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Old 17-03-2015, 11:13 PM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Canon EF 400 F5.6L

Hello,

Has anyone had experience with using this lens for astro work? I would appreciate some user experience if so

Also traveling later this year overseas and want to take a telephoto with me. Ive been looking at the EF 100-400 F4.5-5.6L IS for its versatility in different focal lengths but several reviews conclude the above prime is sharper. Here is one. The EF 400 F2.8L IS USM is out of my price range

I was in the dilemma of working out whether to go with a zoom or prime up to the 300 - 400 max focal length. So what other options are there in the L glass from canon for a zoom up to 300/400mm. I know there is the EF 70-300 F4-5.6L IS USM which is discussed here but it looks as though the prime 400 F5.6L is a tad sharper. Although I will be using away from Astro work, I want it to be as sharp as can be for astro work.

On the note of astro work, we all know how well the Samyang 14mm F2.8 performs in terms of off axis resolution and chromatic aberration correction (See here for some tests). The EF 400 F5.6L is pretty good itself here

So peoples experience and opinions are welcome. Thankyou!

Josh
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Old 18-03-2015, 03:02 AM
clive milne
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Have you considered an FSQ106?
You can use it as an 850mm F8
530mm F5 (with an unvignetted field 88mm in diameter)
or 385mm f3.6

It is probably a bit sharper than the Cannon lenses, a fraction of the cost and can be used as a telescope should you want to.
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Old 18-03-2015, 05:14 AM
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skysurfer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post
It is probably a bit sharper than the Cannon lenses, a fraction of the cost and can be used as a telescope should you want to.
Well, the FSQ-106 is a real heavy Cannon (with two n) lens compared to a Canon (with one n) 600mm f/4 or 300 f/2.8 which weigh only 4kg resp 3kg. Despite its compact size it is heavy. Is the tube made of steel ?

The 100-400L (new version) costs with $2200 only a fraction of the Tak and weight a mere 1.5kg.
I have the 70-300L which is very sharp at the edges even at full aperture.

I have the Samyang 14 as well and the sharpness is very good at full aperture.
Find here a review:

http://www.extremeinstability.com/lens14mm.html
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Old 18-03-2015, 09:14 AM
Dennis
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Here you go Josh:

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=35126

Ignore the basic processing and light pollution gradients.

The Canon 400mm F5.6L / Canon 40D was with the lens set to F5.6 (wide open) and no Flat Fields were taken. I used “In Camera Noise Reduction”. The location was suburban Brisbane, some 7kms from the CBD.

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 18-03-2015, 09:40 AM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Josh,

I have that lens but can't comment on it's use for astronomy. I used it at the total solar eclipse but managed to bump the focus as I took off the solar filter .

You don't say what other uses you have for it but I use mine for birding. For that use it is better than the 100-400 zoom because it is sharper, lighter, cheaper and you will be at 400 nearly the whole time anyway (I also have the 70-200 and a 1.4x extender if I need wider field). Although it isn't IS and it is difficult to hand hold you can do so if you stay at 1/600 sec or quicker (about 1/1000 is good). I'm not in the same class as 'Reverend' but I occasionally fluke a good shot and take a few OK shots. I recently tried it on a tripod with the extender to photograph ducks etc on a lake and found I never quite got the focus right.

Looking forward to seeing some shots!

David
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Old 18-03-2015, 01:29 PM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post
Have you considered an FSQ106?
Hi Clive. The FSQ is out of my price range and there is no auto focus for daytime use. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skysurfer View Post
I have the 70-300L which is very sharp at the edges even at full aperture.
Do you have any astro shots from this?
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Old 18-03-2015, 01:54 PM
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Thanks Dennis, That is impressive.

David, thankyou. That's dissapointing to bump the focus... I wont be using it for birding.

So, I think I have narrowed it down to the 400 f5.6L and the 70-300 f4-5.6L IS.
So bellow are my considerations:
So the 400 f5.6L appears to be a tak sharper but i dont know if this will be noticable over the 70-300, it's got slightly more reach for sunset shots etc. fine for astro use also.

The 70-300f4-5.6L IS has more flexibility in FL for portrait shots and every day use on travels, has image stabilization, im not sure on its astro performance or whether i may want some more reach for composing sunset shots on my full frame 6d. Note, I wont be shooting birds but maybe some wildlife in Africa.

So im slightly leaning towards the 70-300 for its versatility. I would have gone for the 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM but it looks like the 70-300 has better resolution....

Any other experiences or opinions?

thanks!

Last edited by Joshua Bunn; 18-03-2015 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 18-03-2015, 05:39 PM
Dennis
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Hi Joshua

I recently acquired the canon 100-400 Version 2 and after 2 or 3 casual outings, I would say that it is every bit as sharp as the 400mm F5.6L prime and better (pixel peeping) than my 300mm F4L prime. The AF on the Version 2 100-400 is noticeably faster than my 300mm F4L and easily matches the 400mm prime.

In my opinion, the version 2 100-400mm can replace 3 lenses; the 70-200mm F4L, 300mm F4L and 400mm F5.6L. However, the V2 100-400 is noticeably heavier than the 400mm prime…

I have not yet used the V2 100-400mm for astrophotography so I cannot comment on how it would compare to the 400mm F5.6L prime (21 lens elements compared to 7).

Here are some very recent sample shots with the 100-400 showing exceptional IQ and resolution.

Cheers

Dennis

EDIT:
I mistakenly posted Eastern Water Dragon photos taken with the Canon 100mm F2.8 macro lens. I have replaced them with the ones taken with the 100-400mm Version 2.

The 4 stop IS on the V2 100-400 and the closer close focusing distance compared to the 400mm were a strong input into my decision to buy the new 100-400.
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Last edited by Dennis; 18-03-2015 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 18-03-2015, 05:58 PM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Thanks Dennis.

I'm blown away by the contrast and resolution you have captured there
On another note, I cant afford the 100-400 version 2. There are plenty version 1 around for $1000, but I think the prime 400 and 70-300 (discussed in this post) just exceed it in terms of IQ and resolution, well that's what the labs test say... has anyone got any real world images to back this up?

Josh
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Old 18-03-2015, 06:00 PM
Dennis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Bunn View Post
Thanks Dennis.

I'm blown away by the contrast and resolution you have captured there
On another note, I cant afford the 100-400 version 2. There are plenty version 1 around for $1000, but I think the prime 400 and 70-300 (discussed in this post) just exceed it in terms of IQ and resolution, well that's what the labs test say... has anyone got any real world images to back this up?

Josh
Hi Josh

See my update - I mistakenly uploaded the wrong EWD photos!

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 18-03-2015, 06:13 PM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Thanks for the IS and close focus edit... And still the images are crackers even if not as close.
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Old 18-03-2015, 08:10 PM
Dennis
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If you end up with a Canon 400mm F5.6L, you’ll be really pleased with it; it is an often underrated optic. Its lightweight, almost a walk about lens, has excellent IQ, very fast AF and is sharp wide open.

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 18-03-2015, 08:28 PM
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Occulta (Chris)
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Canon 100mm - 400mm L Series

Hi Josh

I have a great deal of affection for the above lens.
The push-pull can be a little difficult for quick zooming but the lens has a nice balance and the 2 mode IS is very effective. I believe the newer model has a rotary zoom.

I posted this cropped, hand-held image last year and received some favourable replys.

Chris
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