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Thread: 400mm f/4 DO IS opinions?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    400mm f/4 DO IS opinions?

    So I finally sold my old Minolta 600mm f/6.3, I just wasn't using it like I used to and I kinda didn't want to sell it but I got into portraits for hire lately, have another coming soon right now.

    But now that I sold it I thought I was gonna invest in a couple of primes or a 24-70mm. But a utterly mint 400mm f/4 DO came my way on FB market place and now I'm very tempted. I thought I was over not having a super telephoto lens, but I guess once a birder always a birder. Having IS and AF in a relatively reasonable size and weight package would be SOOOO nice compared to using a MF 600mm. Which I did with good affect.

    The 400mm DO was always a lens that intrigued me and something I always thought would make a great replacement for my 600mm. Basically the very shortest and lightest modern replacement you can get. Discounting the Mark II of course. The other alternative was a 300mm f/2.8 IS, which is definitely an option. But I thought have the option of mounting a 2X extender for 800mm would be very cool.

    This one alegendly has been out of the box three times since he bought it new in 2007! And it looks like it, all original box and accessories at a very reasonable price.

    But I would love your guys thoughts and ideas, especially those that have owned it before.

    And I'll be using it on my 1D III and 1Ds III just incase you'd like to know.
    Last edited by Fast Glass; 09-07-2021 at 05:57 PM.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Never used V1. Everything I have read/seen on it was that it was very soft, poor bokeh. I'd avoid unless you have an insanely good deal.

    I did rent V2. Amazing lens. In reading up about it, it seemed like V2 was much much better than V1.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    That is the general consensus, not sure about the poor bokeh. Maybe someone has an example of such? I haven't looked at every review ever made with it or every image. But I have looked at several including Bryan's and he doesn't notice anything terrible about the bokeh. But that is just one review in one use case. Doesn't mean it can't be less than desirable.

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    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Is it worth it, compared to getting the 100-400 f/5.6? I suppose having the ability to add a 2X extender is compelling (which of course you can't do with the 100-400). But the 100-400 is just so sharp and versatile, that giving up one f-stop might be worthwhile.

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    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    It's a good deal considering it's in as new condition. There is not a mark on the thing. Mint examples are in the 3k range. $2300 for a nice one and B&H has one for $1600 in number 6 condition. I negotiated him down to $2150 which I feel is very fair considering the condition and that is out of pocket cost compared to paying tax and shipping online. So not a bad deal. But a good deal is not everything.

    I do appreciate the feedback and will take into consideration all your thoughts. Keep it coming!
    Last edited by Fast Glass; 09-07-2021 at 09:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    I will say the 100-400mm is a great lens but it doesn't really interest me so much for my use.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Glass View Post
    That is the general consensus, not sure about the poor bokeh. Maybe someone has an example of such? I haven't looked at every review ever made with it or every image. But I have looked at several including Bryan's and he doesn't notice anything terrible about the bokeh. But that is just one review in one use case. Doesn't mean it can't be less than desirable.
    My recollection from when I was considering the 400 DO V2. A few quick searches, and I do not see a specific test of the V1 (actually, hardly anything turns up on the v1), but you can see the bokeh issues the V2 has with onion ring (ish) bokeh both in Bryan's review and at Lenstip. My recollection was people attributed this to DO and that I read V1 users saying there was a similar/worse issue with V1. But, bokeh is subjective, perhaps you are fine with it. Easy way to test would be to scroll the flickr form on DO lenses and see what you think.

    As for the V2, in terms of fun, it was very high on my list. Just easy to hop in and out of the car, track birds, travel etc.

    EDIT. BTW, I do want to emphasize, the V2 was still very very good. I was happy with the majority of my images, but I did occasionally see an image with nervous bokeh. In terms of the points I was trying to make, IQ, contrast were the primary differences between V1 and V2. But the bokeh may not be as creamy as other big whites. But, $2150 isn't the same price as other big whites.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 09-08-2021 at 02:32 PM.

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    Ask the seller if you can have a field trial.

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    Version 2 was released in 2014. Since the original owner bought this in 2007, it must be v1. Be sure you seek out image quality results that apply to v1.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    It is indeed the V.1.

    Good to know, that was kinda the feedback I was looking for. The techie side is one thing, and I know the V.2 is a dramatic improvement over the old one. But it does give me some insight as to the overall ease of use for this lens. I realize I will be giving up IQ, but being relively light and compact for what it is makes me use it more. It doesn't replace a heavy weight if anything it compliments one.

    As to IQ, I can live with the bare lens IQ. The extenders might shy me away a little, but I probably will be using the 1.4 the most often with 400mm coming in second and 800mm last. Although the 800mm end would still be important to me. And the price has dropped so much it's worthwhile to try it and if I don't like it I can sell it and not loose money. But I do like the idea of a field trial.

    I'm trying not to be hell bent on getting it and be objectiveas possible and taking in all the feedback, but I remember when this thing was 7k. So seeing one in great condition for $2150 is definitely tempting.
    Last edited by Fast Glass; 09-08-2021 at 03:59 PM.

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