Canon Announces 200-400f4.0 with built in 1.4x extender

A couple days old, but I just came across this press release from Canon:
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., February 7, 2011 – Canon Inc. today announced the development of a new super-telephoto lens, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x, for use with all EOS SLR cameras. A prototype of the new lens will be exhibited at the CP+ tradeshow, held in Pacifico Yokohama, from February 9 - 12, 2011. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x is being developed as an L-series super-telephoto lens with an integrated 1.4x extender and high-performance Image Stabilizer technology. The new lens will offer exceptional flexibility by incorporating a built-in 1.4x extender that increases the maximum focal length to 560mm for sports and wildlife photography. High-quality images with high levels of resolution and contrast will be possible through the use of advanced optical materials such as fluorite crystal. The new lens will also include dust- and water-resistant construction designed for extended usage under harsh conditions.
Naturally after I read the release I scoured the internet trying to get more information, specifically price and a rumored launch date. The canon forums are blowing up over this lens, and rightfully so. The 200-400 with 1.4x will be a huge addition to any wildlife or sports photographer and, in my opinion, reduce the number of lenses needed while on the field. I've been debating whether I've wanted to upgrade to a 100-400 f4.0 and now I have to play the waiting game yet again. I have coverage with my 70-300mm so the 100-400 would be mostly redundant. An addition to my arsenal of a 200-400 with a built in 1.4x extender would give me a greater range with less redundancies. The biggest thing about this lens will be the price tag, I've read (nothing official) that it will retail between$6,300 - $8,000. I've told that it could be as low as $4,000 but I'd consider that a long shot. I've also been told and read that we could see this lens as soon as May and as late as August. Canon tends to have another product event in late summer, August/September historically, so it's certainly possible that a lens of this magnitude would be released prior to other announcements. In my travels around the internet and other photography folks "in-the-know" I'll keep you posted what I hear. For me, I could use this in my arsenal, there are however cheaper solutions IF the price tag is as high as reports have indicated. That being said, I'll be saving my pennies towards this until we get confirmation from Canon what a retail price will be.

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