The Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens has been long awaited. The arrival of this lens replaces the EF 100 100-400mm that hit the market almost two decades ago in 1998. The new model brings some needed changes to this camera bag staple.
The newer Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens weighs 3.5 pounds making it slightly heavier than its predecessor. It is 3.7 inches in diameter by 7.6 inches in length making it slightly stubby and longer but this design with the rotating zoom will reduce the amount of dust that gets into the lens as happened with the previous version. The new version also has four stops of stabilization and three image stabilization modes while providing an ISO lock in tripod use for those long shots.
A new optical configuration consists of on Super UD and one Fluorite element and 21 other elements in 16 groups with internal focus. The lenses are coated with Air Sphere Coatings reducing ghosting and flaring from the previous model.
Another big improvement in the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens is the focal length of 3.2 feet versus the 6.5 feet of the previous model. This is great news for those who like to get up close and personal with their subject. The zoom ring has been modified allowing for more precise adjustments including a torque ring for easier setting of zoom tension preferences.
The USM motor technology provides virtually instant focusing from any focal point with instant switching to manual focus by grabbing the focus ring and a lock switch on the lens. Image stabilization has been boosted also with a four stop image stabilization and three dedicated IS modes all reducing shake making it more stable for handheld shooting.
As for the performance it is can be called outstanding from the bokeh to focus breathing the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens performs exceptionally well. This is an excellent lens for portrait shooting with the beautiful bokeh effect it provides at varying distances. The center image is crisp clear and the backgrounds are soft and beautiful. There is little to no visible barrel distortion with the smallest amount seen at 100mm and a tiny bit of pincushion seen from 200-400mm. Falloff is also minimal and the new design reduces ghosts and flares.
Lateral color fringes are non-existent at 400mm and just a touch of magenta-green can be seen at the 100mm distance. The macro performance is one of the biggest changes with the 3.2 focal distance over the 6.5 in the old version. Cropping at 100% provides even more surprising macro clarity. This lens is razor sharp through and through with extra sharp images through the entire full frame focal range. There is a minute diffraction at the smallest aperture but barely noticeable unless you are a pixel peeper.
Overall, the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens doesn’t disappoint and in fact is a major improvement over the previous model. It will quickly find its place as a staple in the camera bag.
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