100-400 mm or 300 f/4 is and 1.4 extender ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by black_bishop, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. im between those two, i like the versatility of the zoom, but i think the images will be much better on the 300, and with the extender on a canon 50d will be a bit longer.
    dont know if the 1.4 extender will cause less sharpness and loss of iq, any advices on the issue ?
  2. Yes, I pondered with the same question last year and decided to go for the 300 + 1.4 and I am still pleased I did. My main reason for avoiding the 100-400 is because I hate push/pull zooms. Not only that, the IQ on the bare 300mm lens will be way better than the zoom and even with the extender attached I don't think it will be any worse than the 100-400. I also own the 70-200 f2.8 IS so I wouldn't often use the lower end of the 100-400 zoom anyway as I already have it on my 70-200.
    If you can live without the flexibility of a zoom then go for it.
  3. I have the 70-200mm F4 L is/usm and the 300mm F/4 L is/usm and the ex1.4 tc.
    The photos are tack sharp on the 70-200 with the 1.4 and the 300 as well, no loss of quality.
    The 100-400 F4 L that belongs to a friend of mine says that the photos are visibly not as sharp on that zoom with the extender, especially on the long end.
    IF you use the 2x you will loose af, but could get very long and use manual focusing.
    I use these on my canon 40d 1.6 crop factor. So, with the long lenses and the 1.4 you are getting pretty far out there.
    TO see actual photos of all these lenses and set ups go to www.photosig.com/go/photos and look on the left side and pick to see photos by the lens type. Then you can see for yourself.
    Maybe you could find a 100-400 to try before committing because the push pull is not liked by everybody.
    IF birds are something you want this set up for, go look up the web site called 'birds as art'.
    best wishes
  4. I went with the 300 and 1.4 combo myself. Remember the 100-400 is f/5.6 at 300mm if I am not mistaken so that is a stop right there advantage. I like primes myself so I'm ok with taking away some of the zoom's flexibility.
  5. It really all depends how you will use the lens. If you constantly shoot at the long end, then by all means get the 300 f/4. If on the other hand you want/need the flexibility of intermediate focal lengths, then the 100-400 is the way to go. I got the 100-400 because I use it for landscape shots as well as wildlife photography. I hike a lot and that lens is always in my backpack. I use the entire range with that lens and the zoom's mechanism never caused any issues for me. Tough choice!
  6. thanks for the answers, i will have to see a 100-400mm, im afraid i wont like much the push-pull @/, and yes, i didnt think if im gonna use it most for 300-400 mm or also at 150, 250 mm
    i dont know if i cant live comfortable with a prime yet
    merry xmas
  7. i have another question, with a 1.4 extender and the 100-400 i will lost autofocus, i dont care about that much, but the IQ will decrease too much ?
    it will be amazing to reach more than 800mm, i think a little amount of birds wont get caught with such thing ( it will be for a canon 50d)
  8. how about 400 f/5.6?
  9. My advice is to avoid the 2x extender, it just doesn't cut it and you will be disappointed with the quality. I occasionally use the 1.4x on my 70-200 f2.8 but it does give an obvious quality loss, especially on crop cameras like the 50D. I also think using the 1.4x and the 100-400 will give quite poor results and of course, no AF. Have you considered the 400mm f5.6? It doesn't have IS unfortunately but the lens quality is superb. Again, no AF with an extender but the quality will still be good.
    I considered all these different options last year and still went for the 300mm + 1.4.
  10. I've got the 300/4+1.4x.
    It's a superb combination and gives very good results. My one gripe about the 300/4 is how fragile the rear ring of the integral lens hood is. The lens hood comes apart with annoying regularity, but it's now about 3 years old and gets a huge amount of use. I missed a shot only today because I was reassembling the hood
    I have tried the 100-400 and I know a lot of other polo photographers use it, but I'm not fully convinced.
  11. I think the 100-400 is a love it or hate it lens. I've not had any issues with the hood on my 300mm but I haven't used it that much yet (unfortunately). I do think the built in hood is a huge benefit though and far superior to the cheap plastic bayonet hoods that you usually get.
  12. One of the standard questions...
    If your primary issue is performance _at_ 300mm, then the prime can do better at that focal length - but not by very much. If you need the prime badly enough for your 300mm shooting that are willing to deal with adding/removing at TC to get 420mm you'll get IQ there that is similar to but perhaps slightly less good that what you get from the 100-400 at 400mm.
    If you need flexibility - e.g. you want to be able to photograph the bear with it is a ways off and then when you have retreated to your car and it is right outside... - the zoom has some real advantages.
    I use the 100-400 zoom. I went back and forth between the same two lenses before making my choice. Even as I made the choice I was a bit concerned about the supposed issues with the 100-400 at 400mm. Frankly, mine is very good at that focal length. While it is even better at shorter FLs, it is just fine at the long end and the photographs stand up well to enlargement.
    You can, as you know, use the 1.4X TC on the 300mm prime to get a 420mm f/5.6 lens. You cannot (at least without resorting to some less than wonderful trickery) use the 1.4x TC on the 100-400mm zoom in most cases. Most Canon DSLRs won't AF if the largest aperture is smaller than f/5.6. At the long end with the 1.4x TC your 100-400mm zoom will have a f/8 aperture. This will work on some of the 1-series cameras that can AF at f/8, but not on others.
    For me, the main thing is to think through what and how you shoot. Yes, there are subtle differences in IQ between these lenses, but they cut both ways. And compared to the IQ differences the functional differences are quite significant. That is pretty much what clinched it for me.
  13. If you haven't seen it you might want to take a look at a comparison of the 100-400 and 300mm lenses (with and without TCs) that I did some time ago - http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/reviews/ef_100_400_l_is_review.html - make sure you follow the link to the sample images. Note that I tested the non-IS version of the 300/4L, but that shouldn't make much difference.
    The 300/4L images aren't MUCH better than the 100-400 images. Slightly better, especially at the edges when wide open though - and of course at 300mm the 300/4L has a 1 stop advantage which can be important it times. The 300mm is also lighter and cheaper.
    I'd say the main advantage of the 300/4 is the faster speed, which would be something you would need for sports and action work (birds in flight, motor racing, running animals). It can also give you a shallowe depth of field to better isolate your subject. If that (and size, weight and cost) isn't an issue, then the 100-400 is obviously more versatile.
  14. 100-400mm is an IS lens, and I think, 300mm is not. At 300+mm length, IS is critical when shooting in the woods or similar situation.
    If you tape a few pins, you can get 1-400mm+1.4X Kenko to autofocus, but it will be slower.
  15. I had the 300/4 IS, used it with 1.4 got great results. But I sold it to get the 100-400 for the versatility. Could tell a small bit of diff but not enough to count in an actual print.
    Used the 100-400 with my Kenko 1.4, no AF, but good quality. Would not use 2x on either lens for a quality shot, okay for surveillance in divorce cases I guess.
  16. "100-400mm is an IS lens, and I think, 300mm is not."
    There is an IS version of the 300mm f/4.
  17. I went through this decision also. I did a ton of research here in the old forums and came up with this conclusion: The 400mm 5.6 I decided no to because it lacks IS and IS is a big advantage. The 100-400 is very close in IQ to the 300+1.4. The 100-400 is much more versatile. When shooting photos of birds, you may come across a bigger bird right in front of you. With a 300+1.4 you have one choice of focal lenghts. You could try to change, but you will probably spook it. What are you going to be photographing? I would think about the range you will be using the most. Will you really be using it at 300 alot to justify the claimed better IQ? OR would you be using it at 400 most of the time anyway? Also the lens is designed with a push pull for a reason. The lens weighs 3 pounds so when holding it you are really HOLDING it. How would you have one hand using the camera controls and the other holding the bulk of your 4 lb plus lens/camera weight and then turning a ring to zoom all the way from 100-400? I think this is a good design by Canon. I think alot of people put it down without thinking it through or trying it. Anyway, it's just push or pull, how hard can it be?
  18. I use the 400 f5.6 , and I must say that this lens delivers the sharpest images at 400 I have seen, even wide open.
    My other favourite lenses are the superb Leica Apo Summicron R 90 f2.0 Asph. and the Leica Summilux M 35 f1.4
    I haven't used any Canon lens ( or Nikon for that matter ) that can come close to the image quality these two Leica lenses can deliver, but the 400 f5.6 is pretty close!
    But I come from LF photography. So fixed focal lenses are a norm, not a limiting factor.
  19. <p>I have the 100-400 and love it. I also love the push/pull zoom. In Alaska recently I would have missed tons of shots without it. It is a very easy to use this lens. Very sharp from what I can see. I would at a minimum suggest you rent the two lenses and see what you think. I would not consider giving up the versatility of the 100-400 for a 300. No advantages in doing so if you ask me. Try them both out and see which fits your needs best. All the wildlife images below were taken with the 100-400. I was on a boat, far from the animals, so most images are very heavily cropped. Still pretty sharp considering this.<br>

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