Another factor in my decision is the portability of the new 500. The thing is very light, and I will still be able to use it with the Jobu Jr 3. I want a run and gun type of setup, where I can do a lot of moving around and setting things up quickly. While the 500m might be crazy for this type of setup, I think the 600mm would have been even crazier. I was also worried that the 600 would really limit my traveling capabilities if I ever take it on a plane. What are your thoughts on the 600 vs 500 given what I have said? Also, I would need to possible purchase a new gimbal head, backup, etc with the 600mm, but the 500mm will still work with everything I got. Combined with the extra $2.5k for the 600mm, it just didn't seem worth it.
Well, it seems you're pushing it with the 500 II and the Jobu Jr 3. For the Jr 3, they state, " Recommended for: 70-200 F2.8/F4, 300mm F2.8/F4, 100-400 zoom, 150-500 zoom, 400mm F5.6, 400mm DO, etc.
" The new 500 II, while 1.5 lbs lighter than its predecessor, is still 50% heavier than the 400 DO. For the 500 II, Jobu recommends the BWG-LW3/HD3. Note that they state you can
use the Jr 3 with the 500/4, and they apparently mean the original 500/4...the new 600/4 II weighs the same as the original 500/4, so technically, either would work with the Jr 3, although they recommend a step up for routine use.
As for travel, the bare lenses are very simliar in diameter (yes, I know the Canon specs show a 1" difference, but Canon's specs do not include the tripod foot - TDP's actual
measurements, which include the tripod foot, show the 600 is only 0.14" larger in diameter than the 500). The 600 II is ~2.5" longer, but still under 18". So, either bare lens will fit in a Storm im2500 or Pelican 1510 airline carryon hard case. The 'problem' is the hoods - with the hood reversed, the 500 II will fit in a Peli 1510 (snugly) and probably in a Storm im2500 (not sure about that, the Storm is 0.4" shorter). The hood for the 600 II is approximately 8" x 8" and will not go in a carryon hard case. Still, personally I'd be fine putting the hood in checked luggage, and carrying on the lens itself in a hard case.
So, I do think in this case (as in most lens decisions) it comes down to what is the best focal length for you.