Canon X2 Extender
Canon x2 Extender III
I had thought about purchasing a Canon 400mm lens and there was certainly options, at the top end there was the f2.8L USM IS II @ £8300, Then the F4 DO IS USM @ £5200, Down to the lower end of the F5.6L USM @ £1050 which has great reviews despite its lack of IS (Image Stability). Zoom wise there is of course the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens. But for me they seemed a little extravagant giving that it would not play to much part in any paid work, rather more a tool of self-indulgence. I then considered that my trusty 70-200mm F2.8L USM IS II arguably one of Canons best lens, would accept the x2 extender and still retain auto focus. Now the important thing to remember here is that adding the extender loses you two stops of light, so the 2.8 aperture is closed down to 5.6. With Canon lens the auto focus ability is maintained at F5.6, but if you attached a lens with a smaller aperture to start with, the two stops you lose will close you down more than 5.6 cut off point, and you will lose the ability to auto focus, making your lens a manual focus only. I had considered that historically you lose overall sharpness and picture quality and had a habit of being a tad slower on autofocus. But the MkIII had been relatively new to market and promised to perform much better than its predecessor. So for £400 it was a cheaper option, and it would at least stand a chance of being compatible with future purchases. After mulling it over I took the plunge and purchased the extender and I am pleased to say I am delighted with the purchase. Now I cannot comment on how this would perform on other lens but with the 70-200mm F2.8L MkII it is delightful. With full autofocus retained with no notable loss in speed. It produces great quality shots, yes if pushed I would say, not as good as the lens produces without the extender nor would I expect it to be. But bare in mind the 70-200mm produces amazing quality, so even with the slight drop in quality it still produces stunning images, with maybe slightly less contrast. But this aside you’re still getting far better images than in some of the budget alternatives from Canon which are not part of the L series range. If you shoot just sports or wildlife then this will not be for you, but if like me you make you’re living of other lens and wish to add the 400mm focal length to your kit bag just for plain entertainment and enjoyment then the x2 extender really is a viable option.