ejehulten's reviews

  • Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Portability, and handling without and with extenders

    Canon 400mm f/4 DO MK II............... versus Canon 100-400mm MK II , Tamron 150-600mm and Sigma 150-600mm Sport,... and the optically perfect "Tony Northrup extender"...................... my first impressions

    After working my way thru approx. 300 RAW pictures
    taken with my Canon 7D MK II in combination with this
    lens and the Canon 100-400mm L IS MK II, Tamron 150-600mm
    and the Sigma 150-600 Sport, I found out that I, in general, agree with
    the findings at:

    Especially the findings regarding how it works with the Canon MK III extenders.

    At the indicated, not the true, focal length of 400mm, the difference in resolution between my Tamron 150-600mm, my Canon 100-400mm MK II,
    my new Canon 400mm f/4 DO MK II and a borrowed Sigma 150-600mm Sport, was of no significance to my photography. (that is, birds, butterflies and dragonflies, for the latter two I use my Canon 100-400mm because of its superior min. focal distance)

    Looking at the contrast the Canon lenses came out on top. Looking at the other main optical parameters, not that important to me, the Canon 400mm DO came out on top.
    Best performance at 400mm for the Tamron and the Sigma and the Canon 100-400mm occurred at f/7.1 to f/8 and for the DO lens at f/5.6.
    At 600mm the Sigma outclassed the Tamron, both worked best at f/8.
    But the Tamron has a great weight advantage, which to me, is a greater
    benefit than the loss of sharpness above 450mm.

    I preferred the Canon 400mm DO at 560mm and f/7.1, and also at 800mm f/8 (with Canon extenders MK III 1.4x and 2x) to the Sigma at
    600mm f/8. (cropping) And this, please note, before I added the benefit of Canons superior stabilizing , better autofocus and the big weight advantage.

    I like to carry the lens (in use) in its foot with a loose strap for extra
    safety. Tamron has a good foot, the Sigma not so good, to short
    a distance between the foot and lens body.

    Both foots on the Canon lenses are to short for a good grip,
    so I replaced the original Canon DO foot with the one Canon uses on
    the 400mm f/2.8 and the 200-400mm f/4. Perfect fit and grip with good balance even when using the extenders.

    In the end, when on foot in nature, size, weight and handling are the main
    parameters, if not the only, in my world at least, that matters.
    And for that purpose I could live with the Tamron, its a very good 150-400mm lens with an extra gear.
    The Sigma is a good lens superior optically and mechanically to the Tamron, but too heavy to carry around in order to take photos on the fly.
    Canon 100-400 MK II is, of course, the Sigmas total antithesis when it comes to handling, not to mention autofocus and stabilizing, and it can be used with the 1.4x extender.

    Canon 400 DO MK II is as easy to carry around for prolonged time as
    the Canon 100-400. Its the perfect lens for birds in flight, and has
    the advantage of working surprisingly well with both extenders.
    Its not always, when on the fly, possible to use the Tony Northrup
    extender. This excellent extender is cheap and has an outstanding
    optical quality. Does this extender exist ? I hear you ask ! Of course
    it does, its your feet, move closer !

    But when the Tony Northrup extender is not available, the next best
    thing is, as I see it, the Canon 400mm DO MK II with/without extenders.
    Eje Hulten.
    [email protected]

    reviewed March 7th, 2016 (purchased for $7,000)