Canon launches EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L telephoto zoom


EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Super tele zoom: Canon’s new EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM. Picture: Canon

Canon has announced a replacement for its 100-400mm, pro-spec telephoto zoom.

The new lens, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, features a range of optical and practical improvements over Canon’s previous lens.

The optic has a 21-element construction with Fluorite and Super Ultra-low Dispersion glass, as well as a new coating, which Canon calls Air Sphere. This is designed, the company says, to reduce ghosting and lens flair.

Canon has also updated the image stabilization – which allows for an extra four stops latitude for handheld shots – and provides three image stablisation modes. Canon has also changed the zoom mechanism, so it is now a twist-zoom type, matching other EF lenses.

There is also a new lens hood, which has a window for accessing filters. This is designed to allow the camera operator to turn a polariser filter, but it should work equally well with a variable ND filter for video.

Unlike Canon’s shorter focal length pro lenses, the lens aperture is not consistent, but increases, or ramps up, by two thirds of a stop (f4.5 to f5.6) as the lens zooms in. This will mean a loss of light during zooming whilst recording video, but losing 2/3 of a stop may be a reasonable price to pay for such a long-range zoom.

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is a full-frame, 35mm lens and will crop to a 160-640mm super telephoto on cameras such as the C100 and C300, or to a 200mm-800mm on micro four thirds cameras such as the Panasonic GH4.

The new lens goes on sale in December, with a price of £1,999.99, or €2,499.99 in Europe. The lens is likely to appeal to video producers covering live events with a camera such as the C300, as well as to the traditional sports and action markets.