November 20, 2014, 09:40:26 PM

Author Topic: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm  (Read 10741 times)

johnf3f

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2014, 05:58:46 PM »
@johnf3f - you are a brave soul to carry all that gear.   the 800 is one fine lens so a congrats back to you as well!  I think with shooter larger birds, the 600 was too much reach as I've cut off wings and other body parts on birds like Pelicans.  it is as you as portray a top notch lens for smaller birds.  if you have a link on flickr would like to see your work.

I managed to get my Canon 800 F5.6 pretty cheap and find it easier to carry than the 600 F4 I used to have. As you say it is a fine lens, though I do find F5.6 a little limiting the IQ, reach and lighter weight more than make up for this. As you say it is a great lens for smaller birds, attached is a Bittern I spotted this morning - it is unedited just JPEGed and scaled for web.
You are right that the very long lenses are not ideal for birds in flight. At the ranges where you can fit in a large bird then the image is degraded by the distance between you and the birds. More importantly I find it very difficult to get the bird in the viewfinder at all! For this sort of thing I use a Canon 300 F2.8 L IS, which is why I often carry both!
I actually have a Flikr account but am having trouble accessing it so no images up yet.

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2014, 05:58:46 PM »

East Wind Photography

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2014, 12:23:06 PM »
I cant imaging carrying an 800 would be easier but I guess there is more to sling over your shoulder to reduce the "pinch" points.  I often carry the 600L with my 300 2.8L but often the weight it unbearable, especially if you have to hike a good distance to get to your subject.  I find that whatever lens is used it never has enough reach.  It's nice to have extenders but nothing is better than using a big prime without an extender where possible.  The biggest issue I find with reach is that you usually succumb to distortions caused by air disturbances.

600mm F4L IS, 1.4xiii, 7D, post processed from RAW in DxO

johnf3f

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2014, 05:16:33 PM »
I cant imaging carrying an 800 would be easier but I guess there is more to sling over your shoulder to reduce the "pinch" points.  I often carry the 600L with my 300 2.8L but often the weight it unbearable, especially if you have to hike a good distance to get to your subject.  I find that whatever lens is used it never has enough reach.  It's nice to have extenders but nothing is better than using a big prime without an extender where possible.  The biggest issue I find with reach is that you usually succumb to distortions caused by air disturbances.

600mm F4L IS, 1.4xiii, 7D, post processed from RAW in DxO

The Canon 800 F5.6 is easier to carry than the Canon 600 F40L IS (Mk1) because it is smaller and lighter. According to Canon the 800 is 5mm longer, 5mm thinner (much thinner nearer the camera end) and 860 grams lighter - that makes a surprising difference if you are carrying the 300 F2.8 as well!

Greatland

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2014, 05:56:24 PM »
I rented the 800 and took it to Svalbard..shared the expense with another photographer.  We both had the 500 that we took with us as well.  The 800 was very good without an extender, even the version III extender made the image soft.  After the new 600 came out I sold my 500 and purchased the 600 II....when I combine it with the 1.4 III extender the quality of my pictures are SHARPER than the 800 was without an extender....so I now get 840 reach, with a lighter lense and a superior quality picture...and if I don't need the extender I have a little more flexibility with the 600 than the 800 provided....combined with my 1Dx and my recently purchased 200-400 I think that I have all of the bases covered, telephoto wise.....I am keeping both of these lenses.....you never know when you need the 840 reach when you are shooting wildlife....but can't handhold the 600, not and still get quality shots all of the time.....

eml58

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2014, 06:55:08 PM »
I rented the 800 and took it to Svalbard..shared the expense with another photographer.  We both had the 500 that we took with us as well.  The 800 was very good without an extender, even the version III extender made the image soft.  After the new 600 came out I sold my 500 and purchased the 600 II....when I combine it with the 1.4 III extender the quality of my pictures are SHARPER than the 800 was without an extender....so I now get 840 reach, with a lighter lense and a superior quality picture...and if I don't need the extender I have a little more flexibility with the 600 than the 800 provided....combined with my 1Dx and my recently purchased 200-400 I think that I have all of the bases covered, telephoto wise.....I am keeping both of these lenses.....you never know when you need the 840 reach when you are shooting wildlife....but can't handhold the 600, not and still get quality shots all of the time.....

Hi Guys, great Thread, enjoying it.

Although I've never used the 800f/5.6 in the right hands it's clearly an excellent Lens for Birding, I've gone though for a similar arrangement to "Greatland" 600f/4 II (with V III 1.4x) + the 200-400f/4 & my totally favourite Lens of all time, the 300f/2.8 II.

I have owned the 400f/2.8 Versions 1 & 2, but once I purchased the 200-400f/4 found it somewhat superfluous, as long as I have the 300f/2.8 in the background.

On a recent trip to Svalbard there were a couple of people on the "Stockholm" that had the 500f/4 II, I did trie this Lens and thought it was also an excellent Lens.

Canon have done a wonderful job with these White Lenses, especially the Version II editions.

Love the Shot of the Heron with the Squirrel, I'm a little concerned if Sporgon sees it we will get into another round of "Squirrel" Images, I'm a little surprised Nuero hasn't posted one or two.

CarlTN love the Heron Image, get your Mum to plant a few more of those Purple Flowers, adds some colour to the Image.

Happy Birding Guys, the little blighters move to quick for me.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Jack Douglas

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2014, 07:17:05 PM »
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  ;)

I know I like my 300 II and extenders as needed for portability and shooting hand held.  Recently I've been wondering about the 600 (that I can't afford) and I've basically concluded that it simply is not a hiking option but from this thread it seems the 500 is on the edge.  I find I use 300 X2 most of the time and am reasonably happy.  I assume 500 X1.4 would be a very decent option giving 700.

Do I make a case for a 500 over a 600, allowing also for the cost factor??

Jack
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eml58

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2014, 07:38:59 PM »

Do I make a case for a 500 over a 600, allowing also for the cost factor??

Jack

Hi Jack, your 300 set up is just great, have used it myself for years, at first with the 300f/2.8 V1 then later with the V2, the 300 in my view is still the sharpest best all round lens that Canon make. The 200f/2 is also an amazingly sharp lens but I feel lacks the versatility of the 300.

I went to the 600 when I still had the 400f/2.8 II as I was just wowed with the Images Gary Samples was getting with this Lens, and the 600 with 1.4x @ 840 is immaculate.

But the 500f/4 II has almost as much versatility, lower entry price by a significant margin, and as you say, will get you out to 700 without reverting to the 2x converter, which I'm not enamoured of.

Your issue I would guess would be having the 500 & not having the 300, you will miss that f/2.8 a lot of the time, but if you could have both ??  Almost heaven.

I did a stint in my Army days as a peace keeper (Zimbabwe 1980), the values stuck.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 07:43:07 PM by eml58 »
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2014, 07:38:59 PM »

johnf3f

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2014, 08:54:28 PM »
I rented the 800 and took it to Svalbard..shared the expense with another photographer.  We both had the 500 that we took with us as well.  The 800 was very good without an extender, even the version III extender made the image soft.  After the new 600 came out I sold my 500 and purchased the 600 II....when I combine it with the 1.4 III extender the quality of my pictures are SHARPER than the 800 was without an extender....so I now get 840 reach, with a lighter lense and a superior quality picture...and if I don't need the extender I have a little more flexibility with the 600 than the 800 provided....combined with my 1Dx and my recently purchased 200-400 I think that I have all of the bases covered, telephoto wise.....I am keeping both of these lenses.....you never know when you need the 840 reach when you are shooting wildlife....but can't handhold the 600, not and still get quality shots all of the time.....

I have the Canon 1.4 Mk2 extender and find that it works reasonably well with my 800 F5.6 though there is some IQ loss. The Canon 800 is not the best lens for use with extenders.
When I was buying I picked up my, used but near mint, Canon 800 F5.6 for abut 45% of the cost of a new Canon 600 F4 Mk2. I would prefer the 600 Mk2 but the price is simply out of the question!
Pity  - I quite fancy one.

Jack Douglas

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2014, 10:19:14 PM »
Thanks for that Edward.  I think I will be aiming at a 500 sometime in the near future but I will not part with my 300.  It was the recent advertized price of the 500 that really hit me - a lot more paletable than 10k-12k of the other options.  A while back I bought the 70-200 2.8 II as a gap filler and am really happy with it.  I try not to think what the total investment eventually will be.

I grew up in a loving family but my parents argued a lot.  I much prefer peace; in forums too. ;)

Jack
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revup67

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2014, 01:35:02 PM »
@eml58 you wrote: 
Quote
But the 500f/4 II has almost as much versatility, lower entry price by a significant margin, and as you say, will get you out to 700 without reverting to the 2x converter, which I'm not enamoured of.

Your issue I would guess would be having the 500 & not having the 300, you will miss that f/2.8 a lot of the time, but if you could have both ??  Almost heaven.

Would agree with all you say though I have found at close range (MFD min. focal distance) with smaller birds that 2.8 (though offering more light) doesn't do much as the DOF disappears quickly.  Even with the 500 @ F4 I've noticed this.  That being said for birds at closer range, I typically up the F stop to 8 or more to capture more DOF from the crown to the tail.  I rarely use F4 unless my subject is off in the distance and I am needing more light. 

Sample at close range at F8 with 500 IS II and 1.4 III (wish I had chosen a smaller F stop such as F16 in this instance - diffraction considered) as the detail diminishes quickly as you may note. (no right or wrong here, just my opinion and lesser desire for wider apertures with wildlife at close range)


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Jack Douglas

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2014, 03:21:22 PM »
revup67, you make very good points.  Sometimes the "focus" is so much on the eye that one tends to forget that it's nice to see all of the bird's beauty.  I'm presently trying to come to grips with just that.  Then there is the issue of not wanting background that is distracting due to too much DOF.  If I've only learned one thing it's this: If you don't like compromises don't get into photography! ;)

Jack
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2014, 03:43:16 PM »
revup67, you make very good points.  Sometimes the "focus" is so much on the eye that one tends to forget that it's nice to see all of the bird's beauty.  I'm presently trying to come to grips with just that.  Then there is the issue of not wanting background that is distracting due to too much DOF.  If I've only learned one thing it's this: If you don't like compromises don't get into photography! ;)

Jack

Yes it's good to know the DOF for your lens and camera.  A DOF app can help so you can get what you want in focus but still blur the background enough to isolate the subject.

mackguyver

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2014, 03:45:19 PM »
I'm just catching up on this thread, but I love the photos (esp. the squirrel / heron shots) and good discussion about lenses.  I have borrowed the 800, 600 I, and 400 I from CPS and really liked the reach and IS of the 800 over the other lenses but found the size (and the weight somewhat) to be the biggest inconvenience.  I was all set to buy the 200-400 1.4x until I realized the size and price were much more than I was expecting.

I tend to stalk, or stalk and wait, my subjects and have been amazed that I can carry and hand-hold the 300 II all day without needing a tripod or monopod.  It's definitely limiting (even with the 2x III) for small or distant birds, but the ability to get closer to them counts for a lot.  It's more work, but I love the challenge of wildlife photography and my income doesn't suffer (much) if I miss shots.  While I understand their use, I have no interest in gimbal heads, and even though wiser men would stay further from some of the subjects I shoot, I find the 300mm length is perfect and the f/2.8 is amazing.  I agree that it's too shallow for some shots, but the AF performance and ability to defocus the background is amazing.  I also like the versatility to shoot it at 300, 420, and 600mm.  I've shot portraits at 300mm, and I'm covering a horse event later this week and shooting the Blue Angels in a few weeks.  I think 500mm+ would be really limiting for these purposes so I'm happy with the 300. 

I'm interested in the cone handle - the RRS replacement foot I have on my 300 is great for the tripod/monopod, but not too comfortable to carry around and hand hold.  How did it ultimately work out?

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2014, 03:45:19 PM »

Jack Douglas

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2014, 06:38:31 PM »
mackguyver, you and I and AlanF have pretty much expressed the same thing in different threads and I haven't changed my opinion on the 300.  I also influenced a friend to buy it.  However, in my case so far for birds I would almost never go out without 300 X2 and then I typically would end up cropping somewhat and so when I see the 600 prime shots, well, you know ......

Thinking about the 500 and getting to 700 without much degradation is tempting but I'm afraid it would be competition for the 300 and unless my better half was willing to pack it for me I can't see doing what you describe (trekking through the bush) carrying both! 

The result would probably be using the 300 for longer hikes and the 500 when stationed closer to a favorite spot and being quite immobile.  The gimbal head is really good at times but often it's a pain and I don't pack a tripod on longer hikes unless I know for certain I'll want it.  For me stalking is a mix of going where things look hopeful and then often just sitting, since many birds really do get used to one's presence after 15 or 20 minutes and I enjoy reflecting on the scenery and action in a given location.  Usually, I don't prefer just walking and walking and walking but I'm at retirement age.

Compromises and more compromises, ugh.  It's probably better when you just can't possibly afford it! ;)

Jack

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CarlTN

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2014, 11:57:52 PM »
CarlTN love the Heron Image, get your Mum to plant a few more of those Purple Flowers, adds some colour to the Image.

Thank you very kindly!

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Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2014, 11:57:52 PM »