CANON EF 100-400MM F4.5-5.6L IS II USM

The Mark II edi­tion is a wor­thy up­grade with a rad­i­cal re­think in de­sign

Digital Photograper - - Reviews -

the orig­i­nal edi­tion of Canon’s 100-400mm Is usM lens went on sale at the end of the last cen­tury and was well re­ceived by the 35mm film fra­ter­nity. one thing that split opin­ion, how­ever, was its trom­bone-style zoom mech­a­nism with its push-pull ac­tion. that was re­placed by a more tra­di­tional zoom ring in the cur­rent Mk II, which was launched four years ago. per­haps sur­pris­ingly, the new lens re­tains the ad­justable fric­tion damper of the ear­lier de­sign, but this helps to avoid zoom creep.

up­grades in the Mk II in­clude a more com­plex op­ti­cal path that in­cor­po­rates four ad­di­tional el­e­ments. Canon’s finest flu­o­rite and su­per uD (ul­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments are fea­tured, along with high­tech AsC (Air sphere Coat­ing) and flu­o­rine coat­ings on both the front and rear el­e­ments. un­like the orig­i­nal lens, the Mk II is also weather-sealed.

Fur­ther tweaks in­clude a re­designed hood with a slid­ing panel to en­able fil­ter ro­ta­tion, and a tri­pod col­lar that can be re­moved with­out de­tach­ing the lens from a cam­era body. A new triple-mode image sta­biliser of­fers static and pan­ning op­tions, plus a third set­ting that only ap­plies sta­bil­i­sa­tion dur­ing the ac­tual ex­po­sure. this makes it eas­ier to track er­rat­i­cally mov­ing ob­jects through the viewfinder. the sta­biliser has a four-stop rat­ing, com­pared with just 1.5 stops in the orig­i­nal lens. Aut­o­fo­cus is also quicker but no faster than in other lenses on test.

Image qual­ity is very good over­all. sharp­ness and con­trast are ex­cel­lent at short to mid-zoom set­tings, even when shoot­ing wide open. How­ever, sharp­ness drops away at longer zoom set­tings. Back at the short end, colour fring­ing and bar­rel dis­tor­tion are slightly worse than from any other lens on test, but still fairly neg­li­gi­ble.

RightMeet the white ele­phant the Canon is the weight­i­est lens in the group. the triple-mode sta­biliser works well but there are no dual AF modes with auto/ man­ual pri­or­ity over­ride op­tions

Right top100mm at f4.5 things start off very well at the short end of the zoom range, with great sharp­ness and con­trast

RIght bot­tom 400mm at f5.6 sharp­ness drops off at long zoom set­tings more than with any of the other lenses in this test group

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