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What is Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM used for? Any good for birds photography?

limvo05
Rising Star

Hi All,

 

Can someone please let me know what Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM is used for? Can it be used for Birds and Wildlife Photography?

 

Thanks.

54 REPLIES 54

They are tough well built lenses for sure. Check out KEH for used copies.

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

Agree with Ernie that these Canon L series primes are extremely well built and KEH is a very reliable source for used.  In normal use they are expected to stand up to rough handling. Several years ago I was standing next to a photographer on the sidelines of a college game who dropped his 1DX with 400 f2.8 on the ground to get out of the way of players crashing the sideline.  He told me after you drop them the first time, it doesn't bother you as much the next time and he had jettisoned his gear several times.  Not something I care to do and a reason I shoot with both eyes open on the sidelines and stay out of the way.

 

I bought my 400 f2.8 IS II after the original owner had it for less than a month and he decided that it was far too heavy for him to manage.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of these used in good condition as long as it is via a trusted venue.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Generally speaking you don't need to upgrade your lens as often as you would with the body. This is the reason why i was thinking of investing in a really good lens knowing that it would go the distance. I hope that logic make sense and agreed by most. Cheers

I strongly agree with buying the best you can afford in glass because it will serve you for a long time.  Lens technology is pretty mature so changes with newer lens versions tend to be incremental instead of evolutionary in terms of performance/image quality. 

 

I bought my first 1 series digital in 2005 (1D Mark II) and the advances since then in sensor technology have been amazing.  With the 1D M2, ISO 1600 was barely usable and its top expanded ISO of 3200 was useless and those ISO ratings are laughable compared to even consumer grade digital cameras now. 

 

I have added a lot of lenses since I bought the 1D M2 but only two that I bought back then are no longer in use by me  (EF 50 1.4 which I never was in love with and was replaced recently by a Sigma 1.4 Art and EF 100 2.8 (switched to an L version for this one)). 

 

I am holding on to the EF 400 f5.6 I bought back in 2005 even though I have an incredible EF 400 f2.8 IS II; within its light conditions capabilities the 400 5.6 is still an incredible lens and its weight and size are a fraction of its big brother.  Glass top to bottom is EF 800 f5.6, EF 400 f2.8, bare EF 400 f5.6, EF 300 f2.8, and EF 200 f2.  The longer primes are on 1DX series bodies and the 200 is on a 5DS R. 

 

Photo shot with 1D M2 and 17-40 F4/L.  Another reason for me to hold on to the 400 5.6 is sentimental attachment because I shot a lot of my daughter's early soccer goals with the 1D M2/400 f5.6 combo 🙂  And I think the 400 f5.6 is the best price/performance ratio that Canon offers in a prime, it is a VERY good lens if f5.6 is fast enough for your needs and its small size and weight makes it very user friendly.

 

Rodger

 

NZ1W8631.JPG

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

90% of all pro shops don't have that inventory of gear. Smiley Happy

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

Ernie,

It helps make up for some skills shortcomings of the user 🙂  I remember back in high school shooting a few sports photos for the annual using manual focus and probably 400 speed film, life has gotten a LOT easier!

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"...using manual focus and probably 400 speed film, life has gotten a LOT easier!"

 

Yes it is.  I use to use and try several different methods to push Tri X and Ektachrome to get a little more out of it. I had a 300mm f4 lens that I really loved, still have it. It was my goto for film lens to do tele work back then.  I bought the ef 300mm f4L solely on that love.  But, I truly love the new 300mil also. There is, must be, something in lens manufacturing that works out well for 300mm.  It just works!

 

And, oh lord, I am saying it, the ef300mm f4L works wel with the 1.4x tele con, too. Gives you 420mm f5.6 with IS.

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


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"... using manual focus and probably 400 speed film, life has gotten a LOT easier!"

 

Yes it is.  I use to use and try several different methods to push Tri X and Ektachrome to get a little more out of it. I had a 300mm f4 lens that I really loved, still have it. It was my goto for film lens to do tele work back then.  I bought the ef 300mm f4L solely on that love.  But, I truly love the new 300mil also. There is, must be, something in lens manufacturing that works out well for 300mm.  It just works!

 

And, oh lord, I am saying it, the ef300mm f4L works wel with the 1.4x tele con, too. Gives you 420mm f5.6 with IS.


We're gonna remembrt you said that, Ernie!  Smiley Happy

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Ernie,

 

I am glad I started with film and manual focus because it really makes me appreciate what modern gear does for us.

 

The 300 does produce "magical" images with and without the 1.4X and it is a really manageable focal length.  I think the EF 800 has the potential to do magic also but I am on the early part of the learning curve managing this focal length.  I am missing too many capture opportunities with the 800, hopefully that will improve significantly with experience.

 

These were shot with the 1DX III and EF 800 f5.6 on a monopod this morning while I had another camera set up on a tripod for a scene that never materialized.  Grackles can be annoying but they are also interesting birds.

 

Rodger

 

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AS0I5785.JPG

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

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