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Canon Releases the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens

Canon have finally released the long awaited EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens that was originally seen at a tradeshow in Japan two years ago in prototype form.  The trick this lens has is the inclusion of a built in 1.4 x extender that is activated via a switch on the lens.  This turns the focal length from 200-400mm to a massive 280-560mm and the maximum aperture changes from f4 to f8.  The lens also features all the usual high quality things you would expect from Canon including a fluorite element and four UD elements to give superior sharpness and contrast.  The great thing about this lens is the extender can be activated without the need to remove the lens from the body, greatly reducing the risk of dust and moisture getting inside your camera. 

Below is the official press release from Canon for those of you that want all the nitty gritty detail.  The lens is expected to ship to us at the end of May.

CANON EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Press Release

Sydney, Australia, 14 May 2013 Canon announces today the launch of a new addition to the company’s line-up of interchangeable EF lenses for use with Canon EOS-series SLR cameras: the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x. The ground-breaking L (luxury)-series lens, the world’s first*1 super-telephoto zoom lens to incorporate an internal extender, delivers enhanced convenience and exceptional imaging performance on par with large-diameter super-telephoto prime lenses. Covering a wide zoom range from 200–560 mm, the new lens supports the advanced needs of professional photographers and contributes to expanding the possibilities in imaging expression.
Featuring a built-in 1.4x extender that employs eight lens elements in four groups, the new Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x enables users to instantly change the lens’s zoom range from 200–400 mm to 280–560 mm with the single flip of a switch.*2 In addition, the super-telephoto zoom lens realises high image quality even when the extender is in use.*3 Offering superior convenience, the model is particularly useful for capturing sports, nature and other types of photography involving weight and shooting-space restrictions that limit the amount of equipment that can be brought to a location, or in situations where users are unable to get close to a subject.
Through a simple one-touch operation, the zoom range of the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x can be extended without having to switch lenses, eliminating the risk of dust or moisture entering the lens or camera when changing lenses. In addition, with the attachment of an external 1.4x extender (sold separately), users can realise image capture up to a maximum focal length of 784 mm and auto-focusing at a maximum aperture of f/8.*4
The Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x incorporates a new optical design that makes use of a fluorite lens and four UD (ultra-low dispersion) lens elements, which effectively correct for colour aberrations across the entire zoom range, making possible high-resolution, high-contrast imaging performance comparable to that made possible by large-diameter super-telephoto prime lenses. Greatly minimising the occurrence of flare and ghosting, the new lens employs optimal lens positioning and coatings, as well as Canon’s proprietary SWC (Subwavelength Structure Coating) anti-reflection coating technology.
In order to equip the new lens with an internal extender, Canon newly developed a compact IS unit that delivers image stabilisation equivalent to approximately four shutter-speed stops.*5 The EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x allows users to select from three different IS modes, including IS Mode 2, which is ideal for photography where panning is necessary, such as when shooting motor sports and moving trains; and IS Mode 3, which provides optimal image stabilisation when capturing fast-paced action, such as sports.
The new super-telephoto zoom lens has been thoroughly reduced in weight through the liberal use of magnesium alloy and features a construction that ensures a high level of durability and ruggedness in the face of harsh shooting conditions to satisfy the demands of professionals.
The Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x super-telephoto zoom lens is expected to be available in Australia from the end of May with pricing at dealer discretion.
*1 Among interchangeable lenses for interchangeable-lens cameras (SLR and compact-system cameras). As of May 1, 2013 (based to a Canon survey)
*2 When switching on the internal extender, different restrictions may apply depending on the camera used
*3 When using the internal 1.4x extender, the amount of light is reduced in accordance with the amount that the focal length has been extended (one f-stop), making it necessary to adjust exposure
*4 When using a camera that supports auto-focusing at an aperture of f/8
*5 Based on a Canon standard. A shutter speed of 1/(focal length) seconds is generally considered the limit to prevent hand-shake blur during hand-held photography


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