October 02, 2014, 04:24:42 AM

Author Topic: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II  (Read 19246 times)

wearle

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 58
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2013, 10:31:13 PM »
To all,

Initially, I had some problems with my lens.  It was mis-calibrated at the factory.  Now it's producing the images it should have in the first place.  Here are a few non-bird images taken this year.  The last was taken with the Canon 135mm f/2.0L just for some perspective.  The fireworks were taken from 5 miles away on Emigrant Hill overlooking the Wildhorse Casino near Pendleton, Oregon.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2013, 10:31:13 PM »

AlanF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1089
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2013, 11:14:09 PM »
Glenn argues that the 600mm gives 1.44x more magnification than the 500 (i.e. (600/500)^2) not 1.2 (600/500). But, is that relevant? The resolution of a lens, the most important factor, is a linear function of focal length, not of length squared. For example, a 600mm lens will give the same size image as a 500mm at 20% further away, not 44% further. When you use binoculars, you talk about x8 vs x10, i.e. the linear magnification, not x64 vs x100, the square. A 600mm lens would seem to me to be a 20% increase in reach, not 44%.

A subject in the frame is not linear, though...it exists in two dimensions. If you measure the subject from corner to corner, sure, the increase is 20%. But in terms of area, it sits on 44% more pixels. It is the increase of pixels on subject that really matters when jumping to a longer focal length, and the difference in PoT is 44%, not 20%. The reason this matters is the more pixels you can get onto the subject, the better the relationship of fine detail to noise. Noise is always a pixel-level thing...if fine detail and noise are both pixel level things, the noise can be a real problem. However, if you can get more pixels on subject, then fine detail becomes larger than a pixel, and nise quickly becomes a background (non-obvious) factor.

I recently purchased the 600/4 L II myself. I was using the 100-400mm. Aside from the superior optics and reduced weight, which are the most obvious improvements...the 600mm lens gets me a 125% increase in pixels on subject ((600/400)^2, or 2.25x). The point Glenn is making is entirely valid, and his numbers are also entirely correct (although there is a simpler way to calculate it: (longer/shorter)^2). It isn't the sole reason to upgrade or purchase this lens, but it is a good one.

For more on pixels on subject: http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/index.html

Signal/noise varies as the square root of the area of the image, i.e. the sqrt of the number of pixels. So, even even though you increase the area by (600/500)^2, you increase S/N only by a factor of (600/500).
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

jrista

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4734
  • POTATO
    • View Profile
    • Nature Photography
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2013, 11:20:09 PM »
Well, I think you got very lucky. I spent time on Adorama very recently (just last week). I found a 500/4 L for $7700 that was rated D, and one for $6000 that was rated E-. I found a number of E and E- rated 300/2.8 L and 400/2.8 L that were selling for $4700 to $5900, and one 800/5.6 L that was D rated and selling for $11,999! If you find a D-rated 600/4 Mark I with all accessories in the hard case for $6000, then I think you get lucky. I certainly haven't seen one in the last 14 months I've been looking...

I disgree.  I got 600 mk1 from Adorama that was D rated for 6000.00.  Not a scratch or spec of dust.  Keys strap and manual were still in the original package.  The lens was flawless.  Plus it came with their standard 30 days return policy.  Not misguided at all if you buy from a reputable company.

I think the notion that you can get any 600/4 MkI for $6000 is misguided. You can find them for that cheap...but when you look at the condition of the versions that people are selling for that low of a price, they are NOT in the greatest of condition. Nicks, scratches, enamel discoloration, missing or broken accessories, etc. I was just in the market for these lenses, and I searched every store online, including eBay and Craigs List, before finally buying a brand new EF 600 f/4 L II from Vistek in Canada (the USD price was $10,865, plus $67 shipping and a 1.5% currency exchange fee...couldn't freaking pass that deal up!!)

In my searches, however, I found that an EF 600mm f/4 L Mark I lens, in good condition, with all accessories in good, working condition, including the hard case, was closer to $9000 than $6000, and in a couple instances where the whole kit was in perfect condition, not even a nick in the enamel, AS SOLD prices on eBay were ~$9800. Assuming the condition and completeness of the kit matters to you, the difference between an old Mark I and a new Mark II is not $6000. That would be the difference between a brand spankin new, list price Mark II and a fairly beat up Mark I. The difference between a sale price Mark II and a great condition Mark II is maybe $2000 to $2500.

In that respect, if you own a Mark I, and you've kept it in good condition, have all the accessories and the hard case...your "upgrade price" is likely to be far less than $6000, possibly as little as $2000. For that price, the reduction in weight, better AF, double the IS capability, superior IQ, and a warranty (!!)...well, it's well worth it!
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 5D III | Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: SBIG STT-8300M | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

jrista

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4734
  • POTATO
    • View Profile
    • Nature Photography
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2013, 11:26:16 PM »
Glenn argues that the 600mm gives 1.44x more magnification than the 500 (i.e. (600/500)^2) not 1.2 (600/500). But, is that relevant? The resolution of a lens, the most important factor, is a linear function of focal length, not of length squared. For example, a 600mm lens will give the same size image as a 500mm at 20% further away, not 44% further. When you use binoculars, you talk about x8 vs x10, i.e. the linear magnification, not x64 vs x100, the square. A 600mm lens would seem to me to be a 20% increase in reach, not 44%.

A subject in the frame is not linear, though...it exists in two dimensions. If you measure the subject from corner to corner, sure, the increase is 20%. But in terms of area, it sits on 44% more pixels. It is the increase of pixels on subject that really matters when jumping to a longer focal length, and the difference in PoT is 44%, not 20%. The reason this matters is the more pixels you can get onto the subject, the better the relationship of fine detail to noise. Noise is always a pixel-level thing...if fine detail and noise are both pixel level things, the noise can be a real problem. However, if you can get more pixels on subject, then fine detail becomes larger than a pixel, and nise quickly becomes a background (non-obvious) factor.

I recently purchased the 600/4 L II myself. I was using the 100-400mm. Aside from the superior optics and reduced weight, which are the most obvious improvements...the 600mm lens gets me a 125% increase in pixels on subject ((600/400)^2, or 2.25x). The point Glenn is making is entirely valid, and his numbers are also entirely correct (although there is a simpler way to calculate it: (longer/shorter)^2). It isn't the sole reason to upgrade or purchase this lens, but it is a good one.

For more on pixels on subject: http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/index.html

Signal/noise varies as the square root of the area of the image, i.e. the sqrt of the number of pixels. So, even even though you increase the area by (600/500)^2, you increase S/N only by a factor of (600/500).

True, SNR itself is just the root of the area, however that does not diminish the value of having 44% more pixels on the subject overall. That is a lot more detail, resulting in a sharper outcome with better color fidelity and everything else that goes along with having more pixels on the subject. Not to mention the fact that the subject is the square of the ratio larger in the frame (i.e., for me, I am gaining a 125% improvement as far as subject size in the frame by moving from 400mm to 600mm...not just a 50% improvement). I also did not mention the improvement to boke, and the ability to get a thinner DOF (which, at least for bird photography, is a big deal...I prefer to isolate my subjects, focus only on them with my DOF only an inch or two deep, and completely blur out any background detail.)

You gain on every front...less noise, more detail, sharper detail, thinner DOF, more reach, frame-filling subjects, etc.
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 5D III | Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: SBIG STT-8300M | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

Dylan777

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4106
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2013, 12:42:07 AM »
I'm still leaning to one of these:

1. 400mm f2.8 IS II + x1.4 and x2 TC III --  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
                             OR
2. 300mm f2.8 IS II + x1.4 and x2 TC III -- ;D ;D ;D

Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 85L II -- 135L -- 200L f2 IS -- 400L f2.8 IS II

AlanF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1089
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2013, 02:40:55 AM »
Of course you gain by going from 400 to 600mm - I have done it. Your arguments jrista are qualitative as to the amount of gain and are hand waving that it goes up by the focal length squared.  But, the physics and maths quantitatively show it varies linearly with length. Let us just agree that it is a great improvement. 

I went up to 600mm by using a 300mm f/2.8 II +2xTC III. It may not be quite as good as the native, but it is good enough and so light that I can hold it in my elderly hand for hours. 

Here is a 100% crop of a heron 50-60 metres away  I took on Sunday.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 02:48:33 AM by AlanF »
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

serendipidy

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1319
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2013, 02:46:45 AM »
Great shots acinonyx. I really like your birds ... And welcome to cr.  :)

+1...I love those kingfisher shots! :)
EOS 5D miii, EOS 7D, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii, 100-400mmL IS

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2013, 02:46:45 AM »

serendipidy

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1319
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2013, 03:00:28 AM »
Of course you gain by going from 400 to 600mm - I have done it. Your arguments jrista are qualitative as to the amount of gain and are hand waving that it goes up by the focal length squared.  But, the physics and maths quantitatively show it varies linearly with length. Let us just agree that it is a great improvement. 

I went up to 600mm by using a 300mm f/2.8 II +2xTC III. It may not be quite as good as the native, but it is good enough and so light that I can hold it in my elderly hand for hours. 

Here is a 100% crop of a heron 50-60 metres away  I took on Sunday.

Really nice heron shot, Alan. 8)
EOS 5D miii, EOS 7D, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii, 100-400mmL IS

Hobby Shooter

  • Guest
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2013, 04:04:42 AM »
Of course you gain by going from 400 to 600mm - I have done it. Your arguments jrista are qualitative as to the amount of gain and are hand waving that it goes up by the focal length squared.  But, the physics and maths quantitatively show it varies linearly with length. Let us just agree that it is a great improvement. 

I went up to 600mm by using a 300mm f/2.8 II +2xTC III. It may not be quite as good as the native, but it is good enough and so light that I can hold it in my elderly hand for hours. 

Here is a 100% crop of a heron 50-60 metres away  I took on Sunday.

Really nice heron shot, Alan. 8)
Poor fish  :o

TexPhoto

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 935
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2013, 09:47:49 AM »
In general 300mm and 400mm f2.8s are for sports first, wildlife 2nd.

500, 600, 800 are for wildlife first, and sports/other applications 2nd.

I have a 400mm f2.8 IS (the first one) and a 300mm f4, plus both vIII extenders.  This gets me a wide range of telephoto options, from 300mm to 1280 (equiv. on the 7D)

The 600mm f4 II looks astonishing, but waaaay past my budjet.

jrista

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4734
  • POTATO
    • View Profile
    • Nature Photography
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2013, 10:14:35 AM »
Of course you gain by going from 400 to 600mm - I have done it. Your arguments jrista are qualitative as to the amount of gain and are hand waving that it goes up by the focal length squared.  But, the physics and maths quantitatively show it varies linearly with length. Let us just agree that it is a great improvement. 

I went up to 600mm by using a 300mm f/2.8 II +2xTC III. It may not be quite as good as the native, but it is good enough and so light that I can hold it in my elderly hand for hours. 

Here is a 100% crop of a heron 50-60 metres away  I took on Sunday.

Perhaps an actual visual example from a world renown bird photographer can settle the argument. Art Morris, literally renown as the worlds best bird photographer, also agrees the gain is relative to the square of the difference in focal length, not the linear difference:

http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2011/08/25/size-does-matter-the-power-of-the-square-of-the-focal-length/

Anyway, great GBH shot. Love the action moment. :)
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 5D III | Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: SBIG STT-8300M | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

East Wind Photography

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 708
  • EWP
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2013, 10:26:23 AM »
Yes so their model is to price it higher initially and if it doesnt sell, they start dropping the price.  I waited for 30 days and caught it the same day they knocked 900.00 off the price.

6K was an estimate.  Depending on the deal you get it could be more or less.  regardless you could still likely buy a 1DX for the price difference.

Well, I think you got very lucky. I spent time on Adorama very recently (just last week). I found a 500/4 L for $7700 that was rated D, and one for $6000 that was rated E-. I found a number of E and E- rated 300/2.8 L and 400/2.8 L that were selling for $4700 to $5900, and one 800/5.6 L that was D rated and selling for $11,999! If you find a D-rated 600/4 Mark I with all accessories in the hard case for $6000, then I think you get lucky. I certainly haven't seen one in the last 14 months I've been looking...

I disgree.  I got 600 mk1 from Adorama that was D rated for 6000.00.  Not a scratch or spec of dust.  Keys strap and manual were still in the original package.  The lens was flawless.  Plus it came with their standard 30 days return policy.  Not misguided at all if you buy from a reputable company.

I think the notion that you can get any 600/4 MkI for $6000 is misguided. You can find them for that cheap...but when you look at the condition of the versions that people are selling for that low of a price, they are NOT in the greatest of condition. Nicks, scratches, enamel discoloration, missing or broken accessories, etc. I was just in the market for these lenses, and I searched every store online, including eBay and Craigs List, before finally buying a brand new EF 600 f/4 L II from Vistek in Canada (the USD price was $10,865, plus $67 shipping and a 1.5% currency exchange fee...couldn't freaking pass that deal up!!)

In my searches, however, I found that an EF 600mm f/4 L Mark I lens, in good condition, with all accessories in good, working condition, including the hard case, was closer to $9000 than $6000, and in a couple instances where the whole kit was in perfect condition, not even a nick in the enamel, AS SOLD prices on eBay were ~$9800. Assuming the condition and completeness of the kit matters to you, the difference between an old Mark I and a new Mark II is not $6000. That would be the difference between a brand spankin new, list price Mark II and a fairly beat up Mark I. The difference between a sale price Mark II and a great condition Mark II is maybe $2000 to $2500.

In that respect, if you own a Mark I, and you've kept it in good condition, have all the accessories and the hard case...your "upgrade price" is likely to be far less than $6000, possibly as little as $2000. For that price, the reduction in weight, better AF, double the IS capability, superior IQ, and a warranty (!!)...well, it's well worth it!

Zv

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1253
    • View Profile
    • Zeeography (flickr)
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2013, 12:23:10 PM »
I'm still leaning to one of these:

1. 400mm f2.8 IS II + x1.4 and x2 TC III --  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
                             OR
2. 300mm f2.8 IS II + x1.4 and x2 TC III -- ;D ;D ;D

I thought you said you were done for this year? Is this next years wish list?
5D II | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 f4L IS | 135L | SY 14 2.8 | Sigma 50 1.4

EOS M | 11-22 IS STM | 22 STM | FD 50 1.4

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2013, 12:23:10 PM »

jrista

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4734
  • POTATO
    • View Profile
    • Nature Photography
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2013, 12:55:10 PM »
In general 300mm and 400mm f2.8s are for sports first, wildlife 2nd.

500, 600, 800 are for wildlife first, and sports/other applications 2nd.

I have a 400mm f2.8 IS (the first one) and a 300mm f4, plus both vIII extenders.  This gets me a wide range of telephoto options, from 300mm to 1280 (equiv. on the 7D)

The 600mm f4 II looks astonishing, but waaaay past my budjet.

I actually like the 300/2.8 II for wildlife, especially deer and other ungulates. During this time of year especially, the males seem pretty docile. With as little as tan pants and a tan/light greenish camo shirt, they seem fearless enough to let me get well within 300mm range...even as close as 100mm range for a head shot. The weight and balance of the 300mm is a lot better, IMO, for your average walk-around wildlife photography than the 600mm (not that the 600mm isn't a great lens for that as well when you have more stationary or dangerous wildlife subjects.)
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 5D III | Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: SBIG STT-8300M | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

AlanF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1089
    • View Profile
Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2013, 01:41:45 PM »
Of course you gain by going from 400 to 600mm - I have done it. Your arguments jrista are qualitative as to the amount of gain and are hand waving that it goes up by the focal length squared.  But, the physics and maths quantitatively show it varies linearly with length. Let us just agree that it is a great improvement. 

I went up to 600mm by using a 300mm f/2.8 II +2xTC III. It may not be quite as good as the native, but it is good enough and so light that I can hold it in my elderly hand for hours. 

Here is a 100% crop of a heron 50-60 metres away  I took on Sunday.

Perhaps an actual visual example from a world renown bird photographer can settle the argument. Art Morris, literally renown as the worlds best bird photographer, also agrees the gain is relative to the square of the difference in focal length, not the linear difference:

http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2011/08/25/size-does-matter-the-power-of-the-square-of-the-focal-length/

Anyway, great GBH shot. Love the action moment. :)

Support for an opinion may be comforting but doesn't prove or settle arguments. Art Morris often changes his mind. For many years, he much preferred the 400 f/5.6 (his "toy" lens) over the 100-400mm. Then he decided the zoom was better. For years, he argued against the 300mm f/2.8, then recently he changed his mind and decided it was great for bird photography.
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2013, 01:41:45 PM »