REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
CanonEF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
 
4.7

(based on 309 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (222)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (76)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

98%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (266)
  • Strong construction (202)
  • Consistent output (175)
  • Lightweight (165)
  • Durable (162)

Cons

  • Poor in low light (74)
  • Heavy (29)
  • Slow focus (13)
  • No image stabilization (8)
  • No IS (8)

Best Uses

  • Wildlife photos (220)
  • Sports/action (126)
  • Landscape/scenery (59)
  • Wildlife (57)
  • Video (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (143), Semi-pro photographer (54), Enthusiast (40), Pro photographer (23), Casual photographer (15)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (204), Yes (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Wanted Quality & Flexibility... Got it!

With excellent Canon glass already in the bag, 100mm f2.8 macro lens, 24-105mm f4L lens, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM lens, and a 2X III extender, I have been able...Read complete review

With excellent Canon glass already in the bag, 100mm f2.8 macro lens, 24-105mm f4L lens, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM lens, and a 2X III extender, I have been able to capture many excellent digital images... at a high price, but I am getting the results I paid for. So, when I was financially able to add a "creature" lens for out-of-the-way places, it came down to the best Canon primary lens I could afford that would allow me to be highly mobile or in static tripod locations. WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE CANON 4OOMM F/5.6L AUTOFOCUS LENS DOES EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. A PERFECT COMPLEMENT TO MY OTHER GLASS! The price of the larger lenses (500mm, 600mm, etc.), which can cost the price of a used car and the weight issue were viewed as limiting factors... but certainly should be a consideration for "spot" photographers with money to burn or a vision to fulfill.To close this review, let me say that I love the flexibility of setting up my tripod and camera with the 400mm lens attached and then QUICKLY releasing the tripod locking mechanism to capture eagles in flight via the IServo setting, ISO 2000, and aperture-priority. With some handheld practice this lens is truly light enough to follow eagles in flight and capture SHARP images. Also, love the fact that I can carry it on trails for those surprise shots that just pop up. So, I am sure you can gather that I have NO intention of leaving home without it...400mm. Keep in mind, though, the Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM autofocus lens does NOT have the IS (image stabilization)function. Again, this can be overcome with practice. As a serious amateur photographer, the lack of an "IS" component has not affected my thinking or results in those ACTION moments.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Canon 400 5.6

I decide to purchase this lens after reading multiple reviews of how sharp it is wide open. I'll be going on an Alaskan cruise and wanted a long telephoto that will get me close...Read complete review

I decide to purchase this lens after reading multiple reviews of how sharp it is wide open. I'll be going on an Alaskan cruise and wanted a long telephoto that will get me close to any wildlife seen.

I have been using the lens for about a month now. I have used it mostly with a heavy duty Gitzo tripod and an Arca Swiss ball head. I have used it only for wildlife and birds and even tough I have practiced good long lens technique shooting wide open, I have not gotten the sharp pics most people have raved about in their reviews.

I have also shot hand held with similar results. The lens is light enough to carry and handhold for extended periods.

Reviewed by 309 customers

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5.0

SuperbTelephoto That is Lightweight

By Ezra

from NYC

Pros

  • Durable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • AF

Best Uses

  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Sports/Action
  • Wildlife Photos

Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

The Canon EF 400mm (Prime) is a true delight. This is my first Super Telephoto lens from Canon (And most affordable Canon Super Telephoto version) I absolutely love this lens. I will never sell this bad boy because it is really that good.

1) The build quality is absolutely superb and built like a mini tank. Extremely durable. The white/cream, black and red line color scheme looks like a space aged telescope; very impressive design. Absolutely no slack, every screw and mechanism is tight and right. The built-in lens hood is very convenient for a lens of this magnitude, which extends outward even further making the EF 400mm look like a 'rifle scope' of sorts.

2) The AF is very fast but can get 'confused' if you have multiple subjects like branches and trees for wildlife photography. I just switch it to MF mode, piece of cake.

3) Shots come out very clean and crisp even at F/5.6 and with no IS

4) I even have the 2x tele-converter (Not Canon), despite losing two stops of light, dealing with now F/11.2 (or 12) and managing camera shake, shots still come out very good, not the best, but really good at now 800mm!!! You can use a tripod for more stability.

5) Compared to other Super Telephoto lenses, this is very lightweight, but may still cause some neck strain with camera strap. I tend to hold both camera and lenses with one hand.

What more can I say, if you interested in getting a Canon Super Telephoto lens for about $1,000 used and plan on using it consistently, I say go for it.

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  • No

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Classic Glass Lives Up to Its Reputation

By Bird Lover

from Missoula, MT, USA

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Poor in Low Light

Best Uses

  • Birds in flight
  • Sports/Action

Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

My main subject for photography is avian life. I've gone to this lens after using the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM for 4 years in the field. If you're shooting at high enough shutter speed in good light the lack of IS isn't really noticeable. I enjoy the light weight and easy handling of this lens, it's noticeable compared to my former go-to. The AF is extremely fast.

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  • No

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Fantastic affordable super telephoto

By newsphotographer

from Chicago, IL

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Sports/Action
    • Stuff That's Far Away
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    All the rave reviews of this lens are accurate. This had been on my want-list for a while. For it's price, it's hard to beat and there's nothing in this focal length with the quality and price point to compete. With todays high-ISO performing cameras this lens is even more versatile and hand-holding without image stabilization is not as much an issue as it was when this lens was originally released. The focus is incredibly fast, on par with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. I also own the 300mm f/4L IS, and after only a few days of shooting with this lens I already love this 400mm and know it's a great addition. With the combination of image quality, light weight, fast autofocus, great reach and affordability there is no wonder it has been around for so long.

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    • No

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    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent glass

    By Oak Park Photo

    from Oak Park, Ca.

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Easily Interchangeable
    • Lightweight
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • NONE

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    I was debating between this telephoto lens and other L series zoom lenses with larger aperture's and decided on this lens because of sharpness of a prime, weight, reputation, and cost. Bottom line is that this lens is tack sharp, easy to carry, and easy on the wallet. Highly recommend it, great lens period.

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    • No

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Really nice telephoto lens

    By Rob

    from Fort Bragg, CA

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Rugged

    Cons

    • Poor in Low Light

    Best Uses

    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    This lens takes some really nice photos, especially outdoors in full sunlight. The relatively small aperture means that low light performance is not that great but this is easily remedied by goosing up your ISO settings. With an ISO of 400 I can get some decent hand-held shots even on cloudy days. Of course it does much better on a tripod but that's true for all 400 mm lenses.

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    • No

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    5.0

    Great Lens

    By Steve

    from Austin, TX

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged

    Cons

    • Poor in Low Light

    Best Uses

    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    I got this for wildlife and bird. I've only had a chance to use it a couple of times, but the results are superb. It is almost as sharp as my 70-200 f/2.6L IS II, and a lot lighter. I really wish there was an f/4 version, but that would likely be too heavy and costly. This lens is long enough to really require a tripod, especially since it has no IS. I did try hand holding some shots, and less than half were acceptable (none were really great) even at shutter speeds < 1/1000. If you have very steady hands you might get away with it in bright light.

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    • No

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    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Love this LENS!!

    By Gray Fox

    from Charleston, SC

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • For Me There Are No Cons

    Best Uses

    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    This lens is of the highest quality. The 400mm is much lighter and sharper than my 200mm-500mm lens that I was previously using. 90% of the time I was at 500mm and was not needing a zoom telephoto, so I took a chance on the Canon 400 F/5.6 lens and have not looked back. The lens is easy to hand hold.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Defies logic how good it is

    By Adam

    from Philadelphia, PA

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Sharp
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • Heavy

    Best Uses

    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

    I shouldn't like this lens as much as I do. Minimum focus distance of 11 ft!? 400mm@5.6, with no IS AND its big and heavy!?!?!?!?

    Those are some severely limiting factors when it comes to the usefulness of this lens. This is a lot of money for a lens with that many drawbacks.

    And yet, somehow, this lens is a lot easier to hand-hold than you might think, and it is INCREDIBLY sharp. Even with the 1.4 III extender it may be sharper than my 200 2.8L, which is no slouch of a lens.

    How, how, HOW is it so good?

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    • No

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    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great lens for the price

    By irene v

    from Lompoc, CA

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easily Interchangeable
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Sports/Action
      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

      I had been wanting a little more reach and find this lens gets me close enough without breaking the bank. No IS, but that hasn't been a problem. Not a low light lens, but even late evening is still fine as long as there is some light available. Using the 5D, Mark iii gives me more ISO options without grain. Very happy with purchase and B&H service.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Awesome lens

      By The Birder

      from Sterling Heights Michigan

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        I use this lens mainly for bird photography and I love it. Super fast focus with tack sharp images.. cant go wrong with this lens on a budget!!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        I'm impressed

        By mercury

        from Texas

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • No Auto Focus With Extend

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        Used with Canon 7D. Sharpest used at F8 at iso 800-1000 on a flying bird, hand held. Post processing with Lightroom adding a little sharpness with 50 to 70 noise reduction (depending on Light). Very sharp lens. Tested on a tripod with mirror lockup and timed shutter release so knew that if anything went fuzzy in the field that it was me and not the lens.
        Had a small problem with the original lens sent which was handled by B&H very professionally. I'm very comfortable purchasing from B&H

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Great Lens

        By Paul F

        from Rangeley, ME

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        I use this product for wildlife and sports photography. It is a great lens for high light days. With f/5.6 it is obvious this is only for natural bright situations. Very shallow depth of field and autofocus is spot on every time. Image Stabilizer could be very helpful but for the price, this lens is a great product. Strong construction yet not too heavy to carry with you.

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        • No

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        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Reach for the sky!

        By vespatime

        from Bethesda, MD

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        Probably like so many of you, I compared this with the 300 IS, but for me I knew I wanted the added reach for birding and wildlife. I was willing to give up the IS for the added reach. I have not been disappointed. This is a phenomenal lens, with incredlible contrast and IQ. I knew that hand-holding would likely present challenges for me, and my percent of keepers hand-held is lower than with my 100-400, as one would expect. Once you factor in the f/5.6 and lack of IS, what you get for photos will take you to the next level in your photography. Needless to say, I am pleased with this purchase.

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        • No

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        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Patience is a Virtue with this one!

        By Vince

        from Clayton, NC

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        I studied review after review on this lens. Bought it, got it home used it twice with my 7D put it back in the box and was going to send it back. I remembered some of the reviews commenting on a little learning curve with it. I took it back out and started experimenting and I'm so glad I did. It's not the greatest in low light but at 6.3 manual mode and auto iso it takes some really sharp wildlife photos. Sharp with great colors. A tripod is a must and it also takes great landscape photos.

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        5.0

        A great first professional lens.

        By Kristi the Birder

        from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

        I use this lens to go birding and it is my first professionally-bought lens. It has given me joy and many great wildlife shots I am pleased to have. It is definitely a nice first foray into the world of better and crisp pictures.

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        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        If it ain't broke. . .

        By "T"

        from Michigan

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Wildlife Photos

          Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

          After testing this lens, to me it's no wonder that Canon hasn't changed this lens in years. After pouring over endless reviews; I finally sprung for it. My copy of this lens is really good if not fantastick. I currently own 5 other "L" lenses from Canon, this one might be the best. I love it!

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          • No

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          (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Don't judge this lens whiteout trying it

          By Yousef Abuaisheh

          from Amman-Jordan

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight

          Cons

          • Poor in Low Light

          Best Uses

          • Wildlife Photos

          Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

          I bought this lens for wildlife and bird photography, the first impression was good, its not heavy as the 100-400 so its easy to carry and walk for long time. The lens sharpness and colours is fine not as the 400mm f.2.8 ii but for its low price the images quality is more than excellent.What I don't like is the built in lens hood, as we know one of the lens hood uses is to save the front glass of the lens but if you dropped the lens it will save the front glass but it might be bended or destroyed and its not changeable and you need to disassemble the whole lens to exchange it, so unfortunately you need to learn how to live with this hood.

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          • No

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Excellent bird and wildlife lens

          By Casek

          from Oregon

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Reasonalby Priced

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Birding
            • Wildlife Photos

            Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

            If your on a budget this is an excellent birding and wildlife lens. Very sharp wide open, not too heavy and resonably priced. Its not the fastes lens but if you can keep your shutter speed up its not a problem to hand hold.

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            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            A Must Have Lens

            By Nature Girl

            from Raleigh, NC

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output
            • Durable
            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Nice Bokeh
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

              Very happy with this lens. I use with a 1.4 extender and still have excellent quality shots with quick focus. I wish I had purchased much earlier. A must have if you enjoy wildlife photography. Image stabilization would have put this lens over the top but you can still get great shots without it.

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              • No

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              (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Good Glass

              By Storm

              from Aberdeen, WA

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Nice Bokeh
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

              • Heavy

              Best Uses

              • Sports/Action
              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens:

              My principal use of this lens is for wildlife photography and I currently couple it with my Canon 60D. The lens is a solid performer on bright, sunlit days. The overall edge-to-edge image quality is good but for my personal circumstances, the f5.6 is slower than ideal. I understood this going in to the purchase and am satisfied with the results for the price I paid.I shoot outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Much of my outdoor time is spent on cloudy or rainy days or under tree canopies with reduced lighting. This lens allows me to reach out towards my subject but does take time to hunt for focus in subdued lighting. I typically stabilize the lens on my tripod and focus manually using live view and 5x magnification assist. The product quality is superb. The glass is excellent and the build is heavy and solid. This is not a lens that I am personally able to hand hold. A tripod is recommended for individuals like me who may deal with neck or mobility issues.

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              • No

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