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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L
Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 10.25.07
->> Hello, what is every bodies thoughts on the Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L MK1 Lens?

I am looking at buying a 400 and as everybody else in this world am trying to find the best deal. I have seen a few Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L MK1 lens for sale on the Internet in the price range of $3,000 - $4,500.

Should I hold off for the newer models even though they cost a couple thousand more? Do the newer lenses really offer more for the extra cost? $2,000 extra for a newer lens is the quality that much greater?

I called Canon and they said they no longer work on the Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L MK1 Lens so are my options limited if this lens craps out someday?
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Nick Hoover, Photographer, Assistant
Arcata | CA | USA | Posted: 1:54 PM on 10.25.07
->> Jesse,

I had a 400mm F/2.8 MKI and it was great. They're a little bigger, a little bulkier, and the tripod collar is different, plus the obvious lack of IS -- but other than that, it focused quickly, and was sharp as a tack.

We later got all new Canon gear which included the IS version, and while it was a little easier on the back... I didn't notice that much of a focusing speed difference, or sharpness issue.

I'd say save your money and go with the older model if you have to save some $$$. You're right that Canon will not work with the older version, much like the 200mm F/1.8... but there are plenty of other shops (some which Canon outsources to themselves) that will work on the older units.

Nick
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Charles Baus, Photographer
Palm Springs, Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 1:59 PM on 10.25.07
->> Jesse,

I have a 400 mk1 and I love it, I purchased it about 5 years ago and it works great. I haven't had any issues with mine (knock on wood), and personally I don't feel its worth the extra money for the 400 mkII or the IS.

Obviously, the main issue is what you already addressed, CPS will not work on the mark 1's, but i know there are other places that can still service a mk1.

For a mark1, I wouldnt pay anywhere near 4K for it, I would try to find one in the low 3K range.

I got my mark1 for $2400 with perfect optics.
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 2:11 PM on 10.25.07
->> HI Jesse
I ahve had all 3 and quite frankly the latest is the best. The Mk 1 is terrible with a 2x converter and mediocre with a 1.4x the mk 11 is better but the is is clearly better. A lot of pro sports shooters gave up there 600's to just use the 400 with extenders I think Brad Magnin is one. David
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 10:11 PM on 10.25.07
->> Does the Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L MK1 Lens have a hard time with 2x and 1.4 extenders?
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 11:15 PM on 10.25.07
->> Jesse, the series 1 lenses do struggle with the extenders but having Canon custom match the your converter and your lens will help. The real down side to the Series 1 gear is Canon won't work on them anymore and the independent shops that do work on them are having trouble getting some parts. USM units are almost impossible to find now so that is always a risk.
That said, I have a 16 year old 400 2.8 Series 1 that is still going strong and making me money every single week
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Charles Baus, Photographer
Palm Springs, Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 11:42 PM on 10.25.07
->> I have had problems with a 2X extender with my 400 but I think anything with a 2X is going to look a little soft. My 1.4 extender with Mk1 is actually pretty good. Image 9 and 10 on my page right now were shot with 400mk1 and 1.4X and I had a series of 10 shots of Fred Davis running down the sideline and all were sharp.
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Nick Hoover, Photographer, Assistant
Arcata | CA | USA | Posted: 1:20 PM on 10.26.07
->> Jesse,

Here's some old stuff from the 400 with a 1.4 -- it works just fine... (and this 1.4 even had a scratch in it):

http://www.nickhoover.com/tribune/ucdavis/calPolyucDavisFB509.jpg
http://www.nickhoover.com/tribune/ucdavis/calPolyucDavisFB381.jpg

Nick
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Richard Heathcote, Photographer
London | . | UK | Posted: 1:57 PM on 10.26.07
->> Canon will not do any work on this lens anymore because they don't have the parts....if it goes wrong or you need to service it you'll have to go elsewhere....

also alot of mk1 400mm are a bit hit and miss, some good some bad, the mk2 was a much, much better lens, and you should be able to find one of those for about $3000...
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 5:37 PM on 10.26.07
->> jesse, I hope this info helps. this has been addressed on a couple of other threads but personally I would steer clear of a lens that cannot be repaired. there's nothing like finding out the hard way and I did. granted it was nikon but I bought a 400 2.8 that was in MINT condition for $4300 a few years ago. I was so enamored with the thought of possessing my own 400 and not having to grab one of the "boat anchors" out of our equipment cabinet I sunk the money into the lens without even checking about repair issues....If I only would have known then what I found out later. I had a slight accident with the lens about a year later and it looked to be a minor repair....a damaged falange, some circuit ribbon and a small hairline crack in the housing. I sent it to NPS and got the lens and a note back a week later saying it could not be repaired because of no parts. I spent a couple of months trying to get another repair shop to fix it to no avail. so I now have a $4300 giant paperweight. granted if I hadn't been clumsy I would still have this mint condition lens but you never know when something unforseen might happen. sometimes you can be as careful as you can but accidents happen. that coupled with some of the comments about it not working great with an extender would have me steering clear of the older model. but good luck to you, 400's are sweet lenses, both the nikon and the canon.
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 6:08 PM on 10.26.07
->> Thanks for all the info and heads up guys. Chuck Liddy, I would maybe suggest selling your paper weight on ebay.

A feww years back I had a 70-200 2.8 that fell from my hands and into a river. I was so upset when it happened. After I got the lens back from canon they said once wet it can't be fixed. So then I was really bummed out, $1,500 lens toast.

Well I put the lens on ebay stating THIS LENS FELL IN THE WATER, CANON SAY'S THEY CAN'T FIX IT. Hoping to maybe get $100.00 for the parts. Well to my surpise I got $900.00 from a guy in London. The guy eneded up using the glass for some project he was working on. So basically my broken lens was a nice down payment on a brand new 70-200 2.8.

It's worth a try.

Jesse
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Steve Dipaola, Photographer
Hillsboro | OR | United States | Posted: 1:33 AM on 07.02.08
->> I have a 400 2.8 MK1 lens that I bought when first available in the early 90's. It has served me well over the years. I've started to have intermittent problems with it and it now is useless as it does not focus properly (auto or manual) and I don't want to go the extra mile financially to repair it. The Ebay idea is a good one as the optics and casing are in fine shape. I'm fairly certain it needs a new lens mount and motor servicing or replacement (neither available from Canon any longer). I've been struggling with what to do with this expensive boat anchor and just want to get the word out that there is a fixer-upper on the market.
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Troy Taormina, Photographer
Richmond | Tx | USA | Posted: 11:09 AM on 07.02.08
->> I'm sending in my older 300 2.8 today to a repair shop praying that the AF can be adjusted. This uncertainty has me wishing I would have spent the money on a lens that can still be serviced and parts are still available.
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Daniel Bates, Photographer
Taylor | TX | United States | Posted: 12:26 PM on 07.06.08
->> I bought a 300/2.8L Mk I (from here, incidentally) last year, knowing that it had AF problems, and gambling that I would be able to get it fixed. Well, not even the independent shops have parts to fix a USM motor, so I had a paperweight too.

I'd shell out for the new version, if I were in your position... it's just too much money to gamble with.
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John Pyle, Photographer
Santa Barbara | Ca | USA | Posted: 1:08 PM on 07.06.08
->> Jesse,

I've had both the 400 2.8 MK I and MK II. The newer model is much better, it's sharper, faster and the use of T.C.'s will produce much sharper images. If you do go with the MK 1, Mid State Camera repair in Warwick,RI will repair that lens.
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Thread Title: Canon 400 EF 400MM 1.2.8L
Thread Started By: Jesse Beals
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