Conflicted - 500mm II, 600mm II or 200-400 w/1.4x

Started Jun 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
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David M. Anglin
David M. Anglin Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Conflicted - 500mm II, 600mm II or 200-400 w/1.4x

I am retiring this year and have plans to purchase one of the big white lenses.  I am NOT a birder, will mainly use the lens for wildlife in Yellowstone, Smokey Mountain National Park and African Safaris. At the cost, I can only justify one of the lenses and want the optimal solution.  I know all of these lenses provide a great tool for my photography but I would like to hear some other options.

My current gear:


17-40 f4 L

24-70 f2.8 L II

70-200 f2.8 L IS II

100-400 f4.5 - 5.6 L IS

300 f4 L IS

50mm, 85mm, 100mm non L primes

New gear I will add or update

EOS 7d MII when available (sold my old 7d in anticipation)

100-400 f4?-5.6 L if updated as rumored - sell my old 100-400.

Big White thoughts

500mm f4 L IS II - I have used the I version of this lens in Yellowstone and loved the weight/versatility/results.  It also worked great with the 1.4x TC.  I love the fact this lens at 7lbs is 1 1/2 lbs lighter than the I version.  This was the lens of choice for me until a pro friend suggested that I look at the 600mm II and the 200-400 was announced.

600mm f4 L IS II I had the I version of this lens and it was a beast.  I kept it about two years and sold it  after a hauling it around Yellowstone.  The new version at 8.65 pounds sounds great (close to the old 500 I version) but it is still 1.5 pounds heavier than the new 500 II.  I love the additional reach but worry that the additional weight will get old.

200mm- 400mm f4-5.6 L w/1.4x.  I love the versatility of this lens but feel it would be too short on a full frame body even with the 1.4x extender.  This lens would give you new creativity options with the ability to zoom and flip to the TC.  I understand the resolution is very good with the TC, but feel it would be a waste to try stacking another TC to get more reach.  I have the 100-400 and will upgrade to the new version if I don't purchase the 200-400.  I expect a new 100-400 would be significantly improved over the original and the only downside would be having to add the 1.4 when needed.

I know all of the lenses would be great, but I am curious if other have been done this path and would appreciate the basis for their choice.  I am leaning towards the 500 II with an upgrade to the 100-400 when available.

Thanks for comments.

 David M. Anglin's gear list:David M. Anglin's gear list
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS M5 Canon EOS M6 Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +7 more
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 7D
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