EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,163
Re: To: MirceaG - followup reply...

MirceaG wrote:

My question is how would a 70-200 f2.8 at 400mm (with 2x III) compare with 100-400 (with no extenders) in terms of quality of the picture.

The two lenses have a slightly different numbers of glass element in their lens array.
The 70-200mmL III has 23 elements.  The 100-400L II has 21 elements.
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I think that adding an extender (which immediately changes the f/stop on both lenses) will also have to affect image quality due to less light and additional glass being applied between the lens and the sensor of each camera.  How much image degradation is likely to be different on each lens but I'm not sure anyone could quantify this.  I have read here on Dpreview by other photographers that the 70-200mmL III lens at 400mm (after the 2x III Extender is applied) is not as clean as an image taken with the 100-400mmL II lens with NO extender at the same 400mm focal length.   What the images looked like is anyone's guess because I have seen no samples.  But it makes sense when you think about it.  Adding more glass to any lens (especially when it is used for magnification purposes) will likely have a toll on image quality.
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I was VERY hesitant to buy the 100-400mmL II lens because I was concerned that it might not be fast enough since I tend to use f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses for a lot of my work and I really do like Bokeh.  I'm actually surprised at the amount of bokeh that the 100-400mmL II lens produces because it's both unexpected and quite appealing. I was won over after seeing the performance in less than ideal light due to the IS. HOWEVER, If you don't have use for focal lengths beyond 200mm+ then the faster lens is likely to appeal to your needs because of the  f/2.8 aperture.  If you need longer focal lengths approaching 400mm, the EF 100-400mmL II lens is going to replace it as the best choice.  It's also about $300 cheaper than the 70-200mmL III lens - according to DPreview's price estimation. I've read no genuine complaints about either lens and that's a very good thing.  The reviews on both lenses have high ratings.
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Because I want more focal length, the 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extenders were the right choice for me.   But I need the longer focal length for Astro, wildlife and water related (fishing/surfing/swimming) subjects... as well as landscapes, sunrises and sunsets..  The Closeup ability was a big sell for me as well because it means I don't need to carry a second lens for closer shots of flowers and insects and food etc. 
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The EF 70-200mmL III takes a fine picture too.  I just took a look at the official Canon samples and they were quite nice to scroll through (LINK ).  No matter which lens you get, I'd be curious to see what your choice is and what your opinion is of the lens after you've spent some time with it.

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Regards,
Marco Nero.

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