Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"

Started Jun 20, 2013 | Discussions
Oldvic
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Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
Jun 20, 2013

July issue, pages 106 to 109, field and lab test. CI tests for an A3 print size.

On the 5DIII, without internal converter (200-400):

- vigneting: from 0.7-1 stop at f/4 to near zero at f/11;

- CA: near zero at all focal lengths and apertures;

- distortion:same as CA;

- sharpness: about 92-93% from f/4 to f/11 and ending around 88% at f/22. The error bars, which indicate consistency, are barely detectable, and there's virtually no difference between the center and the corners of the image.

5DIII, with internal converter (280-560):

- vigneting: same as above but without the f/4 to f/5.6 interval, obviously;

- CA: slight increase, the fringes stay below 0.03mm from f/4 to f/16 and end around 0.05mm at f/32;

- distortion: around 0.4% pincushion at all focal lengths;

- sharpness: same as above, with the new f/32 aperture introduced by the converter hovering around 80% from 280 to 460 and dropping to 65% at 560 (f/32 aperture, remember). Again only at 560, the error bars become a little bigger but not by much.

They tested for sharpness at 560mm using an external 1.4x converter and found no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception: the external converter reaches a sharpness level of 80% as opposed to the 65% of the internal one.

Also tested the internal-1.4x external converter combo (800mm focal length), with a sharpness of around 87-88% at f/16 and a minimum of about 87% at f/32.

Next they tested the lens with an external 2x converter (800mm) and the results are as above with the 1.4x-1.4x combo.

Finally, they tested the internal 1.4x-external 2x combo (1120mm): sharpness drops to around 40-45% at f/11, around 60-70% at f/16, and tops out at 70% for f/22 and f/32.

They gave it a subjective rating of 5 stars and say that the only real fault they find with the lens is the price.

Cheers

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Conan Butcher
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Oldvic, Jun 20, 2013

Thank you very much for this.

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Oldvic, Jun 20, 2013

Oldvic wrote:

They tested for sharpness at 560mm using an external 1.4x converter and found no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception: the external converter reaches a sharpness level of 80% as opposed to the 65% of the internal one.

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

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Oldvic
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to qianp2k, Jun 20, 2013

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

That's what I can conclude from the graphs: at f/32, the external converter gives better results than the internal one; at other apertures, there's no difference.

Cheers

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Well, when they ordered me, my parents might have chosen a larger print size…

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Oldvic, Jun 20, 2013

Oldvic wrote:

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

That's what I can conclude from the graphs: at f/32, the external converter gives better results than the internal one; at other apertures, there's no difference.

Really? Wow. That's why people call the built-in 1.4x TC is the world most expensive TC ever   So that convinience costs somewhat $4K?

Cheers

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mattr
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Oldvic, Jun 20, 2013

Oldvic wrote:

July issue, pages 106 to 109, field and lab test. CI tests for an A3 print size.

On the 5DIII, without internal converter (200-400):

- vigneting: from 0.7-1 stop at f/4 to near zero at f/11;

- CA: near zero at all focal lengths and apertures;

- distortion:same as CA;

- sharpness: about 92-93% from f/4 to f/11 and ending around 88% at f/22. The error bars, which indicate consistency, are barely detectable, and there's virtually no difference between the center and the corners of the image.

5DIII, with internal converter (280-560):

- vigneting: same as above but without the f/4 to f/5.6 interval, obviously;

- CA: slight increase, the fringes stay below 0.03mm from f/4 to f/16 and end around 0.05mm at f/32;

- distortion: around 0.4% pincushion at all focal lengths;

- sharpness: same as above, with the new f/32 aperture introduced by the converter hovering around 80% from 280 to 460 and dropping to 65% at 560 (f/32 aperture, remember). Again only at 560, the error bars become a little bigger but not by much.

They tested for sharpness at 560mm using an external 1.4x converter and found no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception: the external converter reaches a sharpness level of 80% as opposed to the 65% of the internal one.

Also tested the internal-1.4x external converter combo (800mm focal length), with a sharpness of around 87-88% at f/16 and a minimum of about 87% at f/32.

Next they tested the lens with an external 2x converter (800mm) and the results are as above with the 1.4x-1.4x combo.

Finally, they tested the internal 1.4x-external 2x combo (1120mm): sharpness drops to around 40-45% at f/11, around 60-70% at f/16, and tops out at 70% for f/22 and f/32.

Thanks for the info but it is very hard to take this test seriously.

The focus on differences in the f/16-f/32 range is utterly crazy. It also would be interesting to know what the % numbers are.

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Steve Balcombe
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Oldvic, Jun 20, 2013

Oldvic wrote:

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

That's what I can conclude from the graphs: at f/32, the external converter gives better results than the internal one; at other apertures, there's no difference.

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

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Jerry Fusselman
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Steve Balcombe, Jun 20, 2013

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Oldvic wrote:

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

That's what I can conclude from the graphs: at f/32, the external converter gives better results than the internal one; at other apertures, there's no difference.

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

The results at f/32 make sense to me. As I explained two weeks ago in the "Strange thing about the built-in 1.4x teleconverter" thread, the internal 1.4x considerably reduces focal length when focusing close. It probably reduced focal length (compared to shooting at infinity) at whatever distance "C d'I" was using in their tests. The lens's chip must know about this, so to keep the aperture constant at relatively closer focusing distances, it has to close down the aperture more. If Canon did not do this, they should have (though perhaps not when shooting wide open). Smaller physical aperture size, more diffraction. No surprise there.

It would be easy to verify my hypothesis by stopping the lens down somewhat, engaging the internal 1.4x converter, and watching the size of the working aperture (from in front of the lens) shrink a bit while focusing closer. My hypothesis is that the degree of shrinkage when focusing closer is greater with the internal 1.4x than with an external 1.4x. If I am right, then the results at f/32 from C d'I are merely a consequence of their mistaking marked aperture numbers for actual aperture numbers. That is, with the external 1.4x, there was less diffraction at f/32 because the size of the aperture was larger. Another way to check is exposure levels in the images both ways.

I'm surprised you doubt the potential improvement of an internal 1.4x. Think of the huge number of extra options the lens designers had about where to locate the extra elements. Besides, we have this result quoted by the OP when using the internal 1.4x: " sharpness: same as above." I've never seen a result that wonderful with an external teleconverter. Indeed, as quoted by the OP, the results with the external 1.4x were not as sharp.

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Steve Balcombe, Jun 20, 2013

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Oldvic wrote:

Thanks for quote. Just want to be clear that in above sentence - external 1.4x TC is better or worse than internal 1.4x TC? It doesn’t make sense if external TC actually is better.

That's what I can conclude from the graphs: at f/32, the external converter gives better results than the internal one; at other apertures, there's no difference.

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Agreed f/32 doesn't make sense to me that only happen if you shoot at high ISO such as 400 with very slow shutter such as 1/60.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

That part I actually hard to imagine other way around. I thought internal TC reduces gap, and internal TC lens elements probably are part of entire lens structure, that moves in and out dynamically. External TC is not part of original lens system in comparison and there is wider gap between two lens elements' groups.

If internal TC indeed has no difference to external TC, then I'd not spend extra $4K just for integrity if Canon offered two versions, one with TC and one without TC. Adding/removing TC is not that difficult and you can do pretty quickly.

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dhogaza
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to qianp2k, Jun 20, 2013

qianp2k wrote:

That part I actually hard to imagine other way around. I thought internal TC reduces gap, and internal TC lens elements probably are part of entire lens structure, that moves in and out dynamically.

It's still a single unit, like a conventional TC.

And as others have pointed out, the 1.4x III is so stunningly sharp that there's really not much room for improvement.

Slightly less vignetting because the TC is further up the lens is a possibility (minimizing vignetting is one reason for the canon TCs having that front snoot that sticks up the back of the lens a bit, according to some).

If internal TC indeed has no difference to external TC, then I'd not spend extra $4K just for integrity if Canon offered two versions, one with TC and one without TC.

Where has this myth come from that the internal TC is responsible for $4K of its price?  I've seen others make similar statements as though it's a fact.

My guess is that it adds a few hundred dollars.  Optically should cost about the same as a 1.4x III.  Mechanically, yes, there's the swing and lock mechanism (including a switch to inform the lens's computer of the TCs position), but the external TC has a lens barrel, front and rear mount, and a separate chip to modify the signals passed from the lens to camera and vice-versa.

Just because the EF 200-400 is about $4K more than Nikons older 200-400/4 doesn't mean the internal TC's why.  The new supertelephotos are more expensive than their older Nikkor counterparts.  On the other hand, the new Nikkor 800/5.6 is about $18K, a big chunk more than the older Canon counterpart ...

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to dhogaza, Jun 20, 2013

dhogaza wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

That part I actually hard to imagine other way around. I thought internal TC reduces gap, and internal TC lens elements probably are part of entire lens structure, that moves in and out dynamically.

It's still a single unit, like a conventional TC.

And as others have pointed out, the 1.4x III is so stunningly sharp that there's really not much room for improvement.

Slightly less vignetting because the TC is further up the lens is a possibility (minimizing vignetting is one reason for the canon TCs having that front snoot that sticks up the back of the lens a bit, according to some).

If internal TC indeed has no difference to external TC, then I'd not spend extra $4K just for integrity if Canon offered two versions, one with TC and one without TC.

Where has this myth come from that the internal TC is responsible for $4K of its price? I've seen others make similar statements as though it's a fact.

My guess is that it adds a few hundred dollars. Optically should cost about the same as a 1.4x III. Mechanically, yes, there's the swing and lock mechanism (including a switch to inform the lens's computer of the TCs position), but the external TC has a lens barrel, front and rear mount, and a separate chip to modify the signals passed from the lens to camera and vice-versa.

Just because the EF 200-400 is about $4K more than Nikons older 200-400/4 doesn't mean the internal TC's why.

That is where myth came from by comparing to Nikon copy that is not that old anyway.

The new supertelephotos are more expensive than their older Nikkor counterparts. On the other hand, the new Nikkor 800/5.6 is about $18K, a big chunk more than the older Canon counterpart ...

200-400G/4.0 (2010) is two years newer than Canon 800L (2008).

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Steve Balcombe
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, Jun 20, 2013

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

Steve Balcombe wrote:

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

The results at f/32 make sense to me. As I explained two weeks ago in the "Strange thing about the built-in 1.4x teleconverter" thread, the internal 1.4x considerably reduces focal length when focusing close. It probably reduced focal length (compared to shooting at infinity) at whatever distance "C d'I" was using in their tests. The lens's chip must know about this, so to keep the aperture constant at relatively closer focusing distances, it has to close down the aperture more. If Canon did not do this, they should have (though perhaps not when shooting wide open). Smaller physical aperture size, more diffraction. No surprise there.

It would be easy to verify my hypothesis by stopping the lens down somewhat, engaging the internal 1.4x converter, and watching the size of the working aperture (from in front of the lens) shrink a bit while focusing closer. My hypothesis is that the degree of shrinkage when focusing closer is greater with the internal 1.4x than with an external 1.4x. If I am right, then the results at f/32 from C d'I are merely a consequence of their mistaking marked aperture numbers for actual aperture numbers. That is, with the external 1.4x, there was less diffraction at f/32 because the size of the aperture was larger. Another way to check is exposure levels in the images both ways.

That would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that no difference was observed at other f-stops - only at f/32.

I'm surprised you doubt the potential improvement of an internal 1.4x.

Perhaps you haven't seen how good the MkIII Extenders are.

It's a widely-held assumption that the 200-400's built-in extender must be better because it's specifically made for the lens. But the 1.4x MkIII is also optimised for a very small range of similar lenses, and in practice we know it to be phenomenally good on those lenses. Where is the scope for improvement?

Think of the huge number of extra options the lens designers had about where to locate the extra elements.

And they did take advantage of this - the block diagram shows that they are not the rearmost elements. But I'll wager that was for practical reasons - the design allows the elements to be smaller so they can be switched in and out without the bulge becoming enormous.

Besides, we have this result quoted by the OP when using the internal 1.4x: " sharpness: same as above." I've never seen a result that wonderful with an external teleconverter. Indeed, as quoted by the OP, the results with the external 1.4x were not as sharp.

That is not what the OP says. For the external converter "They ... found no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception".

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Jerry Fusselman
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Steve Balcombe, Jun 20, 2013

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

Steve Balcombe wrote:

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

The results at f/32 make sense to me. As I explained two weeks ago in the "Strange thing about the built-in 1.4x teleconverter" thread, the internal 1.4x considerably reduces focal length when focusing close. It probably reduced focal length (compared to shooting at infinity) at whatever distance "C d'I" was using in their tests. The lens's chip must know about this, so to keep the aperture constant at relatively closer focusing distances, it has to close down the aperture more. If Canon did not do this, they should have (though perhaps not when shooting wide open). Smaller physical aperture size, more diffraction. No surprise there.

It would be easy to verify my hypothesis by stopping the lens down somewhat, engaging the internal 1.4x converter, and watching the size of the working aperture (from in front of the lens) shrink a bit while focusing closer. My hypothesis is that the degree of shrinkage when focusing closer is greater with the internal 1.4x than with an external 1.4x. If I am right, then the results at f/32 from C d'I are merely a consequence of their mistaking marked aperture numbers for actual aperture numbers. That is, with the external 1.4x, there was less diffraction at f/32 because the size of the aperture was larger. Another way to check is exposure levels in the images both ways.

That would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that no difference was observed at other f-stops - only at f/32.

The effect of diffraction is much more noticeable at f/32 than at f/22, so it is possible to insignificant at f/22 and significant at f/32.  I which I could read the report easily.

I'm surprised you doubt the potential improvement of an internal 1.4x.

Perhaps you haven't seen how good the MkIII Extenders are.

It's a widely-held assumption that the 200-400's built-in extender must be better because it's specifically made for the lens. But the 1.4x MkIII is also optimised for a very small range of similar lenses, and in practice we know it to be phenomenally good on those lenses. Where is the scope for improvement?

Would you or someone else give me a citation of testing showing no degradation at all?  That would amaze me, if true.

Think of the huge number of extra options the lens designers had about where to locate the extra elements.

And they did take advantage of this - the block diagram shows that they are not the rearmost elements. But I'll wager that was for practical reasons - the design allows the elements to be smaller so they can be switched in and out without the bulge becoming enormous.

I kinda want to accept this wager with you, if it was easy to do.  The problem is, you might be too knowledgeable for a wager to be wise on my part.  Anyway, perhaps you can tell me what is wrong with my thoughts on additional reasons for making it not rearmost:

  1. Higher image quality compared to an external multiplier due to more degrees of freedom for the lens designers.
  2. Much closer minimum focus distance---I think I have verified this.
  3. Better in combination with an additional teleconverter.

Elsewhere, perhaps two weeks ago, I read that the internal converter is better in several ways than an external, so I think that the jury on point 1 is still out.  Besides, image quality is more than just sharpness, and the OP only summarized sharpness for the internal-vs-external comparison.  Other areas to compare include bokeh, CA, etc., as well as autofocus speed and accuracy.

Besides, we have this result quoted by the OP when using the internal 1.4x: " sharpness: same as above." I've never seen a result that wonderful with an external teleconverter. Indeed, as quoted by the OP, the results with the external 1.4x were not as sharp.

That is not what the OP says. For the external converter "They ... found no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception".

Thanks for correcting me here, you're right.  My quote was from the wrong place---where two 1.4x converters were combined.  I appreciate being corrected when wrong.

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dhogaza
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to qianp2k, Jun 20, 2013

qianp2k wrote:

That is where myth came from by comparing to Nikon copy that is not that old anyway.

People have been complaining about the high price of the new white superteles compared to Nikon prices for comparable lenses and they don't have built-in TCs.  And the newest datapoint shows a huge jump in Nikon's price for the 800/5.6.  Comparing with the several year old Nikkor 200-400/4 and concluding the price difference is just because of the TC is ludicrous.

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Steve Balcombe
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, Jun 20, 2013

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

Steve Balcombe wrote:

At f/32 diffraction will totally dominate. Any difference which is not seen at larger apertures is just a blip - a statistical fluke or a bad measurement.

Just as a general comment, it's hard to imagine that the internal TC would be any better than the 1.4x MkIII which is stunningly good on the MkII big whites. The point of the internal TC isn't better IQ, it's instant (and weatherproof) availability.

The results at f/32 make sense to me. As I explained two weeks ago in the "Strange thing about the built-in 1.4x teleconverter" thread, the internal 1.4x considerably reduces focal length when focusing close. It probably reduced focal length (compared to shooting at infinity) at whatever distance "C d'I" was using in their tests. The lens's chip must know about this, so to keep the aperture constant at relatively closer focusing distances, it has to close down the aperture more. If Canon did not do this, they should have (though perhaps not when shooting wide open). Smaller physical aperture size, more diffraction. No surprise there.

It would be easy to verify my hypothesis by stopping the lens down somewhat, engaging the internal 1.4x converter, and watching the size of the working aperture (from in front of the lens) shrink a bit while focusing closer. My hypothesis is that the degree of shrinkage when focusing closer is greater with the internal 1.4x than with an external 1.4x. If I am right, then the results at f/32 from C d'I are merely a consequence of their mistaking marked aperture numbers for actual aperture numbers. That is, with the external 1.4x, there was less diffraction at f/32 because the size of the aperture was larger. Another way to check is exposure levels in the images both ways.

That would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that no difference was observed at other f-stops - only at f/32.

The effect of diffraction is much more noticeable at f/32 than at f/22, so it is possible to insignificant at f/22 and significant at f/32. I which I could read the report easily.

Yes but the _difference_ wouldn't suddenly become more apparent at f/32.

I'm surprised you doubt the potential improvement of an internal 1.4x.

Perhaps you haven't seen how good the MkIII Extenders are.

It's a widely-held assumption that the 200-400's built-in extender must be better because it's specifically made for the lens. But the 1.4x MkIII is also optimised for a very small range of similar lenses, and in practice we know it to be phenomenally good on those lenses. Where is the scope for improvement?

Would you or someone else give me a citation of testing showing no degradation at all? That would amaze me, if true.

Same answer as below - the Chasseur d'Image review reports sharpness with the internal TC same as without, then with the external TC "no significant difference for most apertures, f/32 being the exception".

To be honest I don't actually believe that - and The Digital Picture's test shows a slight degradation but it is very slight and I see no significant difference between internal and external.

Think of the huge number of extra options the lens designers had about where to locate the extra elements.

And they did take advantage of this - the block diagram shows that they are not the rearmost elements. But I'll wager that was for practical reasons - the design allows the elements to be smaller so they can be switched in and out without the bulge becoming enormous.

I kinda want to accept this wager with you, if it was easy to do. The problem is, you might be too knowledgeable for a wager to be wise on my part.

LOL! No, I'm not.

I'm just looking at the anecdotal evidence - the image quality doesn't appear to be better in practice, and the elements are by far the smallest in the lens.

Anyway, perhaps you can tell me what is wrong with my thoughts on additional reasons for making it not rearmost:

  1. Higher image quality compared to an external multiplier due to more degrees of freedom for the lens designers.

As previously discussed.

2. Much closer minimum focus distance---I think I have verified this.

Has there been a discussion about this? If so I've missed it. But I would point out that a conventional TC gives the same MFD as no TC, so how could an internal TC improve on that?

3. Better in combination with an additional teleconverter.

Don't know. I remember reading a claim, years ago, probably on this forum, that two stacked (external) 1.4x TCs can give better IQ than a 2x TC but I would have no idea where to find the thread now.

Elsewhere, perhaps two weeks ago, I read that the internal converter is better in several ways than an external,

I'd be interested to see that.

so I think that the jury on point 1 is still out. Besides, image quality is more than just sharpness, and the OP only summarized sharpness for the internal-vs-external comparison. Other areas to compare include bokeh, CA, etc., as well as autofocus speed and accuracy.

Agreed, but I think we will have to wait for more comprehensive reviews to learn that level of detail - if indeed anybody ever goes to those lengths. When stuff is as good as this, any slight differences become academic.

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dhogaza
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, Jun 20, 2013

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

Anyway, perhaps you can tell me what is wrong with my thoughts on additional reasons for making it not rearmost:

  1. Higher image quality compared to an external multiplier due to more degrees of freedom for the lens designers.

Intuitively, nothing wrong with your thinking at all.  When I first read about the internal TC I assumed the same.

The problem is, as written above, that the 1.4x III is so good that testers find remarkably little difference in image quality (sharpness, CA, vignetting) when the 1.4x III is added to the latest supertelephotos.

Thus, as said above, there's just not much headroom for improvement.  When I first saw systematic and objective comparisons of the new 600/4 IS II with the 1.4x III I realized that an internal TC wouldn't be noticeably better.  It's hard to compete with near-perfection!

This is not a knock on the internal TC.  It's a testament to how amazingly good the 1.4x III is.

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dhogaza
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to Steve Balcombe, Jun 20, 2013

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

2. Much closer minimum focus distance---I think I have verified this.

Has there been a discussion about this? If so I've missed it. But I would point out that a conventional TC gives the same MFD as no TC, so how could an internal TC improve on that?

I think this would imply a large focus-shift when kicking in the TC?  That would be awfully inconvenient if true.  I'm very skeptical of the change in MFD claim.

3. Better in combination with an additional teleconverter.

Don't know. I remember reading a claim, years ago, probably on this forum, that two stacked (external) 1.4x TCs can give better IQ than a 2x TC but I would have no idea where to find the thread now.

I've seen images with the 600/4 IS II and 2x MK III that are fairly stunning, so I doubt that stacking two 1.4x's would be better than the new doubler.  It's no secret, though, that for ages doublers really sucked.

As far as stacking two 1.4x's vs. the internal TC and one 1.4x, I would expect the former to vignette noticeably more.  For one thing, with canon TCs you need an extension tube as a spacer due to the protruding nose.  The other thing is that protruding nose is no longer stuck up the rear of a telephoto, which I've read is thought to help reduce vignetting.

| When stuff is as good as this, any slight differences become academic.

That's the practical take home point.  The current generation of Canon superteles and extenders appear to be blowing away the past generation.  I don't have a 1.4x III yet, but I can attest that the 600/4 IS II is very noticeably sharper than my non-IS EF 600/4 that I've shot with for the last 18 years (I just upgraded).  It's *amazing*.  I never had any reason to complain about the sharpness of the original 600/4 but side-by-side ... oh my.

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Steve Balcombe
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to dhogaza, Jun 20, 2013

dhogaza wrote:

Steve Balcombe wrote:

I remember reading a claim, years ago, probably on this forum, that two stacked (external) 1.4x TCs can give better IQ than a 2x TC but I would have no idea where to find the thread now.

I've seen images with the 600/4 IS II and 2x MK III that are fairly stunning, so I doubt that stacking two 1.4x's would be better than the new doubler. It's no secret, though, that for ages doublers really sucked.

As far as stacking two 1.4x's vs. the internal TC and one 1.4x, I would expect the former to vignette noticeably more. For one thing, with canon TCs you need an extension tube as a spacer due to the protruding nose. The other thing is that protruding nose is no longer stuck up the rear of a telephoto, which I've read is thought to help reduce vignetting.

As I said this was years ago - not with MkIII Extenders. I thought I'd mention it because it was a surprising result (if true) but it probably has little or no relevance here.

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jjnik
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to qianp2k, Jun 20, 2013

qianp2k wrote:

dhogaza wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

That part I actually hard to imagine other way around. I thought internal TC reduces gap, and internal TC lens elements probably are part of entire lens structure, that moves in and out dynamically.

It's still a single unit, like a conventional TC.

And as others have pointed out, the 1.4x III is so stunningly sharp that there's really not much room for improvement.

Slightly less vignetting because the TC is further up the lens is a possibility (minimizing vignetting is one reason for the canon TCs having that front snoot that sticks up the back of the lens a bit, according to some).

If internal TC indeed has no difference to external TC, then I'd not spend extra $4K just for integrity if Canon offered two versions, one with TC and one without TC.

Where has this myth come from that the internal TC is responsible for $4K of its price? I've seen others make similar statements as though it's a fact.

My guess is that it adds a few hundred dollars. Optically should cost about the same as a 1.4x III. Mechanically, yes, there's the swing and lock mechanism (including a switch to inform the lens's computer of the TCs position), but the external TC has a lens barrel, front and rear mount, and a separate chip to modify the signals passed from the lens to camera and vice-versa.

Just because the EF 200-400 is about $4K more than Nikons older 200-400/4 doesn't mean the internal TC's why.

That is where myth came from by comparing to Nikon copy that is not that old anyway.

Actually, the Nikon 200-400 was introduced in 2003 so it is sort of old lens design.  In fairness, it was given a very minor update in 2010 to add Nano coating and newer VR (and a price hike) - but, optically, it's unchanged.

The new supertelephotos are more expensive than their older Nikkor counterparts. On the other hand, the new Nikkor 800/5.6 is about $18K, a big chunk more than the older Canon counterpart ...

200-400G/4.0 (2010) is two years newer than Canon 800L (2008).

What does the Nikon 200-400 G have to do with the Canon 800L?  Isn't the relevant comparison, the $13,250 Canon 800L (2008?) to the $17,900 Nikon 800G (2013)?

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dhogaza
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Re: Canon 200-400 f/4 reviewed by "Chasseur d'Images"
In reply to jjnik, Jun 21, 2013

jjnik wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

That is where myth came from by comparing to Nikon copy that is not that old anyway.

Actually, the Nikon 200-400 was introduced in 2003 so it is sort of old lens design. In fairness, it was given a very minor update in 2010 to add Nano coating and newer VR (and a price hike) - but, optically, it's unchanged.

Interesting.  It's a good lens, but compared to the new canon 200-400/4, I suspect it will fare about as well as the older Canon MK I IS lenses vs. the MK II's (i.e., back in the day, we were all amazed by the MK Is, but now the MK IIs are out, and we're stunned ... at least I am).

The new supertelephotos are more expensive than their older Nikkor counterparts. On the other hand, the new Nikkor 800/5.6 is about $18K, a big chunk more than the older Canon counterpart ...

200-400G/4.0 (2010) is two years newer than Canon 800L (2008).

What does the Nikon 200-400 G have to do with the Canon 800L? Isn't the relevant comparison, the $13,250 Canon 800L (2008?) to the $17,900 Nikon 800G (2013)?

You'd sorta think so

Anyway, my advice to qianp2k is ... don't buy it.  If you were to do so, you'd just make people who really want it to have to wait longer to get it ...

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