Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM

Last updated (17 May’10):
– Review & Sample Photos @ LensTip

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM is a telephoto zoom lens features 100-400mm at focal length with maximum aperture of 1:4.5-5.6. The lens construction has 17 elements in 14 groups and has diagonal angle of view at 24 to 6 degrees. Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM, Closest focusing distance at 5.9 feet and has a filter size of 77mm. The Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM lens weighs 3.1 pounds and it measures 3.6 inches in diameter, 7.4 inches long.

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Reviews reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“The best results the lens presents at 200 mm, a bit weaker at 100 and 300 mm, the weakest at 400 mm… The performance of the Canon differs from that of the Sigma 100-300 F/4.0. The Sigma is significantly better in the 100-200 mm range but it’s slightly worse at 300 mm. “
Rating: ★★★★☆ reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“The 100-400/4.5-5.6L is a good lens and if you only want to carry one lens to cover this range there is no better choice. It’s certainly better than the 75-300 IS both optically and mechanically, just as you would expect from a lens costing $1000 more and using “L” glass. It’s not as sharp as the 300/4L prime lens and, though I haven’t tested it directly, I’m sure it wouldn’t be as sharp as the 400/5.6L either, but it is a lot more versatile. “
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“If you’re in the market for a telephoto zoom with a pro-quality Canon L-Series lens for your EOS digital SLR, the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM makes an excellent choice. It’s built to pro standards and delivers the performance to match. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but all pro-quality glass is expensive, so it’s not out of line with the competition. “
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“Considering that there are some other, more interesting (or should I say higher quality) telephoto zoom and fixed focal lenses available on the market, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM would remain somewhere at the bottom of my lens shopping list.”
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens is slightly soft in the center wide open at the shorter focal lengths, but gets very sharp when stopped down one stop… Considering the focal length range of this lens, the sharpness delivered is simply excellent. “
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM and writes;
“The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS is a very good performer with few weaknesses … The resolution of the lens is on a very high level throughout the zoom range with only a marginal performance penalty at 400mm. Vignetting, distortions and CAs aren’t really field relevant on an APS-C DSLR. Typical for Canon L grade lenses the build quality is great.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Reviews Video

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Reviews

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User Opinions

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM User Reviews

Excellent lens, extremely useful even with a glitch or two | Rating: ★★★★★
“This lense was fantastic. The quality is amazing, exactly what an ‘L’ series lense should be. To focus you either push the lense out or pull it back in, this lense does not use the circular motion used to focus other lenses but it posed no problem. As a matter of fact I rather enjoyed the ability to focus this was as I could pull in or push out extremely quickly when needed (a must at sporting events). The lense is a bit on the heavy side but only when used for very long periods of time. I used it for 5 hours straight and was a bit sore afterwards. The lense hood that comes with it worked very effectively, I had no problems with it coming loose or falling off so no need to purchase any other type. I did purchase Hoya filters (ultra violet, a polarizer, and a circular combination UV/Polairzer filter) and they not only protect the lens but even helped improve shot quality. “ – by il italiano “MotoGP Fan”

A great lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“I picked up this lens from my local camera shop last week, and wish I would have picked it up sooner. I just love being able to zoom in on wildlife without scaring them off. The pictures are sharp and clear. A few things that you should know about this lens. First, it’s heavy. I’ve used the neck strap a few times, however I end up carrying the camera in my hands. I’ve taken to putting the lens and camera on a monopod and throwing that over my shoulder. Much easier to carry, and the monopod helps get those sharp photos” – by C. Capell “cfour33”

Fantastic Professional Lens for Sharp, Up Close Photos | Rating: ★★★★★
“I just got my Canon 100-400mm IS L lens last week. I took it out and gave it a workout yesterday at the Zoo with what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: shooting baby lions that are rarely seen by the public. Prior to this, I was using a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras with the Canon EF 2X II Extender Telephoto Accessory when I needed more than 200mm. A website reviewer’s photos demonstrating how much blur the extender adds convinced me to sink the necessary funds into the 100-400mm lens. And boy, was it worth it! I had struggled with how soft images came out with the extender, even when I used a tripod and a shutter release. But I did all handheld work yesterday with tumbling, rambunctious baby lions in cloudy conditions, and got fantastically sharp, close photographs, even at 400mm. “ – by C Kaufman “writer, photographer”

Canon EF 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“As an amateur nature photographer I wanted to purchase a lens that would let me get closer to my subjects, (affectionality referred to as critters), without disturbing them, while, feeding, flying, or playing. This lens really delivers great results. My bird in flight shots are crisp and clear. The details that I now obtain are vivid and it has enabled me to finally achieve the nature photos that I wanted without spending thousands of dollars.
I would highly recommend this lens to nature or wildlife photographers.”
– by LauraHiggins

Great lens — especially for sports and safari | Rating: ★★★★★
“Bought this lens to take on safari and to use with sports. Works great for both. I especially appreciate it’s ability to cover the complete range of 100 to 400 without a lens change.” – by A’s Fan

A year later, still love it | Rating: ★★★★★
“Bought this lens a year ago for the Rebel XSi and have taken thousands (yes, thousands) of pictures with it. I use it hand-held, to take nature pictures and of “events” such as parades, baseball games and historical re-enactments. The lens is fast enough to freeze action on the sports field, catch flames shooting from a cannon’s mouth and gives me enough detail to crop a picture of a bird at the top of a tree to allow me to easily identify and print a good picture of the bird. A potential buyer should be aware of the 1.6 crop factor with some of the Canons such as the Rebel 450d (XSi). The 100-400mm lens becomes a 160-640mm lens. I recommend this lens without hesitation for any type of long range photography needs.” – by Michael W. Erb “Digital Enthusiast”

Superb quality; great results; easy to operate | Rating: ★★★★★
“I got the EF 100-400 zoom in anticipation of wildlife photography on a trip to Alaska this coming summer. I have already put it through its paces on our 7D and have been highly satisfied with the crispness of the images obtained and its ease of use. I have been pleased with how well I’m able to obtain images without the need for a tripod on just about any reasonably lighted setting. If a tripod is necessary, the supplied ring clamp easily attaches to a tripod. I’m an enthusiastic amateur, and can highly recommend this as a far more compact and cost-effective alternative to a series of prime lenses. It certainly is not lightweight, but is constructed very solidly, and has the look and feel of high quality.” – by Robert Rosenquist

Very nice lens | Rating: ★★★★☆
“I do like this lens but it is at times tough to get ‘great’ pictures out of it. Under the right conditions and good light (fast enough shutter speed) it will take some very nice pictures. I use it on my 5D Mark II and I am pretty happy with it. Part of the reason is because the 5D II is so good at higher ISO! I originally used this on an XSi and in good light it would take good pics but was tough in lower light. It offers great reach and with the 5D II I can use higher ISO’s to keep the shutter speeds up. I am happy with the size of this lens for reach that it offers but it sure will get some attention when it is extended out to 400mm with a hood on it! IS works good and so does the focus tracking. “ – by K. Class

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Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Sample Photos

Canon EF 100-400mm Sample Photos @ LensTips
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Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM User Manual

– Download Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM User Manual (PDF – 2.7Mb)


Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Specifications

Equipped with an Image Stabilizer, the Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens makes it easy to capture the far-off action of fast-paced sports or zoom in for an intimate portrait with a blurred background. The lens offer such features as fluorite and Super UD-glass elements that largely eliminate secondary spectrum; a floating system that ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths; two Image Stabilizer modes; and compatibility with extenders 1.4x II and 2x II. The lens carries a one-year warranty.

* Focal length: 100-400mm
* Maximum aperture: 1:4.5-5.6
* Lens construction: 17 elements in 14 groups
* Diagonal angle of view: 24 to 6 degrees
* Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
* Closest focusing distance: 5.9 feet
* Zoom system: Linear extension type
* Filter size: 77mm
* Dimensions: 3.6 inches in diameter, 7.4 inches long
* Weight: 3.1 pounds

One Response to “Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM”

  1. I have used this lens on an APS-C body, which turns it into a 160-640 !
    It is very sharp and gives incredible background blur to isolate the subject.
    The pump mechanism is surprising at first but then very intuitive.
    An excellent lens if you skip the weight and size with the hood on …

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