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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
87 218987 Nov 29, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $5,521.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.91
8.75
9.9
ef500mmf_4_1_

Specifications:
Next-generation super telephoto L-series lens with an Image Stabilizer, it's one of the world's best lenses for wildlife and nature photography. The optical system is newly designed with a maximum aperture of f/4. One fluorite element and two UD-glass elements effectively correct aberrations resulting in sharp and excellent delineation.


 


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PetKal
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Registered: Sep 6, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 28617
Review Date: Nov 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ is top notch, AF drive speed, while not exceptional, is adequate.
Cons:
Heavy and clumsy for extended handholding. Expensive like most good productes by Canon.

I got my 2nd 500 f/4 lens a couple of months ago because that's the longest & fastest supertelephoto lens available that I can still use hand-held in moderation.

The lens IQ is beyond reproach......at least as good as that of 300 f/2.8 IS.
AF drive speed is moderately fast. Quite a bit better than my 500 f/4.5L, but not as good as 300 f/2.8 IS. However, to me that is of secondary importance because the lens will not be used for fast action photography.

IMO the lens is really meant to be used on a pod, Walking around with 500 f/4 in my arms and shooting extensively gets to be quite onerous very quickly. In situations where neither IS nor f/4 aperture would benefit my pictures, I tend to reach for 500 f/4.5L lens because of its much lower weight and very similar IQ.

It is easy to see the direction in which Canon will improve this lens: trim some weight off, provide with the current generation IS and speed up the AF drive. Unfortunately those upgrades will likely result in a further major price increase on top of an already very expensive lens. That's the reason I decided to get the current generation 500 f/4 now which I could still somehow justify despite my limited use of it.


Nov 27, 2009
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Breitling65
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Registered: May 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5265
Review Date: Nov 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Quick AF, works with both tc's 2 and 1.4 fine, not very heavy and I could handhold for several seconds.
Cons:
Cost, some IQ degradation with tc, not as superb IS as on latest Canon lenses

If you need long telephoto for birding or sports this is your lens. However I would suggest to get this lens before 300mm F2.8L IS otherwise you will be disappointed in IQ comparison Smile It is great in IQ lens but 300 is way better optics. You would need 1.4tc for sure, 2x works ok on mk III. In general also need bunch of other things like lenscoat, replacement cap & foot or plate, gimbal would be best, good heavy duty tripod and monopod. It adds lots of fun for birding, very noticeable by people since long and white.
I put 9 since it is for sure not best lens in my bag but I would say next after 300 F2.8L IS.


Nov 4, 2009
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Cesar
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Registered: Oct 18, 2006
Location: Portugal
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, very nice in color and contrast
Cons:
nop

Esta lente é simplesmente espectacular, é a minha lente favorita.
Para fotografia de natureza é sem duvida a melhor opção.
Recomendo vivamente.


Sep 17, 2009
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Steven Evans
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Registered: Nov 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 142
Review Date: Jun 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Contrast, Focus,
Cons:
Hummm, My first supertele- takes a bit to get used too

I bought this lens about 2 months ago. I really like the bokeh, It has fast AF, The picture quality is simply stunning!!

I have found myself doing a lot of handheld photography(wildlife) with it. I am able to get pics down to 1/250 with a 50/50 keeper rate but I at 1/500 the keeper rate is very high!!


Jun 3, 2009
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stelin
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Registered: Dec 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything bar the size and weight
Cons:
Size weight

Simply awesome quality. Almost no need to process a RAW image. Incredibly sharp. Handholds well (for a short time). If only it wasn't so big and heavy, but then it wouldn't be a 500 f4!!

May 1, 2009
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genefixer
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Registered: Jan 22, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 6532
Review Date: Apr 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great crispness, lifelike images and perfect contrast images. Little PIP necessary. IS is very quiet and works great on or off a tripod.
Cons:
really none. Won't add price because for the $$ it is a steal!

Have only had this lens for a couple weeks but already I find myself leaving my 400 DO IS at home and bringing the excellent 500mm F4 and a 300mm along for the shoots. I have debating about leaping for this lens for over a year and finally did with no regrets, even with this ongoing economic downturn!

do not have many images to show but for a laughable subject go to:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/763078/0#6977743


Apr 21, 2009
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philp
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Registered: Jul 31, 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp. Fast focus and hand holdable.
Cons:
Cost, but you get what you pay for.

I've had this lens for a short while and I use it mainly for motorsport.

I thought my 300 f2.8 IS L was good but this is just as good.
The sharpness and speed of focus is amazing and I can hand hold for panning shots without much issue.

Adding the 1.4x convertor works really well and pushes it out to 700mm ithout any noticable drop off in IQ on my 1D MkIII.

This and the 300 2.8 are the best glass I have ever used. Well worth the expense.


Apr 18, 2009
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James Wei
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Registered: Aug 12, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 35
Review Date: Mar 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, excellent bokeh and stunning image rendering ability
Cons:
Weight

This is a very good lens. I have bought it 7 years ago and bought it again because I need it for wild life photography.

Fantastic rendering and the images are just so sharp. Clarity with good contrast. Bokeh is fantasticly creamy buttery smooth.

Here are the image gallery from this lens


http://www.themesoftime.com/Gallery.aspx?ID=47


http://www.themesoftime.com/Gallery.aspx?ID=67


This is a very good lens to own


Mar 20, 2009
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harrygilbert
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 745
Review Date: Feb 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, excellent IQ, fast and accurate focusing (with 5D)
Cons:
Cost

One of the best photo investments I have made. Only "nit" is the weak 52mm Canon polarizing filter. With a Wimberly head, it's a joy to use; with a Bushhawk, it is very manageable and I got my first decent BIF and wildlife shots (with a 5D no less).
Very sturdy construction and quality build - I feel I got my money's worth.


Feb 18, 2009
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GeoffreyLI
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Registered: Jan 11, 2009
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Razor-sharp image, fast focusing, good contrast
Cons:
White len casing, crummy lens cap, expensive

Razor-sharp image even with the aperture wide-opened. 1.4X works very good on this lens. Fast focusing is performed with or without 1.4X attached on 1-series cameras. A stable tripod and ball-head is a MUST for this type of lens. If you are afforded to buy this lens, you will find it worth every cent you had paid. However, if you are bird-photographer, perhaps the lens is not long enough in some occasions. I never use Canon’s original lens cap. It is very crummy to use on the field. If the lens casing is coated in black or “cammo” color, it can be much harmony to match the nature environment.

Jan 21, 2009
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RikWriter
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Registered: Jun 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2751
Review Date: Dec 24, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It's very sharp...nearly as sharp as my 300 2.8L IS...and very fast-focussing. It takes a 1.4X TC very well with no degradation in IQ and very little loss of focus speed. Not brutally heavy...I can use it well with a monopod after a bit of practice if I keep the shutter speed up.
Cons:
Mucho dinero. Mucho mucho mucho mucho dinero. Ouch.

It's my dream wildlife lens and it hasn't let me down. I bless the circumstances that made it possible for me to buy it as it has allowed me to get some shots I never would have been able to get before. It's not light, but it's light enough that I have been able to carry it over my shoulder on a monopod for over 3 miles of hiking. It works a 1.4x teleconverter like it was made for it, nearly as well as my 300 2.8L IS used one.
It's a very expensive lens, but you can feel the value of it every time you pick it up.


Dec 24, 2008
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DennisW1
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Registered: Sep 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 49
Review Date: Oct 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Canon's typical L lens quality surpasses itself with this lens. Outstanding focus and IS performance.
Cons:
My Visa card is still smoldering.

I know, everyone moans just a bit about the price of this lens, but it's true you get what you pay for.
I've been shooting motorsports for the past couple years with 1DMkIIn bodies and my long lens being the 100-400IS, adding a 1.4 extender when necessary. I loved the lens except for it's slow aperature, which got even worse when the 1.4 was added. Anything less than a bright sunny day and I was scrambling for a fast enough shutter speed to keep images sharp, even with the IS.
I finally made the plunge for the 500 f4 this year and I'm sorry I waited so long.
Yes, it's heavy, but with the 1DMkIIn body and a good monopod it's a very manageable and the rewards you get from the images are well worth it.
If you think this is the lens you've been waiting for, you're probably right.......go buy it.



Oct 27, 2008
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SONYBOY
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Registered: Nov 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 227
Review Date: Oct 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Phenominal lens, focus is fast and positive,sharpness is as good as it gets,and build is what you should expect from a L series lens. Wieght is over emphasized by some a healthy adult male can hand hold this lens for short periods of time and I regularly pack mine attached to a tripod for hours.
Cons:
A bit pricey and if I could have afforded the extra money a 600 f4L would have done a better job for my needs.

THIS LENS IS ALWAYS ATTACHED TO A BODY WHEN I AM OUT, THE OTHER BODY ROTATES OTHER LENS.

Oct 16, 2008
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canedje
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Registered: Sep 30, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 134
Review Date: Sep 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very fast, SHARP (also at F4 or F5,6 and 1.4 TC)), IS, handholdable
Cons:
none except price

I use this lens for bird and nature photography.
I am stunnished about the quality. Only because of this lens you are a better photographer, it seems to go automatic.

I don't think there will be higher quality possible.

Price is high, but worth all of it. If you can afford it and yoy want to do nature photography: bu it!

Hereby my site and forum to see some results by me and otjer 500mm photographers (In Dutch, sorry):
http://ww.natuurshot.nl


Sep 30, 2008
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tfoltz
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Registered: Jul 7, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 20091
Review Date: Sep 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super IQ, nice bokeh, can be handheld
Cons:
nothing after you take a look a your first shots

I was shooting nature pics with a 70-200mm with a 1.4x getting great images within a certain distance but just didn't have the reach. So for the past few months I've read a lot of reviews and asked a lot of questions. Finally I made the decision. Now I've had this lens for a week and have taken about 1,000 shots... I can't be happier. If anyone is thinking about it, yes it is worth it.

Sep 4, 2008
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Stono
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Registered: Dec 4, 2005
Location: Norway
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremly sharp, also when shooting F4. Sharpness and IQ close to/identical with my Canon 300 mm F2.8 IS L. Physically, a very robust lens.
Cons:
Heavy! Attracts a lot of unwanted attention from strangers when shooting in public places.

Before buying this lens I read the all reviews I could get my hands (eyes) on and they all said the same: A superb lens! And now that I have got that lens and used if for a few weeks, I can only say: You are so very right! This is, indeed, an extremely good lens in every way.

But be prepared, this lens will attract a lot of (unwanted) attention, even from complete strangers and non-photographers.


Jul 11, 2008
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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
87 218987 Nov 29, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $5,521.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.91
8.75
9.9
ef500mmf_4_1_


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