Canon Lense Recommendation: 400 5.6 (non-IS) -or- 100-400 IS

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alien Clumps, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Alien Clumps

    Alien Clumps Guest

    For my 20D that I intend to purchase, I am having an excruciating,
    painful time trying to decide which lense to put into my outfit.

    I like the 100-400 in that it has IS, and of course, zoom.

    I like the 400 5.6 because it is prime, sharper lense, etc.

    I saw numerous pics posted on various websites for each lense. They
    are all outstanding (the oustanding ones that i viewed).

    I love closeups. I intend to do some birding along with other nature
    shots. No sports. No archetecure. Pure nature.

    So I need some more opinions on the 2 lenses plus some experience. I
    sure do appreciate it!

    Alien Clumps, Sep 20, 2004
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  2. Alien Clumps

    You know who Guest

    Well, it's not a fair fight, is it? The 100-400 is nearly one third more
    money, has IS and a variable focal length and only 0.20lbs heavier according
    to BHPHOTO. I have the 100-400 because I like being able to frame things
    close and far, without moving forward or backward. I read on DPREVIEW
    comments from those who tried the prime and said it is no sharper than the
    zoom. This was after I bought mine so I was glad to hear it (OK, maybe a
    little biased here!). That said, I have never had a sharpness issue with
    mine, even with a Canon 1.4x TC on a 300D and a 1D.
    You know who, Sep 20, 2004
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  3. Alien Clumps

    S Lee Guest

    Alien Clumps choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to
    spell out:

    This one is a toughie :)

    From Art Morris's site:

    I bought the straight 400 after considering the same question. In my
    situation though, I already have a 70-200 and just really needed the
    extra extra length at 400. The 100-400 is flexible on its own though,
    and much less to carry around. I'm still perhaps a little bit
    ambivalent, but I like toys :)
    While you can use the 400 without a tripod, if you are planning on having
    a tripod along that evens things out a bit between the two lenses.
    S Lee, Sep 20, 2004
  4. Alien Clumps

    Bill Hilton Guest

    My wife has the 400 f/5.6 L and I have the 100-400 IS and I've used both a fair
    amount. I prefer the 400 for shooting birds in flight since it will autofocus
    faster, especially with the Mark II. I prefer the 100-400 for shooting from a
    confined area like a viewing platform or shuttle bus in Alaska (though I didn't
    take it with me on my most recent trip), and the IS is very useful for when you
    have to hand-hold.

    I also have the 500 f/4, 300 f/4 and 70-200 f/2.8 L lenses so generally take
    the 100-400 only when space is a premium and when I think I'll need to
    hand-hold a lot. When I drive I usually leave it home.

    For most people I think the 100-400 is more useful and a better all-around
    choice, and the IS makes it very handy. With the 70-200, 300 and 400 fixed
    lenses I'm pretty well covered over this focal range so when space is not an
    issue and I won't be doing much handholding I prefer to take two of those three
    (almost always the 70-200 f/2.8 and just one of the others).

    Get the 100-400 unless you have good coverage at the shorter focal lengths as
    well, I feel. The 400 is more of a speciality lens, not as generically useful
    as the 4:1 zoom with IS.

    Bill Hilton, Sep 20, 2004
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