Canon’s EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is a monster. It’s nearly twice as long as the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and weighs two kilos more, at 3,620g. Its key selling point is a built-in ‘extender’ or teleconverter, which is activated by a simple lever at the back. It’s far faster and easier than removing the lens from the camera body, inserting an extender, then refitting it.
- Mount: Canon EF
- Full frame: Yes
- Autofocus: Yes
- Image stabilization: Yes
- Lens construction: 24-33 elements in 20-24 groups
- Angle of view: 12-4.5 degrees
- Diaphragm blades: 9
- Minimum aperture: f/32-45
- Minimum focusing distance: 2.0m
- Maximum magnification ratio: 0.15-0.21x
- Filter size: 52mm (drop-in)
- Dimensions: 128x366mm
- Weight: 3,620g
Although the f/4 aperture rating is rather fast for a super-telephoto lens and remains constant throughout the native aperture range, it naturally decreases to f/5.6 when the 1.4x extender is used. Even so, at the long end of their zoom ranges, that’s still broader than the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S and Tamron 150-600mm super-tele zooms, as well as the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM. On an APS-C format body, the maximum focal length is 560mm, or an ‘effective’ 896mm.
Despite its size, the lens’s internal zoom mechanism is common in super-tele zooms. Most lenses physically stretch to roughly 350mm at their greatest zoom setting, making the 366mm length of this lens appear more acceptable.
The lens has AF-hold and focuses preset controls, as well as a triple-mode image stabilizer, weather-seals, and fluorine coatings. The latter allows you to quickly revert to a previously specified focus distance. When filming movies, there’s also a ‘power focus’ setting for seamless transitions.
When using an extender, there is usually some loss in image quality, although in this case, it is rather little. Throughout the increased zoom range, performance is superb, however, sharpness suffers slightly. For sports and wildlife photography, the super-fast autofocus can keep up with the action, while the optical image stabilizer is highly effective whether shooting handheld or with a monopod.
When it was first released in 2013, the gigantic Canon was quite a coup, and it is still a formidable super-tele zoom. It has fantastic build quality and delivers really outstanding performance, but it currently fails to justify its price tag given the newer competition that offers comparable maximum reach without the need for an extender at a considerably lower price.
- Great image quality
- Super-fast autofocus
- Tough build quality
- Hugely expensive
- Big and heavy