600mm f4 IS vs 600mm f4 IS II

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
Greg Lavaty Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: 600mm f4 IS vs 600mm f4 IS II

Shooting with the two lenses side by side I did find that the new 600 was easier to use hand-held.  I was using a 7D body and didn’t notice much/any difference in AF performance though I expect on newer bodies like the 1Dx and 5D3 that there will be some improvement in accuracy.  I did try both lenses with the 1.4x III and still didn’t notice much/any difference in AF speed or accuracy on the 7D between the two lenses.

It was difficult to say for sure if there was an improvement in IS (How can you test this in a controlled way out in the field?).  The IS did seem to be effective but I was able to get sharp shots at relatively slow shutter speeds with both lenses hand-held.  It wasn’t terribly difficult to get sharp images down to 1/125 sec with either lens though for both lenses it got a lot more difficult to go below that.

On image quality (with a 7D body) I wasn’t able to tell any difference in image quality between the two lenses.  This was shooting birds at a reasonable distance (filling about 20% of the frame).  I wasn’t shooting test charts or under terribly controlled conditions, just birds out in the field like I would normally shoot.  Shooting test charts might have showed a difference but I didn’t have the mk2 for long enough to really get into that.

I do feel that the mk2 is a significant step up from the mk1 (mainly for the reduced weight and reduced MFD).  As I already own the mk1 and the 500mm f/4 IS I don’t think I will be rushing out to upgrade to the 600 mk2.  If I was looking to buy my first long telephoto lens I would probably go for the 600 mk2 over the mk1 despite the large price difference though my first choice would be the 500 mk2.


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