300mm f/4 + 1.4x TC vs 100-400mm

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by simon_t|1, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. I have a 100-400mm and tend to keep it, I love it.
    But wish to add a 300mm f/4 + 1.4TC. May I ask if The result at 420 would be better than the zoom, ignore the extra 20mm on the prime just image quality wise.
    Thanks,
    Simon.
     
  2. probably equal or better, especially stopped down a bit. i'd bet it would be substantially better. i use the 1.4 converter with 70-200 f4 IS with almost no degradation. in practical terms, there is no degradation. on a prime the results would be better.
     
  3. from the results i see from the 100 to 400, i really would not bother.
     
  4. here's a comparison. the prime + 1.4 converter seems to have better contrast. the zoom has better resolving ability

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=111&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLIComp=7&APIComp=2&LensComp=113&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLI=1&API=3
     
  5. Have shot both. The 300+TC is noticeably sharper.
     
  6. i think the guy that runs the site either has a mark I converter or there is something wrong with the one he's using. my results with the 1.4 II are much better than his. so, the 300 + 1.4 (mark II) is probably better than digital picture's results indicate. i would imagine the combo is preferable to 100-400
     
  7. I thought long and hard about this, and decided to go for the 300 f/4L IS. It's a stop faster compared with the long end of the zoom, and just all around handy.
     
  8. This is "one of those topics" that a lot of folks ask about. I went though the decision-making process regarding the same two lenses myself and ended up (happily, it turns out) with the 100-400. Here are some things to consider:
    1. You'll hear (in this thread and elsewhere) different comparisons between the IQ of the zoom at 400mm and the prime/TC at 420mm. The bottom line seems to be that a) there might be some difference, b) it is probably pretty small, and c) some thing one is "better" while others think the other is "better."
    2. 20mm won't make a significant difference.
    3. Both (zoom and prime/TC) are better at 300mm than at their longer lengths - and both are quite good, though pixel-peepers might think they see some improvement in the prime, especially wide open.
    4. Both will be at f/5.6 at the long end.
    In the end selecting one over the other for "better IQ at 400mm or 420mm" is probably not a great idea. Both are fine. (If you want the best possible IQ at 400mm you would probably want a 400mm prime - though the improvement might or might not be significant in your particular types of photography.)
    Shooting style issues and related needs are probably a more important determinant. If you think that you need a 300mm prime and secondarily want it to occasionally do double-duty at 420mm then the prime plus TC is probably a fine choice. If you want to cover a wider focal length range with more flexibility then the zoom is a fine choice. Also keep in mind that to move from one FL to another with the prime you need to a) remove the prime, b) fit the TC, ) reinstall prime/TC. On the zoom you need to... zoom. Also, in terms of storage/packing the zoom is a smaller package than the prime plus TC.
    Dan
     
  9. I reviewed that combination (at least the 100-400IS L and the 300L(non_IS) and saw little difference. This is a quote from my review:
    As you can see, there's very little difference between the 100-400IS and the 300/4 + 1.4x TC. Both give excellent images with good contrast and sharpness. Both are a little better when stopped down a stop then when shot wide open.​
    At 300mm, as you would expect, the 300/4 is better (and faster)
    See http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/reviews/ef_100_400_l_is_review2.html for image samples.
     
  10. Thanks to all for your help
    I reviewed that combination (at least the 100-400IS L and the 300L(non_IS) and saw little difference. This is a quote from my review:
    Bob is it worth the difference.
    i think the guy that runs the site either has a mark I converter or there is something wrong with the one he's using. my results with the 1.4 II are much better than his. so, the 300 + 1.4 (mark II) is probably better than digital picture's results indicate.
    Alan: The combo I will include is a markII TC.
     
  11. I tested the MkI and MkII converters a whike back and I could see no appreciable difference is sharpness between the MkI and the MkII. In fact I returned the MKII models and kept my MkI.
    BTW my view of the 100-400 changed between a review I did about 10 years ago and I reviews I did last year. The second (newer) 100-400 seemed significantly sharper at 400mm than the old one was. As far as I know Canon never announced any optical updates on this lens, but maybe they just got better at making it (or maybe I got a below par sample the first time around).
    I will say that the 300/4L is one of my favorite lenses. Small, sharp and (when I bought it sometime in the mid 1990s) relatively inexpensive for a high quality telephoto. I found mine to be just fractionally sharper (and significantly more resistant to flare) than the current IS version.
     
  12. I went through exactly the same decision making process. I ended up with the 300mm + 1.4. It really does perform exceptionally well with the 1.4x extender. But for me the best bit is using the naked 300mm. It is absolutely razor sharp, even wide open. If I need less focal length I can't zoom out... but I can use my 200mm f2.8. I agree that a zoom is very handy but I hate push/pull zooms which aided my decision.
     
  13. Simon, it's your money but I can't imagine it would be worth it to buy the 300+TC just to get the small amount of improvement in image quality that I think you'd get. Unless your 100-400 is significantly worse than mine. If you didn't already own the zoom, then you may indeed choose the prime +TC, but you already have (and like) the zoom. Maybe your quality requirements are much higher than mine, but I can come up with a dozen things I'd use that money for instead.
     
  14. If you want to improve image quality at 400mm then the obvious choice is the 400/5.6L. Of course it doesn't have AF, but it would be a much better use of money than a 300/4L + TC if maximizing image quality at 400mm is your only goal.
    However if the want the sharpest, fastest 300mm lens and can't afford (or don't want to carry) the 300/2.8L, then the 300/4L is a great lens.
     
  15. To echo Bob's sage advice - the 2.8 is the benchmark - and with that in mind here's some observations on, and pics from, the various 300's, 100-400, and 500mm for comparison. Totally unscientific but may be of interest.
    http://www.john.macpherson.btinternet.co.uk/lenstech.html
    For me its worth the extra weight of the 300 f2.8 to have its astonishing quality at 300mm, razor sharp 420mm with the 1.4x , and really usable 600mm with the 2x. Others mileage may vary, but - the 100-400 I owned was excellent - a very capable performer, capable of publication quality images through its range and very flexible. Ok its not as sharp as numerous other lenses you could mention, but its a 100-400 for goodness sake, in a very compact form, with Image Stablisation. What else could you want :)
     
  16. I own both the 100-400 and the 300+1.4 and shoot with them both an awful lot. Both produce the quality of image you would expect for an L. The 100-400 produces the versatility you would expect for a zoom and in good light, produces some very good images. In poor light you have to push the iso hard to get acceptable shutter speeds. The 300/4 is superb, and with or without the 1.4x it produces really delightful images. For some inexplicable reason, the 400/5.6 of the 300+1.4 seems easier to cope with than the zoom.
    The the deciding point would be whether you want versitility or are just interested in length. (The 400/5.6 doesn't have IS, but I thought it did have AF).
     
  17. If you want to improve image quality at 400mm then the obvious choice is the 400/5.6L. Of course it doesn't have AF,​
    The 400 5.6 does have auto focus
    This link has been posted when the 400 questions come up.
    http://www.ejphoto.com/400mm_shoot_out_page.htm
     
  18. "The 400 5.6 does have auto focus"

    I am sure Bob meant to say IS, not AF.
     
  19. I have a 100-400mm and tend to keep it, I love it.​
    Then I see no reason to add 300/4 IS and a 1.4X TC.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  20. i am purchasing the 1.4x mkII for my 300mm f4 L lens. should be a nice combo.
     
  21. Kyle illustrates a good point - if you already have the 300mm prime and it really works then adding the 1.4 TC makes a lot of sense and is a great way to extend the range of the lens. If you are starting "from scratch" and trying to decide which option is "best" for you there are more factors to balance.
    Dan
     

Share This Page