Canon Announces the Updated EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Ideal for wildlife or outdoor sports photographers, the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is an impressive update of the original version of this L-series lens, which was first introduced in 1998.

The biggest change in this new version is the upgrade from a push-pull zoom to a rotation-type zoom ring. Not only does this prevent dust from getting sucked into the lens barrel, but it also prevents lens creep and maintains balance throughout the zoom range. There is an improved zoom torque adjustment ring that allows you to set the zoom tension easily to your liking.

Upgraded Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) provides up to four steps of shutter-speed compensation, utilizing three different modes: standard, panning, and during exposure only.

Autofocus accuracy and speed also see improvements, with an inner-focusing system, ring USM, a high-speed CPU, and optimized AF algorithms, providing sharp images at all focusing distances from 3.2' to infinity.

Quality imagery is realized due, in part, to a new Air Sphere Coating (ASC), which helps to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, as well as one fluorite and one super UD lens element to correct for chromatic aberration. Fluorine coating on both the front and rear lens surfaces helps to reduce fingerprint smears.

The lens includes a hood, the ET-83D, with a built-in side window, allowing you to adjust filters without removing the hood from the lens. Also, a newly designed tripod mount attaches and detaches without removing the lens from the camera body.

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

The previous version of this lens had an 8-blade diaphragm, and this update adds one more blade, for even smoother out-of-focus areas.

The new version of the lens is slightly heavier, and just a touch larger than its predecessor, but that should be overshadowed easily by the updated features and functionality.

  EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens
Lens Mount Canon EF Canon EF
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) Full Frame: 100-400mm
APS-C: 160-640mm
Full Frame: 100-400mm
APS-C: 160-640mm
Maximum Aperture f/4.5-5.6 f/4.5-5.6
Minimum Aperture Not specified by manufacturer f/32-40
Angle of View 24° - 6°10' 24° - 6°10'
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.2' / 1.0 m 5.9' / 1.8 m
Magnification 0.31x 0.2x
Autofocus Motor USM (Ultrasonic motor) USM (Ultrasonic motor)
Image Stabilization Yes, 4 stops Yes
Weather Resistance Yes Yes
Lens Construction Not specified by manufacturer 17 elements / 14 groups
Diaphragm Blades 9, circular 8
Filter Thread 77mm 77mm
Dimensions (D x L) 3.7 x 7.6" / 94 x 193mm 3.6 x 7.4" / 92 x 189mm
Weight 3.5 lb / 1.6 kg 3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Add new comment

Will this lens go on sale soon?  Qualify for rebates?  Just curious....why are these lenses more expensive than my Canon 70d that I bought from you guys this past June?  I know it's a quality product but so is my camera, right??!!

thank you

Dennis Helke

2065 Ronald Street

Kronenwetter, WI. 54455

Nope, ask any photog worth their salt, and they'll tell you that bodies come and go, but glass is forever. Almost all Canon L lenses will out-resolve your camera's sensor. The original 100-400 is an astoundingly good piece of glass, and I'm super excited to get my hands on this one. I just took the 100-400 to Africa on a safari, and it was everything I needed plus more. (Bodies: 7D and 5DmkIII.) Can't wait to buy this one...!!!

#1. I just watched a French Pro on You Tube say that a lens will never show more pixels than a sensor, and that most only come within a little better than two-thirds of the capability of today's best sensors. 

#2 If lenses last forever why the upgrade on this one from 1999 already?

A great lens can't resolve a bad sensor... the megapixel increase is bringing with it distortion and noise.,-better-photos-Fact-or-fiction/2100...

Quality lenses have always been equal or more expensive than entry(Rebel line) or mid-range(xxD) bodies. I strongly doubt Canon will offer an appreciable discount anytime soon on a brand new lens. If you're looking to save some money the first gen Canon 100-400mm is only $1,700 and the Sigma 150mm-500mm is $870.


Dennis, I own the original 100mm to 400mm, it is a fantastic lens. There are wild life shots I would have never got with a prime 400mm. I paid 1700.oo Canadian plus 10% tax for it, 4 years ago and it has never missed a beat. I only have a $500.oo XSI canon 12 mega pix camera, but NO one that has seen my pictures , including professionals said; hey thats a 12 mega pix shot , they just looked at the picture and judged it on its own merit !    I was going to buy the 7d my self, but waited because after all of my research I found out that the mark two 7d was coming and I wanted the new focus system and was willing to pay the extra 1000.00 for it.    Get the lens and watch your pictures improve. Canon has the best line up of lenses in the world and you will never go wrong investing in the best.    You can also watch for the original to start dropping in price fast, now that the new one is out.  I would not think twice about buying the original, and just like your 7d, if you time it right you could buy it new for 1200.00 before they run out of the old model.   hope this helps.

We are only provided with access to present day’s prices and promotions, so as far as future pricing and rebates go, there is no way for us to know ahead of time.  We only learn of sales and rebate promotions on the day they begin.  If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter ( we commonly use those resources as a means of announcing specials etc. 

Lenses tend to cost more as design and fabrication of quality optics tend to have a higher production cost than cameras.  It is more difficult to assemble a lens than a camera.  In general the lens is the most important aspect of the photography process, so it’s not uncommon that you will run into situations where a lens costs more than your camera.  It’s always better to invest heavily in lenses and just get a camera that suits your technical *****, vs. getting the most technical camera one can afford and getting a general lens with the spare budget.   A Canon Rebel outfitted with a quality lens could take better pictures than a 5D Mk III outfitted with an average or poor lens. 

I recently went to Barter Island to photograph polar bears. I had the 5D MKII and the 7D with the 100-400mm lens. Despite getting the extra reach the 5D outperformed the 7D every time. Too much noise and not enough sharpness. Even heavily cropped the images from the 5D are much better quality. Love the 100-400 but will definitely upgrade to the new version. I'll be selling the 7D and buying a 5D MKIII and keeping the MKII as a second body. 

I have to agree.  Despite being primararily a nature photographer, I have found the 5d III and a 100-400 mm combinatination has better immage quality (cropped) than the 1.6 factor (APSC?)  bodies.  I have owned a 60D and 7D (I) and sold them.   

It's odd.  Through the viewfinder the APSC cameras look terrific - all that reach.  However,  but there is something silky and satisfying about the bigger pixels.   I'm not a pro and the technology is beyond me - but lightroom is my witness.  

It's not the camera but the "Glass",

lol your obviously new to photography. Lenses can often cost more than the camera body.

Just noticed the price of $2199... that's a LOT of money, even up against my 70-220/2.8 for $2,500... but the original was so good that I'll probably pull the trigger on this one. Can't resist an amazing piece of glass.

Does this one have AF compatibility with the 1.4 or 2 extender?

I was going to say that it'll depend on the camera, but I forgot about the chunk of glass that sticks out of the extenders.  I have yet to see a shot that shows the rear of the lens to see if it has the recess that is needed for the Canon extenders.

Yes and no.  With the 1.4x extender AF is possible with the EOS 1-series, 7D Mk II, and 5D Mk III camera (with firmware 1.2.1).    With the 2x extender AF is not possible.  IS will be retained with most modern Canon DSLRs on both extenders.

WOW, this with the 7DM2 for wildlife, looks like a great combination upgrade (from my 7D and 1st gen 100-400)

I have the orginal version of this lens and have been very happy with it as a versitile lens.  But, (there is always a but), I am frustrated as I can never get crisp bird shots with it.  Recently photographing beside someone who also has the same lens I heard a comment, "These a great lenses but you'll never get feather detail."  Why is this?  And, will this new version give more detail or does one have to buy a more expensive lens?


Another possibility for why a bird photographer doesn't get feather details is if they have their iris opened way up to allow them to have as fast a shutter speed as possible.  The depth of focus is is going to be very low and sow everything except the focus point (generally the eyes) will be out of focus....maybe?

Ultimately as great and versatile a lens as the original was, it’s not perfect.  Keep in mind that it was originally designed for use on film cameras, and lacked any optical coatings to optimize it for digital sensors.  As digital sensors get more saturated with higher pixel ****** and more sophisticated designs, lenses also have to match that quality.  Using older lenses (while a great convenience) can show their age and lack of digital-first design in the final images. Add that to the design of the original lens – and by that I mean firstly the push-pull aspect of the zoom.  This manner of zooming is difficult with less precise control than the two-touch twist type.  In some instances if the tension was not properly set, and one took a shot of a bird pointed upwards or downwards, could cause the lens to creep (thereby misaligning the focus during the exposure).  Further, the push-pull design ended up creating a vacuum that sucked a lot of dust into the optics, further degrading image quality. 

I always felt the 100-400mm lens was great for news photographers and sports photographers, who need a vast range to work with and put image quality 2nd (when images go to print for newspapers and other print outputs, the resolution is typically decreased so they don’t need the best sharpness etc).    The new version takes into account most of what I discussed above, and provides an easier to work with zooming feature, improved optical quality, and improved autofocus speeds which all help improve on the detail.  

For more serious birding shooting, it’s worth looking into renting or purchasing prime telephoto lenses.  Most pros will take their bird shots with fixed 400mm or fixed 500mm lenses (and will have the 100-400mm lens in their kit bag for when it becomes more sensible on their shoots). 

Sounds to me the problem with softness of a lens is a lens calibration issue.  Even if they started out perfect lenses can get out of calibration over time and use.  When you first get a lens you may be lucky and it is perfectly calibrated to your body but generally it will be slightly (very slightly out).  Most professional photographers will regularly, every year but most can get away with only getting them calibrated when there is a problem or the drift becomes noticable (every 3-5 years).  According to some forums canon service centres only calibrate to factory specifications, which in a new lens is probably the level of softness you have already noticed.  If you need them tack sharp you can calibrate them your self.  Try looking up how to calibrate a lens on google, there are plenty of articles out there (posts seem to get deleted here if they contain hyperlinks.  A device such as Lensalign will be needed and aren't too expensive.  The instruction manual for your camera will usually have the instructions for how to calibrate a lens with your body.  For a 1dx the instructions start on pg 102 of the manual and the process is called AF microadjustment.

sounds to me like the problem is between the shutter button and the ground.... I too have the original lens and I shoot wildlife. I have very sharp detailed bird pictures. I did have to learn how. It is a challenge, one thing I did was to get a wire for my shutter. Even on the tripod I found that it was very hard not to get a very very slight movement when snapping the shutter and using full zoom.... I sometimes want the shutter open wide also. I do shoot mostly film, I have been waiting for digital to get to a point that actually challenges film on the types of shots I like. However I have been messing around with a rebel as my 3rd cammera when I go out. The shots are surprisingly good. I am getting a new Mark III 5D for Christmas. I hope Santa will through in this new lens. I need to use the old one on my Mark 1V film cammera.

i took the 100-400 L with me on safari and I absolutely loved it. To be honest I actually liked the push pull zoom, just for how quick it was to reach the level of zoom I wanted. 

I have this lens and it's an excellent piece of glass, it's main limitation is the 5.6 which makes it impossible to use a 1.4 extender and autofocus with my camera body or with the camera body I'm planning to get. Being able to use a 1.4 would be a game changer.  I mostly use a tripod and push-pull zoom doesn't bother me. Faster AF would be nice - how much faster? Unknown. Pass.

Not too sure if I would just buy it on first sight. With the original versions some people reported that they were soft and other people loved them and were able to produce sharp images. I was one of the guys with the soft images. I think that I would like to see what the pros have to say about it first with some real world photo opps. On the other side of the coin I am getting older and it is getting harder every day to carry my 600mm and EOS-1D Mark4 out to where the birds are. This might be a good light weight alternative especially where the bigger prime lenses are overkill. Sounds like some of the new design features are nice but it is still a dark lens meant for a bright day. Also not sure that the price tag is justified even with the new improvements.

Steve Large - Nanaimo Canada

I have found Canon lenses, especially telephotos, are not the same sharpness in the same model.  I sent one that was soft back to Canon and it was returned needle sharp.  I fear the consumer is quality control.  

Amazing addition. I am really eager to try out this lens.


Wasef AlHakim

looks nice. 2.8 would be nicer.

100-400 f 2,8 ? sure its better but it would cost 25.000 $

It would cost $25K and weigh at least 10 pounds!

I have the original version and I love it.  The performance is everything I expected and the price was not bad.  I bought this lens to replace my Sigma 150-500.  The Canon 100-400 is considerably sharper across the aperture range than the Sigma.  I found that the Canon and Sigma are comparible at f8 400mm, but the Canon is much sharper at wider apertures, thus much more useful.

True.  But cost prohibitive. 

Consider low-noise, high senitivitivity bodies.  Even a 5DIII or 7D II would be cheaper.  

I plan to trade my 100-400 mark I (solid, a little sofy wide open at 400mm) as soon as ******* alllow.   

Waited a long time for this! 

Use my 100-400 on my Canon 7D. Can the new version use a 1.4 Extender with this camera?  Or on my Canon 6D?

 Is the focusing like my Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS?

The lens appears to be compatible with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters (see mtf charts at canonrumors dot com). However, these combinations will be manual focus only, except for the 1.4x when used with 1d-series cameras or the 5d mark iii.

The ability to use the 1.4x extender would be more of a camera body issue than the lens, if I am not mistaken.  The current 100-400 IS should be able to AF with the center point only on the new 7D MK II.  This from two tech supports at Canon.  Maybe it is time to change camera bodies??

With the 1.4x extender AF is possible with the EOS 1-series, 7D Mk II, and 5D Mk III camera (with firmware 1.2.1).    With the 2x extender AF is not possible.  IS will be retained with most modern Canon DSLRs on both extenders.

As to your question about the AF being like your 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, its not possible to say at this point.  The lens has only been announced but not  yet reviewed or distributed etc.  It does feature a faster autofocus ability, but no word from Canon how fast in comparison to other lenses it may be.  Once the lens begins to ship we will start to see reviews from users as well as testors online.

Tengo el lente 100-400  modelo 1999, la pena es que sea 4.5- 5,6,

Siempre hace falta mas luz, para fotos deportivas. Dias muy luminosos, son muy pocos.

Hace 3 meses, el lente viejo, valía casi lo mismo que este nuevo.

im sure this is a great lens indeed. But primes rules for birding. 

I kinda shot myself in the foot. Was hoping for this updated but got over anxious and just recently pulled the trigger and purchased the 70-300 L lens which I do love. Now I'll have to find an excuse to tell my wife so I can purchase this model. 

If that's the worst you have to 'fess up to - you'll survive ! 

This looks like one up-grade I cannot afford to miss. The MTF charts alone are a powerful insentive, being a marked improvement on my older version.

I use the original 100-400mm L zoom on my Sony FS700 video camera (as well as my Canon 5D2), very pleased with the reach and image it provides, but the push/pull zoom (whch I don't mind at all for still shots) is simply unusable for video. Even at the lowest tension settings, you can't do a slow, smooth zoom by hand like you can with a rotating zoom. This feature alone sounds like an answer to a prayer. Four stops of IS sounds even better because with high def and 4K video, every focal length over 100mm shakes like you're riding a stormy sea, requiring stabilization in post-processing editing. Auto focus is not a big-deal feature to me since I use an HD monitor and my eyes to determine the exact focus I want manually. While the article doesn't say specifically, it sounds as though zoom range is internal since it alludes to balance and no lens creep, as well as doesn't list a length when extended.

I would like to buy it when it is available.

Currently Canon anticipates the lens to be available sometime in December but have not announced any particular delievry date.  We are currently accepting orders on our website and they will be fulfilled in the order they are received.  See the following link:

when will this lens be available?


Currently Canon anticipates the lens to be available sometime in December but have not announced any particular delievry date.  We are currently accepting orders on our website and they will be fulfilled in the order they are received.  See the following link:

I am an amatuer photographer, ready to take the next step (not turning professional, but just want to mature in my picture taking). I currently have 2 Canon Rebel series cameras - EOS T3 and SL1).  I have always been told that the lens is the most important piece of equipment, so since I am going on my first safari in 2015, this lens sounds like a must have!  However, do I need to upgrade my camera body as well? and if so, what would you recommend?

You've been well advised that the lens is the most important part of the camera.  I stated something to that effect previously on this thread to another customer today in fact.  Typically I advise that "the lens makes the camera, not the camera"..and to “invest as much in your optics which will leave you with enough $ to afford a camera that suits your technical *****”.  With that said...

The Canon 100-400mm II lens would be a great lens to use on Safari.  However you did state that you are not looking to turn professional, but want to mature in your picture taking.  Based on the cost of this lens, I would recommend first considering lenses such as the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lenses (all new and recently introduced to the market) or the Sigma 150-500mm lens.  The reason for this recommendation is A) these lenses all have excellent quality to consider, and B) their price tags are lower (in a few instances close to half of what the new Canon model runs for).  C) They exceed the range of the Canon by 100-200mm which is a great benefit for birding/wildlife shots. 

My aim here is that you could free up extra budget in the cost of the Canon lens to put towards a camera with a faster burst rate.  The Rebels T3 and SL1 have great image quality, but when it comes to continuous burst rates and their autofocus sensors, they are somewhat behind for safari purposes compared to other models.  The 70D would be the consumer model camera I would recommend considering an upgrade to for your purposes. 

See below for links to the other lenses I’ve mentioned as well as the link to the Canon 70D for you to regard.


With the 1.4x extender AF is possible with the EOS 1-series, 7D Mk II, and 5D Mk III camera (with firmware 1.2.1).    With the 2x extender AF is not possible.  IS will be retained with most modern Canon DSLRs on both extenders.

Amazing another magic touch of technology , I would like to have this as one of my primer glass in the near future.

Please let me know when the lens arrives so I can order it.