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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,388
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Is the Canon 100-400mm a sharp enough lens?

Well I'm happy to report that MY 100-400 L IS does much better, but that might be because it's newer than those used in the tests & reflects improvements in Canon quality control. IF you take the time to read & think about the claims the LL test was done (it's not dated but it looks like 2002) using a 1Ds which fits that time frame (I used to shoot one years ago) & the Naturescapes test was done (according to the article's date) in 2008. That test was done using a 1Ds2 which just happens to be one of the cameras I've been using for the last 4 + years and which has produced countless sharp images of radio control aircraft in flight as well as a few full scale aircraft when my 100-400 is mounted on it.







"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: Is the Canon 100-400mm a sharp enough lens?

Of course, there are a lot of lenses that would not look all that great when shooting test patterns, or brick walls, or the like, but which would still give real-world results that are good enough for regular uses.


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-12-2012

Re: Is the Canon 100-400mm a sharp enough lens?

[ Edited ]

The site with the 400 compared to the 100-400 has another review comparing the 70-200, with a 2X, and the 100-400 and the images from the 100-400 look a lot better than the ones shown on that link.   As someone else stated what year of lens is that?  From what I've read there has been an improvement in the lenses as far as compatibility with the newer cameras that have come out over the past few years. One review stated that after getting the software fix for the 100-400 the pictures were much better.   And, I'd take the results shown in the images people have posted on here over a laboratory test with limited, cropped, and macros. 


As a few people have mentioned on here technique is everything.  Someone with good technique can take some amazing photos with lenses that many people may complain about.  I see, and have taken, some great pictures with the 18-55 kit lens yet so many people rip on it. 


I intend on making this lens my next purchase after seeing the great pictures on here and the flickr site.

Forum Elite
Posts: 14,118
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Is the Canon 100-400mm a sharp enough lens?

As I mentioned before, I had the 400mm prime and sold it for a 100-400mm.

I never rely on what the pixel picker’s say. I go by what I actually see in my and other real world photographs. The photos of the RC airplanes ia a very good example.

This is my rationale. Even though I use the 100-400m at the long end most of the time, yes I admit it is at 400mm more than 100mm. But the fact, it can be used at 100mm if a photographer wants is more than valuable and justifiable.

In my bird pictures it was hard to tell if the lens used was the prime or the zoom. Plus both are a fairly slow f5.6 at 400mm. So unless you are making very large enlargements I think it a wash and go for the extra versatility of the zoom.

The last time I used my 100-400mm was in the sound both at the back of the auditorium shooting the musical on stage. It was very nice to have that 100mm capability along with 400mm!


Take the pixel pickers with a grain of salt.

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