Canon 100-400mm II IS USM review in 2022 for Wildlife Photography

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Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review for bird and wildlife photography. Is the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens relevant today, in a world of mirrorless cameras and lenses? That’s the question we’re addressing in this review. Canon is also now a formidable player in the world of mirrorless cameras. So it’s reasonable to assume that Canon will not release an update for their 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens for DSLR cameras.

Watch what happens when you attach a Canon 1.4x III extender to the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS lens. The other questions that we’re also asking are whether the Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon D500 are relevant in a world of mirrorless cameras.

In the following videos, I address these questions individually: Is the Canon 7D Mark II relevant in 2022 and is the Nikon D500 relevant in 2022.

I hope this Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review has helped you. Please see www.girishmenon.com to know more about the photography workshops and wildlife photography tours that I offer!

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Is the Canon 7D Mark II Camera worth buying for wildlife photography in 2022?

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Ok, so you want to click wildlife, and you are considering the Canon 7D Mark II. You’re in the right place!

I have a 5-point checklist to decide whether a camera is good enough for wildlife photography and they are:

Number of autofocus points
Autofocus speed
Burst speed
Buffer size and
Image quality

I find that if these specs are good enough then all other factors also fall in place.

Now before we talk about these specs in detail, I want to tell you that the camera is, as they say, built like a tank, Completely weather sealed, resists water and dust like a champion!

It has 66 focus points, all cross-type. Cross type focus points are able to focus faster more accurately than non-cross type points. You can rely on them to nail focus every single time even in challenging conditions such as low light, and when clicking photos of subjects in action.

I always choose my autofocus area as “single point”, and select the relevant point where I want maximum sharpness. I align that focus point with the eye of the subject.

On the Canon 7D Mark II, you can choose a smaller AF area within the focus point for even more accurate focusing.

The autofocus speed is super fast. I have no words to describe how quick and accurate it is in any situation.

It has a 20.2 megapixel sensor. And can click 10 frames per second… which is exceptional.

Its buffer can hold 31 RAW images which is significantly less when you compare it with something like a Nikon D500 which has a buffer size that can accommodate 200 RAW images.

However if you use a fast memory card, which is very affordable these days, your camera will never slow down just because its buffer is full. You can keep clicking at 10 frames per second, uninterrupted.

When clicking pictures of birds in flight, we need shutter speeds in excess of 1/200th of a second, sometimes even 1/4000th of a seocnd. That means higher ISO values.

The image quality is exceptional, even at 1600 ISO. And produces acceptable images even at 12800 ISO. These images that I clicked at 12800 ISO would be much muddier and unusable if I had clicked them with some other cameras.

The Canon 7D Mark II camera checks all boxes and that’s why it’s still one of the best cameras you can lay your hands on, even in 2022. But if you’re interested in photographing birds, you must consider the fact that Canon does not offer us an affordable 500 mil lens for their DSLR cameras… unlike Nikon which has two lenses, the 200-500, and 500 5.6 prime lens.

On the other hand, Canon has an exceptional 100-400 lens that’s probably the sharpest super telephoto zoom lens out there at the moment. The 100-400 Mark II is also a lot smaller and lighter than the Nikon 200-500. So if you’re going on jeep safaris to click tigers, leopards, rhinos, and other mammals, then the 100-400 Mark II lens is more comfortable to handle. It does exceptionally well with the 1.4X Mark III teleconverter. Please see the link in the description for my review on using the teleconverter and extending the focal length from 400 mil to 560 mil!

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Bird photography | Harrier birds of prey | Canon DSLR

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The discussions went on for a few days on Facebook and WhatsApp groups about the ID of a harrier. Experts from all over the world joined the conversation.

Stunted deciduous trees give us an indication that trees don’t grow very tall in the region filmed in this video. These limitations make this terrain unique, kind of like a desert. 

Harriers, migratory birds, fly in just towards the end of the monsoons and roost here between October and January. There’s something about this terrain that must appeal to them during this time of the year. Obviously there’s food, and the colour of the drying foliage beautifully camouflages female pallid and Montagu’s harriers. The males are grey in colour. Perhaps their prey mistake them for rocks.

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Bird photography with Canon DSLR | Behind the scene

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We’re going to an area where we see raptors such as ospreys, harriers, and peregrine falcons. While still operating his boat, Nitin spotted a bird miles away. And I mean, miles away. The bird was sitting on the bark of a tree jutting out of the water. It appeared like a little dot, it could be any bird. But Nitin suspected that it was an osprey and asked me to take a test shot with my camera and zoom in to see if we could identify it. I clicked a test shot and magnified the picture fully. Even then it occupied a very small portion of my screen, but we could tell from the shape of its body that it was indeed an osprey.

It took us about three minutes to get closer to the bird, that’s how far it was. Once we got closer, Nitin switched off the engine and rowed closer towards it. I clicked a few pictures, but then the osprey flew away and sat on top of an electric pole miles away. So we turned towards that direction hoping that I could click more photos. But before we could get to it, it flew away again and sat on top of another pole, even further away.

But Nitin was confident that it would soon fly back towards us, because there were some fishermen fishing in that area, and that would disturb our osprey. Nitin was right, yet again and the osprey came and sat on top of the tree where we had first seen it.

I was using a Canon 100-400 Mark II lens with a 1.4 extender, and a Canon 300 millimeter f/4 prime lens on Canon 7D Mark II cameras. The 1.4 extender extends the 400 millimeter focal length to 560 millimeters. I like to photograph a creature’s habitat along with it, and I used the 300 millimeter lens for wider photos.

The light got better for photography as time went by. We were cautious not to go too close to the osprey too quickly. Nitin is an expert at maneuvering the boat with his oars, inching closer towards birds. 

I didn’t stop clicking.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Canon EF 1.4x III Extender review using Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Mark II

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I was walking towards the jetty at Kumbhargaon near Bhigwan in India to photograph birds. It would be the day when I will use the 1.4 extender for the first time—It’s a Canon 1.4 extender Mark III on a Canon 100-400 Mark II lens. Now my 400 millimeter 5.6 lens is a 560 F8 lens, 1 stop down.

I will be able to autofocus at F8 on a Canon 7D Mark II body using the centre point and four assist points.

Now I know what you’re thinking—it’s a bad idea to use an extender on this lens—but I have a plan. I’m going to photograph birds in flight against the bright blue sky when the sun’s out. So that way I won’t need a ridiculously high ISO for a fast shutter speed.

I’ve never done this before so I’m looking forward to seeing the results; so let’s watch the video.

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Wildlife photography | Tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park

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This is a story about a sub-adult tiger called “Banbehi-male-cub”, one of three cubs of “Banbehi-female” and “Mangu” from that generation. There was some unusual tiger behavior going on at the time when we saw Banbehi-male-cub and one of his siblings.

This vlog also tells us how tigers get their names, and what it’s like to go on safaris to Bandhavgarh National Park during summer.

The morning safari at Bandhavgarh starts at 5:30 during the summer. It had stopped raining at 5 o’clock when our safari jeep came to pick us up and we were on our way!

The sun came out angry after the rains that morning and Bandhavgarh went into a state of sublimation.

After four and a half hours of driving around in the heat we hadn’t seen a single tiger—and were on our way out. Then our luck changed. 

”Banbehi-male-cub” appeared. He had turned two years old, and was at a stage in his life when tigers leave their parents and siblings and embark on their own independent journeys—proclaiming territories and seeking mates.

A few days earlier, his mother, “Banbehi-female” had another litter. 

Tigers get their names either from the area where they were first spotted, or by their appearance or behavior. Banbehi is the name of a river that flows in this female tiger’s territory—and that’s how she got her name.

Now tigers don’t meet their cubs from previous litters when they have a new litter but Banbehi-female would meet these subadult cubs from her previous litter.

These meetings continued for about a month after the new cubs were born.

Mangu, a large male tiger was the father of both these litters—that’s the only reason why this was possible. 

Of course the newborn cubs were away in a secret  cave far away from Banbehi-male-cub and his siblings otherwise they would have been killed by the previous generation. 

The almost burnt out areas of this photo remind me of the heat that morning.

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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