Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
Dr Bob
OP Dr Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
Re: Birding with a 500mm F4 or 600mm F4

Lance B wrote:

The fact that you have the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G, as I do, may sway you towards the 600 f4 as there isn't much difference between 400mm and 500mm. However, putting the 1.4x TC on the 500 does make a very usable 700 f5.6. The 500 f4 takes the 1.4x TC very well but not so well the 1.7x or the 2x as you run out of light.

The biggest benefit of using TC's is that you get the extra 1.4x magnification (if you use a 1.4x TC - 2x the magnification if using a 2x TC etc), but the same minimum focus distance. So, essentially, so, if you use a 1.4x TC on the 500 you get a 700 f5.6 with the minimum focus distance of the 500! This really is a benefit for small birds etc, where you run into minimum focus issues and can't fill the frame. I find the minimum focus distance of the bare lenses an issue quite often.

Lance, thanks for the input. You are spot on! I am swayed towards the 600 f4 because the 500 doesnt seem enough difference to blow £5K+. Yes, when the 1.4 TC is used I am then getting a big difference in reach but is it enough? Point well taken on the minimum focus distance.

I know you used the 80-400 extensively on your trip to the UK last July - how did you find it compared to the 500mm you were used to using back home (I assume you didnt take the 500 with you)? Did you feel it was 'almost' as good, or did you think it was significantly restricting.

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 Dr Bob's gear list:Dr Bob's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G +1 more
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