about | support
home
 


  Reviews by: Adrian Foster  

View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add Adrian Foster to your Buddy List
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

ef500mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Oct 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Wide Aperture
Cons:
Weight

I've recently bought this lens, moving on from a Bigma 50-500mm.

I was getting frustrated with my bird photography as only occasionally was I getting the IQ that I wanted from the Bigma. It did me good, in a way, because I must have eliminated most of my bad habits in attempting to squeeze the last bit of IQ out.

Atttaching the Canon 500mm to my camera (20D) and then looking at the results was a relief to say the least. At last my pictures look like I had always wanted. It wasn't my technique at fault, I really had reached the Bigma's limits.

In short, the Canon is superb! It seems to take well to teleconverters. The one thing which has caught me by surprise is the lack of depth of field close up at F4. I have some pics where the bird's shoulder is in focus but the eye is just slightly out. An example of the depth of field can be seen along the barbed wire on the Flycatcher pic below. The bird was about 20 feet away.

The only downside is the weight and bulk. I always used to attach the Bigma to my Manfrotto 055/128RC and walk around with the tripod over my shoulder, birding as I went. Now it's like having a very heavy and delicate hod of bricks up there so I only use that carrying technique for short distances. I can see that it is going to have a significant effect on my birding style. I have a Lowepro Pro Trekker AW 2 which, with 20D+500mm, Sigma 70-300, Canon 18-55, Teleconverters plus a few other small accessories in it weighs in at 18Kg/40lb with my tripod attached. I'm a big lad, but this is no trivial weight to be carrying around.

Overall though, the Canon is going to revitalise my photography. I can see that the problems are now going to be in my technique and fieldcraft. I can't blame my gear any more!

Very highly recommended.

Adrian


Here are a few early-day examples (I'm still waiting for some decent light)
Spotted Flycatcher (20ft with Sigma EX DG 1.4X)
http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l72/mistyduck/Spotted-Flycatcher-1.jpg
Curlew (Distant, with Canon 2X)
http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l72/mistyduck/curlew-14.jpg