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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
Price:$10,999.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on March 20, 2018
excellent lens
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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.
15 people found this helpful
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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.
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38 people found this helpful
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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....
49 people found this helpful
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TOP 1000 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.
43 people found this helpful
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on March 21, 2014
very heavy for traveling , takes an amazing shots . its a must have for outdoors . i traveled the world with it
7 people found this helpful
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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.
7 people found this helpful
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on February 10, 2016
I was lucky enough to get a loaner 200-400 from Canon CPS. I found the image quality to be outstanding. The lens focus is super fast... I found it to be on par with my 400 prime, which focuses as fast as any lens I've used. I used the lens without the teleconverter engaged most of the time and I had great results. I did try the converter but found it was a little awkward to engage quickly. I'm sure with a little practice it would become second nature. I found the picture quality with the converter to also be excellent.

I would love to own this lens and maybe I can get a refurbished model but the price tag is a bit much for me. I will have to stick with my trusty old 500mm. I would however highly recommend it to those that can afford it.
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3 people found this helpful
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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.
11 people found this helpful
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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.
9 people found this helpful
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