Canon 400mm f/4.0 DO

I have lusted after the 400mm f/4 DO for some time now. This revolutionary telephoto lens utilizes diffractive optics to achieve a moderately long focal length (400mm) in a package light enough to be easily hand-held for long periods of time -- just 4 lbs. As can be seen from the photo above, the 400mm f/4 DO is actually smaller than the 300mm f/2.8 (with or without the 1.4x teleconverter), though significantly larger than the 400mm f/5.6 "Toy Lens". After finding my 300mm f/2.8 (which I purchased used) to be exceptionally lacking in sharpness -- I found the much smaller and cheaper "Toy Lens" to be far sharper in bright sunlight, even without image stabilization -- I returned the 300mm f/2.8 and exchanged it for the (significantly more expensive) 400mm f/4 DO. After a reasonably thorough comparison, I can say that the 400mm f/4 DO is fully as sharp as the Toy Lens, despite having more optical elements requiring precision manufacturing and alignment. The only slight defect I have noted is that the image stabilizer consistently jerks the image to the right immediately after each shutter release. This does not appear to affect image quality.

I have decided to dub my new 400mm f/4 DO lens the "DODO lens" (where DODO stands for "Diffractive Optics for Digital Ornithology").

Some shots of my DODO lens attached to the Canon 30D are shown below. The framed prints in the photo were taken with my old Nikon 80-400mm VR lens, which has now been retired via eBay.

Below are a number of photos taken with the DODO lens. Most of these were taken wide open at 400mm, though for a few I stopped down only slightly to f/4.5, and several of the song sparrows were shot with the Canon 1.4x II teleconverter.