Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Lab tested

Most people tend to think of image stabilization as being mainly for telephoto lenses. While it's true that their longer focal lengths tend to magnify the effects of camera shake, image stabilization can provide a very useful assist at wider angle focal lengths as well; anyone who's ever tried to blur the image of a waterfall, while keeping the surrounding landscape tack-sharp knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Mouse over this chart to show results with IS activated.

The image stabilization on the new Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS II is simply stunning. Canon states that the lens can compensate up to 4-stops, and we indeed approached that figure. Looking at our chart, we got a 100% keeper rate at 1/500s shutter speed, which is to be expected for a 400mm lens. With IS turned off, we started to see some unacceptable shots crop up around 1/125s, which itself is rather slow for this long of a lens. At 1/30s, not surprisingly, we weren't able to get any usable shots. However, once IS was switched on, we managed a near-100% keeper rate at 1/30s! Even down to a shocking 1/8s, we walked away with 20% of our shots classified as "Good." Fantastic!

IS systems tend to provide more benefit to less-stable shooters than very steady ones, so most users will see the same or greater amounts of shake reduction as we measured here. You can read more about our IS test methodology here: SLRgear IS Test Methodology, v2.