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Author Topic: 500 or 600 for birding  (Read 4455 times)
jmraso
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« on: December 27, 2006, 08:39:14 AM »
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Hi all !!!

Having the Canon 300 2.8 IS I am going for my second tele.

So the choice is either the 500 f4 IS or the 600 f4 IS.

What would you get Huh

Thanks
Jaime
http://www.jmraso.com
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 08:52:20 AM »
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I assume you've seen this review.

Michael
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MarkKay
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 01:29:54 PM »
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At one time I owned both. For birding you want as much reach as possible.... period.  The 600 is a lot more difficult to travel around with and everything is a tradeoff. What i do is use a 400DO and 600 when i shoot birds.  The 400 DO can be hand held for quick action shots.  The 600 remains on the tripod at all times. I did sell my 500   I am 5'6" 150lbs and I agree with MR's review that the bulkiness of the 600 makes it much harder to carry and set up but with the right bags etc, I still do it. I am 49 yo and in 5 or 10 years perhaps i will downscale..  
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I assume you've seen this review.

Michael
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« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 01:46:59 PM by MarkKay » Logged
nigeldh
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 10:27:37 PM »
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Or go for the big iron, the Sigma 300-800 zoom. You might want as much reach as possible. Otherwise, Michael's review is an excellent statement of the facts. And my preference would be for the 500mm based upon size.

Even with a bird feeder about 10 meters from our porch, a Canon 100-400 on a 30D, 1.6x, isn't enough to fill the frame with smaller birds like chickadees. So sometimes I will use a 1.4x Tamron SP or 2x Canon TC. And rue these cloudy Northeast winters were even at ISO 800, I am shooting at 1/60 sec at f 11. At least with digital I am not paying 50 cents per image as film would cost me.
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michaelnotar
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 11:27:02 PM »
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find an EF 600mm f4 w/o IS, i got one used for $4200 5 years ago.
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ricwis
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2006, 10:30:08 AM »
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Just to add to the confusion, I ended up with the 500 f4.  Great lens for birding.  For most of my shooting when set up in the wetlands, I add the 2X TC.  All of the Eagles and Osprey shots posted on my website are with this lens.  Most of the birds are too, though some are with the 100-400 zoom before I got the 500.

The additional weight and bulk of the 600 was not worth it to me.  It is heavy enough with the 500, the 1KMKII, tripod and Wimberley.

Which brings up the fact that if you don't already have something like a Wimberley, you have to add that to the mix.  Trying to use a ball head with this class of lens just will not work.
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Rich Wisler
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williamrohr
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2007, 06:09:03 PM »
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There are different types of bird photography and unfortunately you haven't meantioned what type ... I use all three Canon lenses based upon the types of birds and where they are.  First if its song birds you are after  ... don't consider anything shorter that the 600 and find a good matching extender (I have found generally the 1.4X is much sharper than the 2.0X).  On the other hand if its big birds such as pelicans and herrons ... the 500 with and without the 1.4X works great but again its very hard to fill the frame with a song bird.  There are also two advantages to the 500 ... it really is portable whereas the 600 weighs twice as much and is very tiring to carry in the field.  Also, the ancillary gear is much lighter for the 500 .... the 600 really requires the big wimberly head whereas the 500 can get along using the sidekick (You need to weigh the difference of the entire system together .. it is significant).  The other advantage which may be lens specific (but others mirror my same experience) ... the 500 is one of the sharpest lenses I own.  I test the MTF and resolution of all my lenses (using Imatest ... great product) and the 500 is superb (enough that non-photographers perceive the difference) .... not that the 600 is a slacker.  In fact the 600 is still better than any of my Nikon long lenses and led to my selling them ... but the 500 is just so sharp.  The third lens I use is the 400 DO IS.   Its portability is excellent.  My sample is extremely free of chromatic aberation and seems to have some snappier color contrast (just don't shoot into the light or contrast suffers).  If you are into crawling on your stomach after skittish shore birds ... tough with the 500, almost impossible with the 600 .... actually fun with the 400 DO.  I took the 400 on Michael's last trip to Antarctica and its was easy to use from the Zodiacs. Anyway, hope that helps.  Bill
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