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07/08/12 Canon 200-400 F4 coming, but at a price!

It seems from reading the posts from “people in the know” that the long talked about Canon 200-400mm F4 lens will soon be a reality. There have been many posts by the the beta testers and other privileged people who have been able to get the lens for testing. Recently  images showed some pictures of the 200-400 F4 in action at Wimbledon. Overall the 200-400 looks like most of Canon’s high end glass, with a off white body and built in L bracket for mounting to a tripod or other holder.

Canon 200-400mm F4 Zoom Lens
The new Canon 200-400mm F4 Zoom Lens

This lens fills a huge need for Canon shooters in that Canon’s only other zoom offering that would come close to this is the tried and true 100-400 F5.6 go F6.3  However that lens is an older style, one that seems to gather dirt and dust quickly, and will not allow AF to work with many Canon bodies if even a 1.4x Teleconverter is used.  I have used the 100-400 for several years and it can produce a very good image, however you can expect the image quality of the new Canon 200-400 to be top notch.  Here are a few of the features:

    1. All new design with Canon IS (which has several different settings depending on the scene and requirements)
    2. A built in Teleconverter which allows you to shift to 1.4x.  This is 1st as far as I am aware and should be welcomed by most Canon shooters.
    3. Overall lighter weight due to materials being used, something that has been the case with all the newer high end Tele-zooms from Canon

Canon 200-400 F4 close up showing new built in 1.4x teleconverter
Canon 200-400 F4 close up showing new built in 1.4x teleconverter

This use of a built in 1.4x Teleconverter is a first as far as I know of and it will be interesting to see how it pans out as far as image quality.  I personally like the idea as you have a very tight package that will go to 560mm with a simple flick of a switch.  I am sure that as soon as this lens starts to ship in quantity i.e. after the Olympics, there will be plenty of reviews by the pixel peepers that will tear into the overall resolution.

With this lens, Canon will finally have a lens that compete head to head with Nikon’s proven 200-400 F4.  The Nikon lens has been on the market for several years now and is in it’s second version with an updated VR system.  The Nikon lens lists for around 7K new so it will be most interesting to see where Canon sets the price point.  I have heard rumors it will be as much as 11K.  Hopefully Canon will set the U.S. price in a more reasonable range!!. 11K is more than the Canon 800mm last time I checked.

If you are a wildlife or sport shooter, this lens will be a must.  You have the ability to go from 200 to 560 without taking off the lens to add the necessary TC, (something Nikon shooters can’t do).  It’s lighter weight than older Canon zooms and should have the same excellent image quality that has come to be the standard from all the higher end Canon Tele-zooms.I don’t think Canon is taking orders yet as it’s not listed on any websites but expect to see it soon.  It will make an excellent companion to the new Canon 1ds-X 18mp body that is just now starting to ship.

Personally, I would love to try one out, but I don’t feel that will happen anytime soon.  But Canon if you are reading this, please keep me in mind.


  1. Doug Morris says:

    It is early Feb2013 about 2 years since Canon first announced the 200-400 F4. Will I live long enough to actually buy one? Any news about when it will be on the market would be appreciated.