Canon 300mm f4L vs 100-400L f4.5-5.6

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Hardrock, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Other than the 100mm focal length and 1 stop difference , how do these lens compare? I would like to invest in a nice medium length telephoto lens. The lens is not for anything specific I like to shoot anything from sports to nature. Just curious how the sharpness compares and if I should consider another lens in this price range. Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I haven't used the 300mm F4, but I would assume that the image quality is better than the 100-400mm, simply because that's usually the case when you compare prime lenses to zoom lenses.
     
  3. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I used to have the 300mmF4 nonIS for sport there is no contest 300mm wins hands down
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    You might check out this link:

    Juza Nature Photography


    I have the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 which I love, but must have gotten a good copy (e-bay ~$500) as Juza didn't have good things to say about his copy. I've actually been thinking of selling it for the Canon 300mm f/4 because I use it almost exclusively at 300 and the IS would be nice. Alternatively, I may just hold onto it and wait until I can get the $$ for something a bit longer.

    Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 100-300mm f/4 @ 300mm, 1/1250sec, f8, ISO 200

    [​IMG]
    Anna's Hummingbird
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, in that range I have mostly Nikon equivalents, but the experience translates reasonably well I think. With a 300mm f/4 prime lens, you have the choice of using it with a 1.4x TC unit to make a pretty good 420mm f/5.6 for added reach. You can also use the 300mm with a 12mm extension tube, or a Canon 500D + diopter lens (aka close-up filter--the current best of its type made) for added magnification in close-up shooting of things like butterflies, flowers, reptiles, etc. With the 100-400, your overall aperture range is from f/4.5 to f/5.6, so it's always going to bring with it slower shutter speeds than the 300 prime.

    Alternatives would be the Sigma 80-400 OS, same aperture range as the Canon 100-400, and maybe the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM, which I also have,and which I think is a viable alternative to a p[rime 300/4. The 100-300 Sigma offers the focal length flexibility a zoom brings, with a constant f/4 maximum aperture, in a reasonably priced, normal weight lens; it is however, a tad softer at 300mm than the Nikon 300/4, BUT at a baseball game, having a 100-300 zoom range increases the shot opportunities many times over.

    With longer zoom lenses, there comes a time when the maximum aperture becomes a critical factor, like late in the day, or under stadium lights; you will run into that critical factor with the f/4.5~f/5.6 lens much earlier in a baseball game around at twilight than you will with an f/4 lens. As cameras and their high ISO performance gets better and better, a lens that is only f/5.6 at its widest aperture begins to look much better as a potential sports lens than it does with a body that tops out at ISO 1600,so if you happen to have a latest and greatest body with uber high ISO capability, that too is a factor.

    Sharpness and flare resistance wise-the Nikon 300/4 is a better lens than the 80-400 Sigma OS or the 80-400 VR-Nikkor or the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM,and so I am assuming that Canon's 300 f/4 will also have an edge over long zooms.
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    One i took with the 300F4 non is in2006
    [​IMG]
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Image quality => 300 f4L
    Zoom => 100-400L

    Which is more important?

    This is really no different from any other Prime vs Zoom discussion.

    I had both and both had its merits. The 300 f/4L is very good and compact. Definitely a better IQ than the 100-400L. Not as interesting as the 300mm f/2.8 but also lighter. Once I decided to simplify my eos "kit", I ended up selling all my primes as I decided to shoot primes on another system. The 100-400L survived and the 300L went off to the auction block.

    Here are a couple old ones from my 100-400L.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys! I curently have a 50D which seems to be ok at Iso 2000 but I really dont have any experience with a 300mm lens at iso 2000. I did like the flexibility of having the zoom but I really would rather have the extra sharpness(at least I think I would). I will have to wait to see the pictures that were posted since Im at work and they get websensed! As far as the IS goes its good for 2 stops?
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Focus speed is quite a bit slower on the 100-400 than the 300F4, i tried my friends on 1 of my 1D's shooting motorbikes coming head on and only about 10% where keepers it was a real let down what made it worse though i was trying it against my 300F2.8L
     
  10. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    These are two different lenses for two different jobs. If you want a 300mm f4 of top quality then that is the one you want. If you need the versatility of a 100 - 400 and are willing to put up with the drop in speed and small drop in quality which always accompanies a zoom in the persuite of that versatility then the zoom is the one you want.

    If you need both and have deep pockets then you need both. But although the focal length of the prime is covered by the zoom the comparison is similar to asking if a 50mm macro is better than a 100 to 400 mm . They are very different jobs. Firstly get sorted in your mind just what YOU want to do with the lens. When you have that firmly sorted the question will answer itself.
    Conversly if you have no idea then either

    A). You don't need either.
    B). you need the applications of both (Not very likely if you can't decide what you want to do).

    or the most likely option would be

    C). the versatility of the zoom will give you the flexibility you are looking for.
     
  11. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    I really dont need either! I just want a medium to long telephoto to add to my collection of lens, since the only telephoto I have is the cheapo 75-300 and the images are not very sharp. If the 300f4 is a lot sharper then I would rather have it but if it is real close than I would get the 100-400. But it seems that from the previous posts and articles Ive read that the 300f4 is sharper and slightly faster but obvious not as long. So thanks for the input.
     
  12. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget about the (very sharp) 400 f/5.6 L prime. It doesn't have IS, but it kills the 100-400 at 400mm.

    See also:

    Forgotten 400
     

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