Canon 100-400mm IS L 4.5-5.6 Lens Review

For the past week I've been testing out the Canon 100-400 IS L 4.5-5.6 lens. All in all I'd have to say it's a great all around zoom lens. As with all lenses there are some pro's and con's to this lens and this lens is no different. 

Pro's To The Lens:

One of the biggest things that I like about this lens is that it's a zoom lens that goes out to 400mm. There are quite a few lenses that are in the 70-200mm, 70-300mm, but to have a pro zoom lens in the 100-400mm range is great! The IS feature on the lens functions as it should and is very similar to Canon's 70-200 IS L 2.8 lens. Focusing is fast and smooth. The clarity of the images is really spectacular as you'd expect from the pro lens. The biggest benefit for me is the fact that it reaches out to 400mm and that it is a zoom lens! 

Con's To The Lens:

The first thing that you will notice with this lens is the style of the zoom on it. Instead of a turn-barrel zoom lens, it is a push & bull barrel zoom lens (see video) I put this as a con because I haven't gotten used to it since every other lens out there is a turn-barrel zoom (just my preference though). The lens is a little heavy, but it's to be expected with a larger zoom lens. This means that you're not going to be doing too much hand-held photography in half-way low light situations without getting a blurry image. 

Another big drawback with the lens is the vignetting when you are on 400mm @ 5.6. You will have to open up to f/11 or highter to really get a clear image and you may have to back down to 300mm too. This in and of itself could be a deal breaker for those of you who have used the 400mm 2.8 or 5.6 and really like the clarity. I don't say this to be overly pestimistic because there are incredible trade-off's when we go from a prime lens to a zoom. 


All in all I really like this lens. The pro's outweigh the con's for me. I love the fact that it's a 400mm 5.6 and that it's a zoom. Comparing this lens to the costs of the 400mm 2.8 ($11,000) and the 400mm 5.6 ($1,200), this is a great value for this lens for everything that it can do ($1,550).  This is a lens that I will be purchasing down the road.