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Old May 15, 2013, 12:18 AM   #1
alphaod
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Canon 200-400 f/4

Can anyone tell me why the Canon release is almost twice as expensive as the Nikon one?

From what I can tell the Canon lens has a built-in teleconverter, but that hardly warrants twice the price.

Obviously, as a Nikon shooter I would never buy this, but just piqued my curiosity.
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Old May 15, 2013, 07:33 AM   #2
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All Canon's lenses start off at a stupid price, mainly to catch all the idiots who must have it first (or media corps, lens rental sites - who don't really have a problem paying for it) - then after a few months they return to normal(ish) prices.

My guess that if Nikon released an update to their lens the price would be similar to the new Canon one.
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Old May 15, 2013, 10:36 AM   #3
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Here's a good review of this lens by a pro wildlife photographer, explaining why he thinks it's worth the money:

http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/index.php?page_id=174

Basically, it's a specialized lens intended for people who make their living doing sports and wildlife photography, for whom the ability to go from 200-400 f/4 to 280-560 f/5.6 in a fraction of a second, without pulling the lens off to add an extender or picking up a backup body, can mean the difference between getting a shot that might return them hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and not getting the shot. If you're in the very rarefied category of photographers who make your living on this type of work, a lens like this will probably pay for itself in a fairly short period of time. If not, then it's not for you. I'm certainly not in this category so it's not even on my radar. But that doesn't mean it's not a great lens well worth the money for some photographers.

Secondarily, the fact that the extender is custom designed and fitted to the lens means virtually no IQ loss with the extender in place, which is generally not true stand-alone of extenders, especially when coupled with zooms. Adding an extender to a zoom, even professional quality zooms, usually results in at least some IQ loss.

Effectively, it's a 200 - 560 f/4 - 5.6, and so should be compared to other lenses with this focal and aperture range, not a 200-400 f/4. Alternately, you could compare it to what it would cost to carry two bodies, one with a 200-400 f/4 mounted, and one with a 280-560 f/5.6 mounted. But here you need to consider the advantages the one lens/one body setup has in terms of weight, flexibility, and speed of response.

I'm also sure it will eventually come down in price somewhat. But it's always going to be a very top-end, take-out-a-second-mortgage lens.
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Old May 16, 2013, 01:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by equilibrium17 View Post
Here's a good review of this lens by a pro wildlife photographer, explaining why he thinks it's worth the money:

http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/index.php?page_id=174

Basically, it's a specialized lens intended for people who make their living doing sports and wildlife photography, for whom the ability to go from 200-400 f/4 to 280-560 f/5.6 in a fraction of a second, without pulling the lens off to add an extender or picking up a backup body, can mean the difference between getting a shot that might return them hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and not getting the shot. If you're in the very rarefied category of photographers who make your living on this type of work, a lens like this will probably pay for itself in a fairly short period of time. If not, then it's not for you. I'm certainly not in this category so it's not even on my radar. But that doesn't mean it's not a great lens well worth the money for some photographers.

Secondarily, the fact that the extender is custom designed and fitted to the lens means virtually no IQ loss with the extender in place, which is generally not true stand-alone of extenders, especially when coupled with zooms. Adding an extender to a zoom, even professional quality zooms, usually results in at least some IQ loss.

Effectively, it's a 200 - 560 f/4 - 5.6, and so should be compared to other lenses with this focal and aperture range, not a 200-400 f/4. Alternately, you could compare it to what it would cost to carry two bodies, one with a 200-400 f/4 mounted, and one with a 280-560 f/5.6 mounted. But here you need to consider the advantages the one lens/one body setup has in terms of weight, flexibility, and speed of response.

I'm also sure it will eventually come down in price somewhat. But it's always going to be a very top-end, take-out-a-second-mortgage lens.
I'm sure it makes sense in use. Personally I have the Nikon version, just seems a bit over the top to double the price over what is otherwise a very similar product. I'm sure if Nikon wanted to add a built in teleconverter, they could.

But I don't need the built-in teleconverter and if I was a Canon shooter it would have to be this or some other brand entirely.

That is, unless I'm wrong in believing there is Canon version without the teleconverter?
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Old May 16, 2013, 07:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaod View Post
I'm sure it makes sense in use. Personally I have the Nikon version, just seems a bit over the top to double the price over what is otherwise a very similar product. I'm sure if Nikon wanted to add a built in teleconverter, they could.

But I don't need the built-in teleconverter and if I was a Canon shooter it would have to be this or some other brand entirely.

That is, unless I'm wrong in believing there is Canon version without the teleconverter?
Not really; no. The closest Canon L Lens to the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 would be the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, which isn't really of the same class, not only in terms of Aperture but also in regards to other features (though it is also much less expensive; for the price it's not a bad lens at all). The Canon 100-400mm is a pretty old lens at this point, and there are rumors a new version is going to come out within the next year or two. No reliable information on exactly what the rumored new lens will be like though.

FWIW, I do wish Canon had something like the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 in their lineup. While not as capable as the new Canon, as a hobbyist wildlife photographer, a lens like this is something I could maybe dream about picking up someday, if I found a decent copy used for a good price. But unless I win Powerball Lottery, the new Canon 200-400mm is simply never going to be in my price range. I haven't seen what rental places are going to charge for it yet, but given the purchase price I suspect that even renting it is going to be cost-prohibitive.
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Old May 16, 2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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Sure, because it is the first lens ever produced by Canon that has a built in extender. I use my 100-400 L regularly with a Canon 1.4 extender which makes it effecively 560mm Using the same extender withthe new lens makes it 784mm. Serious improvement.

Also, but only for the past 40 years or so, Canon's lenses are much better glass, clearer, and easier to focus than Nikon's. IMHO.
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:40 AM   #7
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With latest firmware my 5DIII can do my 100-400 with my 1.4TC with center point AF working. I usually shoot wildlife at F8 so not using a larger aperture is an OK compromise. Beats the mega cost of the F4 aperture lens. I will purchase the 200-400 right after I get the lottery check.
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