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Author Topic: 400 F2.8 with Externder or 600 F 4.0 ? help need to take a decision....  (Read 10308 times)

garyknrd

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I have the 600 II and am awaiting the arrival of my 200-400 ....  But, neither of them are light, and hand holding them is not as easy as some of you on this board seem to think it is.  Doable, certainly, but challenging, YES.  Way too much lens for a small person or a woman to handle, without being on a tri-pod (Wemberley) or at least a monopod

I am glad someone pointed that out. I keep reading different posts with people saying the 400, 500 and 600 ii lenses are handholdable. They are, but only for a (very) limited period of time.

The 600 ii is just under 4kg add that to a 1D X which is 1.4 kg or something, giving you a combined total of around 5.5kgs.

Not sure about that statement. I have the new 500 II. I have had it for about 6 months and it has  been on a tripod maybe a hand full of times. I shoot daily with it. I also had the old 500 IS and it lived on a tripod. The loss of 1.5 lbs made this a hand hold-able rig for me. The only time I even think about a tripod is when I add a 1.4 t.c. which is very seldom. I shoot small to medium size birds.

99% of what you see here is handheld.
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expatinasia

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I have the 600 II and am awaiting the arrival of my 200-400 ....  But, neither of them are light, and hand holding them is not as easy as some of you on this board seem to think it is.  Doable, certainly, but challenging, YES.  Way too much lens for a small person or a woman to handle, without being on a tri-pod (Wemberley) or at least a monopod

I am glad someone pointed that out. I keep reading different posts with people saying the 400, 500 and 600 ii lenses are handholdable. They are, but only for a (very) limited period of time.

The 600 ii is just under 4kg add that to a 1D X which is 1.4 kg or something, giving you a combined total of around 5.5kgs.

Not sure about that statement. I have the new 500 II. I have had it for about 6 months and it has  been on a tripod maybe a hand full of times. I shoot daily with it. I also had the old 500 IS and it lived on a tripod. The loss of 1.5 lbs made this a hand hold-able rig for me. The only time I even think about a tripod is when I add a 1.4 t.c. which is very seldom. I shoot small to medium size birds.

99% of what you see here is handheld.
www.flickr.com/photos/avianphotos

You have some lovely shots there, and 10/10 for the domain name birdsthatfart!! That's brilliant.  ;D

I guess that it depends on your style of shooting and what you shoot. I do mainly sports which means I am often seated and need to keep the camera pretty much horizontal for long periods of time. I of course use a monopod for this, if I didn't I would tire quickly.

I also have to carry all my gear (a lot of stuff) from the train station/car park to the media centre to the pitch, up and down steps, etc etc which is pretty good work out by itself.

As you are shooting birds mainly, I would imagine that you do not keep your camera and lens up horizontally for very long periods, is that right?

So I think handhodable depends on what we are doing and how long we are keeping the camera at eye level for.

Oh and I know a couple of birds that fart, I may send you their pictures!  ;D 8)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 11:06:53 PM by expatinasia »
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Handholding requires practice. You need to establish a very solid standing position and you need to learn how to rest your left elbow properly. You also need to control breathing a bit like a standing rifle shooter. To begin with it can be quite difficult, but with practice you get the balance right and it is less problematic.

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garyknrd

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I have the 600 II and am awaiting the arrival of my 200-400 ....  But, neither of them are light, and hand holding them is not as easy as some of you on this board seem to think it is.  Doable, certainly, but challenging, YES.  Way too much lens for a small person or a woman to handle, without being on a tri-pod (Wemberley) or at least a monopod

I am glad someone pointed that out. I keep reading different posts with people saying the 400, 500 and 600 ii lenses are handholdable. They are, but only for a (very) limited period of time.

The 600 ii is just under 4kg add that to a 1D X which is 1.4 kg or something, giving you a combined total of around 5.5kgs.

Not sure about that statement. I have the new 500 II. I have had it for about 6 months and it has  been on a tripod maybe a hand full of times. I shoot daily with it. I also had the old 500 IS and it lived on a tripod. The loss of 1.5 lbs made this a hand hold-able rig for me. The only time I even think about a tripod is when I add a 1.4 t.c. which is very seldom. I shoot small to medium size birds.

99% of what you see here is handheld.
www.flickr.com/photos/avianphotos

You have some lovely shots there, and 10/10 for the domain name birdsthatfart!! That's brilliant.  ;D

I guess that it depends on your style of shooting and what you shoot. I do mainly sports which means I am often seated and need to keep the camera pretty much horizontal for long periods of time. I of course use a monopod for this, if I didn't I would tire quickly.

I also have to carry all my gear (a lot of stuff) from the train station/car park to the media centre to the pitch, up and down steps, etc etc which is pretty good work out by itself.

As you are shooting birds mainly, I would imagine that you do not keep your camera and lens up horizontally for very long periods, is that right?

So I think handhodable depends on what we are doing and how long we are keeping the camera at eye level for.

Oh and I know a couple of birds that fart, I may send you their pictures!  ;D 8)

As usual I was thinking of me only. You are right of course. Point well taken. If I were shooting sports and in that arena. I would also be using a tripod and good head.
Yea, send me the pics... :)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 01:07:08 AM by garyknrd »
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expatinasia

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As usual I was thinking of me only. You are right of course. Point well taken. If I were shooting sports and in that arena. I would also be using a tripod and good head.
Yea, send me the pics... :)

No, you are right, in fact we both are. They are handholdable but not for any serious lengths of time, and believe me you would not be using a tripod at a major sporting event.

As for the pics of all the birds I know that fart, my gf threatened me with some serious surgery if I sent you anything that resembles her. Bizarrely, she did say I could send you those of her ex bf's gf. Go figure..... ;-)

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garyknrd

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As usual I was thinking of me only. You are right of course. Point well taken. If I were shooting sports and in that arena. I would also be using a tripod and good head.
Yea, send me the pics... :)

No, you are right, in fact we both are. They are handholdable but not for any serious lengths of time, and believe me you would not be using a tripod at a major sporting event.

As for the pics of all the birds I know that fart, my gf threatened me with some serious surgery if I sent you anything that resembles her. Bizarrely, she did say I could send you those of her ex bf's gf. Go figure..... ;-)

LOL.....
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Good choice Andreas!  The 600mm II + the extenders are great for birding.  I'd probably get rid of your 100-400 though, as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with the 2x III is better at 400mm; especially on a 5D III. 

As far as hand holding...yeah for a few snaps...I'd suggest a sturdy monopod and tripod.  Even hiking around with the 600 and a monopod can be challenging. Oh and get a gimbal head for it too.
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neuroanatomist

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I'd probably get rid of your 100-400 though, as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with the 2x III is better at 400mm; especially on a 5D III. 

My 100-400 @ 400mm is better than my 70-200 II + 2xIII @ 400mm.  Not massively better, but noticeably better.  That's also consistent with TDP's ISO 12233 crops. 
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jasonsim

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I'd probably get rid of your 100-400 though, as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with the 2x III is better at 400mm; especially on a 5D III. 

My 100-400 @ 400mm is better than my 70-200 II + 2xIII @ 400mm.  Not massively better, but noticeably better.  That's also consistent with TDP's ISO 12233 crops.

Not only me saying this, but Arthur Morris (birdsasart-blog.com) says the same thing and gave the same advice.  The 70-200mm II even with extenders has more resolving power.  Maybe something wrong with your 70-200.


 


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neuroanatomist

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Maybe something wrong with your 70-200.

...or maybe with your 100-400.  ;)

The 70-200 II + 2xIII is sharp, it's that the 100-400 is a little sharper @ 400mm, and the 400/5.6 is a little sharper still.  As for a 'bad copy', TDP tested three copies of the 70-200 II, and none of them with the 2xIII beat the 100-400 @ 400mm.

Copy 1

Copy 2

Copy 3

I like Artie, but the thing to keep in mind is that his blog is there to earn money for him ("Please remember to use our links") and the ~$2500 70-200 II + TC combo will earn him more than the other options. 

It seems like several of his posts are actually comparing the 70-200 II + 2xIII to the 400/5.6 prime, and favoring the former for IQ. I'd have to declare shenanigans on that...
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jasonsim

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Maybe something wrong with your 70-200.

...or maybe with your 100-400.  ;)

The 70-200 II + 2xIII is sharp, it's that the 100-400 is a little sharper @ 400mm, and the 400/5.6 is a little sharper still.  As for a 'bad copy', TDP tested three copies of the 70-200 II, and none of them with the 2xIII beat the 100-400 @ 400mm.

Copy 1

Copy 2

Copy 3

I like Artie, but the thing to keep in mind is that his blog is there to earn money for him ("Please remember to use our links") and the ~$2500 70-200 II + TC combo will earn him more than the other options. 

It seems like several of his posts are actually comparing the 70-200 II + 2xIII to the 400/5.6 prime, and favoring the former for IQ. I'd have to declare shenanigans on that...

I can no longer trust the TDP ISO charts, since my experience with certain lenses is opposite what his charts say.  Example was my Canon 200mm f/1.8L lens.  Mine was super duper sharp, sharper than my 200mm f/2L IS was.  But his ISO charts indicate that the sharpness was very bad (just look at em).  There is sometimes sample variations and so...  he's also using a 1Ds III, which well, I don't think can stand with the 5D III or 1Dx sensors.

My 100-400mm was indeed sharp, but the AF was not nearly as fast as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II + extenders.  Sharpness wise, I think they are at very least on par.  So why bother keeping another big lens around.  A similar situation was when I compared my 600mm II + 1.4x with my (now sold) 800mm bare.  Even the 600mm II + 2x was sharper than the 800mm bare and I thought my 800mm was a good copy.

I had a 400mm f/5.6 also.  It was sharper than the 100-400mm, but sharpness is not everything.  The 100-400mm and the 70-200mm have much better color saturation and micro contrast.  Simply put, the 70-200mm f/2.8L II is the sharpest telephoto lens by Canon.  It has fluorite elements while the other two do not.  Its AF is the fastest of any zoom.  And it has the latest gen IS.  Why not take advantage of that tech slap a 2x III on it and be done. 


70-200mmII + 2xIII @ 278mm . 1/1600 s . f/5.6 . ISO 400 . +2/3 EV
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 12:24:16 PM by jasonsim »
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neuroanatomist

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I can no longer trust the TDP ISO charts, since my experience with certain lenses is opposite what his charts say.  Example was my Canon 200mm f/1.8L lens.  Mine was super duper sharp, sharper than my 200mm f/2L IS was.  But his ISO charts indicate that the sharpness was very bad (just look at em).  There is sometimes sample variations and so...  he's also using a 1Ds III, which well, I don't think can stand with the 5D III or 1Dx sensors.

My 100-400mm was indeed sharp, but the AF was not nearly as fast as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II + extenders.  Sharpness wise, I think they are at very least on par.  So why bother keeping another big lens around.  A similar situation was when I compared my 600mm II + 1.4x with my (now sold) 800mm bare.  Even the 600mm II + 2x was sharper than the 800mm bare and I thought my 800mm was a good copy.

Production of the 200/1.8 ceased before TDP started - when you buy a used copy, it's even more of a crapshoot than can sometimes happen with new lenses. So, who knows what happened to that 200/1.8 before he tested it.

Honestly, I trusted Art Morris a lot more before you pointed me at his statements that the 70-200 II + 2xIII beats the 400/5.6 - I'll be reading his blog with a lot more skepticism from now on.

As for the 1DsIII vs. 1D X or 5DIII, the lens comparisons are just that - lens comparisons.  As long as the same body is being used, it's a valid comparison.  The body might make a difference if the sensor resolution exceeds lens resolution, but that's not the case here.

TDP's ISO 12233 crops support your statement that the 600 II + 1.4xIII beats the bare 800L (and 600 II + 2xIII beats 800L + 1.4x) - that's one reason I didn't even consider the 800 when contemplating buying the 600 II.

As for why I am keeping the 100-400, besides that slight edge in sharpness, the collapsed length when mounted is shorter (packs better), the balance is better, and the push-pull is faster to operate.  When the 100-400 replacement comes along, you can bet it'll trounce the 70-200 II + 2xIII for IQ.
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Honestly, I trusted Art Morris a lot more before you pointed me at his statements that the 70-200 II + 2xIII beats the 400/5.6 - I'll be reading his blog with a lot more skepticism from now on.

Art Morris' evaluations of lenses are never based on technical charts and the like. His basis for evaluating the quality of a lens is the actual results it produces in the field. Any time you ask Art about what he thinks of the quality of a lens, he'll pull out a photo of a bird he's taken with that lens, and give you a subjective evaluation of whether he believes the lens produced "professional sharpness" or not.

The technical difference between teh 100-400 vs. the 70-200+2x, as seen on TDP, is extremely small. From what I have seen when comparing the 70-200+2x III @ 400mm on TDP, the 70-200 actually performs just a smidge better center and mid frame than the 100-400. The corners perform worse, with a greater amount of CA...however given that one usually crops bird photos, center and midframe are really what matter anyway. I do not believe the differences could really be seen either way in any real-world application, with the exception of center frame, where I think the 70-200 does do slightly better...even with the 2x TC.

As for why I am keeping the 100-400, besides that slight edge in sharpness, the collapsed length when mounted is shorter (packs better), the balance is better, and the push-pull is faster to operate.  When the 100-400 replacement comes along, you can bet it'll trounce the 70-200 II + 2xIII for IQ.

I totally agree, any new 100-400 will probably trounce any comparable lens that came before it. Personally, I'm a fan of the push/pull...if Canon uses a ring-based zoom approach, it'll be a hard sell on me.



To the OP, having JUST recently been through such an evaluation myself, I'll offer that I chose the 600mm f/4 L II in the end. I considered the 300/2.8 L II, 400/2.8 L II, and 600/4 L II. I do birds and wildlife, primarily birds, and there is just no denying the benefit of reach for birds. I rarely photograph them without the 1.4x TC, and with the 5D III next on my list of things to buy, I highly doubt I'll photograph many birds with anything less than 1200mm.

I think 600mm is a nice focal length for wildlife...it not only gives you reach enough to stay at a comfortable, safe distance when you need to be (i.e. rut season), but it keeps a thin depth of field and nicely blurs backgrounds. Long run, having rented these lenses in the past, I think the 300/2.8 L II is a better wildlife lens than the 400/2.8. You have a good range of versatility with TCs, but particularly the 300mm focal length which is ideal for wildlife you can get close to, and the ultra fast aperture that helps in the dimmer evening or early morning light when a lot of wildlife is up and about. The weight of the 300/2.8 is also superb for carrying around for a while. I wouldn't go so far as to say you could hand-hold the 300/2.8 "all day", but several hours for sure. If you needed more reach, you can always slap on the 2x TC III for 600mm, which is about as long as I think anyone would really want to go for wildlife.

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Being a wildlife photographer, I am probably, with the exception of the 200-400 which I just purchased, always going to move in the direction of the longer lens.  I hve the 600 II and feel that it gives better results than the 800mm that I rented last year on a trip to Svalbard.  Plus the added weight savings with the new versions is nice but still a lot of lens to hand hold for any length of time....monopods and tripods are still going to give you the best results no matter how solid and steady your hand holding is....just my 2 cents worth...I would opt for the 600 in a New York minute over the 400 or the 300, both of which I have owned...but I don't shoot indoors so the 2.8 factor is not important to me....F4 seems to give me what I need 90% of the time.

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Artie's subjective evaluations are convenient, because he can change his mind, even contradict previous statements, and it's all 'ok' because it's subjective.

@jrista - I have both the 1.4xIII and 2xIII, and after the novelty of f/8 AF (with effectively a single point) wore off, I usually use the 1.4x, and only rarely the 2x. YMMV...
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