Canon 100-400L Review


A naughty little bunny...
Nov 28, 2011
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Well this has been a while coming, I've been meaning to do it and life kept sneaking in and stealing my time. Today I finally found some!

I will preface this by saying this is coming from a first new lens, first L glass, minimal technical frame of reference, it is more my thoughts and experience so if you are looking for technical info this review is not for you.

Since it was over an hour drive to get there I called the store ahead of time to confirm they had the lens and to make sure it didn't by any off chance get sold before I got there. They set it aside for me and when I walked in and saw it I fell in love with it the minute I laid my eyes on it and I totally gapped. I knew everything about the lens and my final frontier was to put it on my camera and check how it worked. I don't think I heard anything other than him answering yes to me asking to take it outside, I tore off my lens mounted this badboy and headed for the door while I mumbled something about leaving Mr. Rabbit and my old lens as collateral.

Mr Rabbit said that a small crowd of employees and the two customers kinda formed and they laughed while the salesman hurried out the door after me and talked about the lens (which Mr Rabbit had zero input other than yes she is a little crazy when it comes to this stuff lol.)

After shooting a bit out there and confirming that it was a sharp lens and there wasn't mechanical issues I was sold. Since then it barely leaves my camera.

So Initial thoughts were holy cow I can't HEAR it!! and OMG this is heavy! Damn it's purdy!

At first using the push pull was awkward, there were more than a few missed shots and choice words as I figured out how to comfortably handhold this heavy rig (about 5lbs with my Canon 60D as opposed to the 2.5ish I was used to with my kit lens) and operate the push pull without having to support most of the weight in my right hand while I zoomed in and out. After time and trial and error I now rest the lens on the heel of my left hand and use my fingertips to push and pull, it is quite comfortable and I now find the twist on my 18-200 is way more awkward and clunky, the push pull is easier to fine tune IMHO.

Now the weight, holy Hannah did that take some getting used to! It was one of the things I was concerned with about any of the longer lenses I was looking at and it definitely required some time to get accustomed to and build the muscles up a little. I swear it was a workout every time!! which in turn had a nice side effect, my arms and upper body have toned up a noticeable amount! Hell if I knew that was going to be an extra I would have done this ages ago lol! Now that I've used it for a couple months it is very comfortable to use for extended periods of time handheld.

Performance wise I'm thrilled now that I've figured out how the lens acts with the various settings, there are two stabilization settings, one for general use and one for panning, both act a bit differently and definitely make a difference, there is also two settings for min focus distance, 1.5(ish)m and 6.5(ish)m again this makes a big difference in how the lens acts. After quite a few oopsie shots that were blurry or endless hunts for focus it is becoming second nature to know how I'm set by how the lens is acting and I remember to change the settings more often than not and avoid the mistakes altogether.

Overall I'm thrilled, I love the bokeh that this lens renders and I now realize the difference that "good glass" makes in overall IQ especially sharpness, editing is more of a tweak now instead of more aggressive work to get to the IQ I want to achieve.

I guess that about sums it up, I'm tickled pink with my choice in this lens, it is definitely heavy but all of the comparable lenses I researched were at least this weight and more often than not heavier. It takes some getting used to but after you get the hang of it is is very comfortable to use. I also had to get used to "locking" the lens without fail when I'm done or moving from place to place, when the lens is "loose" it is so free moving that it slams open if you tip it, it only took a couple times having that awful feeling as it slammed open to learn to not do that anymore!!

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens!

So that's it, my first review on gear :)
Before anyone says this thread is worthless w/o pics here are a few of my fav's so far

Nice! Glad you're enjoying it. That blue bird is beautiful.
Nice shots! Glad to hear you're enjoying the lens too, though not surprised - it's one of the favorites in my kit as well. :)
Thanks Tyler :) isn't he gorgeous! He's an Indigo Bunting and a few showed up in the area out of the blue ( ;) ) a while back at places with feeders, I was lucky enough to get one shot at him before they moved on to find nesting sites :)
Thanks Buckster and John :)

The research I did and the thread I posted here to help me decide was well rewarded! I knew you guys wouldn't steer me wrong ;)
Thanks Teribithia :)
My husband lol
This review was so convincing that I want to buy one, and I shoot Nikon.:no smile:
If you can stand the weight (and the push/pull zoom) this is an awesome lens. Looks like you're putting it to good use already.
Nice review, Madame Rabbit! I'm so glad you've got a great, flexible tele-zoom for all yer critter and bird needs! Some good pics.

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