Gear Talk > Lenses

Considering Super Tele Options

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I've got a fairly complete kit now, however, there is one thing still missing and that's a super tele lens.

I'm trying to decide between the 400mm f2.8L IS II and the 600mm f4 IS II.  I'm thinking the 400mm gives me a lot more options when I add the 1.4 and 2X extenders and would bring me to the same f-stop as the 600.  Both lenses seem similar in weight although the 600 is a bit longer.  Would they both be about the same in terms of ability to hand hold?  How much does the image degrade with the extenders?  Has anyone tried these two setups?  What are your impressions/recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

I have a 5D III and if a new 7D appears I may purchase one to have a crop sensor as well as a full frame.  I expect to use this for both wildlife and sports.

Also, budget limits apply in that I am not interested in buying both lenses, but the two options are relatively close in price.  Consider that I would do one or the other and the delta in price between the two is probably not a deciding factor.

The 600 II is sharper than the 400 II + 1.4x, the 600 II + 1.4x is sharper that the 400 II + 2x, and the 600 II + 2x is 1200mm, still quite sharp, and will AF on the 5DIII after the firmware update due in April.

But...the 600mm is on the long side for sports.  I shoot birds/wildlife a lot, so for me the 600 II was the best choice.  If you shoot sports more than wildlife, the 400 may be better - it can be made longer with TCs. Do keep in mind there's an AF speed penalty with TCs - a 50% drop with a 1.4x and a 75% drop with a 2x.  If you plan to mostly use an extender, get a longer lens (the only current exception is the 600 II, since that plus the 1.4x beats the 800/5.6, and the 600 II + 2x beats the 800 + 1.4x).

Once my kids are old enough for field sports (2-3 years, I guess), I can see adding a 300/2.8 II to my kit.

Thanks for the reply Neuro.  I hadn't realized there was a speed penalty in AF with the extenders.  This is the kind of information I was hoping for.

With regard to field sports and wanting the 300 2.8 II, would that be on a full frame or your 7D?  Do you expect a 400 to be too long on a full frame to be used in that capacity?


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