Wildlife prime lens, which is/will be the best?

Started Jan 31, 2011 | Discussions thread
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prvrt Regular Member • Posts: 212
Wildlife prime lens, which is/will be the best?

First off, I am looking at getting a long prime for wildlife shooting, some day. I plan on having to save for a while as what I am looking at is 400mm or longer. Currently I have a 100-400L. This lens does not have the reach I need, IQ is soft at the long end, not good in low lighting, and using an extender is almost impossible. My questions comes down to 2 lenses. The new 400 2.8 or the 500 f4. I want the longest reach with the best picture quality. I have a 7D and am an ameture currently just enjoying a hobby. I am currently leaning towards the new 400 2.8. What are your thoughts on these 2 lenses?


First, it seems that the 400 2.8 would be the best when using extenders. Even with a 2x extender, I would still be at f5.6 at 800mm. Seems a good way to get multiple focal lengths and still have good light. The 500 f4 would be at 5.6 with only the 1.4 extender at 700mm.

Do you think the 400 2.8 would offer better results and quality using extenders than the 500 f4 at equal focal lengths?
Will the 500 be better bare than the 400 with a 1.4x(560mm)?
How about the 500 with a 1.4x (700mm) compared to a 400 with a 2x(800mm)?


Weight does not seem to be an issue since the new 400 2.8 comes in at the same as the 500 f4.


From what I have read, I understand that the current 400 2.8 focus is very fast compared to the 500 f4. I assume that the new lens will be even faster. Anyone have any insight on the new 400?


I think that all the lenses above 400mm are built the same with the same quality.


I was worried about the price of the new lens and still am. On the other hand I got to thinking the other day about lens prices and inflation. If somone bought the new 500m f4 when it first came out in 99', I believe it sold for around $5000. Now days it sells for $6700. The going price on Ebay today seems to be about $5500 used. So my thinking is if I buy the new 400 2.8 for say $10,000 now and then kept it for 10 years or until a new one comes out, I should be able to sell it on Ebay for the same as I paid for it because at the end of the 10 years, inflation has driven the price of a new lens up to around $13,000. Seems like a great investment this way. None of my other hobbies keep their value like this. If I went out and paid $10k for a car today, it would be worth nothing in 10 years, so I feel better knowing a lens holds it's value better. What are your thought and experiances on this?

I believe that the new IS on the 400 should out preform the IS on the 500.


The 500 is at the same position as the 100-400. They are both long in the tooth awaiting an upgrade. I do not want to purchase a new lens and have an upgrade come out within a year. That would also defeat my thinking on value retention.

So what are your thought on all of this? What am I missing or what have I not thought about?

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EF-S 15-85mm IS USM
EF 70-300mm IS USM
EF 100-400mm L IS USM

 prvrt's gear list:prvrt's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
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