11-17-2012 08:09 AM
Having attended the MotoGP at Valalencia last week, and using my 7d with a 70-200mm with 1.4 extender. I have realised I need a longer lens for such events. I was wondering what lens would be better, ie sharpness. I know the 100-400mm has the benefit of the zoom, but I don't want to lose image quality if I can help it.
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11-17-2012 08:22 AM
I've owned both and if sharpness is your goal the 400 ƒ5.6 is the winner. I was happy with the 100/400L until a friend let me use his 400L ƒ5,6. The 400 f5.6 is much sharper and the auto focus is much faster to acquire focus. I've always said if I could olny have one lens it would be the 100/400L, but if I could have two lenses it wouldn't be one of them, I find the 70/300L and the 400L f5.6 combination gives me much better results the 100/400L alone. Just my two cents!
11-17-2012 09:20 AM
You will always get better image quality with a prime than a zoom (assuming you are not comparing a $100 prime to a $2500 zoom). With a prime the entire design can be optimized for a single focal length and the lens design is much less complex both optically and mechanically. The tradeoff is always image quality versus the flexibility of a zoom.
11-17-2012 10:24 AM
Thanks for the replys, I was aware of the fact that a fixed focal lens would be better. It was just wether the losing out on the benefit of the zoom on the 100-400mm was worth buying the 400mm.
11-17-2012 11:00 AM
I also had the 500f4 the 400 was in the same class for sharpness but did not allow as much subecjt isolation as the faster 500.
I have heard the 100-400 does not always reach 400mm either. And my experience is that when you need more than 200mm, you almost always need a lot more. I got the 500 for that reason and usually shot it with the 1.4X.
The 400f5,6 is a great lens, focus is fast, sharp and IS is highly overrated. Your subjects usually require at least 1/800 and hand holding a 400 at 1/800 is easy and IS is not required.
11-17-2012 12:03 PM - edited 11-18-2012 03:03 PM
This topic has been debated many times at both Photography on the Net (POTN) and Fred Miranda (FM) for years with no clear winner. I suggest you forget about choosing one or the other based only on IQ under ideal circumstances. You're not going to see the difference doing what you do unless you have extremely good panning skills. The prime is marginally sharper but so what? It limits what you can shoot because you can't keep changing position so you'll miss opportunities, some of which may be that "money shot". I shoot a different form of action, and based on the expectations of those viewing motorsports photos I strongly suspect the ideal photos will have slow enough shutter speeds for blurred wheels (or spokes) & background but a rider & bike that very crisp. Meeting those requirements will cancel any difference between the 2 lenses IQ wise 99% of the time.
For my needs the prime (just about ANY prime) would be useless, even if I got them free, and I rely on lenses considered to be less than ideal by most because they're superzooms, BUT they do the job, & well. They may not have the very best IQ but they do get the shot, and do it consistantly. Just remember it's not just the lens that captures the shot, it's the combination of the lens, the body, knowing how to set the variables in the body, and your ability to either pan perfectly or hold it steady enough. Blow one of those a tiny bit & the IQ is now less than what was possible when exacuted perfectly. You're not shooting stationary riders from a tripod from a fixed distance all day long so consider all the variables from your previous trips to the track before buying.
11-24-2012 01:35 PM
Just an FYI . this topic is being discussed again here
And once again there won't be a decisive winner. It seems they are so close in IQ in real world use that any difference is very hard to extract often enough to really be why you choose the prime over the zoom.
11-24-2012 04:11 PM
wether the losing out on the benefit of the zoom on the 100-400mm was worth buying the 400mm.
"worth" and "better" are the trade-offs and subjective characteristics you have to choose for yourself. Nobody shoots the exact same things as you, and you know what your priorities, budget, and preferences are.