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| BIF Photography: 800L vs. (600 II + 1.4xTC III) |
My tests were done mostly on pijuns in head-on flight, and some Mallards and Mergansers, but those were of secondary importance because they represented a significantly easier target.
The camera was 1DX. The 600 II + 1.4xTC shots were mostly done in poorer light than 800L shots. That in itself would pose a notable handicap for 600 II based combo. Below there are a few test images obtained with handheld 1DX + 600 II + 1.4xTC III. The main shooting parameters for those were ISO 1600-3200, f/5.6, 1/1250-1/1600 sec. Lens prefocusing attempts were made whenever possible.
Based on all that, the conclusion is that for my particular lens copies, on my BIF test targets, and with my style of shooting, 600 II + 1.4xTC III is a better/more effective BIF photography instrument than 800L. It is obviously hard to quantify those things, but perhaps I can say something like 30% better, i.e., I am not talking frivolous differences here.
Not only that the 600 II based combo is a bit easier to handhold and swing, its AF is markedly more responsive even on the full focusing distance limiter setting (where 800L is nothing but trouble), and AF appears more accurate too. Lastly, the combo's IQ is at least as good as that of 800L.