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Old February 5th, 2013, 06:01 PM   #1
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EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Australian photographer Joshua Holko gets to go hands-on with the highly anticipated, long-ago-announced and as-yet-unreleased EF 200-400mm L IS 1.4x wŁnderlens...


To me the most interesting thing about it is the price, said to be $11k to $13k thereabouts... yes, that much. Think I'm gonna fold on this plan and go find a $1600 EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6 L IS instead. Yowza! Confirmed to work with the add-on teleconverters, though.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #2
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

That does look interesting. At $11K - $13K it's likely out of my range. (Even though I'll be shooting bears this summer - hmm).

I wouldn't waste money on the EF 100-400 f/4-5.6 L IS. It's one of the poorer L lenses in my book.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Thanks for the tip, Charles. Hmm... maybe I'll do the EF 300mm f/4 L IS instead.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 11:04 PM   #4
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

The only thing about the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS lens I don't like is that it's a push-pull zoom. Shooting stills is okay but if trying to zoom while shooting video it's a no-go. I found the lens to be quite good otherwise... and with a 1.4TC, attached to the XL-H1A.. I think I'm getting over 3,000mm. And I got it for $1,400 in Hong Kong back in 2007. No plans to sell.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 02:07 AM   #5
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Wow. It lives! It's such a long time since that lens was first announced by Canon, that I thought it had tuned into the lens equivalent of vapourware. Wasn't there some sort of problem with the 1.4X actuating lever after the first prototypes were previewed. That might even have been back during the Olympics!
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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #6
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Thanks for posting Chris,

I was close to buying the 300 2.8L IS but will hold off now. This will reduce my travel load by two lens, cool.

Nice to see Joshua using the RRS tripod.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Dennis View Post
Wasn't there some sort of problem with the 1.4X actuating lever after the first prototypes were previewed.
Maybe so, not sure -- but I heard that the primary reason for the delay was a design change to allow the use of an add-on extender. Originally there was no mention of teleconverter compatibility, but now you can hang a 2x or a 1.4x on the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
This will reduce my travel load by two lens, cool.
Those fast super telephoto primes take up a lot of room in the case, don't they!
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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

They sure do, I was planning on the 300 and the 400. This will let me go from my 70-200 to 200-400. Very nice.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

It looks a nice lens and I like the fact that the 1.4X is built in, making it quicker than fitting a separate converter...although with no way of taking it off means extra bulk, length and weight.

I'm sure the photo files are good (they should be at this extremely steep price point for an f/4 lens) but really can't see myself saving extra dosh over the latest version Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, which is also weather sealed, has 4-stop image stabiliser, is able to take 1.4X and 2X converters and maintain autofocus.
The Sigma is also extremely sharp and maintains image quality with the 1.4x, although of course drops with the 2X (but still provides very good quality at 600mm for stills and video).

I've no doubt that the new 200-400mm Canon wide open would be sharper than the sigma wide open (the Sigma is 2.8 remember), but close the Sigma aperture to match the Canon's much slower f/4 and we'd probably be talking about pixel peeping to separate them in most situations...plus being able to use f/2.8 in low light and still holding f/4 in a longer telephoto range than the Canon (with 1.4X).

Test report by Robert Toole:
Eagle Tour Report - Robert OToole Photography

Test Report by John E. Marriott:
John E Marriott's Wildlife Photography Blog: October 2011

The above test reports were for the previous Sigma 120-300mm OS image-stabilized version (the same one that I use) shown here:
Product Sigma Canada

But an updated version is soon to be be released shown here:
Attached Thumbnails
EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview-sigma-120-300mm-f2.8-dg-os-hsm.jpeg  
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Old February 7th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #10
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Nice reviews Tony but it does not get the reach I need. Currently I have a Canon 300 f4 which is OK but most times I use the new Canon 70-200 with the new 1.4x. So for me I would like the 400 with 1.4x. But that said I never have owned or really look at Sigma and maybe I should start.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

@Paul, the Sigma is an f/2.8 and so far better than the Canon 300mm f/4 IS for adding converters (I owned the Canon lens but sold it in preference to the latest OS sigma zoom). With 1.4X it turns the Sigma into a 168-420mm f/4 lens. Add a 2X converter and you have a wider range between 120-600mm.

More reviews of the superb Sigma 120-300mm OS lens:

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens Review

Field Review: Sigma 120-300 F2.8 OS Lens - The Nature, Wildlife and Pet Photography Forum

Bob Atkins 3-part review (please note that the first photo in the review shows the earlier non-stabilized version, and all the other photos show the 1st OS version):

Sigma 120-300/2.8 DG OS HSM review - Bob Atkins Photography

Sigma 120-300/2.8 DG OS HSM review - Part II Performance - Bob Atkins Photography

Sigma 120-300/2.8 DG OS HSM review - Part III Comments and conclusions - Bob Atkins Photography

I look forward to see the first detailed tests of the Canon 200-400mm f/4 IS.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:12 PM   #12
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Here is a large photo file taken with the 120-300mm OS lens to view:

Sigma 120-300 F2.8 OS Example - Robert OToole Photography


Robert Otoole's second review on the Sigma site photographing eagles and mountains:

LENS EXPLORATION: 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, Part II | SIGMA Blog


Review by Lindsay Adler of the same lens, but this time with a beautiful woman as the subject. Click on each image to enlarge view:

Lens Exploration: 120-300mm F2.8 OS lens by Lindsay Adler | SIGMA Blog
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:41 PM   #13
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

Thanks all good information. It is interesting that Robert says the lens is more 270mm not 300mm. As I said earlier my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM with the new Canon 1.4x III is my best long combination at this point. But I need longer often for some actions sports.

So the Sigma 120-300 does not add the reach and I have no need for the 120-200 part of the lens.

The 300 f4 is fine on its own but with the 1.4x it is just a bit too soft for my liking after using it for surfing in Puerto Rico. But it was all I had. Sure speed of the lens helps but I am using the 1DX so that helps if I go f4. All of this is for stills, I have not put the 300 on my C300 yet.

Too bad there are not other options that produce a very sharp image in the 300-500 range that take 1.4x and stay sharp. That is why the new Canon could fit nicely.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 05:45 PM   #14
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

The lens is 300mm at distance, but shortens slightly at closest distances...but this is true of almost all telephoto zoom lenses, including the 70-200mm and probably the 200-400mm IS too. The 300mm f/4 prime remains at 300mm even in semi-macro mode, as do most primes.

If it is only more reach than the 300mm you need and not the shorter focal lengths, then a fixed 400mm, 500mm or 600mm would be a far better option for you I think. I normally prefer the fixed telephoto lenses for stills, but need wide-ranging zooms for my video work.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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Re: EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x -- video preview

I am going to wait till the 200-400 is out prior to buying any primes. If the lens is as good as I think it will be then I will rent one for a week. Three large primes does not work for me, I fly to jobs about 50 times a year with all my video and still gear. Light and small is key.
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