February 7, 2011

Canon 200-400/4.0L IS


Canon Inc. today announced the development of a new super-telephoto lens, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x, for use with all EOS SLR cameras, and is scheduled for launch in 2011.

Many of you know that I am first in line for Canon's new 400/2.8L IS II with my Pro dealer; but this lens might change everything. My hope for the new 400/2.8 was that with its improved quality it would become Canon's most versatile lens; but this guy could jump quickly ahead. It is a stop darker; but it is also a 200mm and without having to cary a 1.4TC III it is a 560/5.6 with the flip of a switch, when you need it, and presumably even lighter in weight. I have a few real questions that need answering before I give up my place in line for the 400/2.8L IS II; but now it is something that is really conceivable for me to do. The biggest questions can all be answered by looking at an MTF chart.

Canon has also finally announced the specifications for their new 500 and 600. FULL PRESS RELEASE The 500's MTF chart looks great, and the 600's looks like a respectible improvement from the old 600's; but does not look to be on the same level as the new 300/400/500. The other "big" improvement is that they loose 27% and 17% of their weight making the 500mm a 7lb lens and the 600mm an 8.6lb lens. Remember that the new 300mm comes in at 5.3lbs and the new 400mm comes in at 8.5lbs. Rumor puts the prices at $9,499 (500mm) and $11,999 (600mm) and suggests summer delivery that completes the Canon line with the new 300 and 400, expected to ship in late March, at $6,999 and $10,999.

On a side note, with that pricing and delivery I would guess the 200-400 to ship in late fall (December) at a price point around $8,000. I would love to be wrong and have it ship sooner and at a lower price; but...

Let's look at Nikon's current offerings (Lens - B&H Price/Nikon List):
600/4.0 VR - $10,2999.95/$10,299.95
400/2.8 VR - $8,999.95/$9,549.95
500/4.0 VR - $8,499.95/$8,579.95
200-400/4.0 VR II - $6,799.00/$6,999.95
200/2.0 VR II - $5,999.95/$5,999.95
300/2.8 VR II - $5,799.00/$5,899.95
70-200/2.8 VR II - $2,159/$2,399.95

Compared to Canon's current offerings (Lens - B&H Price/Canon List 'est.')
800/5.6 IS - $12,349/$11,999
600/4.8 IS II- NA/'$11,999'
600/4.0 IS - $8,800/$9,199
400/2.8 IS II - NA/'$10,999'
400/2.8 IS - $7,600/$7,999
500.4.0 IS II - NA/'$9,499'
500/4.0 IS - $6,700/$6,999
200-400/4.0 IS - '?'/'?'
400/4.0 DO - $6,145/$6,469.00
200/2.0 IS - $5,700/$5,999
300/2.8 IS II - NA/'$6,999'
300/2.8 IS - $4,635/$4,879
70-200/2.8 IS II - $2,374/$2,499

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