Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Review

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EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS

I have owned this lens for over two years and it has been a real workhorse for me because of its versatility. This is not the sharpest, fastest or most convenient lens that I own but when I combine what it gives me shot after shot it is indispensable to me. I will discuss some of the things I don’t like about the lens and then talk about its positives.

The push pull zoom is something I still don’t care for. It takes both hands to manipulate it if it is in a locked position. Fortunately I haven’t had any of the dust problems that some people have talked about because of this design, but I find it to be inconvenient. Also the lens for me seems a bit slow on the auto-focus. This has become very evident to me when I am trying to lock on a bird in flight.

Now to the reasons why it has become my favorite walk-around lens. The tremendous versatility it provides because of its zoom range is valuable to me. I find that I use this lens for shooting landscapes as well as wildlife. I may have the lens mounted on a tripod capturing an image of the patterns and textures of the terrain when I notice a bird come into my vicinity. I can immediately adjust to capture that image without changing my lens. This has even become more of an advantage as I have changed to the 5D Mark II with the full frame sensor. I really enjoy being able to use the 100 mm at its full focal length for the landscapes.

The lens is also fairly light to hand hold and the IS feature works very well. The images are sharp and only start to soften slightly as I use the maximum aperture f5.6 at 400 mm. You will find it is important to remember to turn off the IS when you mount it on a tripod and turn it back on again when you hand hold. I fail to do this once in a while and the image sharpness does suffer.

Below are some images that I have taken with this lens in the Palouse that shows its versatility.

Road to the Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/13 1/320 200 mm

Road to the Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/13 1/320 200 mm

Ring-necked Pheasant by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 800  f/5.6  1/250  260 mm

Ring-necked Pheasant by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 260 mm

Red Combine by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200  f/10  1/500  400 mm

Red Combine by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/10 1/500 400 mm

Red Barn with Fence by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 250  f/11  1/500  120 mm

Red Barn with Fence by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 250 f/11 1/500 120 mm

Mule Deer in Flight by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 1600  f/5.6  1/250  400 mm

Mule Deer in Flight by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 1600 f/5.6 1/250 400 mm

I would highly recommend this lens to anyone wanting a good quality walk-around zoom lens. Thanks to its versatility and portability,  I think you will find it will become one of your favorite tools as well.

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One response to “Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Review

  1. Awesome Gary. Glad to read your review of the 100-400 lens. I have always wondered if the pros out weighed the cons for the type of work you do. It seems to be very versatile indeed. I’m also not a big fan of the push-pull zooms, but I think I could get used to it if. Thanks for sharing. Love your images on this site…keep up the great work of posting content! 😀

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