So I have had the combo for 2 weekends / 10 days, and it time for me to decide. Keep them, take one, or both back.
Canon 100-400mm IS Mark ii:
I wanted something lighter than my 500mm to hike deeper into the mountains and also have a back up to the 500mm. I wanted a more compact travel lens that I would count on and not be forced to feel like I left something home going without my trusty 50mm. Mission accomplished. The lens is extremely well built. On par with the mark ii version of the 70-200 IS. The lens focused and tracks well on both bodies I used it on. It is slightly slower to lock on that my 70-200mm or my 500mm prime. But then again I would expect it to. It held focus really well. The IS is very quiet and smooth. A definite improvement over a handheld Canon 400mm 5.6 without IS. The over size of the lens is shorter than the 70-200 and will be making a home in my camera bag!
Canon 7D Mark ii and Canon 100-400mm IS Mark ii combination:
It is like this pair was designed at Canon to be paired together. The combo is incredible!
Day 1 Pheasants
Day 2 Eagles
Day 3 More Eagles
Day 3 Six Pack on Ice
Sharpness, Focus, Telephoto Results
High ISO comparison
Day 9 Eagles
One of my favorite Eagle photos came from this combo during my field testing.
Captured under perfect light and perfect conditions!
This combo is perfect for sports and or wildlife. I didn’t have the chance to shoot any sports with it, but it might be limited by the f5.6 @ 400mm on a game under the lights. It should perform well on daytime games. My keeper rate on birds in flight was higher than normal with this combo. I am accrediting this to the lighter weight and being able to hand hold verses shooting from a tripod and gimbal. If you are looking for a really solid pair, the search is over. If you are coming from anything other than a Canon 1DX, you will be very happy with the performance and results from this combination.
I was also asked to test the 7D2 + 1.4 TC + 100-400 2 = 896mm. This combination is a ton of reach for the money. I did find it to be too much zoom to effectively handhold. I shot it off my gimbal and got decent results. Softer and slower to track. Here is a sample result.
Canon 7D Mark ii Body
What got me interested in this body is a couple things. First I used to have two matched gripped 7D’s. I shot weddings and wildlife successfully with them. I finally saved up enough to buy a 1DX for Christmas 2013. Right away I sold one of the 7D’s and held the other one for a backup. I never picked up my backup 7D once. Once rumors of the new 7D2 were flying I sold my second backup 7D before the used market prices fell.
So I have been shooting without a backup body for 6 or 7 months and my camera fund had grown enough to start shopping. My son upgraded one of his 7D’s to a 5DMKiii. I have really enjoyed shooting with his 5D3. I was torn between staying fullframe and getting a 5D3, or trying out the 7D2. So that brings up to the past 10 days and my field testing.
If this combo would have been around before I bought my 1DX, I would be owning 2 of them. One gripped and one without a grip. But I already own and have mastered my Canon 1DX, so I find the 7D2 a step down and the body will be returned.
The 7D2 body MSPP is 1800, the Canon 1DX MSRP is 6800. It wasn’t ever fair for me to compare the the two. I was hoping for 80% of the 1DX for 38% of the price. Dont get me wrong this is a SOLID body and WAY better than the 7D1. I am blessed and can afford the 1DX for my hobby. I will be picking up a 5D3 or a second 1DX if when the price falls.
I really hope people don’t take my review in anyway of bashing the 7D2. I just don’t need a second wildlife camera, and really needed more of a landscape / portrait camera body.
If there is interest, I’ll do another review of the 5D3 after she arrives. Hope the past 10 days worth of blogs have been worth your time, but I figured tons of other people are struggling with the same question: where is the best bang for the buck?
Keeping the 100-400 mkii, returning the 7D2 body.
I would also like to take a moment to thank all my new blog followers and supporters!
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Thanks for your thoughts and efforts on the 7D2. I don’t think anyone can fault you for returning the 7D2 when you have the 1DX. It’s nice to know that when the 7D2 is combined with the new 100-400 that it makes a nice combo. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the 5D3 when you get one in your hands.
Thanks John, it will be here Wednesday. I have shot enough with my Son’s 5D3 to already know what it will and wont do. It will be my primary wedding, portrait, and landscape body. Saving the 1DX for sports and wildlife. Should be the perfect match for what I photograph.
John thanks for all your support of the blog and by the looks of your last post on FredMiranda, you picked up a few tips. Nice work! http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1342788
Your welcome Kent. I’ve enjoyed following your little journey with the 7D2 and the 100-400 II. I pretty much knew before your final review that you would be returning the 7D II. No doubt the 7D II is a fine camera however when your shooting with a 1DX the 7D II would probably collect dust.
I’ll probably wait awhile before I make up my mind. I like the idea of carrying two bodies with me when I travel. One for landscape and the other for wildlife. I’m a bit surprised there hasn’t been an upgrade to the 5D MIV and perhaps thats in the works. I have enjoyed my two trips to L&D 14 and hope to make it out there one other day with my son on a weekend.
Yes I have picked up a few tips from your post. Most notably would be your tips for birds in flight from last year. Thanks for your support and have fun with the 5D MIII.
Kent, I couldn’t agree more. This combo rocks like Cleveland!
Thanks Mark that means a lot coming from a professional photographer like you! It was great to see you last Saturday!
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Thought your review excellent. I havnt tried the new 100-400 but i am sure it will be great and so much easier to carry round than the 500mm ,I rushed out and bought the 7D11 as soon as it was out here , and like you was hoping for great things but i have the IDX and the 5D mark 111 and it fell short. i was hoping it would perform as well as the 5D 111 but give me the extra reach but doing a side by side for several days i realised it just wasnt as good at handing the ISO or i feel the light, may just be where i was trying it but i did a like for like with my 5d and decided to return the 7D . however if you dont have the 1DX or 5D i do think people would like its frames per second and its so lovely and quite , i have seen some great shots taken with it and its nice and lightweight good for the money . interesting your view on the 100-400 . i bought the 70-300 as it was light to carry and i need a 2nd lens when i use the 500mm , packs so well and i do like it a lot , my 500mm is the best by far but it is heavy, i used a 300 2.8 for 3 years and always hand held all shots but after seeing what my husband was getting with the 500 felt i had to get this but am finding the 500mm hard to handle sometimes as i cannot get to grips with flying shots on a gimbal!! i like hand holding and the tripod drives me crazy!! i sometimes find it so restrictive when doing wildlife so the 100-400 sound a great option on long hikes. like your review of it very tempted to get this lens now.Like your eagle shot.
First off thanks for the reply and welcome to my blog. Thanks for your additional feedback on the 7D2. You might consider using a monopod for the 500mm. I have a birds in flight post that covers that. https://kentjarrett.com/birdsinflight/
Good luck and hope to meet you out in the field someday shooting something really exciting!
Kent, thanks for a great review. I have had the 7DII and 100-400II combo for a little over 3 weeks and found that the lens is much better than the original 100-400 which it is replacing. I am new to bird photography, but have found that my keeper rate has jumped dramatically since acquiring the new lens. I am seriously considering adding the 400 5.6 prime for BIF – the 500 is out of my reach at this stage.
My back up body is a 70D which has been disappointing and eventually had to go back to Canon for AF focusing adjustment. Since getting it back I have tested it with the 100-400II and this combo seems to also work very well together.
Thanks for the other tips and tricks especially those for BIF, they have all been very helpful as I am learning new skills.
Thanks for the kind and encouraging words! Feel free to email me if you need help or get stuck on something.
Thanks for sharing the excellent review and photos!
I just got a 7d II and am looking for a good tele zoom to replace my 70-300 IS. I feel the 7D II deserves a better lens. I’m torn between the 70-200 f/4L and the 100-400 in this review, mainly for portability.
You mention this combo being good for hiking, but 2.5kg seems like a lot of weight to carry on one’s back! Do u find it okay, or do you wish for a kg less weight?
The reason I bought the 100-400 was for walking around. Most of the time I am hiking with my 500mm Prime and my 100-400. Best of both worlds! If I am tried or going a long way then I only hike with the 100-400 and use my stealth stalking skills to get closer 🙂