Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM Lens Review
The long anticipated replacement to the original Canon 100-400 L lens finally became available towards the end of 2014. This is about 15 years after the launch of the original 100-400 lens! Is the new version a worthy successor to the original? And how does it compare to the competition?
This mini review of the new Canon 100-400 L IS II is not technically inclined but based on real life usage. There are no charts etc. Only my personal experience and comments as well as sample images. I will also compare the new Canon 100-400 L IS II to the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD.
The IS works extremely well. Hand held at 400mm and 1/100th second produces consistently sharp images. At this shutter speed the only blur is because of subject movement.
I prefer the new twist action to zoom over the old push pull method. Not that I ever minded the push pull action. Some will also argue that twist action is better because it doesn't suck dust into the lens.
Closest Focusing Distance (perhaps the best feature of the lens!)
Blue Quail Birdf5.6, 1/250th sec, 300mm
Below are some sample images taken with the Canon 100-400 IS L MkII. These images were shot in RAW have been processed in Lightroom - mainly to boost the contrast a little.
King Vulturef10, 1/250th sec, 400mm African Elephant Malef6.3, 1/800th sec, 312mm
Green Tree Iguanaf9, 1/160th sec, 241mm Plains Zebra Grazing on Green Grassf5.6, 1/300th sec, 300mm African Elephant Herdf6.5, 1/800th sec, 400mm
Controlled Test and Comparison
The 100% crops are all exactly as they were shot and processed by the camera. Exposure was manually controlled. Identical exposures were used for each lens.
All images at 400mm zoom unless stated otherwise.
Left: Canon f5.6, 1/1000th sec, 400mm Right: Tamron f5.6, 1/1000th sec, 400mm
Tamron 100% crop from above image, f5.6
Left: Canon f8, 1/500th sec, 400mm Right: Tamron f8, 1/500th sec, 400mm
Canon 100% Crop from above image, f8
Canon 100% Crop, f8
Tamron 100% crop from above image, f8
Left: Canon f11, 1/500th sec, 400mm Right: Tamron f11, 1/500th sec, 400mm
Accurate Focusing and Speed
Size and Mass
400mm maximum can be a bit short for some wildlife and sport situations
Don't forget you can see my complete portfolio at Shutterstock or Dreamstime. I hope to have lots of images taken with my new Canon 100-400 MkII uploaded there very soon!
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this review and my conclusions were not influenced in any way. The opinions stated here are my own. I have tried to be as balanced and objective as possible in this review.
I had the opportunity to test the AI server focus mode and panning on IS mode 2. The subject was fast moving karts on a local race track.
The AI server focus was almost flawless! I am very impressed with how accurate it is. Panning was not as successful but this is mainly due to my lack of technique, not a fault of the lens. However, I still managed a few panning keepers as well.
Panning Mode 2ISO100, f16, 1/250th sec AI Server FocusISO800, f8, 1/5000th sec
I can confidently recommend this lens as a superb sports and wildlife lens as well as very good for portraits and even semi-macro shots.
Keywords: 100%, 100-400, 100-400mm, 100mm-400mm, 150-600mm, Canon, EF, II, IS, L, Lens, Review, USM, crop, duncan, f/4.5-5.6, fouroaks, new, noakes, photography, tamron, wildlife, zoom
Hi Carlos H
Thanks for reading my review.
I have the TC Mk III and I don't think it degrades the image quality at all. I can't compare it to the TC Mk II though because I have never used it.
However, I hardly use the TC Mk III because I find using only the center focal point a problem. And secondly, it does reduce the speed of the lens (aperture). But it certainly has it's place in my bag and is used from time to time.
I just got the 100-400 MK II to replace the Canon 400mm f5.6L (no IS). I have been shooting with the new lens here in my country Costa Rica and the 7D MK II. Big improvement!! My question is: Right now the Canon TC I have is the 1.4X II. Will I get better IQ with the TC 1.4X III?
Lovely King vulture, Can't wait to photograph the King Vulture again with the new lens.
Thanks for the excellent review.
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