Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Field Test

April 2, 2015

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM



Price as Reviewed:


Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Field Test - The arrival of the revamped and redesigned 100-400mm is a tempting proposition for Canon users. Michael Topham takes to the fields of Kent to find out how it fares at photographing wildlife

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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Field Test – Final Thoughts

Other than the fairly small tripod plate, which would have been better if it were made longer to aid carrying the lens, plus the fact the focus distance window is so close to the lens mount on the top of the barrel that it was partially obscured by the 7D Mark II’s viewfinder, I found very little to fault using the telephoto zoom in the type of environment for which it’s made.

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II sample image 6
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II Sample Image Gallery

Inspection of images back on my iMac revealed exceptional levels of sharpness, with the optimum sweet spot between 100-200mm found between f/6.3-8. At the longer end of the zoom, opening the aperture to around f/5.6-6.3 delivers the sharpest results, but as mentioned above, vignetting is ever present at these settings. The rapid autofocus and superb image stabiliser is where the lens really excels. For those photographing fast and erratic subjects, such as birds or action sports, it doesn’t disappoint.

Given that I’ve been offered around £500 for my older EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM (in mint condition) from second-hand dealer, Camera Jungle, I now have a difficult decision to make. Can I justify spending the £1,500 to upgrade to this fabulous zoom lens, which has clearly been given more than a makeover by Canon? It’s a redesigned beauty that I want and I’m not looking forward to handing back.

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