Canon launches totally redesigned EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens


posted Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM EDT


Wildlife and sports shooters, among others, will be thrilled by a new addition to Canon's EF-mount lens lineup today. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens is a far-reaching telephoto that replaces the existing EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM with a full-on redesign.

Priced at US$2,200 or thereabouts -- some US$500 more than the most recent pricing for the earlier optic -- the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II switches from the dust-inhaling linear extension (or trombone-like push/pull) zoom of its predecessor to the more typical rotary zoom ring, and at the same time moves from a rear-focusing to an inner-focusing design.


Its optical formula is more complex, too, with an additional four elements and two groups, for a total of 21 elements in 16 groups. These include one fluorite element and one super UD element, and the optic also relies on Canon's Air Sphere Coating. The result, says the company, is "impressive contrast and resolution with reduced chromatic aberration across the entire zoom range". Front and rear elements are also fluorine-coated to resist smudging, and there's a nine-bladed, circular aperture for attractive bokeh characteristics.

Optical stabilization performance is said to have improved radically from the earlier model, with a corrective range of up to four stops, versus just 1.5 stops previously. Closer focusing is also possible now, to as little as 3.2 feet (98 cm) for a maximum magnification of 0.31x. And as you'd expect in a lens like this, aimed at enthusiast / professional use and bearing the Canon L mark, the EF 100-400mm II is fully weather-sealed for use in rainy or dusty environments.


Other key features include support for 77mm threaded filters (just as in the earlier lens), complete with an opening in the side of the lens hood that allows filter adjustments, and a new tripod mount that can be removed without first detaching the lens from camera body. All of these changes have made for a very slight increase in size to 3.7 x 7.6 inches (94 x 193mm), but a fairly significant increase in weight to 3.5 pounds (1,570 g), some 0.4 pounds (190 g) more than the earlier lens without tripod mount.

Available from December 2014 in the US market, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens is now available to preorder from Imaging Resource affiliates Adorama, Amazon, and B&H Photo Video.