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Lens review

Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

29 December 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • high build quality,
  • splendid or very good image quality in the frame center at all focal lengths and apertures,
  • very good frame edge performance,
  • low chromatic aberration,
  • negligible distortion,
  • low coma,
  • low astigmatism,
  • low vignetting at all focal lengths,
  • silent, quick and accurate autofocus,
  • rich accessory kit included.

Cons:

  • weak performance against bright light,
  • image stabilization not efficient by today’s standards

If the Canon 100-400 mm USM IS was equipped with the second generation stabilization system, allowing to work with 4 EV efficiency, and a bit better coatings we would pronounce it to be an ideal lens – for many applications even unique. I think the rumours about its withdrawal from the market and launching its successor are very real. We would have a move similar to the case of an L 70-200 f/4.0 lens, where Canon added IS to the old model and very good optical properties transformed into outstanding optical properties. Here the changes can be even smaller – a slight optics and stabilization improvement will give you a market hit for sure. Of course as long as Canon don’t go over the top with the price…

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Sample shots:

Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.1 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 350 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 350 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.1 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.8 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 365 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.9 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 200 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/6400 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.5 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.5 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 1600
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 130 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.2 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 4.3 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.1 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 200 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/2500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/125 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.1 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/80 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 400 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/50 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.1 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 170 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.6 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.3 MB



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