Great Reach, Quality & Value!
In my opinion, this is a fantastic go-to lens for wildlife photography. Very lightweight and easily handheld, even for longer periods of time in the field. Most of the time, however, I have this lens mated to a 7D along with a 1.4x III attached to a pano-gimbal head/tripod combination. Outstanding reach for the money, and awesome, sharp results! Again, this lens can be handheld with a good keeper rate, but the effective focal length when used with extenders on a crop sensor camera body does cut into my success rate. On the other hand, especially with moving rather than still subjects, the ability to easily handle off a tripod has come in very, very handy for sudden action. The AF is fast and accurate and the 2-stage IS is reasonably helpful, too. Again, the 1.4xIII works great paired with this lens – much, much better than on my 300 f4. Perhaps a bit off on contrast (maybe) but I have not noticed a major issue with this, and certainly nothing requiring more than minor post edit. Prior to acquiring this lens I read everything I could find about it on the internet, which gave me some pause prior to taking the plunge. However, my actual results have been nothing short of fantastic, and I believe much of the negative, early reporting you can find on the internet must be one rumor or bad experience compounded by frequent repeat. I can recommend this lens without any hesitation. A fantastic package for hiking, traveling, every day use – again, a great way to get high quality reach at a comparatively great price.
May 16, 2013
I use it on a 7D often with a 1.4x converter. This is a splendid piece of equipment and this lens is very consistent, dependable and accurate when used hand held. I have adjusted a little more contrast and sharpness on camera and have achieved stellar results.Wonderful lens, just a pleasure to use.
February 19, 2011
I've used this lens for several years, and in my opinion it is flawless. Whether hand held, tripod mounted, prime or with 1.4x or 2x extenders the performance has been superb. To my eye the sharpness and autofocus system compare to the 500 F/4 or 20-200 F/2.8, all stabilized.
August 24, 2010
I bought this lens for an African photo safari. I've used it there and in many other places over the past 5 years. This is the lens I carry mounted on the camera whenever I'm doing any kind of nature photography. Walking on a boardwalk behind 3 people equipped with 600 mm lenses, tripods, cameras etc. we all saw a hawk swoop into a pond catch a frog, land on a nearby branch , and proceed to eat it. I got the photo (handheld) with this lens, they got nothing...couldn't set up in time.
April 27, 2010