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Canon Extender EF 2x II

Review Date: Sep 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $329.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Gets you places that you can't otherwise get to! And it can be stacked with the 1.4x for a walk on the wild side.
This extender shows the limitations of many lenses (and is blamed as the culprit!), although this is less noticable on the 1D/1D2 than any of the tiny pixel cameras. One MUST use a tripod, MLU, etc. when using a big TC on a long lens; otherwise, an enlarged 1.4x will beat it. Also, stopping down one stop from wide open improves things considerably.

A few considerations for those who believe that they have a "bad copy": make certain that your setup doesn't allow for any "lens sag" ... such as holding your camera with the 2x and a long lens attached ... and use that MLU and a good tripod for those monster F/L shots!
Any weakness in the primary lens or your focusing ability or camera or subject movement is emphasized with any TC.
Remember that the area projected on the sensor is stretched DOUBLE compared to the 1.4x, which is again double what the bare lens is! So your subject covers four times the number of pixels as with no converter.
I do note that a mediocre shot with my 2x is no better than a cropped/enlarged shot with my 1.4x, but if care is taken, the results are well worth the effort.

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,995.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Stabilization, Sturdy Build, Focus Presets
Cost, physical size and weight

Having tested both the 500/4 and 600/4 to compare image quality and weight/handling, I went for the big gun. I never removed the 1.4x TC from the 500, and rarely remove it from the 600! The mass of the 600 quells most shake, the IS removes what's left, and you can actually hand hold it for a short while. I usually hike with the lens on a monopod with a tilt-head, slung over my shoulder ... comfortable for five or six miles. Image quality on 20D/1D/1Ds/1D2 is remarkable, with negligable degradation whilst using the 1.4x TC, moderate with the 2.0x, and perfectly usable images with both stacked.
If you need the focal length and can afford this lens, you'll find it not too much more to handle than the 500/4, despite other opinions. If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger, with better birdie images to boot.