This is an image of a prototype of the recently announced Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens.
“Impossible?:” The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens
Five days ago Canon announced that it is developing an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens which will feature a built-in 1.4x teleconverter. With the converter engaged, it becomes a 280-560mm F5.6 lens. Designed for sports and wildlife photographers the lens will feature weatherproof construction and is scheduled for launch later this year.
My comments: My understanding is as follows: with the launch “later this year,” this amazing new lens will not be available until some time in 2012. About four years ago I was part of a small group of Explorers of Light who met with the three top Canon lens designers at a brain-storming session in Lake Success, NY. My #1 suggestion was the development of a 200-400mm IS L lens to compete directly with the Nikon 200-400mm VR lens. Though it took a while, it is rewarding to see this lens well past the drawing board stage.
Many were stunned by the fact that the lens will feature a built-in 1.4X teleconverter. Robert O’Toole titled his e-mail, “Wow! What the?” I was informed that crack BPN Avian moderator Randy Stout said simply “It is not possible,” when told about the lens by one of the participants on the SW FLA President’s Week IPT. (Randy is one of my three great co-leaders; Denise Ippolito and Dan Cadieux fill out the team.) I do remember Robert O’toole suggesting the possibility of a lens with a built-in TC years ago. I have no clue as to how the telecoverter will be engaged but it will surely be convenient. Among nature photographers, this new lens will be of greatest value for folks traveling to Africa and for folks photographing big game including bears where the crying need for a Canon lens in this focal length range has existed for too long.
For me there are two huge questions: How much will the lens weigh? What will the Minimum Focusing Distance be? I would imagine that the lens will weigh 7-8 pounds. I have no clue as to the MFD but am hoping for something in the 6-7 foot range…. That would make the lens great for butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, medium sized flowers and the like. Others are of course asking about the price. I cannot imagine that the lens will be priced at less than $9,000 though I saw a report of something in the range of $7,000. The lens will surely feature the amazing four-stop IS system as well as three IS modes both as in the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
The new Canon 2-4 will be a boon for those photographing coastal Brown Bear at close range. Brown (Grizzly) Bear mother and cub, Katmai National Park, AK.
Here is the official Press Release:
London, UK, 7th February 2011 – Canon today announces the development of a telephoto zoom lens featuring an integrated focal length extender – the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x. The lens will be displayed for the first time during CP+, held in Yokohama, Japan.
Designed for Canon’s leading range of EOS Digital SLR cameras, the new lens will be an ideal addition for sports and wildlife photographers, offering exceptional flexibility with a built-in 1.4x extender that creates an increased focal range of 280 – 560mm.
Perfect for photographers who require high performance, fast aperture and a flexible telephoto range, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4× will enable photographers to shoot a greater breadth of subjects using a single lens, delivering the best possible image quality at all focal lengths.
Developed as a new addition to Canon’s acclaimed L-series of professional lenses, the new lens will offer an unsurpassed combination of versatility, first-class optical performance and an enhanced weather-proof construction. The model will be released as part of Canon’s continued development of its EF lens line-up, offering enhanced performance and improved functions that cater for the needs of photographers from beginners through to professionals.
The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x is scheduled for launch during 2011.
The need for a long Canon telephoto zoom lens has existed for too long. Common Zebras jousting, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Click here if there is a photographic safari in your future.
If you are considering the purchase of one or more pieces of major photographic gear, it would behoove you to check out our Shopper’s Guide here.