Canon 200-400 F4 L IS 1.4x Finally Announced


I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I have written about this lens.  That wouldn’t be that unusual apart from the fact that this lens had not even been officially announced yet, let alone available to purchase! A couple of years ago (or maybe even three?)  Canon put a development announcement out there and showed the world the first concept, a super tele zoom with a built in converter.  Why would they do this you might ask ?  They don’t normally do things like that.  Well Nikon have had a 200-400 f4 for an eternity, maybe even ten years.  It is by far their most popular wildlife photography lens and it also has a big following with sports shooters as well.  In fact many Canon shooter (wildlife ones in particular) switched to Nikon just to have that lens.  Andy Biggs is a good example.  So Canon decided to let everyone know a long time ago that they heard the cries, a lens was coming, and it had a trick up its sleeve…..

The 200-400 F4 L IS 1.4x is the first Canon lens to have a built in teleconverter.  That means that the optics in the 1.4x converter are optically matched to that lens.  In other words, engaging the converter to get to a 560mm lens should yield little to no disturbance of image quality.  Effectively this is a 200-560mm lens.

Now let’s not beat around the bush though, this is a $12,000 lens ! I’ll give you a second to clean up that coffee that you just spat all over your computer screen………

Who would order such a lens?  I just did and I’m sure that many others will do the same thing.  The days when prime lenses were needed to get the ultimate sharpness out of a lens are gone.  The Canon 24-70 f2.8 L II is testament to that, it is sharper than my 24mm f1.4 L II.  So having a lens that can go from 200 all the way to 560 without having to change lenses or attache converters is a great proposition.  It allows you to capture several very different looking images in just a split second.

I’ve had the lens in my hands before and you can read about that HERE

I’ll be using this lens to replace my 300mm f2.8 L IS. I often used a 1.4x converter with that lens and this 200-400 will mean I never have to waste time doing that , plus at the flick of a switch I’ll actually have a longer lens for some upcoming wildlife stuff I’m doing this summer.

Top view of the new Canon 200-400 f4 L IS
Top view of the new Canon 200-400 f4 L IS


Press Release

London, UK, 14 May 2013 – Canon today adds a new category to its range of high-performance super-telephoto lenses, with the introduction of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x to Canon’s acclaimed L-series. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x features a flexible 200-400mm focal range with a fixed f/4 aperture, 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer and for the first time in a commercially available lens, a built-in 1.4x extender. These features combine to provide an outstandingly versatile lens for professional sports or wildlife photographers. A robust magnesium alloy design, environmental protection and specialised lens coatings also make it ideal for mobile use, combining with the finest quality optics to deliver exceptional results, even in the harshest conditions.

Get closer to the action with superior image quality

The reach of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is boosted by its internal 1.4x extender, which is engaged or disengaged at the flick of a lever to provide an extended focal length of 280mm to 560mm – allowing photographers to get even closer to distant action. Ensuring the highest image performance, the optical design includes both fluorite and Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens elements, which help minimise chromatic aberration and eliminate colour blurring. Advanced anti-reflection SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Super Spectra Coating also reduce ghosting and flare. Thanks to the use of the latest optical technologies, image performance is unaffected when the integrated extender is used.

With a constant f/4 aperture the use of high shutter speeds to capture fast-paced action or a low-light scene is possible. A newly designed optical Image Stabilizer, which provides users with a four stop advantage, while IS ‘Mode 3’ applies image stabilisation only at the time of exposure – ensuring that photographers can pan with fast-paced action without IS overcompensating for movement. This feature is ideal for sports photographers, who typically have only a split-second to capture a subject in front of them.

Powerful, flexible focusing

The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x features Canon’s pioneering ring-type Ultrasonic Motor providing fast, silent autofocusing. For those who prefer to fine-tune focus themselves, full-time manual override allows photographers to manually focus at any moment when using AF. The Power Focus (PF) mode also increases versatility during movie shooting with the EOS-1D C or EOS-1D X, enabling photographers to achieve an accurate pull-focus effect at one of two speeds, simply by twisting the focus recall ring and stopping at a pre-set distance.

High-performance design for professional demands

Designed to answer professional demands for superior image quality and versatile zoom range, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x a boasts a premium-quality design befitting Canon’s industry-renowned L-series lenses.

The tough magnesium alloy chassis ensures that, despite the inclusion of the 1.4x extender, the lens is a similar weight to lenses of comparable focal length. Fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens elements also reduce the ability of dirt to cling to the lens surface, while a dust and water-resistant construction allows photographers to shoot in challenging weather conditions. The combination of outstanding optical performance, versatility, weight and tough construction will make it an essential part of any professional sports or wildlife photographer’s kitbag.

EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x key features

  • Built-in 1.4x extender, for extra magnification when you need it
  • Shoot in low light with four-stop Image Stabilizer
  • High image quality using Fluorite lens elements
  • Fast AF with USM technology
  • Robust design for use in the toughest environments
Photo of author

Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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