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Gear Reviews

Canon Announces New 200-400 F4 L Lens, Priced Around the cost of a Small Car

By Anthony Thurston on May 13th 2013

Today Canon announced the new 200-400 F4 L lens in response to Nikons latest 200-400 lens. The lens is one of the only Canon lenses to feature a built in 1.4 teleconverter, at the click of a switch. The lens is obviously designed with Wildlife and Sports professionals in mind.


So, as the title of this post mentions the price is catching everyone off guard. Nikon’s latest 200-400 lens is going for around 6-7,000 and this latest canon lens is going to run you almost double that. The lens is going on sale for around $12,000 or around the price of a small car.

Being a Nikon use this just makes me smile. I mean really, for the price of this new Canon lens you could buy two Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8’s, 2 x2 teleconverters and a Nikon D4! It’s just my opinion, but I feel like Canon has grossly overshot the mark on this one. I don’t see anyone changing systems over this now, but telephoto-shooting pros may now consider Nikon and their 200-400 f/4 VR to be a “bargain” at just $6,000.


I mean this is a Canon L lens, so you already know that the optics and build quality are top notch – but if Nikon can release it for $6000 why does Canon think they can sell theirs for twice that? Sure the built in teleconverter is nice, but it does not double the worth of this lens, Not by a long shot.  I will be curious to see how the lens performs, optically of course but also how the sales perform. I can’t imagine too many people chomping at the bit to spend 12K on this.  But then again, Sigma made the $30,000 200-500mm f/2.8, if there ever was a “because we can!” lens to beat this one!

Best case scenario, Canon is playing the usual “MSRP games” with this initial price.  Remember how they would always release a new 1Ds camera at a whopping $8,000, but within 12-24 months that price would drop to $7,000 for no reason?  Similarly, it is possible that Canon’s long-term goal is to sell this lens at around $9,000 or so, and they are simply taking advantage of currently pent-up demand.  Of course $9,000 is still far out of reach of most ordinary telephoto sports and wildlife photographers, but then again this lens just isn’t for everybody!

If for whatever reason you have the 12k to spare, you can preorder the lens over at B&H.



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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jeff Morrison

    love to have one

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  2. Asad

    For that price it should come with a 1DX permanently attached to it.

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  3. Matthew Saville

    That costs more than my wife’s car plus my own. YIKES!

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  4. Ned Flanders

    Hope it is capable of better images than were posted for this article!

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  5. havjoe

    canon over shot the mark a while back. am a convert from nikon, only lens outstanding in my portfolio is 200 f2….. which costs more than a small family car. the 100-400 was a waste, returned it after a couple of days…..

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