Canon has introduced a new high-performance super-telephoto lens, retailing at u00a311,999.99, as the latest addition to its L-series

The EF 200-400mm

f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x, announced yesterday, is the first commercially

available lens to feature a built-in 1.4x extender, allowing the user to extend

its 200-400mm focal length to 280-560mm.

AP’s Technical

Editor Richard Sibley, who has been able to try out the lens, praised the 1.4x

extender for granting photographers much greater adaptability.

If someone were

shooting at the full extent of the focal length, and another subject presented

itself at a much shorter distance, simply deactivating the extender with a

flick of a lever would allow for swift refocusing, he explained.

Sibley went on to

say that, since such a situation would normally require a change of lenses, the

flexibility of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is also an asset in

that it will reduce need for frequent lens changes and thus reduce the chances

of dust entering a camera body.

Canon’s L-series

of EF lenses is generally regarded as the firm’s top-of-the-line range with

regard to toughness and reliability in adverse conditions.

The newest member

of the family has a fixed f/4 aperture (increasing to f/5.6 when the extender

is activated), allowing for the use of high shutter speeds, and features a

newly designed optical Image Stabilizer, which Canon claims will provide users

with a four-stop advantage.

The firm drew

particular attention to IS ‘Mode 3′, which applies stabilisation only at the

time of exposure. Canon claims that this will allow photographers to pan with

fast-paced action without having the IS overcompensate for movement.

‘This feature is

ideal for sports photographers, who typically only have a split-second to

capture a subject in front of them,’ Canon said.

The lens includes

Canon’s ring-type Ultrasonic Motor for fast autofocusing. Users can also

override the autofocus at any given moment in order to adjust focus manually.

There are

provisions for video shooters too, with a Power Focus mode that enables an

accurate pull-focus effect, activated by twisting the focus recall ring and

stopping at a preset distance.

Canon claims that

the lens’s magnesium alloy chassis makes it a comparable weight to other

telephoto lenses of similar focal length, despite the additional presence of

the extender.

As is customary

for telephoto lenses in the L-series, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM features

fluorite elements – in this case, fluorine coatings on the front and rear

elements to ward off dirt.

Canon said: ‘The

combination of outstanding optical performance, versatility, weight and tough construction

will make it an essential part of any professional sports or wildlife

photographer’s kitbag.’

The EF 200-400mm

f/4L IS USM will be available from June and is priced at £11,999.99. For more

information visit