Canon 100 400mm f 4.5 5.6l is ii usm

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

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

The Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is a super-telephoto zoom lens and long awaited update to the original Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. Key features include:

What’s New. Technology has changed since its predecessor’s 1998 release. This new version offers improved optics, focusing, stabilization, hood design, tripod ring design, zoom method, and… If you’re noticing a trend, everything is new, all to provide better image quality and performance.

Long Range Zoom. Like the original, you’re still getting a focal range of 100-400mm. However, everyone’s prayers have been answered: the push/pull zoom method has been replaced with standard rotational zoom. However, one interesting quirk they left in was the zoom tension ring. You know, for those times you need to tighten a rotational ring with a second rotational ring.

Four-Stop Image Stabilization. Compared to the former’s 1.5 stops of correction, you’ll now be able to keep on shooting while you’re running from the bear you disturbed. It’s auto-tripod-sensing, so you can just set it and leave it. There’s three modes for switching between normal, panning, and “I like to see a shaky image in the viewfinder but have it be stabilized in the shot.”

Ultrasonic Motor. This updated internal focusing system features a high-speed CPU and optimized AF algorithms that provide faster, near-silent performance. It’s also worth noting that the minimum focus distance has been reduced to just 3.2 ft with a magnification of 0.31× (from 5.9 ft / 0.20x on the original).

Optics. This all-new formula of 21 elements in 16 groups includes one fluorite and one Super UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) element to combat chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range. Fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements help resist moisture, dust, and fingerprints. But that’s not all! Canon has included an Air Sphere Coating (ASC) to help reduce backlit flaring and ghosting while retaining contrast. What’s an Air Sphere Coating you ask? Well, it’s tiny air bubbles. I will leave it at that.

Build. The weather-resistant magnesium housing promises professionals a workhorse to update their previous generation workhorse. Despite the removal of the trombone zoom, the Mark II still sees a size and weight increase, so be aware of the change. The redesigned hood now includes a side window for adjusting rotational filters like CPs and variable NDs, while the new rotating tripod ring has a removable foot that allows it to be detached from the lens without having to dismount the lens.

Roger's Take

What to say about the lens that replaces an excellent classic lens? That’s easy, it’s better. Not hugely better, but clearly better in many small but significant ways. Many people like the fact that it zooms with a ring now, rather than with "tromboning" the barrel. I didn’t mind the other way, but some people did.

The new lens is just a bit sharper in the center than the original 100-400 (the original was excellent) and is clearly sharper in the edges and corners. It also has a far superior Image Stabilization system, and with a 400mm lens that is often hand-held, that’s a big advantage. It focuses just a bit quicker and the motor is quieter, although I doubt the difference will be noticeable for most people. Finally, it takes a 2x teleconverter and still autofocuses accurately now, although that’s not my first or second choice on how to shoot at 800mm. But if you want to, you can.

There are some downsides: the new lens is a bit heavier than the old one and is more expensive. But for the vast majority of photographers, the positives of the new lens far outweigh the negatives. It’s worth the money for most of us.

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