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Canon 300 mm f/4 L IS + 1.4 x TC or Canon 400 mm 5.6 L (1 Viewer)

subhasis

New member
Hello all,
I am using a Canon 300 mm f/4 with canon 40D and seldom use the 1.4 TC with this because I am noticeing that the result of this combo is not sharp and good. Now the reach of 300 mm is something I felt less and I want to upgrade to a larger focal length. I don't know whether the problem is in TC or not. Is this a good decision to upgrade to a Canon 400 mm f/5.6. At present I do not want to spare more money for 500 mm or so. By the way I have a plan to upgrade my camera to 7D also. So please suggest me what should I do.

Regards,
Subhasis Roy
Sikkim,India
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Hi Subhasis and a warm welcome to you from the entire staff here at BF :t:

I've moved your thread to the Canon section of the Forum and have subscribed you to this thread so you don't lose track of it ;)
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
I have no experience of the 300mm but I have tried the 400f4.6
If I was going to buy either I would choose the 300mm because it has a minimum focus distance of 1.50m as opposed to the 3.5m on the 400f5.6. Makes it an ideal lens for a bit of macro work. It's also got IS which the 400 hasn't.
You don't say which brand of TC you have or which model but I would have thought that you should get excellent results with a Canon 1.4Mk11 TC.
As for changing bodies, have you considered an older model like a 1D Mk11 ? The image quality is still superb, you can AF at f8 so you could also get a 2.0TC for your 300mm to increase reach to 600mm and they are built like tanks. Ideal for your climate. I traded mine in recently and really regret it, I only got £250 for it. Why oh why I didn't keep it for a back up I don't know . A new 7d is still 3 or 4 times the price and yes, it has more pixels and a bigger crop factor but the build quality is not in the same class.
cheers Dave
 

Brian Dunning

Well-known member
Hi,

I use the EF300L f4 with a 7D. Most of the time the Canon Ex 1.4 II is in use and I have no problem with unsharp images. Please look through my BF Gallery and see for yourself. However, I do find that some Canon lenses (inc. my EF300) need to be adjusted to get them spot-on in terms of focus. You do this via the focus micro adjustment in the 7D menus but unfortunately this facility is not available on the 40D.

I decided on the EF300/EX 1.4 route because of the points made by Dave Williams. It focuses much closer (you can't really do macro work at 3.5M) than the EF400 and it has IS. Good though the EF400 f5.6 is, it just wasn't flexible enough for me.

Hope this helps!
 

2slo

Well-known member
There's definitely something wrong if your 300mm f/4 plus 1.4x TC isn't producing sharp images. I have these and a 400mm f/5.6 and there is very little between them in terms of IQ, just a nod to the 400mm in terms of overall sharpness. Since your camera doesn't have microadjustment capability, getting it adjusted to the 300mm + TC (by Canon) would be a lot cheaper than buying a new lens.
 

george-spiridakis

Well-known member
Hello all,
I am using a Canon 300 mm f/4 with canon 40D and seldom use the 1.4 TC with this because I am noticeing that the result of this combo is not sharp and good. Now the reach of 300 mm is something I felt less and I want to upgrade to a larger focal length. I don't know whether the problem is in TC or not. Is this a good decision to upgrade to a Canon 400 mm f/5.6. At present I do not want to spare more money for 500 mm or so. By the way I have a plan to upgrade my camera to 7D also. So please suggest me what should I do.

Regards,
Subhasis Roy
Sikkim,India

Hello,
i had both lenses in the past, now i have the 300f/4L IS. If you have the 1,4x II Extender, that could be partly the reason your images are not so sharp.
Try the 1,4x III, is more expensive that the one you got, but is surely better in the results. If there is not a problem with your camera + lens your results will be very good. Otherwise, you need to make a calibration to the camera-lens setup. Unfortunately, 40D has no microadjustment settings to do that your self, so you need to send it to Canon.

I 've seen a great improvement with the 1,4x III compared with the 1,4xII.
The advantage of the 300 f/4 and 1,4xIII compared to the 400f/5,6 is the IS as well as the 1,5 min focus distance. About the AF speed of these, the 400f/5,6 gets AF faster than the 300 and 1,4x but if you limit your lens focusing distance from 3 to +00 the AF speed will improve quite a lot, and get close to that of 400f/5,6.

As for the 7D, you must know that although good camera, it can't make usage of the whole 18Mp. Maybe close to 85% of these (when you see the 100% of the image of course).
If you are ok with the 10Mp of the 40D, try to find a used 1D Mark III, i think is a better camera than the 7D in most aspects, ecxept the Mp.

George
 

Hor Kee

Penang birder
Bumping up this old thread. I've had a week testing out my 'lil sis's 300mm f4 IS and comparing it to my 400mm f5.6. Here are some in-the-field observations of mine. i used my 600D body throughout.

Generally, the 300mm f4 when used wide open at f4 without TCs delivered sharp images, but still not as sharp as the 400mm 5.6 wide open. Sharpness and contrast of the 300mm improved when stopped down to f5 or f5.6.

Results with TCs were hit and miss. Decent sharpness and contrast with the Kenko DGX 1.4 TC wide open, better at f/8. With the Kenko DGX 2x TC, poor at F8 (but with AF nonetheless) but good at f/13. Neither combo was as sharp as the bare 400mm 5.6 but the results were similar when I stuck the said Kenko 1.4x on my 400mm 5.6 lens.

For BIFs, I shot with IS off as the light was good enough for both to have very fast shutterspeeds of at least 1/800s. In this test, the 400mm absolutely slaughtered the 300mm. Its focus was light-years faster, not least due to its focus limiter limiting focus to 8.5m to infinity. This is not a problem for BIFs that generally don't fly near you. the 300mm's focus was slow, even with the focus limiter set to 3m to infinity.

Dim prospects for the 300mm? No, I'm not done yet. Its main advantage was, as has always been stated, its versatility when hand-held. I was shooting sunbirds in a dim rainforest and a Little Heron in a dark ditch handheld with shutterspeeds as low as 1/30s. The images came out sharp, especially those taken at close range. The 1.5m MFD of the 300mm also permitted close approach, something that my 400mm could never do. The IS was surprisingly good. Theoretically, the minimum shutter speed should have been 1/120 with the older 2-stop IS, but as I was saying, I got sharp images at 1/30 handheld! Operating the 300mm was like my 55-250mm IS lens in this respect, but elevated to a much higher level!

All in all, I would say that these lenses occupy somewhat different niches, albeit with plenty of overlap. If you have both, use them accordingly. If you have only one, make the best out of it.
 

DMW

Well-known member
Thanks Hor Kee, a very useful comparison. It reinforces the view that there is no one perfect lens for wildlife photography.
 

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