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Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4X review: does the performance justify the price?

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday June 25 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4X image quality evaluation | Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x vs prime telephoto equivalents | Conclusion
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4X review: does the performance justify the price?

First seen at the Olympics in London in 2012, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4x is a pro-oriented super-telephoto zoom with a built-in 1.4x tele-converter. Engaging this extender converts the zoom into a 280-560mm f/5.6 on a full frame camera, making this one of the most versatile lenses in the firm’s line up. Read on to see how well this $11,800 zoom performs with- and- without the 1.4x converter engaged while mounted to the Canon EOS 5D Mk III.

Although Canon announced the lens’ development in February 2011, subsequently showing a prototype at CP+, Yokohama Japan, working models were first ‘seen’ during the London Olympics in 2012 before being only officially announced recently in May 2013. At $11,800, the lens is unashamedly targeting professionals and well-heeled enthusiasts looking to use it for sports and wildlife.

Without the extender in place the new lens achieves a DxOMark score of 24 points, dropping to 17 points with in place which is good for a telephoto-zoom but still behind less extreme models.

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Canon169928
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM249927
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x1180024
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM130024
Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Canon77024
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM169523
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM121023
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Canon169923
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO HSM Canon88022
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM159921
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Canon94921
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO-M DG Macro Canon20918
Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Canon44918
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM19518
Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM Canon99917
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS Canon35917
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x1180017
Tamron AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 LD Macro Canon12516
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM42014
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM133014
 

The lens is placed 3rd, and 11th respectively in our database rankings for Sharpness (measured in P-MPix)

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM249921
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Canon169920
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x1180019
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM121018
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Canon169918
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM169516
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM130016
Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Canon77016
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO HSM Canon88015
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM159915
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x1180014
Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM Canon99913
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Canon94913
Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Canon44912
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM19512
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO-M DG Macro Canon20911
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM42010
Tamron AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 LD Macro Canon12510
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS Canon35910
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM13309
 

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4X image quality evaluation

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x vs prime telephoto equivalents

Conclusion