Customer Reviews

11
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
Price:$10,999.00+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
I have had this lens for over a month and have used it at horse shows, rodeos and on wildlife and landscapes. It is such an amazing lens. I am using it on a Canon 1Dx and Canon 5D M3. With both cameras the focus is extremely fast (no lag). I love the fact that I can switch back and forth between having the teleconverter off or on. The images are unbelievably crisp, even with the teleconverter on. The crispness is through out the entire photo, edge to edge. I have not had any problems with chromatic aberration. There is very faint vignetting when shooting wide open at the furthest distance, with the teleconverter on, but it is barely noticeable. The bokeh is beautiful....I have noticed a rather interesting crystal looking bokeh when taking pictures of a foreground object with fog or dust in the background. It is unusual but not unpleasant....
There are 4 buttons surrounding the lens toward the front. You can press any of those buttons and lock the focus for 10 seconds which has worked great with some of my rodeo pictures and jumping photos.
The lens comes in a heavy, sturdy suitcase.....Yes the lens is heavy, but I carry it in a Tamrac long lens backpack that carries the lens attached to the camera at the same time. With my Canon 1Dx and the 200-400mm lens together, the total weight is 15 lbs. I have been mounting it on a Monostat Monopod with a Really Right Stuff Monopod head and Really Right Stuff Long Lens Support System for added stability. I also have used it on a RRS Gimbal Head which makes it much easier to handle for birding. All and all, this has become my favorite lens. The quality of images really blows me away. I will try to post some images if I can figure out how to do it....
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2014
I have used this lens all over the U.S. and Eastern Africa as well. Performance of the lens is top notch as to be expected by the price tag. It's not light, but it's not too heavy either. It is probably canon's most versatile lens outside of the 70-200mm 2.8 IS II.

Owning this lens eliminates most of the needs of several others. Need 200-800mm range or anything in between, this lens has you covered. To get to the 800mm length, you need to add a 1.4x teleconverter + the internal 1.4x and use either a 5d III or a 1D series body. I have achieved excellent results using the 1.4x internal and an external 1.4x teleconverter.

If you own other superteles, owning this lens will definately make you rack your brain deciding if you need that 300mm 2.8 IS II, 400mm 2.8 IS II, 500mm IS II, or even the 600mm IS II. This lens can pretty much match them in the IQ department.

Yes it is expensive but like most things in life, you usually get what you pay for.
review image review image review image review image review image review image review image
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 12, 2013
The downside of this lens is obviously the cost and that is an unavoidable issue that each individual will have to weigh up considering the possible use. This review however is intended to address the issue of whether the use of a lens with incorporated extender compromises sharpness of imaging as some have suggested.

Since purchasing this lens, and living in the Highlands of Scotland, it has become a much used favourite lens and is used in conjunction with the 24-70L II and the 70-200L II for alternative versions of the same subjects. All three of these lenses deliver the same levels of sharpness in practice. The otherwise excellent EF300L prime has been retained for rapid hand holding when the required stability cannot be provided for the 200-400mm f/4L.

In actual use, the new lens is certainly as sharp as the other lenses mentioned above but is also far more demanding in its use. It requires absolute stability to achieve best or even adequate results. This has been achieved by wrapping strips of rubber draft excluder around the hood which enables the car roof or other handy objects to be used for stability without damaging either the lens body or the support. This is far quicker and more stable than using a tripod.

Using this simple but effective technique, recent images taken of a ferry going across the local river at just under 2 miles were so sharp that the registration plates of the vehicles could easily be read. The images were so sharp that the customer, for whom the images were taken, could not use them as they felt it breached data confidentiality. I provide this as a simple example of how sharp this lens can be when used with total stability in real life situations.

What it cannot do well is take images of moving objects such as birds in flight or anything from a moving object like a ship. The lens is simply too long and heavy for accurate hand use and tripods are inappropriate. I would suggest that such hand holding use is unlikely to work well in practice because of the lack of required stability and that may explain the reservations made elsewhere. Other lenses of varying lengths are easier to use and likely to achieve better results when used via hand holding.

This review has been specifically provided to tackle the question of sharpness which has been questioned by some. It needs to be stressed that this is a difficult and demanding lens to use and that its use requires particularly secure stability at maximum magnifications especially.

However, provided great care is taken to provide total stability as suggested, it can produce stunning results as described. I would therefore suggest that any lack of sharpness is a problem of user stability rather than lens function.

...........................................

A note to the anonymous negative voter:

The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'
Goodness only knows what you find to be `unhelpful' about this review.

A negative vote without reason is not helpful to anyone. It does not contribute in any useful way to discussion so no-one can learn from you.
If you have a different view or find the review 'unhelpful' then explain, giving your reasons, and share your views in the comment option as intended.

Your opinion might then add to the total useful advice.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
49 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2013
May I say up front that were the 200-400 priced at, say, $7000 I would suffer no such ambivalence. Given a $12k tag, I can't escape having mixed feelings about the 200-400. I do not own this lens but rented the lens for one week from a trusted rental house in Cordova TN. My rental served, in part, as a pre-purchase audition. Our rental lens was used for one week shooting dog water rescue testing in available light. This type of work could work could be likened to shooting agility outdoors, on water and often in high-contrast light. Normally I'd use the 200/2, 70-200 II and the 100-400 to cover this kind of shoot with 1Dx and 1D IV bodies. The 200-400 was used to replace both the 200/2 and the 100-400 during our rental period, and the lens was used only on a 1Dx. I rarely used the drop-in CP.

The 200-400 image quality is good, but not uppermost in the Canon line. I'd describe the lens as sharp without the TC engaged; and sharpness to fall off modestly but measurably once the 1.4 is engaged. I would not place sharpness with the 70-200 II, however. There is little comparison, in my mind, between sharpness and rendition of the 200-400 and the 200/2 or 300/2.8 - but that comparison may not be a fair one. The 200-400 is quite contrasty, and color rendition is vibrant. I'd go so far as to say that the lens *has a look*.

Auto focus speed is good and AF is decisive on the 1Dx, but definitely not what we enjoy on the current 2.8 zooms or large aperture telephoto primes. 200-400 AF and IS are considerably better, however, than the 100-400 as you would expect them to be. The 200-400 IS is excellent, and the Mode-3 tripod IS is a pleasure to use. Several times I unintentionally engaged the internal 1.4, because of what I'd call either a design flaw in the TC Lock or a possible defect in our rental copy's Lock. The lock was completely reliable in keeping the TC from becoming disengaged, however. Lens weight and apparent bulk are high, but balance is decent with a 1Dx mounted. In the 3500 images I recorded, the was an even distribution of hand-held, monopod and tripod use. I'd need to be able to workup to handholding the 200-400 all day long.

The reason to own the 200-400 relates to the shots you *won't* miss by virtue of its zoom function over this FL range at f4. In the work I do, a subject simply moves out of the frame when a long prime is in use, or is too far away when a shorter FL was loaded. So lots of images are possible by avoiding fixed FL lenses. Clearly this is not a novel thought, and such logic could be applied to any zoom lens - but it's of special meaning here by virtue of what FL are being covered at f4. An internal 1.4 simply expands this principle a notch further, and the many (dirty) steps that are eliminated by allowing the 1.4 to live permanently inside the lens package are meaningful. One can't help but guess that internal TC's will appear in upcoming products. There is talk that this lens *pays for itself* by eliminating two or more expensive prime telephoto lenses from your collection. I really can't subscribe to this argument for my work, but your experience may certainly vary. With this in mind, you may find a 100-400/1.4 external TC quite liberating financially...

All of this begging the question of what dollar value is reasonably assigned to this group of attributes and tradeoffs. Were cost of no concern, I'd certainly buy the 200-400, even given the above caveats. I can live with the weight, image quality and AF with the knowledge that I'll succeed getting images that I'd miss with any other lens or combination of lenses. Cost being a priority, though, has me appreciating the long-in-tooth 100-400 for what it is and what it isn't; and contemplating buying a used Nikon 200-400 (at a bit more than a third the Canon's cost) and a D800.

Trite to say, but what we really need is a modernized 100-400 at, say, under $3500. That will sell, sell, sell!

John Caldwell
Pittsburgh, PA
1313 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
The question is whether this lens will get you shots you never could have gotten without it. I own the 500mm f4 and lose shots because I don't have it with me or I'm not sure that the focal length will be right. Now I get those shots with a top notch lens. It is spectacularly sharp and fast, well built and great looking.

Things I don't love... can't take the lens foot off. That is a real pain and interferes with handholding. It's not Canon's fault b/c of the big TC, but it is something that I find annoying. With that in the way, using the zoom ring becomes a bit more challenging. I have my own way of doing this, but it's not as natural. Also, it's expensive - but it'll hold it's value, so I view my ownership of the lens as more of a rental. After a year or two, my time with the lens is pure profit knowing what folks will pay for it.

Things I love... knowing that I can reach more than 500mm at any time, composing as I wish. Very happy with that.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2014
I am a professional photographer and just used this lens to shoot the Super Bowl in New Jersey, courtesy our local Canon rep. All I can say is wow. If it weren't for the out-of-reach price tag I would own this lens. For sports, it is almost perfect. It is fast, versatile and when a play is running into the end zone the ability to change focal length at a fixed aperture is amazing. I have shot professional sports for about 15 years with fixed focal length lenses because of their sharpness. This lens may actually be sharper than my fixed 400mm. Bravo, Canon. But as a pro photographer, I don't make much money, so I'll leave purchase of this lens to weekend warrior doctors and lawyers. Perhaps I'll by a used one in 5 years.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2014
I don't own this lens, but I rented it for a week for a national Swim Meet in Iowa. I typically have used the 70-200 2.8L IS, 100-400L IS, 135 f2 and 1.4x III for most of the meets in the past that I have take pictures at, however those were usually at 25 yd pools, not 50 meter pools. I'm glad I rented this lens for this meet as the ability to switch back and forth quickly between the extra distance and closer shots was incredibly handy. Not being a push-pull lens like my 100-400 also meant that the balance was easy to manage on the monopod that I used. Definitely heavier and bulkier than the 100-400 or 70-200, didn't really realize how big it was compared to them until I had it unpacked and setup.

I used the lens on a 5D Mark III and was very happy with the overall quality and the performance of the mode 3 IS on the lens worked out great. I did take some photos hand held that turned out fine, however in general this was a lens that I needed to use on a monopod.

Given that I am an amateur photographer doing swim meet photos for fun for my daughter and her team, this is not a lens that I would buy. However, if I did this on a regular basis ( and was paid for it ) I would consider it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2013
I recently bought this lens and after the first 500 shots am thoroughly impressed with what Canon has been able to accomplish. While possible to handhold this lens and get decent results with image stabilization, this lens shines on a tripod with a good gimbal head. Images taken with a 5d Mark III are contrast-y and sharp, even at 560mm with the 1.4x extender engaged. Autofocus is quick and accurate. I will definitely be using this lens a lot for nature photography and some of the family "action" photography that I do. Even though it's definitely a financial commitment and far from necessary in most gear bags, I'm going to be able to replace a number of expensive super telephoto primes with this lens. That's a big convenience win for me, and could translate into a financial savings if you don't already have an investment in a range of big primes.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2013
This lens is not for everyone, but if you can afford it no zoom lens on the market comes close. It has a great range enhanced dramatically by the ability to flip the 1.4X TC in and out in seconds, and for me this feature has worked flawlessly. I have been using this lens for about a month now and find that it has prime quality files, exceptional build quality, and is very well balanced for occasional hand holding. Weight is more than I would like it to be, but it is what it is. Best of all, it works at infinity focus for distant subjects.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2014
:"))
very heavy for traveling , takes an amazing shots . its a must have for outdoors . i traveled the world with it
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 6 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.