have the 100-400mm L this is the lens you are supposed to upgrade to.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    If you have the 100-400mm L this is the lens you are supposed to upgrade to.
    You think? That is kinda like upgrading from a Honda Accord to Lamborghini......or the cute girl in your high school to a supermodel.....


    Big jump...just under an order of magnitude in cost.....

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    Good point, but in the case of this lens there is no Corvette in between. It is either the Accord or the Lamborghini.

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