Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
My main photographic subject is wildlife especially birds, so a telephoto lens is a must, The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM is my most expensive purchase to date, at just under £1000. To some beginners, this will sound like a lot of money, but bear in mind that some telephoto lenses can cost much, much more thousands of pounds, it is a compromise between budget and quality. The lens sits in the Canon Pro group and offers excellent optical and build quality.
The lens is classed as a telephoto zoom lens, not as pin sharp as a fixed focal length Canon L glass but still outstanding, but the main reason I chose this lens was for it's versatility, I often use this lens at 100mm for portrait and flower photography, the narrow depth of field really brings out the subject, whilst at the 400mm end the images produced are superb.
The lens has a feature called image stabilization, this is extremely useful and works very well. At 400mm, every tiny movement you make is magnified many times resulting in camera shake and a blurred image. Without the IS feature switched on this is clearly visible in the view finder, once focus lock is pressed the stabilization kicks in and it's effect is instantly noticeable, with camera shake dramatically reduced.
The USM (ultra sonic motor) allows for super fast, quiet focussing.
This lens is heavy, but the build quality is second to none. One drawback to this lens is that once attached to a 1.4x converter, the autofocus feature is lost and manual focus has to used.
To say I am happy with this lens is an under statement, I am so pleased with the results it is giving me, especially birds in flight, which has been a real ambition of mine.
What Canon has to say about this lens:
L-series super telephoto zoom lens equipped with an Image Stabilizer. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate secondary spectrum. The floating system also ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths. The Image stabilizer has two modes and it is compatible with Extenders 1.4x and 2x.
For more information about the Canon EF 100-400mm lens - see the Canon website