Canon Telephoto 400mm f/5.6L USM

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by S2K1, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    Has anyone here used this lens? I am looking to get another lens for motorsports shooting and my 70-200 works alright for shooting directly in front of me, but at the race track I shoot at the grandstands are all on straightaways and I'd like to get some good corner shots. I will hand-hold this lens most of the time, possibly have a monopod. Is this going to be too tough to hand hold without IS? It'll mainly be daytime shots too, so I wouldn't miss the f/4 of the 300 IS USM, but it's the other lens I'd consider. Any suggestions? Thanks.
     
  2. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Gets great write ups and is very shrp even wide open by all accounts.
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The focal length at which one can handhold is greatly dependent on the individual.... so no one can answer that question but you. If you can sustain a shutter speed greater than 1/400 of a second (1/500th), most likely you are fine (its only a rule of thumb). Personally, I start thinking tripod and monopod when I go beyond 200mm in focal length regardless of IS or not.

    Remember IS is not the holy grail of steadiness, it doesn't eliminate handshake but reduces it. You didn't mention which 70-200mm lens you own. Have you considered a teleconverter of some sort? Its not as nice in regards to image quality but it just might be good enough for you.
     
  4. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    Well to get the shots I like(depending on what race series is there), I shoot between 1/200th and 1/320th to get the background blurred and the cars in focus to give you an idea of how fast they're traveling, so this may not work. I have the 70-200 f/4L USM(no IS again) and it's fine for shooting at 1/60th of a second hand held, and I've even gotten it to about 1/15th hand held with very little blur(not at the race track). I wish there was a local store here who had one to rent so I could try it out.
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    (renting)

    There are online places you can also rent from... No experience with that so I can't recommend. Perhaps someone else here can make a recommendation.
     
  6. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    I haven't used the 400 f/5.6 you mentioned extensively. But I got the 300 f/4 L IS instead to cover that gap past my 70-200 and than added a 1.4x TC for more reach. Images are still pretty sharp wide open at f/5.6. I only notice a bit of softening at extreme crops. The lens is still really light weight and I can steadily hand hold it down to 1/30th with excellent results. Autofocus is just a tad slower with the TC attached, but with full-time manual you can easily pre-focus and than refine with the auto.
     
  7. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to stay away from a TC, but it's an option. The 300 f/4L IS is the other lens I'm consider as they're fairly close in price, however I'm just afraid I won't have enough zoom because it's a large track and some places aren't as close to the track as others. I'll probably take my fiance's Pentax ist*DL out there with her 320mm zoom lens to see if it's enough.
     
  8. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    A shutter speed of 1/15th with the 70-200 (non IS) I'd say is nigh on impossible! Maybe if it's on a tripod or some other stable surface yes but not handheld. Also even 1/60th is pushing things a bit. You may get away with 1/60th at the shorter end of the zoom but zoom out to 200mm and you'll need 1/200th sec (you may get away with a stop less but even that is pushing things).

    Even with the IS model shooting at 1/15th is hit and miss.
     
  9. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    It was probably at about 100mm sorry, but I wrap my neck strap tight around my arm and it holds it pretty steady. And notice I said I did get a little blur at 1/15, but not bad.
     
  10. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Takes a bit of care and time to get a sharp image at less than 1/focal length.

    THe 300 f4L IS is a superb lens and I use it with the 1.4x with great results however the 400 f5.6 will provide sharper results so long as you have the light to get decent shutter speeds.
     
  11. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    It looks like I'll end up renting the 400 online to see if I can deal without IS.
     
  12. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well if you are really serious about this then take a look at Canons 400mm f2.8L IS. Yeah I know, it is a $6600.00, (B&H price) 11lb. lens, but I was going through the same dilemma. I rented it for a week and that was all it took. Now I understand why it is the sports shooters #1 choice. I have yet to see a lens that will top it for speed or IQ.

    I am well on the way to owning one of my own. Hopefully I can give it to myself as a Christmas present this year.

    Good luck, All the lenses you have mentioned are great quality.
     

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