Ever since Canon announced it was developing a new 200-400mm f/4 L IS lens with the built-in 1.4X extender in February 2011, a lot of excitement has been generated and photo enthusiasts from around the world, including myself, have been eagerly anticipating the official announcement.
This new lens is of particular interest to me, much more so than the other Series II lenses because of my shooting style. I photograph wildlife a lot and prefer to handhold my camera and lens for maximum mobility and flexibility. Currently, my favorite Canon lens is the 400mm f/4 DO IS. It allows me to follow the wildlife action wherever they go without a tripod. Generally I am wary of using extenders because of the hassle and a slight loss of sharpness. A lens with a built-in extender, like the proposed Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS may solve that problem.
Recently, the 200-400mm f/4 L IS lens has been spotted in Africa going through 'secret' trials. It has been over a year now and admittedly with all the problems and disasters Japan had been experiencing in the last year or so, any delay and complications are to be expected. Now that the Series II lenses - 300mm f/2.8 L IS, 400mm f/2.8 L IS, 500mm f/4 L IS and 600mm f/4 L IS are available, albeit in small quantities, Canon may finally be able to turn its full attention to finishing the 200-400mm f/4 project and get ready to announce its official introduction some time before the big Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany in September.
The rumored price should be around $11,000 and availability may be late 2012 or early 2013. I can't wait to get a hold of this lens and put it through a real world photo shoot with the Canon 1D-X body. Read my Equipment page on my website to see all the equipment discussed in this post and visit my website MichaelDanielHo.com to see Travel and Wildlife images from all my photo shoots.