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Archive 2012 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII
  
 
netexpress
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


rscheffler wrote:
Well, not half the price, but $11,400 CAD from Vistek in Canada... though there *might* be a 2.3% US import duty: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1136059

I don't believe the price increase is strictly inflationary. There will be less demand for these lenses in part because there are so many of the IS v.1 out in use already. Lower volume = higher unit cost. And the 'pro' end of this market is in stagnation/decline, to the point where it's not uncommon that paying clients haven't changed their rates since 1999 when the IS v.1 was introduced. Also consider the steady decline of stock photo rates.
...Show more

I wonder if the unit volume will be down on the version II's. You may well be correct that there will be fewer professional outfits upgrading to the version II than in 1999. But might that be compensated for by the greater number of amateur wildlife and sports enthusiasts that are willing to spring $13K? Digital has attracted a big amateur following. For example Hasselblad told me that half of their market is now amateurs and these are very expensive kits. So maybe there are a lot more amateurs buying these $13K lenses than in 1999. Plus there is the new DSLR video crowd. I just sold my 500 I to someone who will be using it at least part time in surf video production. Video a whole new evolving market. I don't know - but it makes me wonder if the market for big whites will expand. Or maybe I'm just trying to rationalize my ever increasing stable of big whites



Aug 01, 2012 at 12:59 AM
netexpress
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Pixel Perfect wrote:
The really have to put the 5D III AF in a crop body and if so that would sway me back to the 500 II. I'll hold off until I find out what's instore on the body front before deciding. 600 II is a must have for the low pixel density cameras like the 1D X and 5D III. On these bodies 600 is the new 500.



Whayne you can count me in on that. The1D X or 5D II AF in a crop body sounds very interesting to me.




Aug 01, 2012 at 01:03 AM
speedmaster20d
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Thanks a bunch everyone for reading the review and all the comments, I have received a few questions which I thought I'd answer here:

Q) Were you paid by Canon or given a free sample to do the review?

A) No, I did not receive any financial incentive of any form from Canon or others for doing the review. I paid the full MSRP for the lens and the review is solely based on my own opinion.


Q) Have you tried/recommend a replacement foot?

A) I don't use a tripod for bird photography so I don't have experience with a replacement foot. Canon also supply a mono-pod foot with this lens.

Q) Which one is better 800 f/5.6 or 600 f/4 II?

A) For me the 600. The 800 f/5.6 is heavier than the 600. 600 even with the 1.4 TC is still about 13 oz. lighter. When you handhold your rig for 5-6 hours, every ounce counts. Furthermore, the 800 was not as well balanced as the 600 for handholding in my experience. In my hands, it felt a bit front heavy and not easy to handhold for extended periods. It is also too much focal length for larger birds. I set my limiter to long range for flight, the longer range for 800 is 20m-inf compared to 16m-inf for the 600. So I can shoot lighter, closer and a tad longer with the 600 + TC when I want. So overall IMO 800 is a specialized lens that excels in its application but it is not the best flight lens on the market.

Q) which one should I get 500 II or 600 II?

A) It depends. I can handhold 600 day in and day out so again for me it's 600. But if that's too heavy for you, 500 is your lens. It's usually more productive being mobile in the field in terms of catching action where it happens and also getting the best angle etc.

Hope this helps



Aug 01, 2012 at 01:29 AM
redmule
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Nice job Arash..... thanks!
Kevin



Aug 01, 2012 at 01:40 AM
rscheffler
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


netexpress wrote:
I wonder if the unit volume will be down on the version II's. You may well be correct that there will be fewer professional outfits upgrading to the version II than in 1999. But might that be compensated for by the greater number of amateur wildlife and sports enthusiasts that are willing to spring $13K? Digital has attracted a big amateur following. For example Hasselblad told me that half of their market is now amateurs and these are very expensive kits. So maybe there are a lot more amateurs buying these $13K lenses than in 1999. Plus there is the
...Show more

Back in 2007ish, when a 500 IS could be had for around $5500, it seemed every third thread here was about the 500... and there were a ton of them on the B&S (I haven't checked recently to see if that's still the case). It was definitely the 'entry level' big white for anyone wishing to do BIF and wildlife. Considering that wages for the average person likely have been flat since 2007, it's quite the jump to consider spending nearly double now for effectively the same lens. I think as tests are showing, there are subtle image quality improvements, but they're not dramatic (with exception of weight reduction for the 400 and 600). And it's the weight reduction very frequently sited as an upgrade motivator. But if IQ is nearly identical, I suspect many are finding it difficult to justify the added cost compared to only a few years ago.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a major percentage of high end photo sales are to amateurs. There are many, many more people making photos now than ever, so it's inevitable that more are also working at higher levels where interest in big whites would be logical and a greater number in the upper enthusiast tier (than a decade ago) have considerable disposable income. But I suspect a major percentage are not in the position to arbitrarily spend 10K on a lens, especially when used IS v.I copies can be found at much better prices.

My primary working reference is from involvement in the sports and news industries. While photos from the Olympics will show scads of v.II super whites, one doesn't know how many of those are loaners. Also, the photographers covering such an event are the very elite of the industry and are still well supported by their employers with cutting edge equipment. My direct news experience is a 100K circulation Nikon based newspaper. The most recent round of equipment 'upgrades' were replacement second bodies - D7000 bodies to be exact. Primary bodies are aging D300s. Some still use D2Xs. The probability of D4 upgrades is -100%. A couple photographers are unhappy about this and are considering out of pocket used D3s purchases. If and when the pool 400 2.8 AF-S non-VR becomes unserviceable, I highly doubt it will be replaced, in part because no one in upper level decision making positions controlling the budget understands why one should spend $10K on a single lens (or $6K on a camera). Couple high MP APS-C sensors with a 70-200 with a 1.4x TC, and one can effectively cover a lot of news, including sports. In fact, I think this is even more of a reason the big whites will become less popular. As smaller, very high density sensors come online, such as the 20MP 1" in the Sony RX100, much more compact lenses can be used for similar reach (though of course DOF will be different). Actually, this was one justification used by Canon for retaining APS-H in the 1DIV. If Canon made a 1D-like 'affordable' body around such a 1" or m43 sensor, I think many would be all over it. I would be for the practicality, even though it doesn't appeal to the romance the on-paper specs from FF sensor, bokeh, etc. From wandering the sidelines of NFL games over the past decade, there is a pretty broad range of equipment on display. A lot of it is pretty old, especially in smaller markets and with freelance photographers. If it met clients' needs 5 years ago, the standards haven't changed and rates have been flat, then why spend more money on something that won't generate additional revenue? It's a pretty logical business decision.

That's primarily why I think demand for the new lenses will be softer than the previous generation, especially on the pro end. It's very likely Canon and other manufacturers will increasingly rely on less price sensitive enthusiasts with deep pockets willing to buy the best possible.

BTW, the inflation calculator I used showed that the $7500 1999 price would equal about $10500 now. I'm sure there are a multitude of other factors driving Canon to set the price at $13K instead.

Sorry for the long, tangental post, but I find this to be an interesting topic.



Aug 01, 2012 at 02:04 AM
netexpress
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Arash Sir, I'll be interested when you post your thoughts on the 1D X versus the 1D IV. I'm really liking the 1D X on the 600 II. But I'm not selling my 1D IV. The 1D X is working out better than I had hoped but the reach of the 1D IV is still just as valuable.


Aug 01, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Yakim Peled
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBHZFYpQ6nc

Happy shooting,
Yakim.



Aug 01, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Dennis M 1064
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Thanks for the write up. The photography. . .stunning. Let me know if you decide to give a tutorial on the practical application of the AF settings of these high end cameras. You show these creatures flying in all directions. I don't know how you can change AF functions to match, without them radioing to you their flight plan.

I'm dumbfounded by these images. thanks for the close up look at their beauty.



Aug 01, 2012 at 03:27 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Thanks everyone for kind words. I have updated the review with more images/samples and a few more observations after using the lens for a while now.

I found that the new IS saves about 30-40% battery when used continuously (mine always stays on when shooting).

you can read it here

http://arihazeghiphotography.com/blog/ef600ii_review/



Sep 12, 2012 at 06:12 PM
hollywood1053
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


I think you wrote that great article just to show off those amazing photos

Great job on both....



Sep 12, 2012 at 07:35 PM
 

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speedmaster20d
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


hollywood1053 wrote:
I think you wrote that great article just to show off those amazing photos

Great job on both....


I hope you found it useful



Sep 12, 2012 at 08:26 PM
kennyb
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Thanks, but now I want to upgrade more than before. Although I know it's not in my budget for a long time. (Probably when the Mk III comes out) I will "suffer" with the old 7D/5DII 500mm Mk I combo for a long time.
Seriously, I do appreiciate you taking the time to write something this involved and also the photos are incredible too!
Ken

Edited on Sep 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM · View previous versions



Sep 12, 2012 at 08:42 PM
hollywood1053
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


What is the minimim shutter speed you'll attempt to get a steady hand held shot?


Sep 12, 2012 at 08:52 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


hollywood1053 wrote:
What is the minimim shutter speed you'll attempt to get a steady hand held shot?



If the subject is stationary I can get away with 1/40-1/50 sec (holding really steady).



Sep 12, 2012 at 09:34 PM
hollywood1053
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


What about in flight shots?



Sep 12, 2012 at 11:20 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


hollywood1053 wrote:
What about in flight shots?


For flight you are limited by the subject itself not handshake so need to keep the shutter speed high. My rule is at least 1/2000sec or faster.



Sep 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM
kaycephoto
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


hollywood1053 wrote:
I think you wrote that great article just to show off those amazing photos

Great job on both....


:P

this excellent review deserves another bump



Sep 14, 2012 at 04:53 AM
voltaire
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


Thank you so much for the very thorough and excellent review. It is much appreciated.


Sep 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


thanks everyone, I had a chance to try the lens with the 2X TC MKIII. I wrote a short report with some sample images.

the performance was quite good with the 2X III!

You can read it here

http://arihazeghiphotography.com/blog/a-field-day-with-the-canon-extender-ef-2x-iii-and-600-f4ii/



Sep 21, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Schlotkins
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Field review of the new Canon 600mm MKII


speedmaster20d wrote:
thanks everyone, I had a chance to try the lens with the 2X TC MKIII. I wrote a short report with some sample images.

the performance was quite good with the 2X III!

You can read it here

http://arihazeghiphotography.com/blog/a-field-day-with-the-canon-extender-ef-2x-iii-and-600-f4ii/


Just awesome images. I agree with your comments about f8 missing from the new bodies.
Chris



Sep 21, 2012 at 05:13 PM
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