Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Randy Stephens
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Re: Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4
In reply to Lance B, 5 months ago

I have had and used both and just recently sold the 600VR.   I loved the 600 and the photos it made but found myself going to the 500VR much more.  At 64 years old, but in pretty good shape, I still found I could only use the 600 on a tripod or resting on a sandbag across my truck bed which limited it's use to me.  With the 500 I can easily use it out the truck window, handhold for several minutes, or use it like I did the 600.  As stated above, you will never have enough mm's to you desire for certain situations but after using both 500 and 600 daily, many times during the same bird session, I never really thought myself crippled with the 500.  In fact the options available with the 500 outweighs the extra 100mm advantage the 600 has.  In many comparisons between the 500 and 600 there are conflicting opinions as to which is sharper.  In my experience there is no visible difference between the 500 and 600 and may come down to the individual lens copy and the users long lens technique.   Yes, the 1.4 was/is on both much of the time and both seem to handle the 1.4 very well although if you print 16 x 20 sized prints you can see the prints take a small hit in sharpness.  I currently use the 300VR II + 1.4 for birds in flight but have come to use the 500 handheld with a full frame body, mainly a 800E, much of the time.  If money was no object, I would think a 300VR II, a 500VR, and the new 800VR would be my ideal setup although the new 80-400VR is looking very good with many of my bird photography friends swearing by it and may be on my "want" list soon.

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Randy

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