Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

Started Dec 14, 2015 | Discussions
gwexou Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

I agree. My adapted Sigma 150-600 C with MC11 on A7rII is struggling in dim light (not even low light) and in low contrast conditions.

PWPhotography wrote:

I used to own 400L/5.6 awhile ago but later replaced it with 100-400L/4.5-5.6 IS. 400L/5.6 AF extremely fast on Canon DSLRs, very sharp and relative small/light.

So it appears A7 II/A7r II PDAF works well under good light on adapted 400L/5.6 but not on 100-400L IS (at least 300-400mm) from what I have read (I have not tried on my copy of 100-400L with A7 II). In general A7 II/A7r II PDAF doesn't work well or doesn't work at all on adapted Canon super-tele lenses such as those pro-grade 500L and 600L. Even with Canon DSLRs, super-tele lenses work best on 1D/1Ds/1Dx series due to stronger battery. My 500L IS AF lock is a bit faster (noticeable) on old 1D3 than 5D3. Battery in A7-series is pretty weak, no mention thru adapter to drive those super-tele lenses with many heavy elements. In addition A7 II/A7r II PDAF still doesn't work well under dim low light on all adapted Canon lenses, more or less.

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roger2013 Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

Thanks to all for a very informative thread. I got the Tamron 150-600 with first the LA-EA4, but found the autofocus was not good enough for birds - the focus area in the middle was too small if they are moving, though I will be the first to admit that the problem was probably that I need more practice. When the firmware update on my A7II came along, I went for the LA-EA3, but did not have much more success, though the best ones were really sharp, even at 600. But I never got around to selling my 400 f5.6L which seemed similar sharpness to the Tamron.

I decided that the AF was not really as good as I wanted and wondered about an crop sony. Problem is that the A6000 did not have stabilisation and that is critical. So I am wondering whether to risk an A6500 when it comes out, in the hope that it gives better autofocus than the A7II with either the 400/5.6 and Metabones, or with the LA-EA3 and the Tamron. But I have also been wondering whether I should forget it and either persist with the A7II. Getting a 7D2 would solve the AF issue, but no stabilisation.

This is making me wonder whether, though I thought the Tamron as sharp, I should perhaps give the 400 5.6 another go and not plan to sell it. Of course, I should be trying it out more, but recently I have not been able to get out to see many suitable birds, so I am just planning for when I can.

jpr2 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,554
Re: some points to muse over

Roger,

if what you're seeing in your photos is an appox. same sharpness from the 150-600 vs. the 400/5.6L, than perhaps your cams+adapters are not pushing either of the lenses AF'ing to its critical focus point, OR... you might wish to work more on your camera & lens handling technique for BIFs and birding, or... probably both

Perhaps in your environment you can rent the 7d2 and then see what the 7d2+400L are capable of - sharpness-wise in fast action shooting scenarios.

If not, then just check the Net as there are plenty of samples around showing capability of that pair, or just the EF 400/5.6L mounted on different Canons or Sonys !!

Perhaps you can swap your A-mount Tammy for the EF-mount version, and then use them both with the 400L through the Metabones IV with the latest firmware, as both lenses are getting pretty good ratings usually from hands-on users,

jpr2

roger2013 Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: some points to muse over

Do you mean that the 400 should be sharper, so if I am not seeing any difference, something is wrong? Or that the Tamron should be sharper? My guess is that the problem is my hand holding technique.

Or I wait till there are reports about different lenses on the A6500 and make my decision then. I know the 7d2 + whatever would be good for BIFs, but what holds me back is not wanting to take a second (heavy) system out with me, when I am using a Sony for everything else.

R

jpr2 wrote:

Roger,

if what you're seeing in your photos is an appox. same sharpness from the 150-600 vs. the 400/5.6L, than perhaps your cams+adapters are not pushing either of the lenses AF'ing to its critical focus point, OR... you might wish to work more on your camera & lens handling technique for BIFs and birding, or... probably both

Perhaps in your environment you can rent the 7d2 and then see what the 7d2+400L are capable of - sharpness-wise in fast action shooting scenarios.

If not, then just check the Net as there are plenty of samples around showing capability of that pair, or just the EF 400/5.6L mounted on different Canons or Sonys !!

Perhaps you can swap your A-mount Tammy for the EF-mount version, and then use them both with the 400L through the Metabones IV with the latest firmware, as both lenses are getting pretty good ratings usually from hands-on users,

jpr2

jpr2 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,554
Re: some points to muse over

roger2013 wrote:

Do you mean that the 400 should be sharper, so if I am not seeing any difference, something is wrong? Or that the Tamron should be sharper? My guess is that the problem is my hand holding technique.

indeed, this is usually the first suspecting factor one ought to check carefully -  you can also put both long teles on a tripod (or any other solid support) and then focus them manually at various FLs. This will produce a set of yardsticks to judge your AF'ing results against

jpr2

Or I wait till there are reports about different lenses on the A6500 and make my decision then. I know the 7d2 + whatever would be good for BIFs, but what holds me back is not wanting to take a second (heavy) system out with me, when I am using a Sony for everything else.

R

jpr2 wrote:

Roger,

if what you're seeing in your photos is an appox. same sharpness from the 150-600 vs. the 400/5.6L, than perhaps your cams+adapters are not pushing either of the lenses AF'ing to its critical focus point, OR... you might wish to work more on your camera & lens handling technique for BIFs and birding, or... probably both

Perhaps in your environment you can rent the 7d2 and then see what the 7d2+400L are capable of - sharpness-wise in fast action shooting scenarios.

If not, then just check the Net as there are plenty of samples around showing capability of that pair, or just the EF 400/5.6L mounted on different Canons or Sonys !!

Perhaps you can swap your A-mount Tammy for the EF-mount version, and then use them both with the 400L through the Metabones IV with the latest firmware, as both lenses are getting pretty good ratings usually from hands-on users,

jpr2

dale matson New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

I have the Canon 400 4.6 now and am very happy with those photos that are sharp. I am using the Viltrox adapter and don't really know if I would have better luck with a photodiox or MB4. Even in those cases where I could not get autofocus to work, some of the shots were sharp with focus peaking. I don't get focus magnification but this would not be realistic with such a long lens anyway. This is the best combination I have yet for long shots and I will stop by the local photo shop to see if the photodiox adapter works better than my Viltrox adapter for autofocus.

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dale matson New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

I tried the newest Fotodiox adapter today and could not get it to auto focus at all!

I also rented the 1.4X extender and lost autofocus on my Viltrox adapter but focus peaking gave me some good shots. Not quite as sharp but definitely acceptable.

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dale matson New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

Hi folks,

I just posted an article regarding the Canon 400 5.6 adapted to the Sony A7R2. Hope it adds to the available information on this combination.

http://midsierramusing.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-sony-a7r2-with-canon-400mm-56-lens.html

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roger2013 Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

dale matson wrote:

I have the Canon 400 4.6 now and am very happy with those photos that are sharp. I am using the Viltrox adapter and don't really know if I would have better luck with a photodiox or MB4. Even in those cases where I could not get autofocus to work, some of the shots were sharp with focus peaking. I don't get focus magnification but this would not be realistic with such a long lens anyway. This is the best combination I have yet for long shots and I will stop by the local photo shop to see if the photodiox adapter works better than my Viltrox adapter for autofocus.

I cannot comment on a Canon 1.4 extender, but I have a Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 1.4 DG, and when I put it on the 400L 5.6, using a MBIII (with firmware 0.47, so no difference from MBIV except no flock and I cannot do DIY firmware upgrades) my A7II shows it as being at f8 and as 560mm. Pointing it across the living room it autofocuses on a bright lampshade. It won't focus on someone sitting near who is much darker, even without the teleconverter.

I haven't tried it outside in decent light recently, for three reasons. Too much w**k, stopping me from getting out to take photos. I decided my Tamron 150-600 with LA-EA3, was as good and more flexible. I decided neither was fast enough for flying birds. But this thread is making me think that when time permits I should give it another chance, though I think cropping from 400 will probably beat the using the Teleplus. No idea whether the Canon extender would improve on the Kenko.

jpr2 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,554
Dale: do you mean despite the IBIS?

dale matson wrote:

Hi folks,

I just posted an article regarding the Canon 400 5.6 adapted to the Sony A7R2. Hope it adds to the available information on this combination.

http://midsierramusing.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-sony-a7r2-with-canon-400mm-56-lens.html

Interesting read and it tallies well with all I know about the EF 400/5.6L. However, you wrote there: " I can hand hold and zoom to 5X and refocus but it is impossible for me to keep the image in view at 12X." Was this operating with IBIS on, that your VF image was too jumpy to focus accurately at 12x free handed?

jpr2

dale matson New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Dale: do you mean despite the IBIS?

Yes, the IBIS was on. Remember, this is 400mm X 12 with the second level of focus magnification. Focus magnification X12 works good with my Loxia 50mm lens however.

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rogerjosem
rogerjosem Senior Member • Posts: 2,991
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

I use the Canon 400 F5.6 on the A7RII and MB-4T and I love it. I experience it performs very well with AF around the center area in good light. Before it, I used this lens on the A7R and mostly MF, so the bump in ease-usability was dramatic (including that I can now go as slow as 1/60 handheld)

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dale matson New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

Do you use Contrast or Phase Detection?

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roger2013 Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

And what version of the firmware do you need for the MB? I guess the latest, but is the latest version significantly better than version 0.47, if you remember that far back?

rogerjosem
rogerjosem Senior Member • Posts: 2,991
Re: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: the perfect 400mm budget option for A7II?

dale matson wrote:

Do you use Contrast or Phase Detection?

Phase detection on the A7RII. Latest FW available.

 rogerjosem's gear list:rogerjosem's gear list
Fujifilm GFX 50S Sony a7R III Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 Zeiss Otus 85mm F1.4 Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8 +9 more
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