Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with inbuilt 1.4 teleconverter hands-on review by Joshua Holko.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with inbuilt 1.4 teleconverter hands-on review by Joshua Holko.
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with inbuilt 1.4 teleconverter hands-on review by Joshua Holko.

This is the second Canon lens to employ a built-in converter, after the FD 1200mm f5.6 that debuted way back at the Los Angeles Olympics. I wonder why Nikon did not resort to such a solution for its new 800mm f/5.6 lens, since the size of the dedicated 1.25x converter is truly diminutive in comparison to the lens body anyway. Back to the Canon 200-400mm, that has got to be one of the most expected pro lenses from Canon in ages, Joshua finds it to be very sharp wide open, 'at least as sharp as the EF 300mm f2.8 L IS lens, or even the EF 400mm f2.8 L IS lens.

The lens is a pre-production model, and it is mounted on a 1DX body, but at these huge lens sizes its rather the other way around. Kudos to Canon if that will be proven in a more controlled testing environment. Furthermore, we get to see the 1.4x converter in action, and Joshua finishes the review by assuring us that a 2.0x tele converter CAN be used with this lens, with only a minimal sacrifice in image quality, producing a 1120mm f8.0 max tele range! 

About Joshua Holko:

Living in Victoria Australia, Joshua Holko is an associate member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and a  full time pro landscape, nature and wilderness photographer. He was selected to appear in the AIPP ‘Look for the Logo’ television campaign in 2011 highlighting some of Australia’s best photographers. In 2011 he was appointed as Australia’s first and only Moab Master Photographer and Printer by  Moab and Legion Paper in the USA. He was subsequently appointed as Australia's first X-Rite Coloratti photographer in late 2012 and won the 2012 Outdoor Photographer of the Year award in the Spirit of Adventure Category for his image of mountain climbers in Antarctica.

Specializing in the Polar and Sub-Polar regions of the globe Joshua's photography celebrates the extreme latitudes of the Polar environment. An ambassador for the Polar regions and a passionate photographer, teacher and adventurer Joshua runs workshops and expeditions for other photographers and travelers to some of the most remote and magical destinations on the planet. 

Joshua's photography has been exhibited at international shows and expos across Australia, the USA and Europe including Photokina in Germany and PhotoPlus in New York. His photography has won both Gold and Silver with Distinction awards as the Australian Professional Photography awards as well as winning other internationally acclaimed awards such as the World Extreme Environment People’s Choice Award. His work has been published in numerous magazines and journals including B&W+Color, Canadian Geographic, F11 Magazine, The Australian Photography and Gallery Compendium, Wild, Australian Photography, Better Photography, Better Pictures and the Silvershotz journal. www.photographyexpeditions.com

Comparison: 
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Company Canon Nikon Sigma
Model EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM
MTF Charts
MTF chart wide
MTF chart tele
Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM MTF Chart Wide
Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM MTF Chart Tele
Initial Price $14000 $7000 $2500
Release Date 05/2013 05/2010 09/2010
Discontinued
Lens Mount
Canon EF mount
Canon EFS mount
Nikon F mount
Nikon F mount
Canon EF mount
Canon EFS mount
Sigma SA mount
Lens type Zoom Zoom Zoom
Resolution - - -
Chr. aberration - - -
Vignetting - - -
Transmission - - -
Distortion - - -
Focal Length 200.0 - 400.0mm 200.0 - 400.0mm 120.0 - 300.0mm
Lens construction 25 elements in 20 groups (33/24 with extender) 24 elements in 17 groups 23 Elements in 18 Groups (One SLD and two FLD glass elements)
Stabilization system Yes Yes Yes
Diaphragm Blades 9 aperture blades circular opening 9 aperture blades circular opening 9 aperture blades circular opening
Max Magnification 0.2x
Angle of view 12.00° - 6.10° 12.00° - 6.00° 20.40° - 8.20°
Zoom Ratio 2.0x 2.0x
Maximum Aperture f/4.0 f/4.0 f/2.8
Minimum Aperture f/32.0
Aperture ring No
AF Motor type USM (Mechanical full-time manual focusing built-in.) Silent Wave Motor (SWM) HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor)
Auto Focus / Manual Focus switch Yes
Full-Time manual focus Yes
Internal Focusing Yes
Minimum Focusing Distance 2.00m 2.00m 1.50m
Internal zooming Yes
Filter Diameter 52mm drop in 52mm Screw-on 105mm
Distance Scale Yes
Front lens element rotating No
Lens Hood included Yes
Weather sealing Yes Yes Yes
Weather sealing details Dust- and water-resistant construction designed for extended usage under harsh conditions. Yes Yes
Body material Metal Metal Metal
Diameter 128.0mm 124.0mm 114.0mm
Length 366.0mm 365.0mm 289.0mm
Weight 3,620.0 g
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