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

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MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

Has anyone tested the sharpness on these two combos? I read somewhere that 100-400 is better but no details were given. If they're close, I'd rather go with the 70-200 plus the extender for the extra versatility of shooting at lower f stops below 200mm (and a bit of inconvenience in having to add/remove the extender). The weight, size and price of the two lenses is very comparable

Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II
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ed rader Veteran Member • Posts: 8,667
this question has been asked and answered ad nauseum....

MirceaG wrote:

Has anyone tested the sharpness on these two combos? I read somewhere that 100-400 is better but no details were given. If they're close, I'd rather go with the 70-200 plus the extender for the extra versatility of shooting at lower f stops below 200mm (and a bit of inconvenience in having to add/remove the extender). The weight, size and price of the two lenses is very comparable

..............

 ed rader's gear list:ed rader's gear list
Canon EOS 80D Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II +3 more
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,136
To: MirceaG - EF 2x III extenders + EF 100-400mmL II
2

MirceaG wrote:

Has anyone tested the sharpness on these two combos? I read somewhere that 100-400 is better but no details were given. If they're close, I'd rather go with the 70-200 plus the extender for the extra versatility of shooting at lower f stops below 200mm (and a bit of inconvenience in having to add/remove the extender). The weight, size and price of the two lenses is very comparable

I remember comparing these lenses previously. No doubt someone who owns both will be able to chime in with a few thoughts. What I can do is list a few things worth considering about the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens because that was the lens that I was eventually compelled to buy. Something to consider about the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens is that people (including professional reviewers) have noted that it's virtually the same as the previous Mk II version. I think it was the reviewer on Digitalcameraworld who said that the Tamron G2 version "has a better stabilizer at half the price" (in reference to the 70-200mmL III). The also stated that this lens was virtually the same as the Mk II. Even good old Ker Rockewell's review of the lens (which is usually a very fair and balanced one) said that this lens is "99% the same as the previous 70-300mm f/2.8L IS II lens". However, I happen to know that a lot of people talk about the option of buying this lens and then adding an extender to it - which will not only work, but it should bypass the restrictions built into the electronics of some DSLRs to inhibit extender use. Ken also notes that he prefers the EF 100-400mmL II because "it focuses closer than any 70-200mm lens" and he "...never [misses] the 70-100mm range". In a prior review of the 70-200mmL II lens he opened up the review by saying that lens was 'generally replaced by the EF 100-400mmL II lens'.
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So whilst both lenses sell for similar prices where I am, the EF 100-400mmL II lens was the lens I chose to buy. Part of that attraction for me was the extra focal length. You might shoot weddings for all I know - in which case the extra zoom might be unnecessary overkill.  If you want to shoot weddings, either lens is fine.  You might appreciate softer bokeh from the 70-200mmL II although if you are shooting wildlife, you're going to want as much zoom as you can get your hands on.  The 70-200mmL III is actually slightly longer than the EF 100-400mmL II lens (199mm compared to 193mm) but the 100-400mmL II is heavier at 1570g versus 1440g.  That's only slight I guess. But there's no Zoom Lock on the 70-200mmL III.
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Do Extenders affect image quality?
I think we've all asked ourselves that question:  Does the use of an Extender reduce image quality?  It sure used to before the Mk III Extenders became available.  I'd say they still do by nature.  But not in the same way they used to.  The earlier versions were said to soften the image and some wildlife photographers said they would prefer to enlarge an image by 200% rather than use a 2x Extender because they honestly felt the results were sharper.  This led me to conduct my own experiment with the Mk III Extenders after Canon repeatedly asked me why I had no interest in extenders.  The lousy opinions of earlier model extenders had rubbed off on me.  Yes, when you're zooming past 1200mm with an extender there's going to be an effect on your images but in some ways, the effect is pleasant.  The bokeh becomes unique.  Reflections on water take on an ethereal appearance.  Subjects pop out from their backgrounds - even close or mid distance subjects.  But if you want to see what someone is eating for lunch over half a kilometer away, you'll find that the amount of heat and particles in the air may influence your shot by introducing haze, thermal rippling and contrast differences that were not visible before you added the extender.  Even the act of putting the 100-400mmL II lens onto an APS-C camera results in an increased focal length range of 161mm-644mm (equiv).  That's one of the advantages of APS-C.   Some people (especially wildlife photographers and Astrophotographers) love using APS-C over Full Frame for this reason alone.
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200mm + 2x Extender = same as 400mm lens with no extender...
Adding more glass to a lens to increase the zoom is one thing but having a lens that is f/5.6 at 400mm is going to produce more than enough background defocus and attractive bokeh.  And yet (if my calculations are correct), adding a 2x III Extender to the 70-200mm f/2.8L III lens at 200mm will result in an aperture of f/5.6 - which is the same aperture and focal length as the unaided 100-400mmL II at 400mm!  You end up paying more to add the 2x Extender and end up putting even more glass in between the camera and the subject yet the aperture is the same (f/5.6).  For this reason alone, the 100-400mmL II without an extender is the better choice if you think you might enjoy using the zoom at maximum with no slowdown and no image quality reduction.
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AutoFocus with Extenders
The Stabilizers on BOTH lenses work with the Extenders as well. So if you mount an Extender to either lens you'll still get the use of the IS as well. And when you're using 800mm or even more (by stacking extenders), you really will appreciate being able to access the Image Stabilizer with such long focal lengths. On my DSLR's the 100-400mmL II lens focuses almost instantly. It's so fast you barely see the focus range change. It's lightning quick.
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The AF on the EF 100-400mmL II lens is very fast when there's no Extender on the lens. it's a lot faster on a DSLR or an EOS R. On an EOS M camera with DPAF or on a DSLR with APS-C, it works just fine but it's slower to focus if your lens isn't already close to locked onto the target when using Live View. With AF using the Viewfinder, It's really quick on a Full Frame DSLR and it's slower but still useable on the miorrless APS-C cameras like the EOS Ms. On my 6D, the use of Extenders cancels the ability to use the AF. It is re-enabled when the same gear is used on the newer Canon 6D II. But only the 1.4x III extender offers AF on the 6D II. The use of the 2x III on the 6D will deactivate AF. The ability to now use 1.4x III Extenders on the newer DSLR is in part due to the 6D II's new DPAF sensor which is part of the AF process. With older cameras like my 3 year old 6D, I have to switch to Live View if I want use Autofocus. And that method is really, hideously slow. I mean slow like 'molasses'. Yet if you put the same lens and extenders on a newer mirrorless like the EOS M5/M6/M100/M50 or EOS R camera with DPAF sensors, they will autofocus just fine.  And they are very sharp.
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The new Mk III Extenders. One is virtually pocketable.

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Stacking Extenders
Canon do not recommend stacking Extenders against one another to increase magnification even further. In fact, they redesigned the Mk III extenders to prevent people doing just this. But you can still do it by using an EF12 extension tube from Canon and placing it between the two extenders. On a DSLR you can only get Manual Focus from that setup with stacked extenders. Curiously, you get Autofocus from a Mirrorless camera with DPAF, though it's slow to operate. Why would anyone double-stack Extenders? Probably just for the fun of it... and you loose the ability to use the wider end of the zoom since the image blurs if you try to pull back on the zoom. But if you want a picture of Jupiter with its own moons sitting above the horizon of our own moon, it works. You'll get nicer pictures with just one extender. The EF 1.4x III is the best to be using if you just want a bit more reach. The 2x III is very good optically but over great distances, the lack of contrast with higher magnifications will also reduce finer details due to heat and thermal fluctuations in the air. But that happens with any long lens regardless. Overall, the extenders are a little pricey but they work fine with both lenses.
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M6 + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender - taken in JPEG. Here's an uncropped image taken just last night of Saturn coming out from behind the moon. Though this shot was taken with a tripod to allow more light to better expose Saturn, I was able able to shoot the moon just as clear handheld.

6D + EF 100-400mmL II + 2x III Extender - JPEG - Taken using Live View.
This shot was perhaps a little overexposed but I was testing the extenders for the first time.

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I ran my own tests on the EF 2x III Extender and was surprised that it actually gave me more detail than I was expecting to see with detained subjects shot over great distances. I'd been conditioned to believe (based on fact) that the earlier Extenders would soften images. The Mk III Extenders work well with the EF 100-400mmL II and they match the paint of the new White lenses. The optical performance was really much, much better than the Mk II extenders and i took samples with both Full Frame and APS-C cameras to sample both the 1.4 III and 2x III extenders. They say that using an extender will enhance any flaws in a lens and I can say that this is true. Using the Extenders on the respected EF 135mm f/2L USM lens produced strong Purple Fringing and contrast issues. But the experience on the 100-400mmL II lens was really much more ideal. The 2x Extenders are supposed to slow down Auto Focus by 75% to enable better accuracy (according to Canon). The 1.4x extenders are supposed to slow down AF by 50%.
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My own test with the EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender showed more detail was captured at 800m than simply up scaling the image by 200%/

Just so you can see how far away I was shooting from with this test.  The cropped image was sampled from the top left image in this collage.
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Image Stabilizers
Both lenses carry Canon's new I.S. modules that apparently offer up to 4-stops over lenses that don't have a Stabilizer. That's insanely good. The EF 100-400mmL II has an extremely effective Image Stabilizer but it probably needs a good one to offset the 400mm focal length and it's VERY effective. Though not ideal, I've seen people take pictures with it while holding perfectly still at just 1/10 sec. I tried it and was able to get down to 1/13 sec before moving on to other tests. One reviewer took his test shots indoors at night at 1/15 sec (might have been Ken).  According to DPreview, the CIPA rating for the stabilization on the 70-200mmL III is 3.5-stops.
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The bokeh from the f/2.8 aperture on the EF 70-200mmL III lens is indeed very nice although quite a few photographers gave away their Mk II version of the 70-200mmL lens and quickly bought the EF 100-400mmL II when it hit the market amid exceptionally positive reviews. I think both lenses use the same (or at least nearly identical) IS units.
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I was on a mountain lookout with two friends who were gearheads but not so much into photography and they were astounded at the difference when I showed them the performance on my Camera's LCD with the IS turned Off and then On. One of them insisted on filming it to show his friends in the military. It's quite a sight to behold for both video and stills.
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Closeup ability of the 100-400mmL II is exceptional. I can recall one reviewer online declaring that his friends were selling their EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens simply because they rarely needed to go so small and the EF 100-400mmL II was giving them exceptional closeup ability.
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6D + EF 100-400mmL II - JPEG - Uncropped. Using extenders should still allow closeups although the distance (MFD) might be increased or even doubled. Closeup from this lens is good. I took this while driving through the mountains at sunrise where I found a small mantis on the handrails of the lookout.

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The EF 100-400mmL II is generally a more flexible lens because you're only losing around 30mm but gaining twice the zoom. Even though the aperture range starts at f/4.5, the smoothness of the defocused regions and the quality of the bokeh rendering are quite exceptional.  At f/4.5 the bokeh is noticeable and appealing.  More impacting that you'd expect with that aperture.
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Bokeh:
EF 70-200mmL III - Bokeh comparison between f/2.8 and f/4.0 (LINK )
EF 100-400mmL II - (see my images in this thread)
I expected the Bokeh to the bolder on the 70-200mmL III than on the 100-400mmL II because of the wider aperture. But it was a little more subtle than I had anticipated.  The aperture is immediately made smaller - to around f/11 - whenever the 2x extender is used on the 100-400mmL II lens.  But since Bokeh isn't just the sole product of aperture size, it's still impressive and even attractive due to the increased focal length produced by adding the Extender.  Note that I found the use of the 2x III Extender less favorable for wildlife on APS-C than on Full Frame.  I also found the 2x III Extender to be slower on APS-C compared to the EF 1.4 III Extender.
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6D + 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender -  Lizard was about 18 feet away.

M6 (APS-C) + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 1.4x III Extender
6D (Full Frame) + EF 100-400mmL II  - No Extenders - Bokeh sample

6D (Full Frame) + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 1.4x III Extender (no crop).

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Falloff is expected but it's minimal and is automatically cancelled out (virtually entirely) by in-camera automation. This applies to both lenses. One thing in slight favor of the 70-200mmL III is that you get more light at f/2.8 - which means it can benefit the amount of light cut down from mounting an Extender.
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The 100-400mmL II handles the newer EF 1.4x III and EF 2x III extenders well if you need them. The new White-Grey colored Mk III extenders use the same resin-paint featured on the newer lenses. Older extenders and the Mk 1 version of this lens were more of a beige color. The extenders were completely redesigned to perform with this lens and have a new optical design as well as a new shell design with a new microprocessor that Canon says is faster. The main difference is that the Mk III Extenders offer a much sharper experience than the Mk II versions.
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TIPS:
White Paint...
The White Paint used on these "white-L-series lenses" is apparently a special resin and paint mixture. While you can retouch it, it can and does chip when impacting any sharp surface, including stones and jewellery. The White Paint is supposed to be better for thermal control in direct sunlight... to prevent expansion with heat which would likely affect image quality.
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FILTERS:
Don't be tempted to use a cheap filter on the EF 100-400mmL II lens or the EF 70-200mmL III as some of us have had strange streaking effects show up in the bokeh of photographs with BOTH of those lenses. Removing a cheaper filter and replacing it with a better quality one solved the problem for me but it ONLY occurred with APS-C camera and not Full Frame cameras. Pretty sure both lenses use the same 77mm filter size.
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Monopod with Extenders (or even just the lenses)
The EF 100-400mmL II lens weighs quite a bit. To increase stabilization ability, especially with Extenders, use a Monopod which can be attached to the Lens Ring Foot. Buy one rated for the weight of your gear. I bought an inexpensive silver-grey one from Manfrotto that cost me about $43 and it makes an enormous difference. If I'm standing on a beach with the 100-400mmL II lens shooting surfers, I might be waiting with my lens raised for many tens of minutes waiting for a shot to present itself.  With a monopod the unit it raised all the time and there's no fatigue in my arms from the weight of the lens and camera.  The same applies with wildlife. The addition of an Extender means a longer focal length and even with an amazing 4-Stop Image Stabilizer, you are still going to benefit from the stability and portability of a monopod.

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Regards,
Marco Nero.

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jimbrobb Contributing Member • Posts: 626
Re: this question has been asked and answered ad nauseum....
1

very helpful ed racer!

jimbrobb Contributing Member • Posts: 626
Re: this question has been asked and answered ad nauseum....
1

sorry meant ed rader

OP MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: To: MirceaG - EF 2x III extenders + EF 100-400mmL II

Marco,

Thanks a lot for the extensive reply. It helps a lot.

My attraction to 70-200 f2.8 + extenders is that you can also use it in low light situations, albeit up to 200mm but that could be a big advantage.

Quick question: what camera did you take the pictures with the magnified crane on? I've done something similar using a 70-200 f4 + 1.4x on a 5DSR and the difference was negligible.

jvc1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,312
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

MirceaG wrote:

Has anyone tested the sharpness on these two combos? I read somewhere that 100-400 is better but no details were given. If they're close, I'd rather go with the 70-200 plus the extender for the extra versatility of shooting at lower f stops below 200mm (and a bit of inconvenience in having to add/remove the extender). The weight, size and price of the two lenses is very comparable

Just as a reference, see this. The Digital Picture He tests only one sample of each combo but it gives you an idea. In this example, the IQ takes a big hit. Don't know how it would translate in real world shooting.

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ed rader Veteran Member • Posts: 8,667
Re: this question has been asked and answered ad nauseum....

jimbrobb wrote:

sorry meant ed rader

Here he comes
Here comes ed Racer
He's a demon on wheels
He's a demon and he's gonna be chasin' after someone.

He's gainin' on you so you better look alive.
He's busy revvin' up a powerful Mach 5.
And when the odds are against him
And there's dangerous work to do

You bet your life ed Racer
Will see it through.
Go ed Racer! Go ed Racer! Go ed Racer, Go!

He's off and flyin' as he guns the car around the track
He's jammin' down the pedal like he's never comin' back
Adventure's waitin' just ahead.
Go ed Racer! Go ed Racer! Go ed Racer, Go!

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thank you for the memories.  at least someone on this thread knows how to use google lol.

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,136
Re: To: MirceaG - followup reply...

MirceaG wrote:

Marco,

Thanks a lot for the extensive reply. It helps a lot.

No problem .  It helps to weigh up the options before buying any lens.  Take your time and keep an open mind on whatever you can dig up.  There should be a lot of online samples available from both lenses but perhaps not too many shots with the Extenders.  Between you and I, I'd love to buy a Canon EF 800mm lens just for the focal length - but that's a pretty obscene waste of money for me right now.  A cheaper alternative would be a fast f/2.8 with say 400mm.  I'd love one but the size and bulk is crippling on those larger wider lenses.   And there's no way to protect the very wide primary optic element on the front if I'm not mistaken...  other than with a Lens hood.  I have three more bird shots with the EF 2x III Extender on the EOS 6D to share.  I have to admit that using Live View on my 6D is almost an agonizing experience if the critter is moving.  I'm thinking of getting an EOS R or and RP JUST for this lens so I can benefit from Full Frame with extenders.  The pics below show a few more birds I've shot and I'm not even a birder.  I'm into reptiles and landscapes.  Excuse the crudeness of these images but they were taken the first time I used the extender and not long after I bought the lens.
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6D + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender (Live View used for focus) - A different pic

6D + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender (Live View used for focus)

6D + EF 100-400L II + ED 2x III Extender (Live View used for focus)

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Your needs might really dictate a need for f/2.8 for your photography.  Especially if you like low light photography.  I have friends who use the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens for Wedding photography and social events and even a very close friend who contacted me to edit out something complex from a wedding picture he took demonstrated some really nice and dreamy bokeh in his backgrounds.  It reminded me of the shots I get from the EF 135mm f/2 USM lens and I've used that one for street photography at night without a tripod or a stabilizer on the lens.  None of them use an extender with their lens though so I can't get any opinion from them on the matter.
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I guess the main quarter of your question is how does the 2x III Extender perform on each of the two lenses you asked about... and how do they compare when mounted and matched?  Most people won't buy both lenses but some may have owned them both at some time.  The Extender should offer a similar result (in terms of any image degradation) on both lenses.  I say the term "Image Degradation" simply to imply that there's got to be some sort of affect on images with this kind of magnification.  But the good thing is that these extenders are made from Canon's best optical glass with coatings and computer-designed cutting. And that means the new design of the Mk III has a pretty decent output.
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6D + EF 100-400mmL II - no extender.  Bokeh sample in very low light (shadow)

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My attraction to 70-200 f2.8 + extenders is that you can also use it in low light situations, albeit up to 200mm but that could be a big advantage.

I completely appreciate how a faster lens will he handy in low light.  I think they've become my staple lenses on each of my cameras.  I shoot most of my work in low light although I'll either carry a second camera clipped to my belt (these days it's an EOS M6 + EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens) or I'll swap lenses on my main body after the sun sets. 
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Normally when I think about lowlight shots I'm on the street shooting in the near dark.  But even the presence of street light illumination is all you need with most lenses if you have some form of stabilizer (tripod or lens based). Most of the time my low-light shots involves photographing my cats at home in subdued lighting and those little monsters can't keep still for most lenses.  Whilst I DON'T recommend using long zooms for Astrophotography without a tripod, there's a few interesting results below...
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6D + EF 100-400mmL II - Taken handheld from my sofa in low light.  The image stabilizer is surprisingly good for this sort of thing.  I think i added some noise reduction later.

6D + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III - taken handheld at 1/1250 second - I was using aircraft to lock the Auto Focus for my lens prior to the moon rising...this was in preparation for shooting the International Space Station that was due overhead but was ruined by clouds that formed.

EOS M6 + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III + EF12 + EF 1.4x III - A two shot handheld composite.  I took two shots to expose for The Moon and Jupiter and then for Jupiter's visible moons.  Taken at 1/100 second.  The moon itself is a VERY bright target (as long as it's not a crescent).
Focal Length was 1803.2mm (equiv) due to the APS-C sensor.
NOTE: this is a 100% crop. Image has been processed.

EOS M + EF 100-400mmL II - The Orion Nebula [M42] - This was a 4 second HANDHELD shot  taken by leaning with my back up against the side of my car while crouched on the ground... while holding my breath.  The movement of the stars was probably from the Earth turning.  You can't actually see the nebula with your eyes... so I simply aimed at one of the brighter stars in the constellation and hoped for the best.

EOS 6D + EF 100-400mmL II + EF 2x III Extender - Test Shot of the Orion Nebula again - but with the 2x III Extender and with a tripod.  Ten Second exposure. I really need to buy a computerized mount with tracking.
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Quick question: what camera did you take the pictures with the magnified crane on? I've done something similar using a 70-200 f4 + 1.4x on a 5DSR and the difference was negligible.

The shot was made up of 4x photographs taken at different focal lengths.... The top-left corner (see my prior post on this thread) was the image I used for the Crop while using the 2x III Extender.  That was taken with the 6D + EF 100-400mmL II @ 400mm with the EF 2x III Extender.  I used the top left image and the one below it (lower left) to make my two comparison pictures.
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If you do buy an Extender, it's unlikely you'll keep it on your lens all the time.  It's better used for special events when you need the extra reach.  If you leave it on your lens all the time you won't benefit from the performance of the naked lens without the Extender and the speed of the unaided lens. Either way, I look forward to seeing any results you might care to post from your own setup when you settle on which lens and any possible extender.
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Canon EF 2x III Extender attached to the EF 100-400mmL II on the 6D.  It's not exactly 'pocketable' ... but it will fit into a very small pouch for belt carry
--
Regards,
Marco Nero.

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OP MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: To: MirceaG - followup reply...

Very nice pics, Marco - especially the Moon with Jupiter (+moons) composite. I also truly appreciate the wealth of information you shared. Very kind of you.

I'm an amateur (at best). I shoot mostly landscape but would like to dip my toes into other areas. In the telephoto category, I currently have a 70-200 f4 L IS which I really like for it's quality of pictures and weight. I tested it against a friend's 70-200 f2.8 II and at f8 there was no difference (as expected).

I've had a few situations where I wish I could go down to f2.8 or go above 280mm, which the 1.4x III extender I already have allows me to do, so my thinking is that if I get a 70-200 f2.8 and a 2x III extender I can have it both ways: f2.8 up to 200mm and up to 400mm at f5.6 (with the 2x extender) - same as 100-400. The weight, which is important to me, and the cost would not be much higher than going with the 100-400. I agree that using the 100-400 with extenders would give me even more reach but until I saw your pictures I didn't think there would be much use of it.

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. I read on the-digital-picture <dot> com that the 100-400 is better but they did not elaborate. The more I read about this, the more I realize that you cannot have it both ways. 70-200 f2.8 is good for low light, 100-400 gives you extra reach and flexibility and my current 70-200 f4 beats both at portability (weight). So, like in most cases you have to decide what really matters.

Thanks again for all the effort you put in answering my question.

jvc1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,312
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. I read on the-digital-picture <dot> com that the 100-400 is better but they did not elaborate. The more I read about this, the more I realize that you cannot have it both ways. 70-200 f2.8 is good for low light, 100-400 gives you extra reach and flexibility and my current 70-200 f4 beats both at portability (weight). So, like in most cases you have to decide what really matters.

Did you seethe link I posted earlier? It compares the 2 lenses.

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OP MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

Yes, and sorry for not responding earlier. I've already seen that comparison. I've referred to it in another reply. I just haven't been able to see anything else similar to compare with their findings.

KevinRA Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

Own the 100-400 and owned the 70-200 2.8 II for many years and did try it with the 2X TC. Now it is good - especially at ~ f/7.1 - but is notably heavier and poorer balanced and for me never was as good as the 100-400 - which is excellent.

If you want 400mm - or even a bit more - then the 100-400 is the way to go - but it's a slow f/5 at 200mm only....

I finally sold the 70-200 due to lack of use - but have just bought a 200mm prime quite cheaply as do need a shorter f/2.8 lens for wildlife from hides on a trip soon.... yet don't want the $$ and weight of the zoom amongst all else.

YMMV.

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OP MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext
1

This is very helpful, thank you very much for your contribution

gavin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,180
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

I have 70-200/2.8 mk I and the 100-400 II. I mainly use the 100-400 II except for low light like indoor sports.

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OP MirceaG Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

this is very useful, thanks for the contribution. I'm leaning more and more towards getting the 100-400 for my purpose (mainly landscape).

Will T
Will T Regular Member • Posts: 167
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is better but the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is best, I own all 3.

A point to remember is that a good 1.4 or 2X TC mainly magnify lens flaws!

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Will T.
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gavin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,180
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

I use the 100-400 II + 1.4x III for surfing (F8) which still AF on the 5D IV across the frame.. It is not quite long enough but I can crop it down enough. Here is one from last week. Of course lighiting is pretty good at the beach

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gavin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,180
Re: EF 100-400 II vs. EF 70-200 f2.8 III + 2x ext

I wish I have the 200-400 but its $$$ and also huge.

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,136
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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