Canon has a range of legendary telephoto lenses that are some of the best in the industry. These L-series lenses offer unrivalled quality but come at a huge expense. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is one such lens. It is possibly one of the best telephoto lenses in existence and has a built-in 1.4x extender.
In this article, we look at this super-performance lens and see if it is worth the investment or even how you could use this lens.
First, let’s look at the basic specifications of this telephoto lens. As you would expect from such a prestigious product, it has a host of features for high-end photography:
- Weight: 3620g
- Max Length: 128x366mm
- Viewing Angle: 10° – 5°10′, 7° – 3°30′, 12° – 6°10′
- Maximum Aperture: f/4
- Minimum Aperture: f/32
- Image Stabilization: Yes
- Lens Hood: Yes
- Closest focusing distance: 2m
- Maximum magnification: 0.15x
- Filter diameter: 52mm
As you can see it has some excellent features. For example, it has a great aperture range of f/4 to f/32. The consistent maximum aperture of f/4 is indeed one of the main selling points.
It should be noted that the standard focal distance of 200-400mm can be extended to 280-560mm using the built-in 1.4x extender. It is still possible to use the IS feature using the extender too.
This lens looks amazing. It is an L-series telephoto lens and thus has the iconic white and black exterior coating. It also has the stylish L-series red ring edged near the final lens element.
We have to talk about the size and weight, however. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is a supreme quality telephoto lens. As a result, it is extremely heavy and bulky. It weighs nearly eight pounds and measures 366mm at its maximum length.
If we make a fair comparison, it is effectively the same size and weight as a newborn baby! As a result, this is not a lens that you would use when moving and walking around. It is indeed not meant to be a portable lens, it is meant to be used from a stationary position with a heavy-duty tripod.
Aside from this, it is a superior lens in terms of design and features. It has image stabilization which provides correction for up to four stops of camera shake. It also has Canon’s USM autofocusing motor for precise and accurate focusing.
The lens elements of this device are fluorite coated and have four UD elements. This eliminates chromatic aberration and other distortions and means ultimate photo quality and sharpness.
The performance of the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is arguably unbeatable. It does exactly what it should – allow you to create exceptional quality telephoto shots with ease. For professional sports and wildlife photographers, there are few other lenses that could provide the same quality.
The extender is easy to use and you can switch the 1.4x magnification on by using a simple switch. This means you can react quickly to changes in action and still capture the detail you want. The zoom function of the lens is smooth, and you can easily transition between focal distances.
The autofocusing of the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is another strong point. It uses an advanced CPU, ring USM, and other features to ensure that you can focus quickly and smoothly on moving subjects.
As an L-series lens, the exterior coating is incredibly durable. This is one of the few lenses that can be safely used in adverse weather conditions without risking damage.
The image quality this lens produces is superb. When used with a high-end Canon DSLR like the Canon EOS 5D MKIII, you can produce unbelievable shots. The color contrast, sharpness, and detail remain excellent regardless of the zoom level.
How Does the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Compare?
It is difficult to find a comparison for the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM, as it is a relatively unique lens in its own category. That being said, a comparison to give you an idea of price and quality is the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM.
We have listed the basic specifications of these two lenses below:
|Canon EF 200-400mm f4L IS USM||Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM|
As you can see, the difference in size and weight is noticeable. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM weighs nearly double the 100-400mm.
At first glance, the other features are relatively similar. Both have a maximum zoom range of 400mm, although the 100-400mm does not have an extender. The consistent f/4 aperture range of the 200-400mm is also superior.
The most noticeable difference between these two high-quality telephoto lenses is the price. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM costs approximately 5x more than the 100-400mm.
Which lens you choose therefore comes down to purpose and usage. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is the more realistic choice. In contrast, unless you want to pursue a career in professional sports or wildlife photography, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is incredibly expensive.
Is the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM a Viable Telephoto Lens?
If you want an ultimate quality telephoto lens, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM is one of the best choices available. You must be willing to pay that price, however. This is certainly not a lens for hobbyists or those who intend to use it on occasion.
This is a lens for professional usage for those who specialize in telephoto photography. For example, wildlife photographers, sports photographers, or events photographers. For these purposes, there is arguably no better choice. As a long-term investment, the cost would certainly be worth it.