Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Last updated (21 May’12):
– Review by SLRLensreview

The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM features 400mm at focal length with maximum aperture of F/5.6. The lens construction has 7 elements in 6 groups and has diagonal angle of view at 6.2 degrees. Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM , Closest focusing distance at 3.5m/11.5 feet and has a filter size of 77mm. The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens weighs 2.9 pounds and it measures 3.5 inches in diameter and 10 inches long.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Reviews

SLRLensreview reviews the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and writes;
“Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM is an excellent long telephoto prime that should be considered by anyone with a limited (relatively speaking) budget. The lens offers very solid image quality and excellent build quality, with good handling of various artifacts, including flare, vignetting and color fringing, all at a more or less affordable price.”
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SLRGear reviews the (Camera-name…..) and writes;
“The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color.”
Rating: ★★★★½

Luminous-landscape reviews the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and writes;
“This lens fits in even my smallest and lightest travel kit, and I have confidence when using it wide open that it’s going to give me excellent performance. Sure, I’d like it to be an f/4, but the extra weight and bulk wouldn’t be welcome. Because I now shoot digital almost exclusively, rather than film, I can bump up the ISO one notch and still get excellent quality, making the relatively slow f/5.6 aperture acceptable.”
rating: N/A

Photozone reviews the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and writes;
“The EF 400mm f/5.6 USM L is a very good to excellent lens in all aspects and optically a somewhat superior to the current (locally tested) 400mm alternatives – at least compared to those that are affordable for mortals. So if you can live without IS and search for a very long tele lens for wildlife or sports photography you should have a deeper look at this lens. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

The-digital-picture reviews the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and writes;
“CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled. Color, saturation and contrast are excellent. Bokeh (background blur quality) is very nice thanks in part to an 8-blade aperture. Vignetting is very well controlled. Very minor pincushion distortion is present, but it will not be noticed in most (if any) of your images.”
rating: N/A

User Opinions

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM User Reviews

Very nice | Rating: ★★★★☆
“It is light but not that light, AF is super fast, seems to be very sharp too but only tried it for a few shots in cloudy weather. Will try to see how well it works hand held. Oh, did a quick and dirty check for AF microadjustment, seems like 0 works best (only did a quick compare with 3 -5s, 3 0s and 3 +5s). Overall, I’m happy with the lens.” – by R. Ho

Canon 400mm f/5.6L Telephoto Lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“I selected it for the high image quality wide-open, relatively light weight, and shorter physical length, allowing both hand-held and tripod mounted use, as well as its modest cost (compared to all high quality alternatives). The image quality is extremely high, even wide open at f/5.6, although it does improve slightly stopped down a notch or two. The image contrast, flare resistance, and color saturation are also excellent for a telephoto lens of its “older” fixed focal length optical design.” – by Gadget Hound

Very good lens (for the price) | Rating: ★★★★☆
“It is definitely not as sharp as a 50mm lens, but this is something I accept as it is well known in photographic circles that it’s harder to get the same sharpness on a telephoto lens as it is on a wider angle lens, unless you want to put all the sharpness into the center of the image, in which case you can get higher resolution. That’s why you get better resolution from astronomical telescopes (which are optimized for the center of the image) than from camera lens. Overall I can’t complain about this lens, for the price. There is very little chromatic aberration.” – by M. Henri De Feraudy

Canon EF 400mm zoom lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“The lens is great and quick focus and IS ability of camera make pictures very sharp. Even distant subjects can be cropped and are still sharp. Excellent lens for animal photography, and setting lens at 5.6 makes for faster shutter speeds to stop action. Raising ISO also helps, but in bright light not needed as much.” – by Bat Man

Tack Sharp, Extremely Versatile, Incredible Image Quality | Rating: ★★★★★
“It’s sharp to the edges, and there’s not a hint of chromatic bleeding or halos anywhere. In good light, I can use very high shutter speeds while keeping ISO values low, enabling high detail and great stop motion capture shots of birds in flight. This is THE lens for hand-held bird and nature photography.” – by Eric C. Reuter

My Wildlife Lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“You need to physicaly move, rather than zoom in or out, to the get the composition you desire. True, you will crop photos later to get the right “look” but closer is still usually better. When I photograph birds flying overhead, the detail is quite good even when a 50% crop is used. I have set the ISO to 400 to help with blur as my subjects often do not pose as I might like.” – by RDSpock

Very pleased with this lens. | Rating: ★★★★★
“From the reviews, I expected the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens to perform well. But this lens exceeded my expectations. Pictures from my copy are as sharp as those from the macro lens. Next, I added a Canon 1.4x extender to the EF 400mm f/5.6L lens and let the camera and lens equilibrate to the outside temperature (40F) for 45min. Then I took a picture of the moon with a remote switch and 10x magnification on live view to manually focus. The pictures were shockingly crisp. Again, this lens exceeded my expectation.” – by Ronald C. Pacanowski

Great tele lens for handheld action shooting and light gear | Rating: ★★★★★
“with the 50D: take a handy bottle of water, add in your mind a camera body to it and you get a first idea of how it handles. In particular it’s image quality turned out to be very good: I can use it fully open (f/5.6) and get already very sharp pictures. In terms of picture angle you get with Canon’s crop sensors theoretically a veeeery long 640 mm tele. In reality, as it is so sharp, you get about this tele reach when there is enough daylight available – great! Finally, it’s Bokeh is very nice – it’s a real “L” lens!” – by Nachtpfauenauge

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Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sample Photos @


Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM User Manual

– Download Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM User Manual (PDF – 1.9Mb)

Features & Specifications

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Specifications

Light. Portable. Excellent handling. Sharp. And amazingly fast autofocus. The 400mm f/5.6L is all of these things, and a premier choice for wildlife and nature photographers–one of the finest telephoto lenses in the world for fast-moving subjects such as birds in flight or motor sports. It uses UD-glass elements to provide outstanding optical quality, even wide-open, and image quality is preserved when used with either the EF 1.4x II or EF 2x II tele extenders. It accepts 77mm filters, and has a built-in removable tripod collar.

See a Different Dimension
A super telephoto lens can make an ordinary scene into an extraordinary one. Its ability to see surpasses that of the human eye. It can compress images and make them look as if they come from another dimension. It opens up new realms of photographic expression. All EF super telephoto lenses are L-series lenses to provide the highest quality. The USM provides quiet and high-speed autofocusing. These lenses promise outstanding delineation and put your imagination to the test.

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