Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II - Is it Really Worth it?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by marc epstein, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. The long waited for upgrade EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II is now becoming more available but I really have not read that many post that mentions a huge advantage given the cost. That do you think - is it really worth it?

  2. When I saw the definite reality-based news that the II was coming out, and saw the new price,
    I went to B&H and got the old one for a sale price. So for this shooter at least, the old one is plenty good enough.
    I see no reason for ME to upgrade. Were I doing lots of work at its extremes, I might have done differently.
    I think the old one was more likely to have been confused with a rocket-launcher, especially if you worked for an Arab-language news source.
  3. Read this review and use the tools to compare the lenses for yourself:
    I wouldn't hesitate to go for the Series II, but you can see for yourself if you'd be happy with the older lens.
  4. I shoot two swim meets in the Winter and early Spring at BU and Harvard respectively. I had the old 100-400L
    and now have the 100-400II. Because of lighting conditions I have always used an old 70-200L as I was
    reluctantant to go higher than 3200 ISO in low indoor light. I took the new 100-400 and shot some pictures at
    ISO 6400 with a 7DII. These pictures came out surprisingly well and I shot one day of the three day meet with it.
    I even got one good print at ISO 12800. The 100-400 is much sharper at 400 than the older lens in my two
    samples. Formerly I only used the old 100-400 in daylight and it did a reasonably good job. The new one will now
    go with me indoors because it appears to be more effective in handling higher ISOs with the 7DII and it is
    inherently sharper. The minimum focal difference is now down to three feet from six which allows for more close
    head shots. I am really pleased with the purchase.
  5. Marc,
    I did not have the older version of this lens, so mine was not really an upgrade in a true sense. Yeah, it is expensive but for me it is well worth it. I love the versatility of the zoom and it pairs well with my 5D3 for birds in flight. I also use it some on the original 7D, but The AF system on the 5D3 is way ahead so I have been gravitating in that direction. Now I am looking at the 7D2 for its AF capabilities. Funny how one purchase points you to another! I have been shooting mainly handheld for BIF and get a pretty good hit rate.
    I think the older push-pull action would have been a learning curve vs. the conventional zoom of the new lens. Haven’t really explore IS mode 3 much yet, so cannot comment on that. The IS is supposed to be good for 4 stops vs. 3 stops on the old version, but ymmv on that score. I just did not want any regrets for not buying the II version and am happy with that decision.
    Good luck!
  6. Marc,
    I have used the old version of this lens for many years. I was very impressed with the Mk II when I upgraded. Sharpness contrast and color are all much improved across the full zoom range of the lens in my opinion. For me it was definitely worth the price.
  7. Thanks for all the feedback. I'm still on the fence considering the price and advantage at this point. But maybe. Being a new lens that's hard to find, maybe there will be some more post about it. Just the lack of seeing a lot of photographers posting about it has made me wonder. So, if anyone has had the opportunity to use it, good, bad, or in between, it would be great to know what you think. No right or wrong answer here. Just a photographer's experence / opinion about a new lens.
  8. Marc. It depends upon what you use the lens for. First, it's what they say in the reviews, as all Canon L lenses
    it is extremely well made. I have a seventeen year old 70-200 2.8 L lens that is still in regular use. I have a 1.4
    xtender that gives it greater capability. I have used the 70-200 for weddings, lots of high school sports,
    newspaper work, and wildlife and even in the studio for portraits. It is a very versatile lens. It should be noted
    that the current 70-200 L IS is in the same price range as the 100-400. The 100-400 with or without the
    xtender is much better for wildlife. I had a 2x extender for the 70-200 that was not very sharp but I hear the
    current 2x III is very good. I never used the old 100-400 as much as the 70-200. As I said above it was kind
    of an epiphany for me to shoot the 100-400 II indoors at ISO 6400. These images need processing for noise
    and proper contrast but they work well on the web. I also got some some really decent 8.5 x11 prints as a
    bonus. This summer I will shoot a meet or two outdoors. I got some pretty stunning pictures with the old 100-
    400 where i could get shutter speeds over 1/2000th. Lets face it I think the new 100-400 is somewhat an
    extravagance that I could easily do without. I traded the old 100-400 and a camera body for it so it was not
    that much out of pocked. Having said that I don't know how you could make a 100-400 at that price much
    better. The thing focuses quickly and quietly, the IS really works, and is really good close focusing when a bird
    gets too close for 400mm. It really suits my needs. After all I have to, somehow, justify my purchase.
  9. Marc,
    I provided a comment earlier (about a month ago to another post) on this subject. My wife, had the original and now the series II 100-400 canon lens. She thought the series II was a big improvement however, I notice that in her back yard bird blind she no longer uses the 100-400 series II but just her Canon 600/4 series II lens. I asked for her comment and she would not offer any advice. You will have to draw your own conclusions.
  10. Good Lord Gerald, the Series II Canon 500mm and 600mm are incomparable. When I moved from the EF 500mm f/4L IS to the Series II version of the same lens, I was blown away by the improvement in contrast and color. I didn't think it was possible to improve so much. Take that and 50% more pixels on the subject and no one's going to use a 100-400mm zoom when they've got that in their bag. Good as the 100-400mm II is, it can't compete with Canon's new, big primes.

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