REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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

(based on 341 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (248)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (81)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

98%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (279)
  • Strong construction (213)
  • Consistent output (184)
  • Lightweight (175)
  • Durable (168)

Cons

  • Poor in low light (82)
  • Heavy (30)
  • Slow focus (13)
  • No image stabilization (9)
  • No IS (8)

Best Uses

  • Wildlife photos (235)
  • Sports/action (130)
  • Landscape/scenery (62)
  • Wildlife (58)
  • Night photography (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (150), Semi-pro photographer (61), Enthusiast (40), Pro photographer (24), Casual photographer (16)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (219), Yes (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Excellent lens at an affordable price!

I have owned the canon 400mm f/5.6 L for about nine months now. It is super sharp and produces great results consistently. The autofocus is very fast, accurate, and quiet. The...Read complete review

I have owned the canon 400mm f/5.6 L for about nine months now. It is super sharp and produces great results consistently. The autofocus is very fast, accurate, and quiet. The build quality is great and it is lightweight when compared to other offerings in the 400mm focal length range. It is a great walk around lens and is easily handheld for longer periods of time. I primarily use this lens for bird photography and have had excellent results, mostly handholding. f/4 would be nice in lower light situations, but the huge price difference of an f/4 super telephoto is not affordable for me at this point. Although IS would be a welcome addition, it would likely increase the price significantly, as well as the weight. At larger apertures the out of focus elements (bokeh) are very pleasing. It would be nice to have a slightly closer minimum focusing distance in some cases, but with wildlife photography the animals are generally far enough away that it is not an issue. Paired with a crop body (especially he 7D mark ii), where you have a 1.6 crop factor, you can have a great start up bird photography package at effectively 640mm for a fraction of the price of a full frame body and a 500mm or 600mm lens. Super zoom offerings from Tamron and Sigma are slower (at f/6.3 on the long end) and not as sharp. I am willing to sacrifice IS and the potential versatility of a zoom for the sharpness, build quality, and excellent results from this prime lens. There is a reason this lens is still in production after over 21 years! I can assure you that you will not find a better lens for bird photography in this price range. Nothing else will touch it!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

A Good Compromise

This is a compromise lens for those who cannot afford a more expensive lens. It is great when the light is excellent but soon becomes disadvantaged in low light conditions. Focus is much slower...Read complete review

This is a compromise lens for those who cannot afford a more expensive lens. It is great when the light is excellent but soon becomes disadvantaged in low light conditions. Focus is much slower that other lenses that I have used and takes some getting used to. Takes great pics when conditions are right and is a joy to carry compared even to my 70-200mm f/2.8.
Easy to whip around for flying birds etc. but does take a while to focus in those conditions.

Reviewed by 341 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

bought for

By dp

from Vancouver

Verified Buyer

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

birds, as recommended by the reviews at this site.

(2 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

pevn ruka nebo stativ = vborn kresba za rozumn penze

By Radim

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

Objektiv jsem podil jako bazarov kus ve velmi pknm stavu. Muste se s nm nauit, jeliko nem stabilizaci. To vak nevad, pokud vte, jak ho pout. Nejlep kresby dosahuje pi clon 6.3, pi clon 5.6 vynik pjemnm bokehem podobnm portrtnm sklm. Jeho pouit je omezen na zk okruh tmat. Je pkn ostr v celm obrazovm poli na m vech clonch vyjma nejvych, kde promlouv difrakce vlivem clonovch lamel.
Objektiv na cel ivot, kter svou prci um vc ne dobe. Kresba vborn, kontrast vborn, protisvtlo zvld tak dobe. To ve za dosaiteln penze.

 
5.0

Wonderful lens!

By Jay

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

I received my lens a week or two ago and couldn't wait to try it; it surely has not disappointed. I am an untrained amateur photographer; I am amazed at the quality of images that I can capture without having to lug around the weight of lenses of a similar nature. I didn't want to break my bankroll either; this lens is a great value.

(0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

yes

By Grzegorz

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

need stabilizer

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Wonderful surprise shooting live performance

By Mark

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

Added this lens to my recent photoshoot of Katie Noonan and Karyn Schaupp at Garden of Unearthly delights at Adelaide Festival Fringe Festival, 2017.

Supporting the camera on a makeshift support afforded by extending the rollaway I brought containing various bodies and lenses.
Been photographing Music, Dance and Theatre for 45 years, never happier than capturing this shot of Katie. Canon 5DS Canon 400 f5.6, 
ISO 4000; -0.67 exposure compensation; 1/250 f5.6

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

great buy .. fast and tack sharp ..

By Jeffrey

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

I highly recommend . love it
I've used this prime lens photographing humming birds, surfers and flowers the last 2 years. It will focus immediately .. as long as your 10 feet away ..  extremely sharp , beautiful color. It's solid ! and not overly heavy.. an off white color.
 I use it on a Canon 70D , and along with it's aps-c sized sensor it becomes a 640mm F 5.6. .. that's serious reach for $1,300.
I don't use a tripod .  I just pump the ISO and shutter speed up to an acceptable noise level ( usually shoot at 1,200 shutter speed , and ISO at 1,200 ) and pick a sunny day.  A nice case is included, but I also recommend buying a good B&W clear lens filter for protection and if you want to camouflage it I use the stick to it's self hunters tape , it comes off completely clean.     good hunting

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very Sharp, Nice Weight, Terrific Lens

By Skimmer

from Michigan

Verified Buyer

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

Great lens typical of Canon. Focus is fast and precise. Quite too. Pictures are very sharp. Nice balance with tripod collar. Can also be hand held if you are steady. Weight, which I thought might be an issue, is not. After shooting with it for two weekends, very happy with purchase.

(0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Great if you want to use on tripod

By Tommy

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Sent back couldn't handhold unless you could keep up the shutter speed because not IS

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

MY 400mm WITH 1.4 EXTENDER

By Jack

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

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

I've just gotten a used 1.4 Canon Extender ii from B&H that I'm very happy with on my 400mm.  Attached is an uncropped photo.  On a tripod in mirror lock-up mode with cable release.

 
5.0

Surf Photography

By David

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

I purchased this for surf photography but now I bring it everywhere.

(26 of 26 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

A well deserved reputation

By Jerry

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

I'll preface this by saying that I also have the 100-400 mm V2 lens as well and it is also a very good lens. However, it isn't quite as sharp as the 400 mm f/5.6L lens is, nor is it truly a 400 mm lens as this prime lens is. The 400 mm prime gets a little closer to the subject.

I gave this lens 4 stars, because it doesn't have Image Stabilization, although I think that's one of the things that makes this lens so sharp, fewer layers of glass for the light to go through. I also marked it down due to it's long minimum focusing distance of just over 11 feet. That makes it impossible to get close to small birds at times.

But, this lens is incredibly sharp when I have good light or use a tripod, especially for birds in flight. I can get sharper images of birds in flight with this lens than I could get of perched birds using another brand of lens or the Canon 300 mm f/4L lens that I have. Image quality with this lens is spectacular, not only the sharpness, but also the color and contrast as well.

I also use this lens with both the 1.4 X and 2 X tele-converters with surprisingly good results. There's almost no drop off in image quality using the 1.4 X extender, and so little drop off with the 2 X that it's better than I could get by cropping an image.

Since I have the 100-400 mm lens, I use it in low light situations because it has IS, and as my main wildlife lens when hiking due to its versatility. However, whenever I can use the 400 mm f/5.6 for birds and wildlife, because of its superior image quality.

The 400 mm f/5.6 L lens is much lighter than my other long lenses which makes it easier to carry, and to follow the motion of birds in flight. Overall, I'd say that the 400 mm f/5.6L lens is a specialized lens for times when there's good light, and you're looking for the ultimate in image quality.

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very Sharp Lens

By John

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

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

Very Sharp Lens, Careful, if you use a Teleconverter on a Canon Body, I have found on both my 1D XII, and on my 5D mrk III, attaching a EF 1.4 III teleconverter, my cameras will only recognize the Canon TC, I tried another Brand and get an error message of communication to lens

(8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

I am really pleased with this lens.

By BJ

from Tolland, CT

Verified Buyer

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

In my first outing I was fortunate to find a cooperative Osprey. The attached photo was taken early morning (6:48 AM) handheld from my kayak. Used with my 7D and it's crop factor I hope to have many more successful outings with this lens.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very Satisfied

By flybob

from Maryland

Verified Buyer

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

Lens arrived in excellent condition and performed as expected. Perfect addition to my 7DMKII for wildlife shots. B&H excellent service as usual.

 
5.0

Excellent glass!

By Sugar Mountain

from Fayetteville, AR

Verified Buyer

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

This lens is light for its size. Unbelievably sharp. Exactly what I hoped it would be. Looking forward to having it next week in Yellowstone!

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Now with IS! (sort of)

By Jazzcaster

from Alexandria, Louisiana

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Birds
    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

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

    I have owned this lens for 13 years, buying it when I was still shooting film with my Elan 7E (and I'm still waiting for eye-controlled focus to return to Canon's lineup). It has been tack sharp on every camera I have ever used. On Canon DSLR's and with the focus limiter set to 8.5 meters, focus is impossibly fast.

    Before purchasing this lens, and since, I have tried a number of different 400mm lenses and, honestly, nothing comes close to the quality of this lens in this price range.

    When I moved to Micro Four Thirds, it was a natural bird lens at an 800mm equivalent fov. Even on the smaller sensor, it is pixel-sharp. The lack of IS had always been a bit of a minus, but with Olympus m43 bodies having in-body IS, auto-focus became the acceptable trade off. Not anymore. With the Metabones adapter to an Olympus, it now functions with IS, reasonably fast auto-focus and electronic aperture control and is the perfect, reasonably-sized birding lens.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent!

    By Randy

    from Hamburg, NJ

    About Me Casual Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

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

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Wildlife Photos

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

      Great sharpness, light enough to carry all day, extremely well built!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Amazing lens

      By Jeffo

      from Simi Valley, California

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

      I've owned this lens for over a year now and it's always with me. I live in California and photograph a lot of humming birds, surfers and sunsets, always handheld on my cropped sensor Canon 70d, thus turning this lens into a 640 mm f 5.6 (Usually 1250 sec.1250 Iso) with very little noise. Yes it's light enough to carry and well balanced with attached battery grip.
      This superb prime lens quietly focuses immediately on whatever you point it at and is tack sharp with beautiful color.
      I've shopped thru BnH photo since the mid 70's and consider this an exceptional buy for such an unbelievable piece of glass.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Nice workhorse lense

      By Brian

      from Arlington, VA

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

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

        I have used this now in a couple of photo excursions and have gotten very good results. Photos are very sharp and I haven't missed faster glass or vibration reduction. Excellent for the price point so far.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        4.0

        An old go-to lens

        By Joe

        from Massachusetts

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Rugged

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Wildlife Photos

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

          I use it mostly for birding. Very good for birds in flight. Would love to see Canon make this lens with IS.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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