Lens review

Canon EF 400 mm f/4 DO IS II USM

26 August 2017
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

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  • Very high build quality,
  • Small dimensions and weight for the parameters,
  • Excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • Very good image quality on the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • Good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • Lack of spherical aberration problems,
  • Negligible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • Very low lateral chromatic aberration,
  • Imperceptible distortion,
  • Very low coma,
  • Lack of astigmatism problems,
  • Low vignetting,
  • Silent, accurate and efficient autofocus,
  • Efficient image stabilization,
  • Good cooperation with the TC1.4x III teleconverter.


  • A bit too big minimum focusing distance,
  • Weak performance against bright light,
  • Lack of possibility to choose the range of autofocus.
I don’t hesitate to say that the Canon EF 400 mm f/4 DO IS II USM is one of the most interesting lenses I’ve had an opportunity to test so far. It was a pure joy to use – its parameters are perfect for sport photography, plane and bird shooting, astrophotography as well. Because of the DO technology it is relatively small and lightweight so completely hand-holdable; you can stroll with it and shoot photos without the necessity of carrying and using monopods or tripods. Excellent image stabilization helps as well. What’s more, it seems the DO technology has had most of its teething problems behind; as long as you avoid taking photos against bright light the tested lens won’t bother you with any serious issues.

If there’s one thing we could carp about, it concerns not the tested lens but the approach of brand-name companies. Let’s say it clear - they like too much to rest on their laurels. Sigma and Tamron are more inclined in some aspects to make the life of the customers more pleasant; such devices like the USB Dock and TAP Utility are two fine examples of that policy. They enable you to e.g. limit the autofocus range and make it perform faster, reducing the chances that the mechanism won’t lock on the subject, wavering back and forth and such cases are not so rare if you decide to attach a teleconverter to your lens. I do hope such useful devices and solutions soon will be offered by Canon and Nikon too.