Interactive Lens Reviews and Opinion.
Digital Camera ReviewsDiscuss lenses in the Forums (separate login!)

Reviews Views Date of last review
33 264619 4/4/2013
Recommended By Average Purchase
91% of reviewers $1,558.27
Reader Review Rating Averages
Readers' rating for
Construction Quality
Readers' rating for
Image Quality
Overall Rating

Keywords: Canon EF Tele Zoom 35mm L IS Stabilized USM Tested


Registered: April 2013
Posts: 5
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by gunzorro
Review Date: 4/4/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,000.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Great range and image quality
Cons: Older IS

This lens is a great travel companion to the 24-105L IS. Just got it and used in Yosemite for some long shots, detail shots, and a nice vertical stitch pano of Bridalveil Fall. Very good IQ and fast AF. Very good color and sharpness. I like the push/pull zoom, and have the 28-300L IS as well (also used to own the 35-350L). Although I rate it a "9", I'm not being negative. I reserve 10 for near perfect lenses like the 100L macro and 24TSE II.

Registered: March 2012
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Jaylmac
Review Date: 3/31/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,550.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Clear fully zoomed
Cons: Not good for low light

In the L series, I only have experience with the 70-200 f2.8 and this 100-400 lens. I originally wanted the 70-200. My husband (thinking bigger numbers must be better) bought me the 100-400 instead for my birthday. This turned out to be a blessing rather than a mistake. My daughter plays softball, and I've taken some incredible shots of her and her teammates! The zoom is amazing! I can take very detailed pics of batters while I'm standing at the outfield fence! The 2 kinds of IS have been really helpful as well! I can track a runner on the bases without blurring my shots. Cons: It is VErY heavy at over 3 lbs. Get a monopod for sure. Also, once the light starts fading in the evening, this lens is useless for action shots. Would definitely recommend for daytime sports photography though.

I've also used the lens to get some great shots of birds. It's a superb wildlife lens since you can zoom in and get your shots without getting too close.

I've even used this lens for a bit of portraiture. It worked well with a studio backdrop and light kit I recently bought. Of course, I had to get all the way across the large room to fit my subject. I can get good soft bokeh outside as long as I can put enough distance between subject and background.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this lens. I AM however in the market for a good portrait lens to add to my arsenal.

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by 30/90
Review Date: 3/10/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,430.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Surprisingly sharp at the long end, great contrast and color.
Cons: I need more time with the lens....haven't found any negatives yet.

This is my 4th L Series lens and I am as pleased with this one as any I've purchased previously. Images are amazingly sharp at both extreme ends of the lens and wide open apertures. I'm still getting used to the mechanics of the lens, but I am amazed at the IS capabilities, sharpness of images, contrast and color. The lens provides reach that is beyond my L Series 70-200MM, but it is every bit as sharp.......and that's saying something.

Registered: December 2011
Posts: 5
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by cpe1991
Review Date: 12/22/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,360.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Good copies are excellent, marvellous lens for travel and hiking.
Cons: Bad copies are soft

A re-evaluation after 3 months and more than 1000 bird photos. Initially, I was put off this lens because I had tested a new copy at a local shop, and it was soft. I then tested and bought a good copy. A 2010 used one came up for sale locally and I tested it in parallel with my 400 mm f/5.6 L prime. The zoom was just as sharp as the prime at f/5.6. So, I grabbed it and am delighted. Bird photography most often concentrates on the centre of the image at 400mm. The Canon mtf charts and SLRGear tests show that the 400mm prime and the 100-400mm L are about the same sharpness. The big advantages of the 100-400mm are that for a similar price you get a zoom and two good stops of IS. The guru Art Morris has now given up his favourite toy lens, the 400mm prime, for the zoom. Another advantage is that it slides down to a much smaller length for packing in a camera bag. The 100-400mm is now one of my favourites: I pack it for travel and also for going on hikes. The results are sufficiently sharp that many of my photos are good enough for, a very picky site. For short walks and sitting in hides, I take my 300mm f/2.8 II with a 2xTC III , which is unbelievably sharp and more reliable precise autofocus.

Registered: June 2011
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by skotak
Review Date: 6/3/2011 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $1,200.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: I profited $100 by selling it back on eBay
Cons: poor image quality, bad autofocus

This lens is anything from being sharp at 400mm and auto focus is not very precise. I bought this lens for a trip to Costa Rica and many photos turned out unusable, and few are OK. To get this lens somewhat OK at 400mm range, you need to shoot at F8 or F11, because F5.6 is just too soft. I have done test with my Canon 70-400 F/4 L lens compared to 100-400mm lens, both shot at far end of zoom, and 70-200f/4 resulted in better sharpness at F4 at the same crop size! I don't need couple stops of stabilization, auto focus works properly, bokeh looks the same, I have flexibility with crop and I saved myself $1200 and my shoulders for carrying heavier lens. Sold my 100-400mm lens on eBay few days ago. I use 5D Mark II, but I believe crop sensor will have similar results. Hope this was helpful. I only wish I would do the same test before I left to Costa Rica. Darn it. ....and just to mention, I did compared this lens to my friends, just to make sure it wasn't a lemon from eBay.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by DaveJDSP
Review Date: 7/17/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,400.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: good long zoom range, useable image quality, IS
Cons: needs better image quality, especially for today's FF cameras, push-pull

Got a good one, first try. Unusual.
Tested it rigorously. Amazingly good image quality, almost as good as the 70-200 2.8 IS. Based on what I've read, my copy is probably unususally good and better than the slrgear tested copy.
I prefer the brighter image of the 70-200 2.8, and its slightly better image quality and slightly quicker focusing. But my 100-400 is so much more versatile and so close in performance that I will probably rarely use my 70-200. I shoot stock landscapes and people.
Put a good copy of a 24-105 on one 5D body, and this 100-400 on another 5D body and you have almost everything covered with IS and very good image quality from 24-400mm with only 2 lenses. With the only downside being that both lenses are rather optically slow F4-5.6 for low-light situations.
I'd prefer twist zoom rather than push-pull, but it is not a deal-breaker.
Now Canon needs to get busy and update these two lenses to do justice to the 1Ds3 and 5D2 sensors.

One caveat. Canon ships lots of junk lenses. Assume you'll get a junk copy and allow about a month to return it 3 times till they fix it right or just give you a replacement good one. (see my 24-105 review)

Registered: May 2009
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by AljoschaNiko
Review Date: 5/26/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,637.12| Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp wide open from 100 to 250mm, very sharp at f/8 from 300mm and more, great build quality
Cons: Smoothen & tighten ring to lock zoom is a bit weird to use for the first time

When I touched this lens first (I have already a 70-200 2.8), I immediately knew: This is an L! The build quality is every time again so well build and so lovely. They have so good handling, though they are heavy (but I like heavy lenses Smile ). I tested all the range from 100 to 400mm with every exposure, from wide open to f/11. I recognized sharpest results in the range of 100-250mm at f/8, but already wide open is very sharp and 100% useable. For best sharpness from around 250mm to 400mm I have to stop down to f/8 and 400mm shows also best sharpness at f/8! These results are from my exemplar and you maybe get other results. But if you stay at f/8, you should get very good results on every focal lengh. I love this lens and I highly recommend it for every one, who has the money and who want awesome quality, like known from the Canon L's!

Registered: March 2009
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by zombii
Review Date: 3/27/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,465.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, flexibility, wide zoom range, build, color, contrast
Cons: Weight, price, softness at f/22 and up

I read a lot of reviews of this lens before I decided to buy it. Typical criticisms were softness, slow AF, and the zoom mechanism. One of the things that became apparent after all those reviews was that it seemed that the newer copies were better. So despite the fact that I could have saved money by buying a used one on Ebay, I decided to buy a new one to insure I was getting a recent copy. What I got was one that was made in October of 2008. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very sharp across the focal length range from wide open up through f/16. There is a very noticeable softness at f/22 and above but since I rarely use that aperture range, I'm not too concerned. Where it is sharp, it's only slightly softer than my 70-200mm f/4 IS and a 135mm f/2 which are both about as sharp as they get. As for the AF criticisms, this one is fast. The IS gives at least 2 f-stops, maybe 3. Maybe the biggest challenge to the IS is the weight of the lens. It's heavy. I'm sure if I use it regularly, I'll bulk up and it will be easier. :-) One thing I've already found out, it's not easy to hold steady in a strong wind.

Despite all that, I really like it. I've already been able to catch birds in flight much better than I could with other lenses. Some people don't seem to like the push-pull and it clearly takes getting used to but I think it's faster than most twist zooms if you have to zoom very far, very fast. It also isn't hard to adjust the zoom tension so that it doesn't creep but is still reasonably easy to move. Having said that, if you know you're going to need to zoom fast, it's best to loosen it ahead of time. The adjustment works well though except for the often criticized conflict with the focus ring which is justified.

All in all it is a very flexible lens and I recommend that you try it if you're on the bubble as I was. I do recommend you get a recent copy whether new or used. The other big con is the price. Going rates for used ones do not justify getting an old one that isn't sharp. Except for the price, I would have given it a 10. Oh yes, don't drop it on your foot. ;-)

Here's a couple of uncropped examples:

Registered: March 2009
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by macman
Review Date: 3/5/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,344.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: V Sharp, Excellent Image Stabilisation, Very Well made, and a very useful zoom range.
Cons: It is heavy, but managable.

When I first started checking the reviews of this lens I was a little worried as there were some reviews around on the net which said it was soft. Further investigation showed that these reviews were all quite old and were around the time the lens was first released. Narrowing it down to more recent reviews the opinions change and all seem to think this lens is excellent. I suppose that is one of the problems with the net, nothing gets updated.
I have been most impressed with the performance of this lens and I am still knocked out by the image stabilization when I press the shutter.
I have taken what I think are some stunning photos with this lens, at what would have been ridiculous shutter speeds for the focal length. The extra magnification afforded by the APC sized sensor really helps when photographing subjects such as birds.
I am a very happy owner1

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by franzoi
Review Date: 1/5/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,570.74| Rating: 9 

Pros: Construction, sharpness f/7-f/8, 400mm
Cons: no

For me it is very professional and easy to use!!

I had the new Sigma 120-400 but the canon is far superior in clarity, weight and construction.
The lens is metal but it is very light and handy.
the IS with 2 stop working very well, better than the 4 stop the Sigma. The best sharpness is a 400mm f / 8.

For first photo with Canon 100-400

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by philpem
Review Date: 9/7/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,729.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, build quality, versatility
Cons: It's bloomin' heavy!

(Actual purchase price: 980 UK pounds)

This is quite possibly one of the nicest lenses I've ever used on the Canon EOS system. I've been using it with a 40D body for about a month, and it's seen fairly light use, maybe about ~100 shots.

IQ is good at all apertures, but becomes razor sharp at f8 or so. The stabiliser is a fantastic addition, I've hand-held down to about 1/120 at 400mm with minimal loss of sharpness. Good contrast and colour tone, and no visible CA.

Despite its reputation as a dust-pump, I haven't noticed a significant amount of dust on the sensor. Certainly nothing big enough to show at less than f16. Auto-cleaning probably helps a lot with this. I am expecting to see some dust appear inside the lens within the next few years...

If you're going to put this on a 40D, consider a battery grip and hand strap (Canon HS-E1). The hand strap reduces the strain on your fingers a lot, especially with heavy lenses like the 100-400.

I originally bought this for the 2008 Sunderland Airshow (which got rained off, yay) but it's seen use at the 2008 Leeds Half Marathon, and also a little wildlife photography as well.

The downside? It's heavy, and the off-white casing makes you stand out in most crowds. Expect people to come up and ask you to take their photo (with a supertele?).

Last point (and it's a minor one), the shoulder strap included with the case is a joke. It can - and will - cut into your shoulder if you dare use it. Get a large-ish camera bag strap from your local photography shop, or cannibalise one from an old Lowepro or similar camera bag. For nearly £1000, you'd think they could do a little better than that...

Would I buy this lens again? A loud, resounding, heavily reverberated YES. This one is definitely on my "keeper" list. It doesn't get used as much as my 28-135IS (or even the EFS60 Macro), but it runs rings round the 70-300IS-USM.

Registered: May 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by pagurus
Review Date: 9/5/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $3,418.83| Rating: 8 

Pros: well constructed,IS works fine, not too heavy
Cons: a bit soft images with jpegs but no problem with raws,rarely auto focus fails in low light conditions(especially inearly morning times)

In low light conditions i use this lens mounted on monopod manfrotto 682B with 322RC2 joystick without any problem.Also i use this lens with 1.4 Canon extender on monopod with manuel focus,in this case images are a bit soft but if you are a raw shooter like me, it is not a poblem...
Price is too much for usa but as a Turkish,unfortunately this is so naturel in Turkey.Because of the extremelly high taxes.This is just the brutel way of collecting money from people by Turkish goverment..

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 15
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Badmono
Review Date: 8/22/2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 2 

Pros: None
Cons: Abysmal IQ - used by so called Pro's, HA HA

The worst Canon Lens I've ever Owned, even worse than the 18-55 'Standard lens that comes free with most Eos bodies.
The only positive thing I have to say about this lens, is I managed to sell it easily on ebay and only lost £400UK pounds on the thing.
Buy a sigma 400mm prime for £90UK pounds on ebay if money is tight or a Canon400 F2,8 IS if you have plenty of the greenstuff, both of these lenses make the canon 100-400 zoom look abysmal in comparison for IQ, sharpness on this lens doesn't exist.
This is not a 'L' series lens but a 'HELL' series lens
Just avoid it at all costs

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by lextalionis
Review Date: 2/20/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,450.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, IS and a real work-horse for outdoor long-range telephoto photography.
Cons: No weather seals, and a wee-bit soft wide-open, prefer stopped down 2 stops.

If you can't be the "purist" photographer and drop even more money for an L 300mm or 400mm prime, then this is the next best thing hands down!

Fun lens! Here are some sample photos:
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS Lens photo samples.


Registered: December 2007
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Steve619m
Review Date: 12/21/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Zoom Range, Clarity, IS, weighted balance
Cons: Push-Pull Zoom

It's heavy, that goes without saying. However, you can feel it's quality and the weight actually helps with its weight - if that makes sense. It's like if it was to light it wouldn't be balanced in your hand that well. Haven't used it on a monopod, yet, but on a tripod it works okay. I'm sure that on a good tripod (not the piece of crap that I have currently) it works very well, because it works okay on my current tripod.
I'm in Iraq now, which is why I don't have a "great" tripod, but when I get back I can't wait to use this lens on sports - especially baseball. This surely has the range that it would work well enough from the stands.

Registered: December 2007
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by owashi
Review Date: 12/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, great IQ, easy to take handheld shots
Cons: not great in poor light, a touch heavy

I have this lens on loan for a few months and am dreading giving it back.

This is my first time using a L lens and my first 'serious' telephoto. I'm finding it takes great shots (by my own standards which may not be as high as others of course) and I'm using it for birds almost exclusively at 400mm. Even at shutter speeds of 1/80 I can get sharp images. I'm noticing much less time spent post processing my pictures too (especially color rendition and sharpness).

The only time it struggles is in very poor light, it may be better on a tripod or monpod in these situations.

I've never used a real top lens like the EF 300 F2.8 or EF 500 F4 but for a relative novice like me this lens is fantastic. For the more demanding experienced photographers it doubtless has its weak points but it is still good value at around $1500.

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by frances
Review Date: 9/24/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,600.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: range and sharpness
Cons: heavy

I use this lens on a 20D. I bought it to go on safari aabout 18 months ago and I have to say it takes wonderfully sharp pictures, with good depth, color and contrast. The push pull is cumbersome at first, but I am used to it now. For me the focus ring is too close to the zoom tightening ring and in the excitement of the finding the target and locking on, I sometimes get confused and turn the wrong one, which wastes precious time. Still, when I manage to connect with the target, the images are sharp, contrasty and simply beautiful. Initially I bought the 28~300 and use it for about a year. I love that lens I was constantly comparing the 100~400 to it. The 28~300 takes sharper pictures so at first, I was a little disappointed in the 100~400, but this one can be used with the 1.4 extender beautifully on a tripod (it does lose AF abilities on the 20D) but it enables me to take great images of wildlife and birds that otherwisw would be out of reach. I am quite happt with this lens. I just wish it were lighter.

Registered: June 2007
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Ulan
Review Date: 6/30/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,900.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Not too expensive for its potential and flexibility, IS for spanning, good IQ, good AF
Cons: heavy, requires handling experience

I used this zoom in Peru last year. Thanks to it I managed to get good views of tiny mammals such as "viscachas" (a kind of chinchilla with rabbit ears), elusive animals such as vicuñas in the high mountains or rare river otters in the Tambopata, birds (scarlet macaws, paucas, tucan, and many others in the coastal reserve of Paracas). Also photographing interesting characters from a far distance.

I agree, the zoom is not that easy to handle : it's heavy, push&pull is tiring and not always accurate at the right moment, you must not forget to switch the appropriate IS mode when necessary, and of course you draw attention on you as if you were a paparazzi (but that can be funny, no?). So it is a matter of experience to get the best of the lens. You have to choose an optimal aperture for the appropriate focal length, the ligthing conditions and the speed.

I had some blur when using my knee as a monopode while "shooting" animals, but I hadn't switched off the IS.

Contrast is very good, sharpness good.

Very good build quality, that's also why the zoom is heavy (well, not that too heavy either, you get used to it). Push&pull can be ackward but you also calibrate your own manipulations.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 15
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by fergusonjr
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,400.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely Versatile, great image quality
Cons: Not for low light conditions

This is one of the most versatile lenses I've used. I've used it with great success everywhere from zoos to airshows, and I couldn't be happier with it. The image quality is a great deal better than you might expect with such a long zoom. Very good.
I'm not a huge fan of the push-pull zoom, but I have gotten quite used it.

I highly recommend this lens.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 17
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by adobo
Review Date: 1/9/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,550.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: I like the zoom range of this lens, for its intended purposes
Cons: Heavy, Not that fond of push-pull design, older IS generation

A one well-built lens..

Its white, has a red ring, built like a tank.. Aesthetically speaking, i'm impressed with this lens!

On the IQ, I have nothing new to report beyond what you can find online, But I would like to add that this lens performs well if you use it as it was intended..

First of all, given the aperture specifications, this is an outdoor lens! So normally, you would actually stop-down this lens..if you keep away from extremes then this lens performs well (sharpness-wise and contrast)

And c'mon, when using this on an outdoor even, you can almost expect a monopod to present to avoid from straining yourself carrying this HUGE lens..

So.. if i'll be fair to this lens... that 1.) its not designed for handhold ONLY 2.) that it really underperforms when wide open, plus given the fact that you can't fully set it manual because of non-constant apperture. Then it's one of the got-to-have glass in canon's arsenal!

Just try it!

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by kzr63g
Review Date: 1/9/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,900.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: useful for wildlife pictures
Cons: not the sharpest but my lens is sharp

Semse there is variation in lens quality on this lense. My lense is sharp even at 400 mm but if you compare with a primary lense of same focal length this lense in not as good.
With 1.4TC image quality decreases but still useful.
Do not use 2.0 TC.
On non Eos 1 cameras AF will not work with 1.4TC.
There is a work-around by putting tape on 3 pins on backside of lens. But with bad light the lens will start AF hunting...
Pump zoom. Many are afraid of dust entering thru the pump construction, but so far nothing on my lense (used 1 year).
IS works well.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by mebailey
Review Date: 12/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,400.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Great focal range. IS. Resonably sharp. Rapid reliable focusing.
Cons: Push-pull takes getting used to. Tightening ring always in the way. Not great for low light.

This is a good lens if you need this focal range. It is fairly sharp for a zoom even at 400. Mine is really sharp if I stop down to about f8. The 1.4X TC seems to degrade image significantly. The lens will get alot of attention (for better or worse). The IS works well.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 12
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by mxwphoto
Review Date: 12/11/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,320.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: The most versatile long tele zoom there is!
Cons: Gives your arm a workout, always room for more improvements.

It may not be the sharpest, fastest and lightest lens in Canon's line-up, but for the money, it packs quite a lot of bang. The IS helps substantiably while hand-held, a zoom of 1-400 is highly flexible, it does accept both Canon TCs (it's the 28-300 that can't) and will even AF if you tape down some pins, and is still light enough to use as a walk-around. Image quality won't be as razor sharp as primes but that's to be expected. The merits/demerits of push-pull design is highly subjective, but it does allow for fast zooming when needed. Friction ring takes some getting used to, just learn to not twist it while adjusting focus manually. Overall, the lens will take some getting used to at first and has a learning curve before one can capture great images but it's highly worth it!

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by henris
Review Date: 11/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,200.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: zoom range is flexible, IS, quality "L" construction
Cons: only 2 stop IS, zoom nopt smooth after a while

I loved this lens! It got stolen last month, but was quickly becoming a favorite. Great for birding and wildlife. Ultimate zoo lens!

Too slow for indoor shots.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by tkgross
Review Date: 11/19/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,380.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Quality and extended range with IS
Cons: Push Pull design

Very versatile. Good for bird flight photos. IS helps with slower aperture. Nice if you only want one lens for wildlife.

Wish it were not push pull and would like to see the IS updated to most recent specs.
David Hay

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by David Hay
Review Date: 11/11/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,900.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid build, good stabiliser, quality images.
Cons: Heavy, push/pull zoom.

This is the first long-tele zoom I have used which doesn't fall off markedly at the longest zoom setting. I now use whatever focal length is needed to get the correct framing without worrying about the quality, although, with a 20D, I don't need to use the long end as much of the time.

Good image stabiliser. I have got excellent shots of horses galloping past using the panning setting. Follow focus is fast and accurate. Pulling back the zoom as subjects approach is only easy if you adjust the friction control correctly, otherwise it can be jerky.

The lens is supplied with a hood, case and tripod mount.

I do find it heavy to hand-hold for a long time and the white colour and large size make it too conspicuous for candid photography.
Ross T

Registered: October 2006
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Ross T
Review Date: 10/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome Zoom Range with Image Stabilization...Very Sharp!!
Cons: None

Just an Incredible Lens...Awesome Zoom Range with Image Stabilization...It's Great to be able to handhold a 400mm lens....Just use the Push-Pull Zoom Slowly so you don't suck dust into the lens.....Very Sharp... This is a GREAT LENS...You won't regret buying allows you to do so many things!!

Registered: December 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by SPBear
Review Date: 6/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,600.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Light weight, valued usage with L quality
Cons: nothing

Not only this lens but all L lens has been made good as against dust and wet. I had no problem at all with Canon lens at my long experience. So I'd like to say this lens is not "Dust Trombone" at my usage least.

I could take good picture in better quality by this lens more than FD 300mm f2.8 L with FD-EOS adapter. So I lost the mean to carry that big heavy lens. In the digital era, we are hitting turning point. At my opinion with experience, modern designed lenses in zoom are better than old designed single focus lenses. We can see it not only MTF graph but also on our pictures.

Registered: December 2005
Posts: 5
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by twereliu
Review Date: 12/30/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,200.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Good range, sharp out to around 300, 1.4x is ok but not outstanding
Cons: Soft past 300, push pull isnt great, wouldnt suggest the 2x

For flexibility it's the best you can do for Canon.

I would like to see them update the lens and make it as phenominal as the 70-200mm f/2.8 is, in my opinion most would pay to get a better zoom.

This lens is not that sharp past 300mm, shoot it side by side with a prime 400 and there is a very noticible difference.

Yes I know a prime fixed is n/times more expensive, but even so you can see softness in the image at full zoom, if you use a 20D not so much, but use it on a full sensor and its much more noticible.

1. Never turn on IS on a pod UNLESS the whole setup is vibrating from the wind.

2. Wouldnt suggest the 2x, the 1.4x is useable, but again degrades the.

Overall I give the whole setup an 8, it's as good as you can get in this category now, and overall it's pretty good and can be sharpned up post process and give pro results if care is taken, still if you really want wildlife tack sharp get a 500mm prime ($$$$)

Registered: December 2005
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by rcmarple
Review Date: 12/17/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,127.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Beautiful images
Cons: Heavy, doesn't work with Canon teleconverters

Stunning images and far superior to the previous Vivitar 100-400 cheap lens I used to have. It weighs a ton so it's not something I'd take on vacation with me unless I was on safari or something. You have to say also that the lens looks good and has great posing value! REMEMBER THAT THIS DOESN'T WORK WITH CANON TELECONVERTERS - I FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY.

Down side yet again is the price we pay here in rip-off Britain...

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by fstopjojo
Review Date: 12/10/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: Stellar image quality, Excellent resolving power and stunning contrast, "IS" is a tremendous boon, USM/FTM makes AF fast and silent, Solid "L" build, Takes 1.4xTC very well even wide open
Cons: Not a fast aperture lens, Push-pull zoom takes getting used to, "Dust Trombone" nickname isn't reassuring, Could use the next generation IS unit

I've commented quite a bit here at my site:

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 3
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by Mlr8081
Review Date: 12/9/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing versatility and image quality
Cons: lens hood

I live a few miles from Yellowstone and have unbelievable opportunity to photograph large mammals. My primary lens has been the 400 f5.6L which I consider to be excellent. My problem with it has been that I frequently have too much lens as I am able to get quite close to wildlife. (The bighorn sheep will sometimes stick their heads into the car window to see whats going on durinhg the winter months when they become quite habituated to automobiles.

I have read many reviews of this lens with the common theme being that it is not very sharp and the push pull method of changing focal length is flawed. A few weeks ago I had the chance to borrow a friends 100-400 at a captive raptor shoot at a local bird rehab center. He is a full time pro, and uses his lens extensivly and sells the images throough a stock agency. He was very surprised when I mentioned the many reviews blasting the image quality. I used his lens and my 400 prime on the same bird at the same time and later reviewed the images and printed many examples.
The image quality is superb. While the lens is listed at 400mm top end it is actually more like 370 in comparison to the 400. The images are tack sharp off a tripod with the IS off. Many images were shot later from a car window (using my own recently purchased copy) using IS and the image quality is superb. I did some experimentation and found that on a tripod with the ball head locked tight and the IS on the images were blurry. This should come as no surprise since the owners manual and the Canon website both state this fact.
I don't know where the poor reviews come from. I have had nothing but excellent images from all my Canon L lenses when I did my job as a photographer. IS is no substitute for technique, and I find it hard to believe that some people expect to be able to handhold a lens this large and always get acceptable results.
I believe this may be the most useful lens Canon makes for wildlife photography. I wish that I had purchased this lens years ago.

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 7
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM review by jyli19
Review Date: 11/3/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Useful focal length, excellent construction
Cons: Large, heavy, not the sharpest option Canon provides

I couldn't get use to the push-pull zoom and the friction ring control always got into the way when attempting manual focus adjustments. Image quality not as sharp as the 70-200 zooms, 300mm and 400mm primes.

On the other hand, a 2x tele-converter would give this lens the option of a 100-800mm reach, 160-1280mm on a 1.6x DSLR.


This document copyright © 2009-2015,, all rights reserved.