This lens has to be one of the best values at or above 300mm.
My first long telephoto and I still use it.
No IS and no big aperture, but in daylight you can get some great images. I've captured a number of dragonfly with this lens and honestly I wouldn't use anything else.
If I asked canon to change anything about this lens it would be to have a little closer focus. I've thought about having IS on it but honestly one of the reasons it is so sharp is that it does not have too many elements. With modern high ISO/low noise bodies, I think I can live without IS on this lens - it's not too heavy and the most hand-holdable of the super telephotos.
September 24, 2013
Excellent value for money
I have been owning this lens for the last two years. It's mated to my 7D for bird photography and I have absolutely no regrets. It's a delight to own. Initially I used to use it only on a tripod (since it doesn't come with IS). But since January 2012 I have done away with the tripod for shots of 1/125 or faster shutter speeds. It is so light that one can carry it effortlessly and is great particularly for birds in flight shots.
My only grouse is that it has too long a minimum focusing distance. You can push a switch and reduce it somewhat from 8.5 m to 3.5 but that comes at the cost of focusing speed. At 3.5 m focusing speed is fairly slow. This results in missed opportunities for those rare moments when a bird perches close to you.
For day long trips in the wilderness, it is best to carry the camera/lens as a sling rather than round your neck.
I might one day graduate to a 500 or even 600 mm lens but I don't see myself parting with this lens ever. It is great for shooting from situations where a tripod is impractical - for example from a small rocking country boat !!
January 30, 2013
Have used this lens for doing a variety of shots such as birding, wildlife and fun stuff (tracking butterflies in flight). I have also used the 100-400 which is great in concept but diifcult to manage in practice due to its push pull design.
The 400 prime's light weight and fast focus allows it to be easily handheld with the newer Canon bodies (higher ISO) allowing for great versatality in use. On a tripod it gives super sharp images.
Its great value for money for the reach it offers. The only con I have is that it's not weather sealed which is needed given that it's used outdoors.
A fun lens to own and use!!
December 13, 2012
Totally Awesome Lens!
I have owned and used this lens for about 5 years now and it is almost always on my camera! Sure, it is a bit heavy, but I have no problem walking around all day with it on my camera around my neck. I do a lot of Eagle and wildlife photography, so this lens is a fantastic tool!
This lens produces Razor sharp images at every setting from f5.6 to f/32 if you have enough light and a steady hand of tripod.
Even indoors at wide open aperture and slow shutter speeds I have been able to take amazing portraits from a distance during Orchestra Concerts using stage lighting.
I would and do Highly Recommend this lens to everyone!
November 23, 2012