500mm PF compared to 200-500mm

Started Nov 16, 2019 | Discussions thread
Richard B99 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,351
Re: 500mm PF compared to 200-500mm

Pimenton wrote:

Hi there, I know this is an old thread

I own the 500 PF and just got the 200-500 last week - which I have not used much.

Just curious what you ended up doing with yours.

Like pure curiosity because even though I believe the 200-500 is still the best zoom option out there to cover that focal length gap, not sure if there are or will be that many situations when you want to use the zoom. There have been some however (when using the 500 PF) where I found myself having no time to zoom with my feet and risk loosing the scene, birds in flight for example and ended up with clipped wings0 and/or legs pictures

I know most people will say "well, that is up to the kind of photography you do" but still...in that range is it worth to be hauling this heavy lens. When you decide to carry it for a couple of hours you feel like you want to go home and both you and the lens take a rest. It is heavy and the zoom ring is somewhat awkward (reverse twist and too much turning to do). I want to keep doing handholding as much as possible, even though I use them I get annoyed easy by monopods and tripods.

I know there are other lenses but honestly none of them have convinced me and I want to switch lenses as seldom as possible.

The 500 PF will always be in my camera or the bag - will never sell, it is a jewel, but somewhat afraid I may end up selling the 200-500.

Man...it is tough to decide, just want to hear more opinions.

Well, despite my comment I made in 2017 about not buying the 500 PF and giving up an order in the long queue, I did buy it in 2020!  On the plus side, I got it £300 cheaper, on the down side, I missed out on using it for two years. Which was, in retrospect a real bummer.  The 500 PF is without doubt a better lens than the 200-500 in image quality terms but... it's not massively so and most wouldn't notice.  Certainly nobody looking at some of my images printed large on a wall side by side or on a 55" 4K screen has ever mentioned anything about the difference in quality!

Where the 500 PF simply blows the zoom away is in portability, ease of handling and, yes, AF speed.  Plus, I much prefer that it doesn't need to extend at 500mm so that contributes a good deal to the handling bit.

Today, I find myself carrying it with the two other lenses that I carried on trips before.  That's a 300 PF, the 70-200 f/4 and a TC 1.4 so my backpack is still lighter and I still have the options of f/4 at shorter lengths and I can use either on a second body or have the 300 with TC as a backup setup when away.

I still have the 200-500 but don't really use it but I'm reluctant to sell it as I'm sure it will come in useful for myself, friend or family.  Nobody else will be getting their paws on the 500 PF or, for that matter any of the others in my bag!

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