In the reviews of my blog I often see, that photographers are scanning 400mm f4 DO-articles especially concerning its ability for birding photography. As I mentioned already, this lens brings out a diverse range of opinions. The summary focusses on the optical “disadvantages” like:
- Sharpness is very good, but falls off dramatically with TCs
- Contrast very low
Concerning the optical performance I do not comment. Everything what has to be said has to be claimend / denied in the internet………..
I want to focus on the practical aspects, here for the usage of the Canon 400mm f4 DO as a flight shot lens:
- Very light
- Portable for a large aperture lens
- AF – button
- Old-fashioned IS
As said, I decided for the Canon 400mm DO f4,0 in combination with a Canon 1D Mark IV because I am bird photographer who has specialized in photographing many species of birds for scientific purposes also in their behavior. For this purpose the Canon 400mm f4 DO is absolutely great. Flight shoots of big birds such as raptors or storks/herons are perfectly possible.
Here you can see some nice flight shots of bigger birds I shot during a trip to the Pantanal – mainly on the the Pousada Pouso Alegre south of Poconé in Mato Grosso/ Brazil – during December 2012/ January 2013. For bigger images please click on the link in the text “Full size is 1800 × 1125 pixels” below the image in the gallery.
If the Autofocus matches the small passerine (song-)birds, flight shots of these birds are perfectly possible, too. It might take more time, patience and experience.
Some remarks for the usage of Canon 400mm f4 DO as a flight-shot lens:
- Use Canon 400mm f4 DO in combination with a (semi-)professional body as e.g. the Canon 1D Mark IV.
- Predictive focusing (AI Servo) is your best bet to get a successful flight picture. Use Custom Function Settings (e.g. in the Continue reading Canon 400mm f4 DO, an experience review for flight shots