Today them Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens was announced. It's said to be shipping sometime in December and will be available for $2199 US dollars. The original 100-400 was a workhorse for many landscape and wildlife photographers. It's been quoted by many as the best all around wildlife lens. Of course this was before the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender was introduced, but as you can see, that's out of the price range for many photographers. The Canon EF 100-400mm II is about the size of a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens. This makes it a great compact wildlife and nature lens. The updated version will include a standard zoom ring as compared to the push pull design of the first 100-400. Looking at the specs it appears to be a great lens. Lets take a look at the MTF Charts.
As you can see by the MTF chart the lens is close to flawless in terms of sharpness and contrast at 400mm. A little less so at 100mm but still very good. Even with a Canon EF 1.4X III Telephoto Extender, at 400mm it's very good. Remember anything above .8 on the chart is considered exceptional. But in all cases the 400mm end is better than the 100mm end. Lets take a look at the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L prime lens MTF chart. This lens is often on the short list when shopping for a lens in the 400mm range.
By reading the chart we notice the new Canon EF 100-400mm II should outperform the 400mm f5.6, even with a Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender. Last but not least lets take a look at the 200-400mm MTF.
On paper you can see the 200-400mm would be considered a better lens optically, but I would wonder if anyone would be able to notice a difference in photoshop. Of course the 200-400mm is a faster lens. If it's crucial to have the extra stops of light, then you have to go with the 200-400mm, but for $8000 cheaper the Canon 100-400mm II would be a great compromise. The lens looks very promising and is on my list. I should have one once it's released with a report to follow.