you wrote:QuoteI have tried a 500mm but find it a bit short, even the 600 needs to be close to minimum focus distance if you like to fill the frame with smaller birds. Where I go birding the 500 F4 is probably the most sought after lens, probably due to it's lighter weight and price though those that have tried my 800 hate me! Especially when they learn what it cost.
My 800 is normally on a Gitzo/Wimberley setup though it is OK on a mono pod and can be handheld (for short periods) if necessary. If hand holding then keepers start from a shutter speed of 1/125th or faster - it has 4 stop IS. Some say it is too big and too specialized - I disagree, I even store my camera on this lens as it is by far the lens I use most!
John, that's most encouraging with that 800mm. Perhaps its one I should not overlook and weight is the same as I do enjoy small bird photos (warblers, sparrows, etc.)..thanks
I think it would be worth your while to give one a try (rent?). However if you can afford the 600 IS Mk2 + 1.4 Mk3 extender then, from what I read) that may be a better setup. I went for the 800 due to it's price/reach and the fact that I sold sell my 600 F4 to cover most of the cost. I am glad I did as I have recently purchased the 1DX (also very cheap) and am loving this combination.