The EF Canon 140-400mm f/5.6 L IS II/III Lens « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The EF Canon 140-400mm f/5.6 L IS II/III Lens

snow-geese-sunrise-fly-out-_w3c9819-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 160mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/13 sec. at f/13 in Tv Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

Our Bosque Site Guide teaches you to read the wind and the light so that you can be in the very best position to photograph the spectacular flyouts every single morning (except when you encounter the dreaded dribs and drabs….)

The EF Canon 140-400mm f/5.6 L IS II/III Lens

Wouldn’t it be great if such a lens existed, weighed only 4 pounds, came with a tripod collar as standard, and was easily hand-holdable? And what if it also covered 70-200mm as well as 98-280mm? Guess what? Such a lens exists in the form of the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS II with both series III teleconverters. And at Bosque I have been using it every day. All of the images here were created with the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, the 2X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. I use it handheld and on a tripod. (Note: 7D owners are advised that this lens does quite well with the 1.4X III TC–and that includes flight photography–but with the 2X TC AF is slowed and the use of a tripod is mandatory when working in anything other than bright sunlight.) Whenever using this or any other lens for flight photography be sure to have the IS Mode set to 2 and the limit range switch on the far setting: 2.5 meters to infinity for the 70-200/2X TC combo.

snow-goose-wings-forward-landing-flight-_w3c5127-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

Thanks again to Patrick Sparkman who alerted me to the fact that the new 70-200 made a great flight lens with the 2X III TC. It was great seeing the Spark-man and wife Robin this week at Bosque.

snow-geese-quasi-fire-in-the-mist-_w3c9363-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the <2X III teleconverter (at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

The IPT group enjoyed a bit of fire in the mist conditions on the morning of 22 NOV.

snow-goose-flock-above-ridge-at-sunrise-_w3c9801-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

“Lemon Yellow Sunrise Geese” was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the <2X III teleconverter (handheld at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 320. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6 in Tv Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

When folks look at the technical details in the opening image here where the lens was zoomed back to 160mm they often asked, “Why did you have the 2X TC in place when the prime lens alone would have been just fine?” This image provides the answer: I have 400mm available when I need it. At Bosque, it can be a hard choice as to whether to mount the 2X TC or the 1.4X TC. Sometimes you win….

The Bosque Site Guide tells you exactly where to be on clear mornings with northwest winds.

american-wigeon-drake-flapping-_w3c9651-socorro-nm

This American Wigeon image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (handheld at 365mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1 in Av Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

The Bosque Site Guide not only directs you right to these cooperative subjects but tells you how to get them to flap!

sandhill-crane-flight-_w3c0069-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This Sandhill Crane flight image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the <2X III teleconverter (handheld at 365mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the grey sky: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13. Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. To enjoy viewing a larger sized image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

The EF Canon 140-400mm f/5.6 L IS II/III Lens

Versatile, light in weight, perfect for creating birdscapes, and deadly for flight photography, the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS is one of my two favorite lenses. You can guess the other without too much difficulty.

Which Do You Like Best?

Please take a moment to let us know which of the six images here you like best, and why.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon 1.4X III Teleconverter. Designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

15 comments to The EF Canon 140-400mm f/5.6 L IS II/III Lens

  • avatar Task

    The new 70-200 IS is the best yet and with the new 2XIII combo offers a 400 mm f5.6 capacity but I believe it falls short in regards to resolution (and certainly in focusing ability) on the the 7D (or any 1.6 X chip).
    I have both lenses and have not tried the combo but here is an opinion that should be useful: http://www.juzaphoto.com/article.php?l=en&article=36

    It may be that the 1.6 crop cameras are best relegated to only the 1.4X TC’s as auto focusing is considerably slowed down, even if the base lens is a fast one, when using the 2X TC’s.

    If any lens needs updating it is the venerable 100-400 which is outstanding in terms of portability and focusing (as opposed to primes and TC’s). It is often loved or hated but often tolerated because it fills a gap that is absent competition save for price and considerable added weight. Have been looking for an update or a combination that would eliminate this lens but so far Canon has not come to the rescue.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    I like them all :). My least favorite is the last one; I included it because NIK Color Efex Pro’s detail Extractor improved it so vastly. artie

  • Great to hear a famous photographer like you, Artie, approve not only a zoom lens but also a TC! So many semi-pro photographers preach against zoom lenses and TCs that it makes me wonder if they work for the manufacturer and sell standard lenses. I think all the shots above are great! Sharp, good exposure, good composition.

    Thanks Sue. You gotta be wary of those internet experts… artie

  • Artie – Based on your comments re:7D+70-200 f2.8L IS II+2xTC, would we 7D owners be better served (at the long end) by the 100-400?

    That is a very tough and close call…. I know three folks who make great images with their 100-400s: Denise Ippolito, Daniel Cadiuex (both BPN moderators) and Monte Brown, a client. That said, I would opt for the 70-200 IS L II with both TCs (even if I had only a 78D).artie

  • avatar Robert Burton

    Cannot afford the 2.8. HOW WILL THE f4 DO?

    It is a great lens and very light in weight. It does great with the 1.4X TC with either a Mark IV or a 7D. But I would not at all recommend it with a 2x TC. artie

  • avatar Deirdre Sheerr-Gross

    Love the third… Similar to your famous shot… Which is an all time favorite of mine..

    What white balance setting did you use on this?

    ..and this was a great blog for me… Many thanks Artie, for all you put out there for us…

    Thanks Dierdre. White Balance was 7000K set manually. artie

  • Can you elaborate on the issues with 2X TC and the 7D with this combo? Why is autofocus slowed with the 7D and not the Mark IV or (presumably) 5D? It’s still f/5.6. Is the tripod requirement simply due to the slower autofocus or some other factor?

    AF is always slowed by TCs as AF needs light to focus. And TCs rob light from the system: 1 stop for the 1.4X, 2 stops for the 2X. I am not sure why a pro body will focus faster than a pro-sumer body with the 2X but it likely had to do with processing power… artie

  • avatar harvey tabin

    Fantastic.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    #3 is my favorite. Only because it is so dramatic!!

  • My fave’s the wigeon with its big chest and wings extended back at their fullest.

  • By the way, I love the third image. It is by far my favorite.

  • Artie – Is there any reason my Canon Extender EF 2x II won’t do the same? What specifically is better about the 2x III and should I buy it?

    Asked and answered in a previous blog post. All seem to agree that the 2X III is noticeably sharper than the 2X II. (Not so with the 1.4X III). In addition, both Series III TCs will be able to communicate better with the Series II super-telephotos… Next time please try the great search feature on the blog. artie

  • avatar Richard Curtin

    Like the FIM one best. The panoramic format really looks good! Was that at the RR pond?

    Nope. The N RR Pond is off limits this year. This was created at the Main Impoundment. artie

  • avatar Allan Warner

    In the introduction it mentions a” 70-200 mm f 4 ” ( four) lens, but everywhere else a 2.8 lens is listed. Was the f 4 a typo?

    I believe that I was alluding to the f/2.8 lens with the 1.4X III TC in place… Let me know if that makes sense….artie

  • avatar Dennis Pritchett

    The third one with the fiery colors; the others are everyday shots for you Artie.

    Dennis