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  1. #1
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Supertele choices

    I'm currently debating the supertele choice. With the costs involved, it'll likely be next spring before I move forward...

    My primary use is birds/wildlife, which I currently shoot with a 7D and 100-400mm. I often need to crop the resulting images a bit.

    I had originally been planning on the 500/4 IS (MkI), as the longest reasonably handholdable lens. But I decided to use those funds for a 1D X, then the original 500/4 IS was discontinued anyway.

    I then planned on the 500/4 II. I'd really like to use the 1D X rather than the 7D, for the lower ISO noise, better AF, and faster frame rate. But, 500mm on FF means giving back 140mm vs. 400mm on APS-C. OTOH, the 600/4 II is essentially the same weight as the original 500/4, so about as handholdable. Giving back 40mm isn't that big a deal, and with the 1.4x III, I'd gain 200mm relative to 400mm on 1.6x, and have great optical results. So now, I'm leaning toward the 600/4 II.

    Of course, I've also considered replacing the 7D with a 1DIV, for the 1.3x and f/8 AF. But, the 100-400 + 1.4x won't give good enough optical results, meaning I'm back to the 500/4 II or 600/4 II (although the 300/4 IS + 2x is a possibility, I'd prefer to stay away from the 2x with f/4 and slower lenses). I'd also like to be able to use all the AF points, not just the center one.

    So...it comes down to three main choices for me, and the ~$1000 cost difference isn't too important (since it's <10% of the total):

    1) use 1D X, buy 600/4 IS II and 1.4x III (840mm f/5.6)

    2) use 1D X, buy 400/2.8 IS II, 1.4x III, and 2x III (800mm f/5.6)

    3) buy 1DIV (used/refurb), 500/4 IS II and 1.4x III (910mm f/5.6 FF-equiv for exposure, f/7.1 for DoF)

    Decisions, decisions...

  2. #2
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    John

    I was looking foward to the 500mm II loosing a pound a half. Then Canon messed with us and introduced a FF 1D X to replace the 1D IV.

    One thing to concider with the 600mm II, yes it is the same weight as the old 500mm (or close to), the old 500mm is very hand holdable. But if I use the extender which gives it the same length (or close to) as the 600mm II the center of balance gets thrown further foward. Thus it will be harder to hold because of its length, but still hand holdable.

    On my trip to Yellowstone I really paid attention to the length of the 500mm and the pictures I was taking. All big game pics. At times the 500mm was to much focal length, sometimes it was just right sometimes not enough. But my overall perception for big game, is that when the 500mm wasn't enough, because of the distance the quality of the big game pics using the 600mm would have only be slightly improved. Not enough to make it completely worth while.

    But then I had to think, if I go with the FF 1D X later would I want the 600mm. Unfortunately I say yes, and it shatters my hopes of getting a lighter lens.

    Here are my thoughts;

    If you are mainly shooting birds, go with the 600MM

    1D IV owners on the forums are salivating over the new 1D X. A 1D IV might not be the way, but you might pick up a good used one from one of the upgrading members.

    I am hoping for a 7D replacement that will have a 1D type auto focus that will make the 500mm a viable option again. You think one is in the works?

    Birds, the 600mm with any body is the only answer.

    Wildlife primarily and the 400mm F/2.8 is, NO. The 400mm F/2.8 and shooting sports YES. Carrying that heavy thing to the field, NO.

    I think since you made the 1D X splash, probably go 600mm. Forget the 1D IV idea. Or wait and hope Canon gets us a 7D replacement.

    Final option I know where you can get a 500mm F/4 for $6400.
    Last edited by HDNitehawk; 08-06-2012 at 03:04 AM.

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    I don't use superteles, and I don't know anything. But if I were you, I'd want to leverage that new 1DX with its awesome af and low noise, and thus would not consider option 3. For cases when reach is so important that you need the crop factor, I'd use the 7D, which has still more reach than the 1DIV.

    Also, 1) seems a better choice than 2) if reach is what you're after.

    Just my gut reaction, with the disclaimer that I'm not speaking from experience.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rick and Jon!

    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    Wildlife primarily and the 400mm F/2.8 is, NO. The 400mm F/2.8 and shooting sports YES. Carrying that heavy thing to the field, NO.
    FWIW, the 500 MkI, 600 II, and 400 II all tip the scales within ~2 oz. of each other. While the 500 only had a modest weight reduction with the MkII update (8%, IIRC), the 400 and 600 both dropped >25% of the MkI weight.

    In fact, I started with just choices 1 and 3, and added option 2 after looking at Bryan's dimensions table and noticing that the 400 II and 600 II weighed nearly the same.

    So, with no real weight difference (the 400 II is actually a little lighter than the 600 II), the 400/2.8 II offers the most versatility (400/2.8, 560/4, and 800/5.6). Based on Bryan's comments on the 400+2xIII AF speed and the ISO 12233 shots, I'm not sure there will be a significant real-world AF or IQ difference between the 400+1.4x vs. 600 or 400+2x vs. 600+1.4x.

    I suppose my main interest in the 400 is that versatility, the option to use it for sports when the time comes for my kids. But, I suppose I'd be better off with the 600 now, and adding the 300/2.8 II down the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    I suppose my main interest in the 400 is that versatility, the option to use it for sports when the time comes for my kids. But, I suppose I'd be better off with the 600 now, and adding the 300/2.8 II down the road.
    The 400mm with the same weight and extra length, for me weight is a big no no for wildlife in the field.
    The 400mm is probably going to be a bit long for little kids sports.

    +1 for the 300mm and 600mm idea. But, wait, Bryan said expect a 200-400mm announcement shortly. 600mm + the 200-400mm????

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    I suppose my main interest in the 400 is that versatility, the option to use it for sports when the time comes for my kids. But, I suppose I'd be better off with the 600 now, and adding the 300/2.8 II down the road.
    Well, the 400 would definitely be more versatile, and it might be my choice for exactly the reasons you mentioned, but then I don't photograph birds. On the other hand, if you're thinking of adding the 300 later... well... that's a tough choice.

    Hey, I have an idea... why not just get 'em all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    But, 500mm on FF means giving back 140mm vs. 400mm on APS-C. OTOH, the 600/4 II is essentially the same weight as the original 500/4, so about as handholdable. .
    When I saw this picture, the 600mm handholdable as the 500mm really is questionable. My biggest complaints with the old 500mm, physically I was glad it isn't any longer. Loosing weight was a good thing because when you hand hold something that heavy off hand it is hard to steady. Two stops of IS wasn't enough.

    2012-Canon-Big-White-L-Lens-Family-Picture-with-Hoods.jpg by hdnitehawk01, on Flickr

  8. #8
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    The 600 II is ~2.5" longer than the 500. The 400 II ~1.5" shorter than the 500. But of course, that's sans extender.

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    The "extra length" was a miss thought and miss type, I meant you were giving up 100 to 200mm in focal length of the 500 and 600mm with the same weight.

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    With the same discliamers as JR (I would like to, but will probably never, own one of those beasties), i'd be voting Option 1.

    400/2.8 II with TCs is tempting, but you're going to get the better results at the 600/800 lengths with the 600L instead of the 400L.

    400/2.8 II is very tempting for using as a 400mm though. It will beat the pants off the 100-400L and 70-300L, and is a bit cheaper and lighter than the 600mm.

    1Div is also an nice option, but seeing as you just got the 1DX, to me it'd be no contest. The 1Div is a very nice upgrade from the 7D (i'd be buying one if I could), but compared to the 1DX it's a lot of cash for only a few minor improvements (f/8, 1.3x) and (imho) more downsides (worse IQ, worse high-iso, debatably worse AF, less fps).
    And if 7D is your last 'normal' sized body, don't forget that there's times when a 1DX/iv is just going to be too much to lug, and a G1X won't cut it, 7D would be the nice middle-ground there (unless you still have the 550D or another body?)

    So if you primarily want birds I'd be going the 600L II, for closer stuff you can keep the 100-400 (maybe with 1.4xTC for wider than 600mm?).
    Only get the 400L II if you really would rather take 'shorter' shots, like field sports (and then you can take the 70-300L on trips instead of 100-400L).
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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