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Registered: ‎01-25-2018

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

The DO (defractive optics) lens are Canon's method of providing decent telephoto lens that are smaller and less expensive than their traditional lens.  The tradeoffs are sharpness and contrast compared to the traditional fast primes.  I have EF 200 f2, EF 300 f2.8, and EF 400 f2.8 and the images from these are incredibly sharp.. They are better than my 70-200 f2.8 which is a great lens but it isn't surprising that given that the compromises needed to make a zoom lens that the high end primes are going to be better.  I use the 70-200 f2.8 often and it is almost always on my second body at sports events with either the 300 or 400 f2.8 on the main body.

 

All three of these primes take the 1.4X beautifully because there base sharpness and contrast is so good and the 2X is quite usable producing very nice images BUT when you compare these to the bare lens then the 2X doesn't look so good.  Basically the 2X on one of these fast primes turns an incredbile lens into just a very good lens.

 

The 300 f2.8 focuses a tad faster than the 70-200 f2.8 and considerably faster if you add the teleconverter to the zoom to get near the 300 reach. 

 

The tradeoffs are the 300 and 400 fast primes are very heavy and very expensive.  I often shoot with both handheld but many people consider them too heavy needing at least a monopod so if you are thinking handheld be aware of the weight.  They balance quite well with a 1 series body and after I added a battery grip to my 5DS R it isn't bad but it doesn't feel like it does on the 1DX bodies.  AF speed also varies by body and the 1 series AF system and larger capacity battery will achieve faster AF with a lot of lenses compared to the 5, 6, and 7 series bodies but the 300 f2.8 is always going to be faster than a lens with a converter that slightly slows AF speed both due to the converter and the loss of a stop.

 

I tried a EF 400 DO and I wasn't really happy with the image quality, although the 400 f5.6 I bought with my first 1 series back in 2005 is a stop slower I really think it produces better quality images than the 400 DO and I would take it over the DO IF you feel comfortable working with f5.6 (and the 400 f5.6 is very good at its wide open aperture setting and also takes the 1.4X well if f8 will work for your shooting and your camera body).

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Re: What is Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM used for? Any good for birds photography?

The reason I am looking at either a 300 f2.8 or 400 f2.8 is that I could use it with my 2x converter for birds or other wildlife photography, and without the converter for other types of photography and still have the sharpness that I am looking for.

 

Here is a sample I took with the 70-200 f2.8 without the converter. This is zoomed in at 50% of the original.

 

 

70-200.png

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

This is viewed at a 1:3 ratio of the original with a 2x converter.

 

2x converter.png

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

Always a critic in the audience, back off on the saturation and the clarity slider. Less is more.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Re: What is Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM used for? Any good for birds photography?

I did it on purpose to help see the sharpness of the photos. Thanks

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


@limvo05 wrote:

The reason I am looking at either a 300 f2.8 or 400 f2.8 is that I could use it with my 2x converter for birds or other wildlife photography, and without the converter for other types of photography and still have the sharpness that I am looking for.

 

Here is a sample I took with the 70-200 f2.8 without the converter. This is zoomed in at 50% of the original.

 

 


I would not use a 2x teleconverter with any of the big primes.  Even the prime that has one built into it only uses a 1.4x teleconverter. I have not used one, but I can definitely see image degradation with the 1.4x III.

 

What body are you using?  I would recommend a lens that is actually 600mm, of 800mm, over using a teleconverter with either a 300mm or 400mm lens.  But, I do not know what body that you are using.

 

I use the Sigma 150-600mm "C" with great results with full frame sensor bodies like the 6D, and even with the 1D Mark IV.  But, the Sigma and the 7D Mark II seem to be a marriage destined for divorce.  The combo just simply does not work well for me.  For whatever reason, the focusing is not anywhere near as crisp.as it is with the larger sensor bodies.  I had similar isssues with my T5 before I sold it.  I tried it with my son's 80D, and though not as soft as the 7D2, the images were i little soft just the same.

 

 

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Re: What is Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM used for? Any good for birds photography?

I am using 5Ds. So far, I am very happy using the 5Ds with 24-70 ii and 70-200 ii. The 300 or 400 2.8 should give me the extra reach I am looking for. The 500 is simply too big for traveling I would think.

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

The sample photo was taken with the 70-200 ii. I believe this is cropped at 1:2 ratio.

 

Flower.png

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

[ Edited ]

Adding additional optical elements to a lens via a teleconverter is always going to reduce the IQ and the question is whether the end results are suitable for you.  In sports, even the 2X can work well when paired with the great white primes because you aren't trying to pick out individual nose hairs of the player but in other situations you might want that level of resolution.

 

In my experience, the 1.4X will provide extremely good results when married to any of the great white primes but the 2X is not going to be great for cases where you want to "pixel peep" - especially where it involves extreme cropping.  Four example photos all taken with a 1DX III and EF 400 f2.8 IS II, the first three are 1920 x 1080 crops from the 5742 x 3648 total sensor area and are respectively the bare 400 lens, the 400 + 1.4X, and the 400 + 2X. 

 

The final image is also from the 400 + 2X on the 1DX III but now most of the image sensor is being used and a 1920x1080 pixel file is created by down sampling (rotate the image 90 degrees in your image viewer if  you wish to fit a standard 1920x1080 pixel resolution monitor for comparison to the previous 3 images). The 2X works fine for this setup / composition.  The 300 f2.8 responds pretty much exactly like the 400 f2.8 to 1.4x and 2X converters.

 

Rodger

 

400 2.8 bare lens.JPG

 

400 2.8 plus 1.4x.JPG

 

400 2.8 plus 2x.JPG

 

400 2.8 plus 2x large sensor.JPG

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Re: What is Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM used for? Any good for birds photography?

The first and second photos are very sharp. The 3rd is somewhat hard to tell, mostly because the branch cut across the bird's face, making it rather distracting. In the final image, I can't tell if it's sharp or not. Do you recall the focus point? You can easily read the prints on the shirt and on the ball, however, you could see the legs are soft, and part of the grass is blurry. Nice photo though.

 

In short, would you recommend getting the 400mm f2.8? I might try to pair it with a 1.4 converter later.


Thanks.

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