Canon Shooters Rejoice – I think? Canon 200-400 on its way for nearly $12,000.00 USD

Posted May. 14th, 2013 by Daniel J. Cox

Back in February of 2011 Canon announced that they planned to announce, the announcement of their recently announced, up and coming 200-400mm lens. Yes, I intentionally used the word “announce” that many times 🙂 Seems one of the hottest lenses Nikon ever built was finally hitting a nerve with Canon’s top brass, so they announced they were getting ready to release one of their own.  Today they finally put a date on their new baby’s arrival and a price tag to boot. The following Press Release says it will be for sale in June 2013, and just shy of  a whopping 12,000 British Pounds which equates to $18,000 USD.  Holy Moly and maybe even Holy Buckets. Is that a typo? Let’s hope so. Actually, I just checked B&H Photo, and they have the new lens listed far cheaper at a measly $11,800. So it’s not as bad as the Press Release suggests but compare that to the Nikkor 200-400 at $6750 and it’s still a lot more money. $4000 for a built in 1.4X teleconverter?

Canon's soon to be released 200-400 F/4 Super Zoom. Notice the bump on the right side at the rear of the lens. This is the space taken up by the built in teleconverter.

Canon’s soon to be released 200-400 F/4 Super Zoom. Notice the bump on the right side at the rear of the lens. This is the space taken up by the built-in teleconverter.

Admittedly, there’s at least one new technological feature being promoted that sounds mostly positive and targeted to the Video/Cinematographer crowd. The Canon Press Release states, “The Power Focus (PF) mode also increases versatility during movie shooting with the EOS-1D C or EOS-1D X, enabling photographers to achieve an accurate pull-focus effect at one of two speeds, simply by twisting the focus recall ring and stopping at a pre-set distance.” Actually, that feature sounds pretty desirable if you’re shooting video, but that rules out a lot of the folks we travel with. Other than that it’s weather sealed, has four stops of IS for low light shooting, and uses a special coating for front and back elements that repel dust. That’s about it. Nothing earth shaking other than the price. So here are some thoughts on how this might go over.

I’m currently working on another blog post highlighting my recent experience with the Nikon’s new 80-400mm zoom. I’ve shot close to five thousand frames with it on my recent trip to the Galapagos Islands and Peru.  The new Nikkor 80-400mm is selling for $2700. Without incorporating that post into this one, let me just give you the title of that upcoming article. It is, Nikon’s Newest Super Zoom is Simply Spectacular!  I won’t give any more details other than to say,  I currently have a Nikkor 200-400 F/4 for sale. Give me a call if your looking for an amazing lens.

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There are 6 comments on this post…
  1. Stoney EdwardsOn May. 22nd, 2013

    Daniel,
    Jan and I are really glad now we are Nikon Shooters (since 1998), with everything from F5 to D800, D600 and D7100 today. It was a close call between Nikon and Canon at that time, but we chose Nikon because autofocus then was faster and better tracking. A few times since Canon seemed to be pulling ahead, but also getting more expensive. The Nikon 200-400 F4 was a great leap forward, which we have had since 2007. Now the D800 with 35.5 MP, plus the D600 and D7100 provide great variety.

    Canon must have gotten the “Big Head” to bring out a 200-400 f4 for $12.5K, particularly in today’s tough market.

    Hope we get to meet.
    Are you going to lead a trip to Ireland in 2014? If so, when? It’s moved to near the top of our wish list.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 22nd, 2013

      Stoney, good to hear from you. Yes, I think Canon is setting themselves up for disappointment on the price of this new lens. Nikon really has given us many, many options with descent prices. Time will tell if the Canon folks jump onboard. As far a sIreland, I’m not sure about 2014. We’re leaving for Ireland in two weeks for a month. 2014 would depend on how much interest we get. We’re taking two full groups in two weeks so the interest was high for our first venture. Are you on our email list? If not drop us a line and we’ll add you to it so we can keep you up to speed. Thanks for adding your voice here. Always love to hear what our readers are thinking.

  2. Fred KurtzOn May. 18th, 2013

    Dan, I talked to a Canon professional at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. I asked him if he thought Canon had a market for this lens. To my surprise, he said Canon sent him a test model for two weeks and asked for his feedback. He loved the lens. The $12,000 price tag did not bother him as like you, he spent way more than that for his first digital camera. He does not think consumers will buy the lens but thought 3-4,000 would be sold to Pro’s. He also said his cost would be about $2,000 for the lens – what I did not understand was if that would have been in the old days when Canon gave stuff to certain pros or current day. As a side note, he also told me “in the day” he had a $1,000,000 per year business with six employees. Now it is down to one and $250k per year. He now shoots mostly new born babies in hospitals and high school league stuff but indicated soccer moms with a Rebel camera are eroding that business. We had a very interesting discussion that I wish could have been longer but we both had to get back to work. Ireland is CLOSE!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 18th, 2013

      Interesting Fred. As he indicated, times have changed for photographers. Keep shooting and see you in Ireland.

  3. Fred KurtzOn May. 15th, 2013

    Dan, I really don’t see the market for this very expensive lens. I think Canon is a day late and a dollar short (or many dollars long) bringing it out now. The Nikon 200-400 is a fabulous lens for $5,000 less and the new Nikon 80-400 is a killer lens that may become my primary lens for telephoto. I just took the 80 – 400 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today during practice and shot about 500 images to test it out at speed. It did an amazing job. So I do not understand why anybody would spend $12,000 for the new Canon lens. I am very glad I am a Nikon shooter – I love their new equipment.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 16th, 2013

      Fred, your thoughts are exactly the same as I was thinking when writing this post. I wanted readers to figure it out for themselves as you obviously did. I really believe Canon waited too long for this lens to get off the ground so to speak. Especially at this price. That said, they too are planning an updated version of their 100-400mm zoom which is the one that will compete head to head with Nikon’s new 80-400mm. Canon may give their own shooters the same quality, maybe better than what Nikon is now delivering in their new 80-400mm. If so, then the tables will once again be fairly equal. However, they better do it quickly since Nikon has some very positive options, D600, D800, D4, that could easily sway people to move over to a new camera system. In the end, consumers win. It’s a great time to be having fun with photography. CAn’t wait to see yo and Kathy in Ireland.

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