Featuring Fluorite optics that deliver sharper images with less chromatic aberration, the new large-diameter EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM super telephoto lens also takes advantage of magnesium and titanium construction for a lighter weight and a Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum. Because image stabilization technology in super telephoto lenses may inadvertently over-compensate and interfere with composing and framing distant or moving subjects, the EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM includes an advanced third Image Stabilization mode (Mode 3) that activates IS only when the shutter button is fully pressed. This allows users to pan fast-moving subjects and then activate IS only when it is precisely required. Because all three IS modes give the equivalent effect of up to four extra stops of performance, and because plus the Power Focus mode enables smooth focus change when shooting video, the EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM is ideal for capturing rapid-fire action. Other improvements such as better dust- and waterproofing make the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM super telephoto lens an ultra high-performance Digital Age tool combining Canon hallmarks of superb ease-of-use with excellent durability.
perfect wildlife/avian lens
I rented both the 500mm f4 II and 600mm f4 II for a week before deciding on the 600mm. They are both excellent lenses in every respect and I carefully 'weighed' this choice. The decision maker for me was the extra reach with the 600 and the fact that (at that time) newer canon bodies would only AF at a minimum of f5.6. This eliminated adding the 2XIII and having AF, which is just about essential for lenses of this focal length when shooting moving subjects (e.g. - birds). The other factor I weighed was the mass of the lens (not that funny, but true). The 500 is the right choice if you can't heft the 600 around on a tripod with a solid gimbal head - it really feels much lighter. After trying the 600, I was satisfied that I could manage the weight. Both of these lenses give excellent sharpness alone and with the 1.4XIII, but I found the 840mm focal length with the 600 + 1.4X just about perfect for small perching birds and handheld action shots of hummers. For small birds you just need the extra focal length. I use the lens frequently w/o a converter for high school sports and larger wildlife (deer etc...) and I'm delighted with the sharpness and contrast at all apertures - though I shoot wide open 90% of the time w or w/o the converter. If you invest in one of these super tele's and do not already have a solid tripod and a gimbal head, I would strongly encourage you to budget for one. While I can handhold the lens in certain situations when I need maximum tracking mobility, a tripod or monopod with a gimbal head enables a full day of shooting w/o risking your back. I really don't have a negative thing to say about the performance of this lens - the AF is super fast even w tele's, the extra choices of focus distance limiters really helps when shooting birds in trees (even a great AF system is challenged here), the IS modes are super (I get good images at 1/100 sec handheld most of the time and 1/30 occasionally on a monopod), weather sealed, nice hood, solid case. The price is a bit of a shock, but I can't see a better value if you love avian & wildlife photography. My wish list for the next generation of super teles (if I live that long) is a built in 1.4X like the planned 200-400 f4 zoom. It would be wonderful to quickly swing that in and out of the optics w/o fiddling around - there just isn't time w wildlife. The added weight and cost would be OK w me.
March 7, 2013
Prices and specifications subject to change without notice. Actual prices are determined by individual dealers and may vary.