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896mm Comparison Canon 400mm F5.6 vs Canon 100-400mm II on Canon 80D with a Canon 1,4x Extender III

JosephKarpinski
Contributor

Hi,
First, I’ve been getting really good results at 896mm using a Canon 80D, Canon 100-400mm, and the Canon 1.4x Extender III.
Even handheld with shutter 2000, f/10 for field of view, and auto ISO.
Love having up to 27 AF points at f/8 for BIF.
Use a monopod when I can, to address the weight issue.
Feels like Canon tuned this combination for performance and image sharpness.
When I use the Canon 400mm F5.6 with the Canon 80D and the 1.4x Extender III the results are surprisingly not as good.
With only the single center AF point at f/8 the images are soft at 896mm.
Feels like the AF misses a lot of shots even when compared to using a single AF point with the Canon 100-400mm II.
Its like the Canon 400mm F5.6 lens doesn’t work as well with the 1,4x Extender.
By itself the Canon 400mm F5.6 AF is quick and sharp.
When I add a 1.4x Extender, not as quick or sharp.
The Canon 100-400mm works so well with the 1,4x Extender on the Canon 80D, that I rarely take it off.
Its that good.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Your shots are really nice.  They are as good as you can likely expect.  The only way I see to get better IQ is to use less FL and get closer.  However, you say that is impossible.   With the increased distance you start fighting the air it self.  Besides the resolution of any lens goes down as distance to subject increases.  I know everybody wants to improve and get forever better but in your case I think closing the distance is all that is left.  You are doing fine using what you have and the situation presented to you.

 

Like Robert suggested, tempting the animals with treats or perhaps camo clothing or a blind, etc.  That is what is left.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

View solution in original post

18 REPLIES 18

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

Would you care to share some examples?

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Examples here on my Instagram account

 

https://www.instagram.com/josephkarpinski/

"Examples here on my Instagram account"

 

I don't see a lot of difference between your 400mm and 100-400mm. Hard to tell your shots are so varying.  When you are comparing two lenses you need to have basically the same situation and conditions.  Distance is also critical.  Birds shot at great distances is going to be less sharp no matter what lens you use.

 

The new 100-400mil super zoom should have better IQ than the aging 400mm but the old guy is still a great unique lens.  Used by itself, no tel-con, it will old its own.

 

111.jpg

 

Another thing to remember is the extreme FL you are trying to use.  Any miscue will be magnified by the same amount as the magnification of the subject.  All the vibrations.  Any mis-focus, everything.  This is why we say getting closer is always better than getting a better lens.  The ef 400mm prime is a joy to use hand-held but with a 1.4x tel-con it isn't such a friend for hand-holding. The gull was a hand-hold shot.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I agree. Had very good luck with the 400mm F5.6. The thing is, everything in Wildlife photography is far away.

The 400mm F5.6 is good at middle distance, but beyond that crops at 100% start breaking down.

The 896mm combination gives just that more reach. And when 896mm is too much, pulling back on the zoom is really nice.

Especially when images are sharp across the whole range.

I think the image stabilization is also a plus when shooting at 896mm on the Canon 100-400mm.

I like shooting at a shutter speed of 2000 at f/10 for field of view sharpness.

In low light I can drop down to a shutter of 800, and then shoot at f/8, with good images at ISO 2000-5000.

Extremely flexible.

"The thing is, everything in Wildlife photography is far away."

 

Exactly, that is why it is a difficult challenge to do.  However, the answer is not more FL in this case.  Especially nearly 900mm.

900mm is never going to be easy and you are going to have less than the best shots. The distance has become your enemy.  The atmosphere is a problem. You need to spend more effort on getting closer.

 

This shot was about 30 yards which is way farther away than I like to shoot.  I had to crop it farther than I like also.

_DX_2341.jpg

 

I know it is duffucult to get close to some wildlife and some you don't even want to be too close.  But it is the best solution if you want the best results. 900mm of FL is not the best answer.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Well, here’s some quick shots at 896mm.

Where you just can’t get any closer:

5BFD67B4-B1B3-44BA-AED3-1329B8158EB2.jpeg3E6A9810-3EBA-455A-BC26-6F9A15D5C4FA.jpegD5FD15EB-619B-49C3-994A-386A97B0C235.jpegE76AC114-BB26-4DC2-92BF-363567DB1442.jpeg118797A3-0887-40F2-8E29-366F896DD12A.jpeg65C92218-2D2B-4F14-BCBD-583F6CC14A52.jpeg

Still more at 896mm

19F60221-EC06-44FA-A210-11C186968B92.jpeg7495D7A3-9F83-48A5-B288-C4B6BAAF7E0D.jpeg52929D83-A342-4CFE-8777-EA8CC6720555.jpeg8DF2C171-EC96-4F88-895E-122E93E0DEED.jpeg

Your shots are really nice.  They are as good as you can likely expect.  The only way I see to get better IQ is to use less FL and get closer.  However, you say that is impossible.   With the increased distance you start fighting the air it self.  Besides the resolution of any lens goes down as distance to subject increases.  I know everybody wants to improve and get forever better but in your case I think closing the distance is all that is left.  You are doing fine using what you have and the situation presented to you.

 

Like Robert suggested, tempting the animals with treats or perhaps camo clothing or a blind, etc.  That is what is left.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Thanks!

My original concern was how my Canon 400mm F5.6 seemed to struggle when adding a 1.4x Extender.

So much so in image softness and missed out of focus shots, that I rarely used the 1.4x Extender.

Really felt like the single AF point at f/8 was struggling.

Watching some YouTube video on the Canon 80D, and it’s new support of 27 AF points using a Canon 1.4x Extender III,

had me buying a refurbished Canon 80D and a refurbished Canon 100-400mm II from Canon USA.

 

https://youtu.be/Ir6kkSFS618

 

The AF tracking was fast and almost all my shots were in focus and sharp, on the Canon 80D.

Some get excited about the Canon 7D Mark II 10 frames a second.

But if 6 out of 10 are not in focus or sharp, 10 frames doesn’t buy you very much.

 

Many look at Sigma or Tamron 150-600mm to get that extra reach.

I hear from those who have those lenses, they all struggle at the high end.

 

The Canon 100-400mm II with the Canon 1.4x Extender III on a Canon 80D is a great alternative.

 

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