Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Started 3 months ago | Questions
Wendy6 New Member • Posts: 1
Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose  2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

ANSWER:
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John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 2,071
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?
1

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

You don't say what camera you have.

My recommendations would be:

1. since you don't think you will have use for the 100-400 after the safari I would recommend renting it.

2. option 2 would be to get the 1.4X extender. Image quality reduction and focus speed loss are greater with the 2X version compared to the 1.4X. Cropping and the new uprezzing tool in Lightroom/Photoshop will give you a similar sized image.

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John Hoffman
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Chesapeake Imagery
Chesapeake Imagery Regular Member • Posts: 413
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

To get a more focused response to your question may I suggest you advise:

01. What camera body or bodies will you be using?
02. What are you shooting?
03. How far away is it?
04. Are you shooting at sunrise or sunset? High noon?
05. How are you shooting? Moving vehicle? A hide? Handheld? Tripod?

Without more detail, your respondents are guessing or just giving their opinion based on what they do, which may or may not have any relation to however it is you are shoot. No offense to those who have responded already.

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Andy01 Senior Member • Posts: 4,599
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

There have been several threads in these forums that compare the 100-400 L ii with a 70-200 f2.8 + 2x TC, and generally the consensus has been that the 100-400L ii is better.

I would also suspect that you will find that the 400mm is often too short, especially if used on a FF body. If you have a APS-C body it might be barely adequate.

I have never been to Tanzania, but I have done many safaris in South Africa (I lived there for 30 years), and most recently was in 2016 with a 70D + 100-400L (original) and a little M3 + 18-55mm. It turned out to be a reasonable combo because I could do anything from an elephant next to the road to a distance subject. I did often wish for longer lens though, even on a 70D. From what I have read the central African game parks (Tanzania, Kenya etc) often have game a bit further away.

A good 100-400L (original) can be very sharp. Mine served me well for years until I upgraded to a Mk ii. Some of the early copies seemed to have some softness, but mine was sharp. When buying used, the biggest issue other than straight abuse is the wear of the zoom tension ring - when that happens you get uncontrolled zoom creep. Other than that the lenses are reasonable bullet-proof (like many L lenses).

Renting can be a good option depending on where you live (not in Australia ) If you can rent, a 100-400L ii might be a better option.

Having a second body with a shorter lens like a 24-70 or 24-105 can be very useful to avoid lens changes in often dusty conditions.

Colin

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Gerharddb1 New Member • Posts: 16
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Andy01 wrote:

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

There have been several threads in these forums that compare the 100-400 L ii with a 70-200 f2.8 + 2x TC, and generally the consensus has been that the 100-400L ii is better.

I would also suspect that you will find that the 400mm is often too short, especially if used on a FF body. If you have a APS-C body it might be barely adequate.

I have never been to Tanzania, but I have done many safaris in South Africa (I lived there for 30 years), and most recently was in 2016 with a 70D + 100-400L (original) and a little M3 + 18-55mm. It turned out to be a reasonable combo because I could do anything from an elephant next to the road to a distance subject. I did often wish for longer lens though, even on a 70D. From what I have read the central African game parks (Tanzania, Kenya etc) often have game a bit further away.

A good 100-400L (original) can be very sharp. Mine served me well for years until I upgraded to a Mk ii. Some of the early copies seemed to have some softness, but mine was sharp. When buying used, the biggest issue other than straight abuse is the wear of the zoom tension ring - when that happens you get uncontrolled zoom creep. Other than that the lenses are reasonable bullet-proof (like many L lenses).

Renting can be a good option depending on where you live (not in Australia ) If you can rent, a 100-400L ii might be a better option.

Having a second body with a shorter lens like a 24-70 or 24-105 can be very useful to avoid lens changes in often dusty conditions.

Colin

I agree totally with Colin and not only because he lived in South Africa.

I went for a few trips to local nature reserves in South Africa with a only one camera (100-400 Mki on a 7D mkii). Having a second body just gives you more time to enjoy the trip and take photos. In some instances I struggled too much to fit another lens quickly that I ended up missing the photo and the experience.

I got good results on my mk1. Was a bit softish from 350 to 400mm.Would expect mkII to be much better.

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John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 25,112
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I think that it's best not to think of a TC as causing "light loss" except for AF speed in low light, because there is no loss of total light from any object that is still in the frame, from the same distance, with the same shutter speed.  The light lost is light that you would have discarded anyway, by cropping without the TC.  Regardless, both options you mention are 400/5.6 at the long end, so no "light loss" by any definition, compared to the other option, either way.

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

Other than the trombone zoom (if you want that), I can't think of much that would be better on the v1 100-400, except the fact that the 70-200 will be f/5.6 at all focal lengths with the 2x TC on it, while the 100-400 v1 will drop to f/5 and f/4.5 as you zoom out (but are probably softer wide open).  This gives you shallower DOF and more light, plus you can zoom out to 100mm with the 100-400, and only to 140mm with the 70-200, if you don't remove the 2x.  The 70-200 without the TC will, of course, have f/2.8 over its entire range, better than the 100-400 in the overlapping range of 100-200mm.

The AF speed and IS are substandard on the v1 100-400 compared to any mark II or mark III lens, and the v1 at 400/5.6 probably has as much aberration or more than 200/2.8's aberrations magnified 2x.

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John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 2,071
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

"I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it" I am assuming you mean after the trip.

If you are in the US you can rent the 100-400 II version for about $12/day for two weeks or longer.

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John Hoffman
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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 5,850
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

John_Hoffman wrote:

"I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it" I am assuming you mean after the trip.

If you are in the US you can rent the 100-400 II version for about $12/day for two weeks or longer.

Or you can rent in Africa and not pay for the lens while you're lugging it to and from there. That's what my son did in 2014 when we visited South Africa, and he was very happy with the results the Mark I version produced on his T2i (he's since upgraded to an 80D and purchased a Mark II 100-400 but hasn't returned to Africa with them).

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dgumshu
dgumshu Veteran Member • Posts: 4,530
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it.

I would NOT buy the 100-400 v1. It’s too old now and servicing could be an issue. Also, mine was a bit soft at 400mm... and you won’t have much reach. I presume you’re using a FF.

For the price of a used 100-400 V1, you can buy a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary... for a tad bit more. This would give you most of the reach you will need for that trip.

My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

With the 2x on your 70-200, it will affect AF speed and acquisition in low light, but F5.6 isn’t too bad. IQ will also take a slight hit... and short on focal length for more distant shots.

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

I’d recommend getting the Sigma. You can always sell it after your trip, especially if you have limited use for it. While it’s not the fastest lens out there, for the price and F6.3 at 600mm, it will serve you well.  You can always rent one too.

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tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

The Canon 100-400L II is a wonderful lens, I have used in on safari on a 7D body with some great results.  Were I to do it again, I would add a 1.4x TC to my kit, especially if I was using a FF body

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1Dx4me
1Dx4me Forum Pro • Posts: 12,070
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?
1

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

if it was me, i'd take the EF 24-70 f2.8 II and a canon 100-400 II, not v.1. that should cover a wide usable range. 70-200 is basically overlap if you to take a 24-70/100-400 setup.

i have all 3 lenses you noted and i wouldn't take all 3 on a safari, too much weight to carry and overlap in FL (focal length) as well. just my 2 cents.

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tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

I used the 100-400II and the 17-55 f2.8 as my short lens on a crop body.  Only once, shooting lions was I wishing for more reach.

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 5,850
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

tdbmd wrote:

I used the 100-400II and the 17-55 f2.8 as my short lens on a crop body. Only once, shooting lions was I wishing for more reach.

Comfortable distance.  Sometimes they’re too close.

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tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

Dave wrote:

tdbmd wrote:

I used the 100-400II and the 17-55 f2.8 as my short lens on a crop body. Only once, shooting lions was I wishing for more reach.

Comfortable distance. Sometimes they’re too close.

That is close!  The lions I saw were at the far side of the water hole, about 100 yard away!

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Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 5,850
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

tdbmd wrote:

Dave wrote:

tdbmd wrote:

I used the 100-400II and the 17-55 f2.8 as my short lens on a crop body. Only once, shooting lions was I wishing for more reach.

Comfortable distance. Sometimes they’re too close.

That is close! The lions I saw were at the far side of the water hole, about 100 yard away!

Did you notice it was taken with an iPhone?

Here's a camera shot.  We nicknamed him 'Scar'.

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John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 25,112
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?
1

tdbmd wrote:

The Canon 100-400L II is a wonderful lens, I have used in on safari on a 7D body with some great results. Were I to do it again, I would add a 1.4x TC to my kit, especially if I was using a FF body

Well, that combo won't AF on the 7D if the TC is a Canon one, or most 3rd-party TCs, unless the TC was non-reporting, or was a Kenko DGX, which works like magic on a 7D (but not a 7D2 or most newer Canons, which it will be incompatible with).  I am not sure though if the DGX is compatible with the mark II zoom, even with the 7D.  You'd have to ask someone who owns all three.

With either of those two options, you will get use of all AF points at a real open f/8; the difference is that the DGX will give the correct EXIF info.

If you plan to use the 7D for a long while yet (or any of the older Canons that can't normally AF at open f/8) , then I might recommend using a Pro 300 DGX rather than a Canon; it is very sharp, and is extremely versatile.  If you stack it behind another TC that is reporting, you get both TCs factored into the EXIF, something impossible with a Canon TC, or most TCs.

If you upgrade your body in the future, then the DGX will probably not work well with it, if at all.

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ffabrici Senior Member • Posts: 1,207
Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD or extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?
2

Wendy6 wrote:

Hello - I just upgraded my camera and had to purchase new lenses. I have the 24-70mm L II and I just bought the 70-200mm L III. We had to postpone or Safari in Tanzania until this coming February so before then, I need to make a decision on which option will be best quality-wise for my safari shots when I need to zoom.

I just don't feel like I'd probably get a ton of use out of the 100-400 and I really can only afford the original version if I buy it. My other option is to purchase the 2X III extender to use with my 70-200mm III lens. I know that I will lose 2 stops in the aperture with the extender so I don't know if things will just sort of equal out using it with my 70-200 or would I get better image quality with the original 100-400mm lens?

I appreciate any thoughts on this. : )

The optimal solution is 100-400L II.

Second best and much cheaper is the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Third best is your 70-200L III with 1.4X III, where you will keep sufficient sharpness and fast AF. The bare 70-200 f/2.8 is very useful for morning and evening safari's in low light.

Forth best is your 70-200L III with 2X III, as I wouldn't recommend you to buy a 100-400L version 1 for a single safari only.

The 100-400L version 1 is an OK lens but it suffers from copy variation, which especially is visible from 300 to 400mm, where some copies are a bit soft. If you buy one, make sure you check it out properly at 400mm first.

I have done a safari in Tanzania with a 70-200L f/2.8 non IS plus a 2X II extender on a 1DMIII and the results were OK but not stellar and I stayed between f/8 to f/11 if at all possible.

I hope it helps - good luck with your decision and safari.

tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

John Sheehy wrote:

tdbmd wrote:

The Canon 100-400L II is a wonderful lens, I have used in on safari on a 7D body with some great results. Were I to do it again, I would add a 1.4x TC to my kit, especially if I was using a FF body

Well, that combo won't AF on the 7D if the TC is a Canon one, or most 3rd-party TCs, unless the TC was non-reporting, or was a Kenko DGX, which works like magic on a 7D (but not a 7D2 or most newer Canons, which it will be incompatible with). I am not sure though if the DGX is compatible with the mark II zoom, even with the 7D. You'd have to ask someone who owns all three.

With either of those two options, you will get use of all AF points at a real open f/8; the difference is that the DGX will give the correct EXIF info.

If you plan to use the 7D for a long while yet (or any of the older Canons that can't normally AF at open f/8) , then I might recommend using a Pro 300 DGX rather than a Canon; it is very sharp, and is extremely versatile. If you stack it behind another TC that is reporting, you get both TCs factored into the EXIF, something impossible with a Canon TC, or most TCs.

If you upgrade your body in the future, then the DGX will probably not work well with it, if at all.

I no longer have the 7D, only 7DII and R6 which, I think, would AF using a TC

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John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 25,112
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?
1

tdbmd wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

If you upgrade your body in the future, then the DGX will probably not work well with it, if at all.

I no longer have the 7D, only 7DII and R6 which, I think, would AF using a TC

Center-point-only on the 7D2 with a reporting TC, unless you use Live View.

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Abbott Schindler Senior Member • Posts: 2,845
Re: Canon 100-400mm V1 or 2X III extender with 70-200mm III for Safari?

I’d go with the 400 (I) and wish that I had the (II). I’ve had both and the v2 is better in terms of sharpness, IS, min focus distance, and for me, general handling.

You wonder whether you’d get much other use from a 100-400. Have you considered it for landscapes (one of my favorite lenses for capturing detail) or closeups of birds,(like at a window feeder), flowers and similar subjects (with and without an extension tube) and so on?  100-400 is such a useful range that a) I can’t imagine not having one, and b) I’d try to stretch and buy even a used v2 copy.

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