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Thread: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L


    I like the shots of the cars from last year's Petite Le Mans, because they show the sharpness achievable, but practically speaking, those could have been made with my 28-135. This is useful information, too, because I amdefinitely still learning about perspective and reach. How faraway did you have to be to capture those?Were theycropped? Nice motion blur on the wheels of the second one, too, BTW. I see by your example that I want to be less than 1/1000 somewhere. Have you had luck with 1/500?


    How the heck do you get animals to stay still long enough tocompose andmanual focuson a tripod? I seem to barely be able to do it handheld! Good work.


    I love the shot of passing the champagne! To me, that is great composition. It's okay on "parking" the Porsche. I have done the same thing. Still trying to work out shutterspeed/handholdability/sharpness myself. You want the wheels to look like they're spinning, but the car needs to be in focus, right? [] I really admire shots I've seen where the car is sharply in focus, but the wheels are a blur of motion, and the background looks like a watercolor brush stroked it. Skill and years of experience, I guess.

    Bird pics were great! I really like the saturation and sharpness of the juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk shot. Very nice. Also, the Loon portrait was beautiful, I think.

    I have seen enough to say that I definitely think the 100-400 is for me. Thank you all for your generous comments.

    I just found out that I will have to replace my double wall oven, which will be $3100 plus installation, but I will be saving for the 100-400 immediately after.

  2. #12

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    A couple more shots from the 08 Petite Le Mans that are 1/500, f5.6, 100mm. On a 1.6 fov camera, 100mm will equal 160mm. Even with IS, if you shoot 400mm at much less than 1/250, your keeper rate will decrease. I was shooting at a higher ISO to keep shutter speed a little higher for a sharper image.I was close enough that much more than 150mm would have been way too muchI was shooting in Av mode and setting aperture and ISO to get shutter speed. At the beginning of the year (08) I had the 28-135 kit lens and was told by a "PRO" that I should increase ISO for faster shutter speed to increase sharpness, because the Canon EOS cameras signal to noise ratio is very high. This is true. You can shoot at ISO 800 and see very little noise. I increased sharpness and shutter speedat ISO 500. Later Iwent to a 5D full frame,and I nowshoot center focal point in Center-weighted Average Metering in AI-Servo. For bikes and spoke blur you pretty much need 1/250 or less (ISO 100-125).I now shoot some sharp (1/1600 to 1/8000) and adjust ISO down to 125 for blur on others. I still like Av mode so I can control my background blur (constant F stop) you don't get with Tv mode.Also on the 30D I use +5/3 steps exposure compensation because my images were too dark. Yours may be different. I was maybe 30 ft. away and the first image had a little Straighten tool (kind of like crop), and the second image just some standard blacks,fill light, sharpening, contrast in RAW, then conversion to sRGB and Unsharp mask (80%) in P.S. Elements 7, (much easier to use than CS versions).




  3. #13

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L


    Now your talking...some of my favorite ALMs vehicles (C6-R and Flying Lizards Porsche). Petit is a great event and I've only been once, but I still remember the brain-rattling sensation of being next to the fence-line when those Corvettes thunder by. Nice pics and auto racing is one of the reasons I bought the 100-400 (air-shows too).


    Photographing birds on a feeder is a bit easier because they do hang around long enough for me to set a manual focus. Another thing I've done is to pre-set the manual focus on a point where the birds will occupy, then when they land in that spot I'm ready to snap away. The squirrel was all over the place so I had to lose the 1.4 Converter and let the 40D take over the focusing. Right now, I'm in the stage where I'm still learning how to use this lens and making plenty of mistakes. But I can already tell that this is the lens for me and I hope to see many years of use with it. Good luck with your hunt.


  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, FL

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    100-400 is the best air show lens hands down.

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Eugene, OR

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    Quote Originally Posted by HiFiGuy1
    What say ye, owners/experienced users of the
    100-400 and or 70-200 f/2.8 IS? Is there really any reason to avoid
    this lens, or am I reading too much into Bryan's and some others not
    entirely overwhelmingly positive comments and reviews?

    I'm not sure what you mean about the "not entirely overwhelmingly positive comments and reviews." Here's what Bryan wrote at the end of his review:

    The wide focal length range and long max focal length make the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens a highly versatile and a very popular lens.
    This is one of the lenses I most-frequently recommend."

    Does that last sentence sound very negative?

    The two lenses are very different and are good for different purposes. You could use the 2x teleconverter with the 70-200 to get 140-400, but the "IQ" would probably disappoint you. The 2x is much worse than the 1.4x.

    I have the 100-400, the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, and the 70-200 f/4 IS. (Yes, that's right--both; you'll see why below.) They all get used, for different situations.

    I started with a 70-200 f/4, without IS, then went to the 70-200 f/4 IS. Compared to other lenses I had owned, that was simply amazing. (It still is.) It's fantastic for landscapes, flowers, etc. It's no wonder several reviewers have called it the "best zoom lens" of any make, period. It's also very easy to use--I can zoom with the fingers of my right hand, for example.

    Next, I added the 100-400mm lens, as I needed more reach than the 70-200 f/4 IS (even with a 1.4x teleconverter--I also have the 2x, but that would not autofocus on my 30D.) It has become my primary nature/wildlife lens. (See Bryan's review for more.) You've seen others' shots, but here's a 100% crop high-quality JPEG at 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400, ISO 100. I'm not that expert, yet, but that should be sharp enough for most people.

    I can make a direct comparison of the 100-400 IS and the 70-200 f/4 IS, in a sense. Below is a 50% crop (1600 x 1200, scaled by 1/2) of an osprey at 400mm. I did 50% to get the image the same rough size as what follows (400mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 100, exposure compensation +1--probably should have been more, though Photoshop "shadows and highlights" can do wonders)

    Next is the same bird, from roughly the same position, with the 70-200mm f/4L IS at 189mm (should have been at 200mm), f/6.3 (same aperture), 1/500, ISO 100, exposure compensation +2/3 (experimenting).

    The 70-200mm shot does appear to be a bit sharper to me, though the scaling can make a difference. In any case, the difference isn't all that great.

    Next, here's a 100% crop of that osprey's mate (I don't know which is the male vs female) on their nest. This was quite a distance--200 ft? I used the 100-400 lens plus 1.4x teleconverter. That gave 560mm, but it won't autofocus, so I had to manually focus. That's non-trivial with an f/8 viewfinder, even in the strong light that day. My eyes aren't as good as they once were--I've always been near-sighted and wear glasses, but I now have to use progressives--damned old age! [8o|] Still, this isn't all that bad. (Remember that this is 100%, so the bird's image is a very, very small part of the frame. I would love to have had a 500mm f/4L IS + 1.4x = 700mm f/5.6 IS, but don't want to spend $6K.)

    I expect that you can see why the 100-400 has become my primary nature/wildlife long lens. When out shooting nature, I carry the 100-400, a 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS, and the 1.4x teleconverter. Depending upon the situation and how much I want to carry, I may also have a 100mm f/2.8 Macro and/or Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6. You can see why the 10-20mm comes in handy below:

    That was taken literally inches from the rotting apple @ 10mm (f/11, 1/100, ISO 400, exposure compensation +1/3) For me, a primary use of a super-wide angle is to get really, really close, without magnifying the image, like the Macro lens will do.

    As I said, I also have the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. I use that for equestrian events, which are often in indoor arenas. The lighting can be mediocre to terrible--white balance can be a real challenge, as well. Anything less than f/2.8 just can't give me the shutter speed I need to stop the horse's legs. (They move forward at about twice the horse's forward speed.) I need a minimum of 1/250 for trotting and slow cantering, 1/400 or better for galloping horses. I'd like to keep the ISO to 800 to avoid terrible noise, but, sometimes, I have to go all the way to 3200

    Here's an example at the trot, taken with the 70-200 f/2.8 @ 95mm, f/2.8, 1/250, ISO 800, fluorescent white balance. It's a 50% crop (1600 x 1200 scaled by 1/2). I should have used a longer focal length, but I was shooting both video (tripod-mounted Optura 50) and stills at the same time, so couldn't concentrate enough to frame at a longer focal length. The point here is the shutter speed.

    That was at a local "high-class" facility, with relatively good lighting, though the white balance can be problematic, as the arena has south-facing skylights that reflect off the inside of the roof, plus high-intensity fluorescent lights. That mixture of reflected daylight and fluorescent can be a real PITA. I use manual exposure, as the white background can easily fool the camera. (For those familiar with riding, yes, the horse is on his forehand and is over-flexed, but that is apparently the way the Arabian judges want the hunter horses. The horse is an Arab-Stock-type Pinto cross. When ridden well in dressage, he has spectacular gaits. The rider--one of my students--won an Arabian National Championship in second-level dressage with another horse, so she knows what she's doing.)

    To complement the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, I would like to have a 24-70mm
    f/2.8L, but, instead, I have a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. The 24-70mm is
    equivalent to 38-112mm on a full-frame camera, so it's not really very
    wide, whereas the 17-55mm is like 27-88mm. Still, it would be nice to
    span the gap between 55mm and 70mm (equivalent to 88mm-112mm).

    It gets worse, though--a lot worse. Our County Fairgrounds arena is about as bright as Dracula's tomb and the lighting isn't consistent, so a white balance that works for a subject at one spot may not render then entire scene nicely. I usually end up using reasonably-fast primes (35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 100mm f/2) for the fast-moving events like barrel racing and pole bending. Even so, I have to use ISO 1600 or 3200 to get a shutter speed of 1/400-1/800.

    So, you'll have to decide what you'll want to do and then get the better lens for that purpose.
    George Slusher
    Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
    Eugene, OR

  6. #16

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    The skies have cleared and the sun is out today, so here's one more 100-400 pic for ya of a little fellow that was singing to beat the band today.

    EF 100-400, f5.6, 1/200, ISO 200, 400mm (hand held, IS "on", 40D auto-focus). 100% crop, no other post editing.



  7. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    I sold my 28-300L after 1 year and bought this one. I very pleased with it. I shoot auto sports and jetski a lot and it beats the 28-300L hands down on IQ contrast and sharpness. Just for the record heres my shot. How much further do you want to see


  8. #18

    Re: Thoughts from owners on the 100-400 L

    my kit is

    Sigma 17-35/EF 28-135 IS/EF 24-105L f4/EF 70-200L F2.8 IS/EF 100-400L IS

    I like the EF 100-400, even the push and pull system but I have no doubts the 70-200 is a much better lens, and the 100-400 is on my camera only if I need the extra reach!!! The 70-200 is faster and has better IQ for all focal lenghts, better bokeh, perfect for head shoots, Much faster autofocus.

    I purchased the 100-400 first and I regret the choice, in my priority today I would have 70-200 first, upgrade to the 24-105L and the longer focal lengh for last. The only exception is if you need the 300-400 focal lenght most of the time.

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