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Author Topic: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife  (Read 10846 times)

bkorcel

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400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« on: September 11, 2012, 11:01:39 AM »
I'd like to hear from people who have purchased one of these lenses for wildlife photography and why you chose one vs. the other two.

400 2.8L looks better overall for lower light usage...typically when wildlife is most active.  However the F4 models have a bit more reach but sacrifice 1 stop.

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400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« on: September 11, 2012, 11:01:39 AM »

Jeffrey

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 12:21:00 PM »
I rented the 400mm f2.8 L and the 600 mm f4.0 L, and shot with them on my 1D-X without using extender tubes. I liked the 400mm much better for shooting birds. Having said that though, when light conditions warrant using f2.8 the depth of field becomes quite short and the bird is typically not well illuminated. The bottom line for me is to continue using my 400mm f5.6 L and not shoot in super dimly lit situations.

Waterloo

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 12:44:08 PM »
All depends on how close you expect to get to your subject. Here's a Black Bear sow shot with the 5D Mark II and the old non IS 300mm f2.8. Saying that I would go for the 500. I've had my 500 since November of 2001 and it is my most used lens. The new 500 Mark II should be here next week and I can't wait. The new 500 to me looks like the sweet spot, especially if you can believe the MTF curves that Canon publishes.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 01:22:14 PM »
Wildlife, likely the 500/4.  Birds, especially small birds, the 600/4 II - IQ with 1.4x III is on par with the 800/5.6, but much lighter plus f/4 if you don't need the reach.
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bkorcel

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 01:43:53 PM »
What specifically was the reason you like the 400 2.8 more?  I've toyed with the concept of getting 1 stop faster shutter speed...not necessarily pushing the light limits of the lens or camera.  In practical terms does that 1 stop actually make any difference say with birds in flight?

I'd like to hear from people who have purchased one of these lenses for wildlife photography and why you chose one vs. the other two.

400 2.8L looks better overall for lower light usage...typically when wildlife is most active.  However the F4 models have a bit more reach but sacrifice 1 stop.

bkorcel

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 01:50:25 PM »
Nice shot.  But I think I would rather have the 500 than the 300 for this kind of shot!  LOL!  CPS loaned me their 500 for a couple of weeks and I found it a challenge trying to find the subject when it was in flight.  for stationary objects it was great, especially on the wimberly.  As you state the MTF on the new models offer theoretical advantages but I'm curious to how they relate to real world usefulness.  Reach is obviously an advantage shooting most any wildlife...you often dont have the opportunity to get closer...even with bears.  ;) 

How important to you is f2.8 vs F4 or F5.6 in the scheme of things?

All depends on how close you expect to get to your subject. Here's a Black Bear sow shot with the 5D Mark II and the old non IS 300mm f2.8. Saying that I would go for the 500. I've had my 500 since November of 2001 and it is my most used lens. The new 500 Mark II should be here next week and I can't wait. The new 500 to me looks like the sweet spot, especially if you can believe the MTF curves that Canon publishes.

Jeffrey

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 02:11:05 PM »
Exactly the point regarding birds in flight. I had the lenses on a Wimberley mount too. Ducks on landing were great and relatively easy to find using the 400mm lens. Forget about birds in flight using the 400mm f2.8 or 600mm lenses, at least at my skills level. The 400mm f5.6L USM is a dream to use for birds in flight.

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 02:11:05 PM »

Waterloo

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 02:39:42 PM »
Nice shot.  But I think I would rather have the 500 than the 300 for this kind of shot!  LOL!  CPS loaned me their 500 for a couple of weeks and I found it a challenge trying to find the subject when it was in flight.  for stationary objects it was great, especially on the wimberly.  As you state the MTF on the new models offer theoretical advantages but I'm curious to how they relate to real world usefulness.  Reach is obviously an advantage shooting most any wildlife...you often dont have the opportunity to get closer...even with bears.  ;) 

How important to you is f2.8 vs F4 or F5.6 in the scheme of things?

All depends on how close you expect to get to your subject. Here's a Black Bear sow shot with the 5D Mark II and the old non IS 300mm f2.8. Saying that I would go for the 500. I've had my 500 since November of 2001 and it is my most used lens. The new 500 Mark II should be here next week and I can't wait. The new 500 to me looks like the sweet spot, especially if you can believe the MTF curves that Canon publishes.

If I had the 500 on I would have had to put the 25mm extension tube on too to get her in focus.  :)

fotografnuntaiasi

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 02:45:26 PM »
The 300's is for birds, bugs and peaceful animals and for bears, wolfs and other dangerous things I should star thinking to have the 600's or to run faster.

Waterloo

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 02:47:05 PM »
You know the old saying "horses for courses". Well, my favorite subject is wild horses. With the 500 I've missed a lot of shots because I had too much lens on and couldn't back off. I'm waiting patiently for the new 200-400.....

(5D Mark III and 500mm f4 L IS)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 02:58:10 PM by Waterloo »

westr70

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 04:35:16 PM »
I really appreciate this discussion.  I've been pondering the 500mm for bif but maybe I'll continue to use my 400mm.  Any others with experience with the 500mm with birds in flight?
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bkorcel

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 04:52:36 PM »
Also pondering the use of a 1.4x with both.  With the 2.8 it would yield an F4 at 560mm. Any resolution tradeoff between that combo and the 500mm f/4 outright?  One would think but who knows.(Someone who has tried it and made the comparison).


I really appreciate this discussion.  I've been pondering the 500mm for bif but maybe I'll continue to use my 400mm.  Any others with experience with the 500mm with birds in flight?

Waterloo

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 05:07:49 PM »
I really appreciate this discussion.  I've been pondering the 500mm for bif but maybe I'll continue to use my 400mm.  Any others with experience with the 500mm with birds in flight?

Check this post:
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=8876.0

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 05:07:49 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 05:23:52 PM »
Also pondering the use of a 1.4x with both.  With the 2.8 it would yield an F4 at 560mm. Any resolution tradeoff between that combo and the 500mm f/4 outright?  One would think but who knows.(Someone who has tried it and made the comparison).

Check the TDP ISO12233 charts. My sense is that the 400 II takes a bigger IQ hit with the 1.4xIII than the 500 II or 600 II.  The new 500/600 + 1.4x seem equivalent to the MkI 600 and the 800, respectively, while the 400 II + 1.4x seems to fall short on IQ vs. the 500 MkI (and the bare 500 II is even sharper).
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bkorcel

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 06:14:42 PM »
So the primes alone still seem to take the cake.  How about F4 to F2.8?  One would not think it's much of a difference.  Does anyone think twice about it?  or just make it up with a higher ISO?

Also pondering the use of a 1.4x with both.  With the 2.8 it would yield an F4 at 560mm. Any resolution tradeoff between that combo and the 500mm f/4 outright?  One would think but who knows.(Someone who has tried it and made the comparison).

Check the TDP ISO12233 charts. My sense is that the 400 II takes a bigger IQ hit with the 1.4xIII than the 500 II or 600 II.  The new 500/600 + 1.4x seem equivalent to the MkI 600 and the 800, respectively, while the 400 II + 1.4x seems to fall short on IQ vs. the 500 MkI (and the bare 500 II is even sharper).

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Re: 400 2.8L, 500 4L or 600 4L for wildlife
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 06:14:42 PM »