Eleven years ago, if you’d asked me which was my favourite lens, without hesitation I would have told you the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens. It was versatile, with a huge zoom range, and light—a very hand-holdable lens. But that was back when cameras had 6 megapixels, and weren’t very demanding on our glass.
Then, the pixel count started increasing, and by 2006, as our cameras passed around 10 megapixels, we out-resolved the 100-400mm. It became soft, first at the long end, anything over 300mm, then as we hit 12 and higher megapixels, it pretty much became unusable. I eventually sold mine in 2008, but I’ve missed this lens dearly since.
Well, it looks like I am set to fall in love all over again, as Canon have just announced the 100-400mm Mark II lens! My order is in, and I’m now waiting impatiently for the end of December for my Christmas present!
A long-reaching telephoto zoom characterized by a sophisticated optical design and advanced image stabilization technologies, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens is part of the esteemed L-series developed for full-frame EOS DSLRs. One fluorite element and one Super UD element have been incorporated into the lens’ constriction, and both help to reduce aberrations and distortions throughout the zoom range in order to deliver notable clarity, image sharpness, and faithful color reproduction. An Air Sphere Coating has also been applied to lens elements in order to reduce lens flare and ghosting for more contrast-rich imagery. Benefitting the optical components of the lens, a four-stop effective Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake and can be dedicated to different styles of shooting. Furthermore, a redeveloped rotation-type zoom ring pairs with an internal focusing mechanism, and an Ultrasonic Motor, to deliver quick and intuitive handling to benefit handheld shooting. Positioned as a versatile option for sports and wildlife photographers, this lens’ list of attributes make it a viable telephoto zoom for a variety of shooting applications.
Housed within a weather-resistant barrel, this lens also features fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements for protection against fingerprints and smudges from affecting image quality. Zoom control is complemented by a dedicated tension ring for adjusting zoom torque. Additionally, other refined design elements include a tripod collar that can be attached or detached with the lens mounted to the camera and an included lens hood that permits easy control over specialty filters with the hood in place.
- Telephoto zoom 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is compatible with full-frame EOS DSLRs, as well as APS-C sized sensors where it will provide a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 160-640mm.
- One fluorite element and one Super UD (Ultra Low Dispersion) element help to correct chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range for a high degree of sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy.
- An Air Sphere Coating (ASC) has been applied to lens elements to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting for maintained light transmission and high contrast in strong lighting conditions.
- An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed stops to better enable working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds. Additionally, three dedicated image stabilization modes are available-Standard, Panning, and During Exposure Only-and can be selectively employed to suit a variety of types of shooting.
- An Ultrasonic Motor (USM), along with an internal focusing system, high-speed CPU, and optimized AF algorithms, are employed to deliver fast, precise, and near-silent autofocus performance.
- The rotation-type zoom ring offers precise adjustment between zoom positions, especially when shooting handheld, and a zoom torque adjustment ring enables easy setting of the zoom tension for personalized control.
- A weather-resistant design protects the lens from dust and moisture to enable its use in inclement conditions. Additionally, fluorine coatings have also been applied to the front and rear lens elements for further protection against fingerprints and smudging.
- Nine rounded diaphragm blades contribute to a pleasing out of focus quality that benefits the use of shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques.
- A redeveloped tripod collar can be attached or detached from the lens without having to remove the lens from the camera.
- The included ET-83D lens hood incorporates a side window for easier adjustment of rotating filters with the hood in place.
Once again, you can get your Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens from B&H with this link!
What About my 200-400mm!?
I know that some of you will be wondering what this means for my 200-400mm, of which I speak so highly. Well, that is not going anywhere. The ability to just flick in that 1.4X extender, increasing the range to 560mm is priceless, and the sharpness is second to none. Better than most prime lenses.
But, it’s heavy, and really not that hand-holdable for any length of time. Two hours on a boat shooting Sea Eagles is about as much as is possible, and even that’s with lots of rests. With the 100-400mm, you can simply keep the camera to your eye for longer. It will be my lens of choice for wildlife while hand-holding, and I’ll still use the 200-400mm whenever I need that bit of extra reach, or when I can use a tripod.
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