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Author Topic: Canon 400 DO  (Read 6478 times)

charles354

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Canon 400 DO
« on: June 14, 2007, 02:03:20 pm »

Mr. Reichmann I noticed that you sold your 300 and 500 Canons to buy the 400 DO. How do you compare it to your 300 and 500?
Thanks charles354
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Gregory

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 02:42:32 am »

mmm... that wouldn't make sense. I'd re-verify your source if I were you.

I'm considering buying the 400 DO but I have some reservations after having used the 70-300 DO for several months because it seems to produce soft photos (the 350D's sensor doesn't help though).

the MTF chart for the 400 DO is not bad but not even close to the perfection of the 300 and 500 lenses, so I doubt that Michael would sell these and replace them with a 400 DO.

just my gut feeling. I might be wrong ;-)


I'd love to know what others think of the 400 DO. I almost never use a tripod when I'm photographing birds and wildlife, and the 400 DO is much lighter than the 400/2.8. if it produces high quality images, I'd buy it (once I've saved enough of course).

regards,
Gregory
« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 09:34:13 am by Gregory »
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michael

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 08:19:03 am »

Yes, I did sell my 300mm and 500mm and purchased the 400mm DO, and yes it does make sense, at least for me.

The 300mm was going unused, and I was finding the 500mm was receiving infrequent use because of its size and weight. I ended up using the 100-400mm zoom instead, even though its quality isn't close to that of the others. As is always the case, it's better to get the shot with an inferior lens than to not get the shot at all.

The 400DO which I first tested it in 2002, when it came out, was very exciting, but optically left a bit to be desired. Since then production lenses have been greatly improved and I can find nothing to fault. I know numerous photographers using the 400DO and don't know anyone with anything negative to say, other than that occasionally specular highlights can have a "different" look.

No, the MTF charts of the DO are not as good as this of the other Canon super telephotos, which are as good as it gets. But, in the real world image quality is simply excellent. I have recently done some shooting with the lens and a 1.4X, and even a 2X, and find the results to be perfectly acceptable, something that I don't often see with lesser lenses.

If practicality of use trumps absolute theoretical charts for you, then I highly recommend the 400mm DO.

Michael
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Gregory

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 09:32:44 am »

Dear Michael,

thank you ever so much for correcting me.

between your reply and the 400mm DO thread, I've finally decided to buy the 400 DO, a decision I've pondered for almost a year. the lense fills all of my requirements for my opportunistic bird photography (i.e., bird photography without blinds). together with the Mark III I've ordered (and perhaps a GoPod or flag-holder equivalent), I hope that the clarity and content of my pictures will significantly improve (compared to the 350D and 70-300 DO I currently use).

I find it interesting and comforting that all of the arguments presented in the "400mm DO" thread are still valid today, 2 years after that thread was started.

I also find it intriguing that Canon doesn't have a middle-of-the-range zoom; a 200-400 for example.

again, thank you for correcting me and putting me in my place ;-)

regards,
Gregory
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jensputzier

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2007, 02:24:18 am »

Having returned from a recent holiday trip to Denmark where weather "forced" me to spend a couple of days shooting rare gulls instead of lying on the beach, I figured whether the image quality of my 100-400 zoom could be improved for shooting birds in flight. I thought about the DO and read all the reviews I could find on the net.

The reviews in favor of the lens came mainly from Michael and Art Morris plus some other amateur and professional photographers, the cons came from numerous no-name-contributors of German and other language forums. I really wonder why one (like me too) get's the initial impression on the web that this DO lens shouldn't be any good.

I believed that the 400DO should be better than the 100-400 and not as good as the 400/2.8. Then again, the 400/2.8 cannot be handheld.

So finally I bought both the 400/2.8 and 400 DO on Ebay for a price that would not provide any losses at resale and did what one Japanese photographer once said: "If you are in doubt, make a little experiment"  

Having made some preliminary shots without extenders in my garden over the weekend I can say that the 400DO is very close to the 400/2.8 and the 100-400 is in terms of sharpness way below both of them. All three lenses are manufactured in 2007. The only condition under which the 100-400 produced sharp results at f5.6 was with the IS off on the tripod with mirror lockup and cable release at about 1/500s or faster.

Shooting 1/160s on the tripod without MLU and without a cable release produced visibly unsharp results. So in the real world, the 100-400 is out of the game now.

The 400 DO with my 1DsMk2 does not feel much heavier than the 100-400 combo.
The only "drawback" is that the 400 DO does not make you feel that you have spent such an amount of money for such a small lens....

Regards
Jens
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MarkKay

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2007, 09:45:20 pm »

I totally agree with this summary. My original 400mm DO was horrible in optics. I purchased shortly after it was released.  I had compared it to my 300 2.8 IS+1.4X TC and returned the DO.  However, years later I tried another at a friends home and was shocked and repurchased.  There is one other option people can consider. The canon 400/5.6 is light, relatively inexpensive and optically as good as the 400DO without the problems of the occasional highlight artifact.  the speed of the AF on the 400/5.6 is also impressive. On the down side, it is slow at f5.6 and without IS, you really need a tripod. Mark

Quote
Yes, I did sell my 300mm and 500mm and purchased the 400mm DO, and yes it does make sense, at least for me.

The 300mm was going unused, and I was finding the 500mm was receiving infrequent use because of its size and weight. I ended up using the 100-400mm zoom instead, even though its quality isn't close to that of the others. As is always the case, it's better to get the shot with an inferior lens than to not get the shot at all.

The 400DO which I first tested it in 2002, when it came out, was very exciting, but optically left a bit to be desired. Since then production lenses have been greatly improved and I can find nothing to fault. I know numerous photographers using the 400DO and don't know anyone with anything negative to say, other than that occasionally specular highlights can have a "different" look.

No, the MTF charts of the DO are not as good as this of the other Canon super telephotos, which are as good as it gets. But, in the real world image quality is simply excellent. I have recently done some shooting with the lens and a 1.4X, and even a 2X, and find the results to be perfectly acceptable, something that I don't often see with lesser lenses.

If practicality of use trumps absolute theoretical charts for you, then I highly recommend the 400mm DO.

Michael
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Don Libby

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2007, 11:31:24 pm »

WOW!  This is exactly what I love so much about this site.  Weíre in the final planning stage for our Alaska trip next year.  I had a 500 but sold it last year shortly after I got a 300 f/2.8, finding the 300 was just a superior lens.  Iíve got a close friend that has a 300 2.8 who just returned from Alaska wishing for a bit longer focal length.  After researching my options I opted for a 400 versus another 500.  When I started looking at the 400 line my first gut reaction was to go for the faster 400 2.8, until I dug a little deeper.  I found the 400 2.8 almost as long as the 500 and weights more.  So much for long walks looking for bear!  I read Michaelís assessment for the 400 DO he wrote several years ago and looked into its specifications and liked what I saw.  A longer lens that the 300, only one stop slower, and itís shorter and weights just about the same.  What a sweet deal!  I ordered the lens from B&H and am waiting the guy that drives that big brown truck to arrive Friday.  My friend let me know of this thread just a couple days ago and lo and behold I found that I really did make the right decision.   Now I have to wait until I return from Alaska to see the actual proof.

Thanks to all who have contributed.  


don

MarkKay

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2007, 11:53:45 pm »

I took my DO to Alaska instead of my 600 and very glad I did.  Could hike around with it without too much of a back ache.

Quote
WOW!  This is exactly what I love so much about this site.  Weíre in the final planning stage for our Alaska trip next year.  I had a 500 but sold it last year shortly after I got a 300 f/2.8, finding the 300 was just a superior lens.  Iíve got a close friend that has a 300 2.8 who just returned from Alaska wishing for a bit longer focal length.  After researching my options I opted for a 400 versus another 500.  When I started looking at the 400 line my first gut reaction was to go for the faster 400 2.8, until I dug a little deeper.  I found the 400 2.8 almost as long as the 500 and weights more.  So much for long walks looking for bear!  I read Michaelís assessment for the 400 DO he wrote several years ago and looked into its specifications and liked what I saw.  A longer lens that the 300, only one stop slower, and itís shorter and weights just about the same.  What a sweet deal!  I ordered the lens from B&H and am waiting the guy that drives that big brown truck to arrive Friday.  My friend let me know of this thread just a couple days ago and lo and behold I found that I really did make the right decision.   Now I have to wait until I return from Alaska to see the actual proof.

Thanks to all who have contributed. 
don
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Don Libby

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2007, 06:04:29 pm »

Oh boy itís here!  I just opened the box and inspected my new Canon 400 DO and can say that Iím impressed.  I did a very unscientific weight/comparison test with my Mamiya 300 2.8, Canon 300 2.8 and the newly arrived Canon 400 DO.  The lens that feels the heaviest is the same order given above with the same being true with length (the 2 300ís are about the same length).  I canít supply image test as yet but should within the next couple days if anyone is interested.  I keep these lens in their own Lowpro 5 lens bags and on a side note it looks like there will be more that enough room to have a 1.4 extender on the DO and be safe in the bag.

Now I really need to complete my current project so that I can go out and play, er I mean testÖÖ


don

cdees

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2007, 05:11:30 pm »

I bought a 400DO 2 month ago to test it against my 300/2.8L IS. The 300mm is the better lens but for me it's too short. With a 1.4x extender there's not much difference. With a 2.0x extender on the 300 and a 1.4x on the 400 the latter is the better. The 400 is much easier to handle (weight) and gives more length. I ended up selling the 300Next month I'm going to Kenia/Tanzania and I'm taking the 400DO with me.
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Patrick Cox

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Canon 400 DO
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2008, 05:38:08 pm »

So, how was your trip to Alaska with the DO?  I am headed to Lake Clark National Park in August and currently I have a 500 F4 but I find that I don't use it much anymore because I don't shoot birds like I used to and the size is bigger than I would like.  (including the tripod requirements...etc.)  I would love to hear about your trip and how you did with the 400 DO.

Thanks!

Pat

Quote
WOW!  This is exactly what I love so much about this site.  Weíre in the final planning stage for our Alaska trip next year.  I had a 500 but sold it last year shortly after I got a 300 f/2.8, finding the 300 was just a superior lens.  Iíve got a close friend that has a 300 2.8 who just returned from Alaska wishing for a bit longer focal length.  After researching my options I opted for a 400 versus another 500.  When I started looking at the 400 line my first gut reaction was to go for the faster 400 2.8, until I dug a little deeper.  I found the 400 2.8 almost as long as the 500 and weights more.  So much for long walks looking for bear!  I read Michaelís assessment for the 400 DO he wrote several years ago and looked into its specifications and liked what I saw.  A longer lens that the 300, only one stop slower, and itís shorter and weights just about the same.  What a sweet deal!  I ordered the lens from B&H and am waiting the guy that drives that big brown truck to arrive Friday.  My friend let me know of this thread just a couple days ago and lo and behold I found that I really did make the right decision.   Now I have to wait until I return from Alaska to see the actual proof.

Thanks to all who have contributed. 
don
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