The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
I recently completed an overseas photography trip to Iceland-Rwanda-Congo, which included some mountain gorilla photography in the volcanoes of Rwanda. Now normally for a trip that included some wildlife photography I would bring my favorite wildlife lens, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X. But as good as this lens can be, it’s also heavy and bulky. I didn’t want to haul it around Iceland for 2 weeks nor strap it to my back for the strenuous trekking through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Enter the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM was introduced in late 2014 and replaced its inferior predecessor, which had been in circulation since 1998 (!) The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is sharper (this is not even open for debate), a bit heavier (3.56 lbs. versus 3.27), and much better designed than the first version. In addition to the improvement in the awful “push-pull” zoom design, the newest version has metal filter threads on the front element – a small but important upgrade for those (like me) who do use filters. In that regard, Canon thankfully retained the 77mm front element filter size for this upgrade.
The lens is intuitive to use and it focuses very fast. This is another improvement over the previous version. I can use this lens (as opposed to a big, heavy super telephoto lens) when the need to handhold arises. See the gorilla photo above. I have handheld my 200-400mm before but only for very short periods of time. This lens makes it easy and comfortable.
Even though I bought this lens for this specific trip, I’ve decided to keep it as a complementary piece to my 200-400mm when I need to handhold shots or don’t want to carry a bulky, heavy lens to where I happen to be traveling. If you still own the first version, there is no good reason not to upgrade. It belongs in every serious wildlife photographer’s camera bag.
Get yours here at Amazon: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens