View Full Version : 400+mm Telephoto lens

Jonathan Guy
12-13-2003, 08:56 AM
I'm starting to look for a longer lens (focal length that is...). I learned a long time ago that asking questions in the traditional photography forums don't always do justice to our hobby.

I'm looking in the range of 400mm because the Canon D30/D60/10D turns these into a 640mm lens :shock:

Anybody have experience with the Canon 100-400 IS lens, especially at the 400mm end? How about Canon or Sigma fixed 400mm lens?

Dreaming of a new lens and pinching pennies saving for one... :D

12-13-2003, 02:38 PM
Hi, Jonathan.

I have the Canon 400mm f5.6
USM L lens, which I use with my 10D.

It is extremely sharp and equivalent to
a 640mm lens because of the 10D's
chip design.

My experience is that the best results with it
are obtained with a sturdy tripod, so it is
my primary birding lens. I haven't used
it yet for railfanning.

For the latter, the
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L is my favorite
telephoto lens. It is very sharp and a much faster
lens than the f5.6 400mm. Indeed, its zoom capability
(112 to 320mm) makes it the perfect medium telephoto lens, in my
opinion. There is only one time I wish I had used my 400mm
lens, however, and it was on this shot:


but I rarely shoot from that distance anyway.


12-13-2003, 02:44 PM
Jonathan, I just read your post under what kind of camera
do you use and saw that you have the 70-200mm lens.

My advice is to use it for a while; you may discover that
you don't really need a 400mm lens for rail photography.


Curtis Wininger
12-13-2003, 03:10 PM
First of all, here's a kind of don't take my word for it because I've never used it disclaimer. I use a 10D with a Canon 75-300 4:5.6 for a tele. I rarely go out to 300mm, so I'll have to agree with Dave.
I guess it depends on where you are shooting as to whether or not you would use such a focal length. I live in the mountains, so that puts me on the lower end of that 75-300. If you think you could use the 640mm, go for it. Personally, I don't see what kind of use I would have for it, at least for rail photography. If you are thinking about getting into something like aviation (or maybe astronomy even :wink: ), that's a totally different ballgame.
As for stability, I use something to stabilize my camera when shooting tele 90% of the time. It may be something like a guardrail of a bridge, (as shown here: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=40930), but most of the time it's my sturdy monopod I purchased at a competative price from a home pawn shop in Salvisa, Kyntucky. The monopod is a lot easier to deal with than a tripod. Night photography is the only time I ever deal with that... too many moving parts for me. My simple mind can't handle it, that's why I'm not an engineer.
I hope that helps. It seems to me that it pretty much just boils down to how you are going to use it. I probably wouldn't break one out much if I owned one, of course, I am a little wide angle biased.[/i]

Jonathan Guy
12-17-2003, 03:27 AM
Its a two-fold purpose for me to purchase the 100-400. the 100-400 will give me the ability to get out to 640mm with the 10D. The other reason is those occasions I want to shoot film and digital, but need a telephoto lens, I'll have the zoom range covered on both bodies.

Besides, its a neat toy!! :P :wink:

Bryan Jones
12-17-2003, 09:58 AM
I just bought the Canon 100-400 F4.5-5.6 L IS lens back in September and absolutely love it, especially on my D30. Mine is razor sharp throughout the entire range. I've taken many a pleasing shot handheld at the 400mm end (640mm on the D30) and am just astonished at how well this lens performs, especially with the Image Stabilization. I love the big, head-on telephoto shots I have taken with it. It is also compatible with the Canon 1.4x and 2x teleconvertors, though image quality will begin to suffer, especially with the 2x. This lens sells for $1400 brand new, but I got lucky and was able to buy a Canon refurbished lens from B&H Photo-Video for $1079. You could not tell it apart from a brand new lens. The thing is built like a tank too. It is well worth every penny, start saving and get yourself one as soon as you can, you will not regret it!

Bryan Jones