Here's a few of the photos I ended up with:
|First bird I shot in the backyard, Crimson Rosella. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/200, f/7.1, ISO320|
|Down at Shallow Inlet this was as close as I could get to these tiny Little Stint's. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/640, f/9, ISO200|
|Trying out panning again with an IS lens, only problem was that I didn't know which IS setting was which. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/200, f/10, ISO100|
|Large-billed Scrubwren, even at f/9 the depth of field is very shallow. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/320, f/9, ISO160|
|Superb Blue Wren. The IS is a lifesaver here. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/60, f/8, ISO320|
|Jenny Wren. Canon 50D, 400mm, 1/100, f/8, ISO320|
More photos with the Canon 100-400mm in my Flickr stream.
So first up, did I enjoy the wildlife photography experience? Umm, YES! Really enjoyed it so will be looking for ways to do more in the future.
Next, what about the lens? As you can see I shot pretty much everything at 400mm and still had to crop the photos so for birds (particularly small ones) 400mm on a crop body only just cuts it. I was not blown away by the image quality but I hear that at 400mm the canon is better than the Sigma equivalents so I probably won't go with them since it will probably be my most used focal length. The IS is a real life saver when you need the extra depth of field which is most of the time with long focal length. I don't have well practised long lens technique but I was able to hand hold down to 1/60th at times. I also wasn't a fan of the push pull zoom, I find it isn't as smooth (something that may improve with practice) but I also found that when zoomed out, your left hand can't support the lens & body very well. I know people say you need lots of practice with this sort of then but I don't think that is going to change. I found that when zoomed out I'd take my hand off the zoom ring and bring it back closer to the body for support, which helped but means I can't zoom.
The other Canon 400mm option is 400mm f/5.6 which is said to be sharper than the 100-400 @ 400 and it's cheaper but it is lacking IS which I think would be a killer for me.
Anyway I heard a rumour that Canon will be releasing a new version of the 100-400 next year so I might wait till then to either get the new version or pick up a cheaper old one.