Canon 100-400 IS II MTF and Variation Tests
When the Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 IS L Mk II lens was first released we immediately did some testing. First we took one apart and were extremely impressed with the build quality. Then we compared it using Imatest to the original Canon 100-400 IS L and the new Canon 400mm DO L IS Mk II lenses at 400mm. I was impressed with the Imatest results too, but wanted more. Imatest, like all computerized target analysis tests the lenses at fairly close range and I wanted to see how these did at infinity, not to mention how it tested at other focal lengths.
But testing isn’t my primary purpose in life, and testing 400mm lenses on our optical bench is really difficult, so it didn’t get done. Until last week, finally. My expectations were pretty high for this lens, but the test results easily exceeded them. I don’t shoot with this kind of zoom, but I sure do appreciate good optics and good engineering.
I’ll keep this brief. First, here are the MTF and copy-to-copy variation charts. These are from testing 10 copies of the lens on our Trioptics Imagemaster optical bench.
Both the MTF and Consistency scores are just outstanding. The 100-400 has some of the highest consistency scores of any zoom lens we’ve ever tested. It waxes the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens, for example, having far less copy-to-copy variation.
To give you an idea of just how excellent the MTF is on this lens, I’ll put the MTF of the 100-400 IS Mk II side-by-side with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. Now remember, the 100-400 has the advantage of being shot at f/5 here. The 70-200 f/2.8 would have better MTF curves stopped down. The point here is that the 100-400, while not able to compete in aperture with the 70-200, certainly does compete in resolution. And the 70-200 IS II is one of the sharpest zooms made.
I won’t go into a long, drawn-out monologue telling you what you can already see for yourself. The new Canon 100-400 IS II is optically superb.
Author: Roger Cicala
I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.