Canon EF 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6L IS USM

The other day I came across an interesting question in one of the Canon DSLR forums over at Flickr: “Is the Canon EF 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6L IS USM any good?”

As I am one of the lucky owners of this lens, I am more than happy to report that it is excellent. Superb! It is the perfect lense if you are working on limited (medium-sized) budget, still wanting to get crisp photos from your telezoom when working beyond 200 mm. Here is a shot I did back in Nambia:


Giraffe at Etosha Aoba Lodge
Mark Zanzig/zettpress 

Sure looks nice enough, but at the size of a postcard you can hardly see whether the photo offers any details. Thus, let’s have a look at a detail of the head of the Giraffe:


Detail of Giraffe Head
Mark Zanzig/zettpress 

This is the orginal size, i.e. not resized in Photoshop – one pixel in the photo above is one pixel in the original file. Please note that there is still some loss in the picture as it was saved as JPEG with a quality setting of 9 to save transmission time. Anyway, you can see even finest hairs at the eyelashes! Look at the detailed texture of the fur! This is simply stunning.

Of course, the image stabilizer is a great help. At 400 mm you will have a hard time shooting from hand, even at 1/2000 sec there is a slight risk of simply not holding the lens perfectly still. The image stabilizer takes care of that.

I think this is a great lens for travel photography, especially when you have limited space and you know that you are going to need a long tele, e.g. when going on safari. It is my tele companion to the EF 24-70 mm 1:2.8 L USM. This leaves the room between 70mm and 100mm uncovered, but I hardly noticed that when in Namibia.

So, if you are considering this lens an option, please go ahead. You’ll love it!

Oh, and here is the image data for those who are interested: Canon EF 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6L IS USM on Canon 1ds mark II, ISO 400, Av, 1/2000 sec, f5.6

More photos from Etosha National Park

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