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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS
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07/09/2006 12:01:21 PM · #1
I'm in the market for a lens. I've done some research and it seems like the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS is the best bet.

I hope to use the lens mostly for shooting surfing, skateboarding, soccer, wildlife, and candids. In some of these situations I will not be able to use a tri-pod or mono-pod. I am pretty small, only 5 ft and not especially buffed out or anything... will I be able to hold up doing it handheld?
07/09/2006 12:13:49 PM · #2
Woah girl! That's one serious handfull of a lens there!

DANG!

Not only that, but the push/pull mechanism can be a bit stiff and difficult to use hand-held even for the best of them...

Have you actually put one on your camera and tried it out?

I've tried out the 100-400 and the 35-350... I found both of them to be excellent optically and quite responsive with very accurate autofocusing, but just a pain in the rump to hand-hold...

Trouble is, most stuff of that size is...

have you had a look at the 100-300 f/4? (EDIT)

Definitely get your hands on them and try them out... At that price point, you don't want to be making hasty decisions and regretting them.

There's a 100-400 at the local 2nd hand shop here in Taipei, but it mostly sits around... Hard to sell the really big stuff... sometimes..

Another one to check out is the new Tokina 80-400 f/4.5-5.6. You don't get IS, but it's probably a bit lighter and easier to use...

EDIT: Didn't notice that stiffness dial thing when I tried it... Still found it a bit large for using that style and handholding... Maybe it is like the other things and you just get used to it....

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:26:09.
07/09/2006 12:17:44 PM · #3
Actually, the push pull is not really stiff at all. There is a ring that you turn to make it as stiff as you want it. I usually loosen it all the way when shooting and tighten it when ready to put away.

Though a bit heavy it can be hand held. A monopod is another option.

The IS helps a bit as well.
07/09/2006 12:23:37 PM · #4
What lenses do you have at the moment, Shannon? That way you'll be able to see how much heavier the 100-400 is.

Bear in mind IS will only help if your subject is stationary. For sports the IS is less useful.

Canon 100-400: 3 lbs
Sigma 120-300: 5.7 lbs

HUGE difference there..

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:25:13.
07/09/2006 12:26:57 PM · #5
This will be my first lens for this camera. However... for my Nikon film camera I have an RMC Tokina 80-200 mm and i don't feel 200 mm will be enough reach, especially for surfing shots

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:27:14.
07/09/2006 12:27:35 PM · #6
Though the 100-400 has 2 modes of IS. Mode 2 could be used for panning shots.
07/09/2006 12:28:46 PM · #7
Is the Tokina 80-200 f/2.8 throughout the range? If so it weighs 2.96 lbs.

... if not, it probably weights 1.5 to 2 lbs.

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:30:36.
07/09/2006 12:31:03 PM · #8
i believe it's f/4.0
07/09/2006 12:33:18 PM · #9
The 80-200 is probably 1.75 lbs or similar. The 100-400 is an extra 1.25 lbs on top of that, plus your camera may be heavier (although the 350D is reasonably light).

Get out the kitchen scales and some books to gauge the weight. That's what I did for my laptop!
07/09/2006 12:34:22 PM · #10
Originally posted by PaulMdx:

The 80-200 is probably 1.75 lbs or similar. The 100-400 is an extra 1.25 lbs on top of that, plus your camera may be heavier (although the 350D is reasonably light).

Get out the kitchen scales and some books to gauge the weight. That's what I did for my laptop!


alrighty! thanks for your help :)

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:34:41.
07/09/2006 12:36:25 PM · #11
Do you need the 400mm? Otherwise I'd say unless you really want to spend that much money pick up a 70-300 IS. It's quite light, very sharp and the IS is a generation newer so works better handheld. My only concern is that the lens may not be what you need since you're going to be shooting surfing/skateboarding which I would imagine is pretty fast and requires a fast shutter speed.

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 12:40:55.
07/09/2006 12:51:20 PM · #12
You might want to consider something like the Sigma 70-200mm, with a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter. That will give you the reach you want and may be a little cheaper and just a little lighter, but will also give you more flexibility - you'll have the 70-200 when you need it, and when you need more range, just slap the teleconverter on.

This is sorta' unconventional advice, but when it comes to spending that much cash, it might be worth considering all your options.

Good luck!
07/09/2006 12:56:28 PM · #13
Originally posted by cresus:

Do you need the 400mm? Otherwise I'd say unless you really want to spend that much money pick up a 70-300 IS. It's quite light, very sharp and the IS is a generation newer so works better handheld.


Very good advice. Speed shouldn't be a big issue since you'll be outdoors, and the lens is MUCH smaller and lighter than the 100-400.
07/09/2006 12:57:17 PM · #14
I own the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and man what an amazingling sharp lens this is. I also have just ordered the Kenko 1.4TC for it. I think for the money you cant beat this combination. I'd suggest this for just around $1000 USD.

MattO
07/09/2006 01:00:53 PM · #15
I have both the 100-400 and the 70-300. I carry the 70-300 much more often because I can handhold it for a full day of shooting. It's also a lot less noticible, a lot easier to carry around and, at the beach with sand and water, I would mind a lot less if it got damaged.

Both lenses are great choices.
07/09/2006 01:18:47 PM · #16
awesome! thank you all so much for your advice! i will definitely be looking into the 70-300mm as an option! thanks again!

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 13:19:33.
07/09/2006 02:16:33 PM · #17
check out the sigma 80-400 OS, it's optically similar to the canon 100-400L but it's not a push pull design, it's a twist design like most lenses. It won't focus quite as fast either, but i've seen some tack sharp shots of even jet airplanes with that lens.
07/09/2006 02:58:10 PM · #18
I have the Canon 100-400 and I have enjoyed it. You are wanting to shoot surfing and wildlife - therefore you really want the largest lens you can afford and hold. I have been pretty successful handholding this lens - but I prefer to use it with a tripod. I also have the Sigma 300-800 - and I think that I get much better shots on surfing and wildlife with it, but it is a lot more expensive, bulky to carry around and requires a heavy tripod. I used my 100-400 recently when I went to the zoo in San Diego. I carried my tripod with it and was pleased with my shots.

You might also look at the Canon 400 and the Canon 500 fixed lens because with a fixed lens you can add teleconverters to bring your subject closer. Teleconverters do not work as well with zoom lenses.
07/09/2006 02:59:45 PM · #19
sigma 300-800 5.6 *drools* 13 pounds of amazingness :-)
07/09/2006 03:12:20 PM · #20
Originally posted by Mary Ann Melton:

You might also look at the Canon 400 and the Canon 500 fixed lens

The Canon 500mm/4L is a tad on the expensive side at $5499.

I'm not sure which 400 you meant, Mary, but the 400mm/5.6L is a slightly more accessible $1099.
07/09/2006 03:40:57 PM · #21
Consider the Tamron 200-500 f5-6.3. It's not quite as sharp as the 100-400 but is a little bit lighter at 2.7 vs 3 pounds, and it has longer reach. Selling at B&H for $849 after a $30 rebate.

There is also the Sigma 80-400 f4.5-5.6 OS, it is heavier at 3.6 pounds but it has stabilization and sells for $999.

Most importantly, you should try to get to feel how they feel on your camera and in your hands.
07/09/2006 04:04:02 PM · #22
100-400 is a very flexable lens. The only other option I was considering was the sigma 50-500, but in test shots at the camera store the I.S. won me over. It was a little more $$ but I have never regretted it. The 70-300 is a great little lens but lacks sharpness @ a distance. I own both.
07/09/2006 04:50:42 PM · #23
I don't have anything to add about that lens, but I'd bet you won't like shooting skating with a >100mm lens. Even a 28-75 is pretty long at the wide end for my taste.

But you're lucky, if the skaters are male they'll throw down their good stuff to try and impress you, haha
07/09/2006 05:17:58 PM · #24
Yes, the Canon 500 is expensive. But the 400mm fixed lens is not bad - and you'll get the advantage of potentially sharper photos and better image quality with the fixed lens. Plus in theory the teleconverters work better with the fixed lens - and a 2X converter gives you the equivalent of an 800mm lens at a more reasonable price.

I have used teleconverters with my 100-400 - but they work best when you are close to the subject and can focus manually and have bright lighting. And image quality (as well as you lose light when you add the teleconverter) is not as good - partly because you are adding extra glass and partly because of the light issues.
07/09/2006 05:34:20 PM · #25
Canon 100-400 = 3.0 lbs
Canon 400 5.6 = 2.8 lbs
Sigma 50-500 = 4.1 lbs

The 100-400 has a versitil range, not REALLY that heavy especially for what you're getting, great IQ, USM, and IS. You will be very happy with this lens I'm sure. Get it, and enjoy :)
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