The much-rumored replacement for Canon's aging EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L has officially arrived. Announced in 1998, the original trombone-style lens is replaced by a traditional rotating zoom design and boasts a number of optical enhancements. 

The lens itself is slightly taller, wider and heavier than the original, but the move to a rotating zoom design should resolve problems associated with dust being sucked in during operation. It also offers three image stabilization modes and offers 4 stops of stabilization compared to 1.5 in the previous model. Thew new lens will automatically lock the IS elements when it detects a tripod in use. Minimum focus distance is improved to 3.2 feet (compared to 6.5 ft) and the lens boasts 0.31x maximum magnification. A new bayonet-style ET-83D hood is included, with a slot for easier adjustment of filters.

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM  uses a totally new optical formula with one Fluorite and one Super UD element. Also introduced is a new ASC (Air Sphere Coating) technology which uses suspended air bubbles in the coating. The benefits are reduced ghosting and flaring, similar to the way Canon's Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) is used in wide angle lenses. 

The lens will be available in December for $2199.


Press release:

CANON U.S.A. INTRODUCES NEW SUPER-TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS, THE COMPACT AND HIGHLY MOBILE CANON EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM 

New Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens Delivers an Enhanced IS System Providing Four Shutter Speed Steps of Correction, a Rotation-Type Zoom Ring, and New Optical Element Formula to Help Maximize Image Quality

MELVILLE, N.Y., November 10, 2014 ─ Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the highly anticipated  Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM lens, a second generation compact super-telephoto zoom lens featuring significant advancements in optical quality, image stabilization performance up-to-four steps, and rotating-zoom-ring design. This new L-series super- telephoto zoom lens features Canon L-series weather resistance and rugged magnesium housing to meet the needs of wildlife and sports photographers or photojournalists working out in the elements. Fully compatible with all EOS cameras, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM features a completely redesigned optical formula containing one Fluorite and one Super UD lens element ─ a combination unique to lenses in this focal range ─ to help deliver sharp images with high resolution and contrast. This combination of elements helps thoroughly suppress chromatic aberration throughout the entire zoom range.

“The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM is the logical evolution of the very popular EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM introduced 16 years ago,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, President and COO of Canon U.S.A., Inc., “This long awaited, next generation lens was developed to be a highly portable and adaptable telephoto zoom lens for today’s modern professional and advanced amateur photographers.” 

For photographers who want to work as closely as possible to their subjects, the minimum focusing distance of the lens has been reduced to just 3.2 ft. (0.98m), resulting in maximum magnification of 0.31x.  The original EF  100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM was well known for its push-pull zoom adjustment, but the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM uses a rotation-type zoom ring similar to the one found on the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens that allows for more precise adjustments, easier handling, and consistently excellent weight balance during handheld photography. In addition, the lens features an improved zoom torque adjustment ring that allows for the easy setting of zoom tension based on personal shooting preferences. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM also features an inner focusing system, a powerful yet quiet Ring USM, a high-speed CPU and optimized auto focus (AF) algorithms for fast and accurate autofocusing in various shooting situations. 

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM features three Image Stabilization (IS) modes ─ standard, panning, and during exposure only.  Each IS mode is individually engineered to help provide outstanding results in a wide variety of shooting situations, and all serve to satisfy the personal preferences of photographers based on the type of IS they desire. The optical IS provides up to four shutter speed steps of correction, increased from 1.5 steps in the previous model*. In addition, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM features Canon’s newly developed Air Sphere Coating (ASC) which helps to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting significantly, as well as a 9-bladed circular aperture Electro-Magnetic Diaphragm that helps to enhance beautiful, softly blurred backgrounds. 

As with all L-series lenses, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM is highly resistant to dust and water, with excellent durability in even harsh conditions, ideal for wildlife photographers even in rainforest environments, or sports photographers on the sideline grabbing action shots of the big game. Fluorine coating on the front and rear surfaces of the lens can repel dust particles and water droplets. It also makes smears and fingerprints easy to remove without the use of lens cleaning fluid. Included with the lens is the new ET-83D lens hood, that features a cleverly placed and convenient side window allowing the user to easily adjust specialty filters while the lens hood remains in place. In addition, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM is equipped with a newly designed detachable tripod mount which can be removed to reduce weight during handheld operation. 

Pricing and Availability 

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens is scheduled to be available in December 2014 for an estimated retail price of $2,199.00. For more information, please visit http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_100_400mm_f_4_5_5_6l_is_ii_usm

*Using the EOS- 1D X, conforms to CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association) standards. 

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length100–400 mm
Image stabilisationYes (4 stops)
Lens mountCanon EF
Aperture
Maximum apertureF4.5–5.6
Aperture ringNo
Number of diaphragm blades9
Optics
Elements21
Groups16
Special elements / coatingsAir Sphere, fluorine coatings; Super ED element
Focus
Minimum focus0.98 m (38.58)
Maximum magnification0.31×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeUltrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYes
Focus distance limiterYes
Physical
Weight1570 g (3.46 lb)
Diameter94 mm (3.7)
Length193 mm (7.6)
MaterialsMagnesium
SealingYes
ColourWhite
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Power zoomNo
Zoom lockYes
Filter thread77.0 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeET-38D
Tripod collarYes