Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x review: 12 grand, but worth every penny?

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x review: 12 grand, but worth every penny?

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x costs a small fortune, but look at all you get for 12 grand. Find out how we rate it in our Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS review.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x review: 12 grand, but worth every penny?

What can you expect from a lens that costs about the same as a brand-new small family car? This new Canon goes large in every way, from size and weight to advanced features, clever tricks and professional build quality.

The lens is aimed at top-flight wildlife and sports photographers who can’t afford to miss vital shots because of inclement weather, so the lens is fully sealed against the elements. It’s tough too, with a magnesium alloy construction.

One problem faced by both wildlife and sports photographers is that even with a super-telephoto 200-400mm zoom range, sometimes you still can’t get close enough to the action – and you can bet that while you’re busy fitting an extender, you’ll miss the decisive moment.

This lens solves the problem with a built-in 1.4x extender, which you engage by flipping a lever at the rear of the barrel.

Autofocus itself is a ring-type ultrasonic system. It’s whisper-quiet and amazingly fast, even with the extender engaged. A triple-mode image stabiliser delivers a four-stop benefit, with separate modes for normal shooting and panning.

Image quality is so good that it’s like using a bunch of telephoto and super-telephoto prime lenses, but with all the versatility and convenience of a single zoom lens.

Sharpness and contrast are massively impressive, right into the corners of the frame, even when using the lens at its widest available aperture.

With its spectacular image quality, big zoom range, and immense telephoto reach, the Canon 200-400mm is the Holy Grail of wildlife and sports lenses. Autofocus is super-fast, the image stabiliser works wonderfully, and build quality is all you could hope for.

Sadly, the purchase price is far beyond the reach of most of us, but it’ll be a highly attractive option as a lens to hire for special occasions.

Price: £12,000

Score: 5/5

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