Best Birding Lens, 600mm f4 L IS II or Canon 800mm f5.6 L

Started Mar 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
Dave Peters
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Re: Best Birding Lens, 600mm f4 L IS II or Canon 800mm f5.6 L
In reply to Dave Kerr, Mar 9, 2012

I have the 800 and have used the 500. I handhold the 800 even with 1.4x for BIF.

If I were looking to start again now, I would be looking at the new 600 assuming I could afford to wait until its released.

The 800 is a stunning lens and with my 1Ds mk III it can focus with 1.4x for exceptional quality at 1120mm. The only disadvantage is the long minimum focus distance which can mean you are too close at some feeders. When you add extension tubes, you are limited to a single tube otherwise focus struggles to the point where its useless and you also get heavy vignetting.

With the announcement of the 1Dx and 5D mkIII it seems there will shortly be no current Canon body that can focus with an f8 lens. This makes the 600 f4 seem much more attractive since you get f4 for lower light plus two focal lengths with excellent quality and acceptable focus speed. The 800 will only AF as a bare lens on the new bodies.

The original (current) 600 is too heavy and long for me. In theory it is too long for aircraft carry-on although some people seem to get away with it.

The only thing the 800 does have going for it, is I think its going to be a better companion to the forthcoming 200-400 f4.

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