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Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II

  
 
tetsu
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Hey there folks, Ive been shooting wildlife (birding and animals mostly) for the past 12 years and I want to buy a 600mm f4, a used one cause the new one is way over what I can pay. Even used is a very steep price for me.

Im about 5'6.54feet tall and I weight around 116lbs. I currently have an R6 that I use with the Sigma 150-600mm and I just bought the new Canon RF 800mm f11. The difference in focus accuracy, speed and tracking of the 800mm versus the Sigma is just amazing, also the stabilization of the 800mm when doing video versus the Sigma just hand holding is amazing too.

So, I decided that probably a used 600mm f4 IS II will be my best bet, Im in Latin America so renting is not an option, but Im worried about the weight. Currently I can hand hold the Sigma 150-600mm with the R6 the whole day without much issue.

I was also considering the older 600mm f4 IS but is much heavier and I dont know about the AF capabilities given that is a design from 1999.

I will be testing the R7 this weekend with the RF 800mm f11 too, but I mostly want to use the R7 with the 600mm.

I just saw an auction on ebay where the 600mm f4 IS II was sold for 5800$ great price and trusted seller.

Care to share your opinions regarding the 600mm, hand holding it? carrying it with you on a trip? walking with it for long periods of time?

Thank you!



Aug 05, 2022 at 01:48 PM
garyvot
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


There are photographers here with much more experience than me with wildlife shooting and long lenses. But I personally do not find this type of lens to be handholdable except in rare cases for short stretches. A lens of this size and heft is best used on a tripod with a gimbal head, or potentially on a monopod with a tilt head. The latter setup is fine for sports but can be awkward for birds in flight. It's hard to achieve the stability needed for slower shutter speeds without an actual tripod.

I think you could certainly manage carrying this gear into an area with a good backpack and then setting up on site.

In case that helps.



Aug 05, 2022 at 02:14 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I used to have one and found I only could use it on a tripod and I didnt want to walk with it if I could prevent it. Unless youre shooting in dark environments, Id buy a 100-500mm instead if you want high quality, fast AF, good IQ and being able to walk around.

Alternatively, the 500mm f/4 II gives good reach on a R7, can be used with the 1.4x extender and is much more handholdable than the 600mm.



Aug 05, 2022 at 02:33 PM
tetsu
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Good point, but the difference between the 600mm f4 IS II and the 500mm f4 IS II is about 730 grams. I would really like a Canon 200-600mm like the Sony at a better price but maybe with the R7.


Aug 05, 2022 at 02:56 PM
tetsu
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Hmm, good to know. I will really like to try one for a day or so in order to get a feeling of how it behaves.


Aug 05, 2022 at 02:57 PM
ardvorak
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I have been using the 600 II for several years and I hand-hold it 99% of the time. I cannot stand being bound to a tripod and need the fluid movement when working with small birds, especially. I've seen many "small" people handholding these lenses and a lot of it is conditioning. That said, I am looking to shift from the v II that I have to an RF version, but that is because I am doing much more video now, and it's difficult to handhold the 600 II for video with real stability.

Agree with the comments to try it out!




Aug 05, 2022 at 03:29 PM
Hathaway
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


The 600 mm f4 II is not hand holdable. I have one and am 6 ft 4 in and 220 lbs. I use mine for wildlife and birds and typically have it on a monopod with gimbal head. I do have a set up with a strap harness (flag pole harness) that allows me to carry it on the monopod for short periods of time to shoot BIF. It works but is not the most elegant solution.

It is a great lens and works great on the R5 and in low light but it is a bit of a beast. The weight distribution is not that great either.

That is one of the comments I have heard about the vIII. That they moved more of the weight toward the camera end of the lens and this made is more comfortable to handhold. It was also significantly lighter.

Bob



Aug 05, 2022 at 03:31 PM
Uarctos
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I've used the 500I which is the same weight as the 600II for 7 years, all day, handheld, carried by the lens' foot, on long hikes (+20km) and up into the mountains (+1000m elevation gain). I am rather slim myself, but tall, so that may compensate somehow. When using gear, the strength is not that important (I've seen massive guys with weak arms and legs), the most important things are technique and stamina. However, at 52-53kg, I think the lens is too heavy for you. It is best to try it before, even for a short period of time.


Aug 05, 2022 at 03:38 PM
robert_in_ca
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I would suggest either the EF 500mm or a 400mm 2.8 with a teleconverter. The flexibility of having 2.8 for lowlight situations is really something.


Aug 05, 2022 at 04:20 PM
LS_Ren
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


It really depends the person. For me personally I use mine 600 II hand held the vast majority of the time, for me the freedom of it not being attached to anything allow much better tracking of subjects. While I usually carry a monopod with me however pretty much never use it. Only time I use tripod and gimbal is when I have plan to 'set up camp' and focus on a particular area e.g: a nest. Should also point out that I am only in my mid-20s and in decent physical condition.

That said however, in my opinion, the 600mm, especially on a R7, is likely not going to be used as you might imagine as 960mm is just too long. It would be wise to put on a 100-400 (either the rf f8 or the ef mk ii) on r6. Because at the end of the day my belief is that the most dynamic wildlife pictures are taken when you get lucky and the animal gets close to you, rather then stick on the biggest lens and you want to have a good native AF to catch the special moment when it comes.



Aug 05, 2022 at 04:32 PM
 


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groob
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Ive used an older, 7 lb. Nikon 500mm for years on a gripped D850. Thats about 10 lbs. Im in decent shape, and I can handhold it for hours, hike for numerous miles, etc.

It can get heavy, but its absolutely doable.



Aug 05, 2022 at 07:25 PM
3iron
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I am 5'10" and not a weight lifter, the 600 is holdable if you use the faster shutter speeds. My favorite way to use my 600 is on a monopod. The monopod is quick to use, steady and works like magic. For shower shutter speeds I use the tripod. I have also been known to rest the lens with my vehicle window as a steady rest. I do believe you would be unhappy if you think all your shots can be handheld, but you certainly can use it that way.


Aug 05, 2022 at 07:48 PM
Chimping
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


tetsu wrote:
Hey there folks, Ive been shooting wildlife (birding and animals mostly) for the past 12 years and I want to buy a 600mm f4, a used one cause the new one is way over what I can pay. Even used is a very steep price for me.

Im about 5'6.54feet tall and I weight around 116lbs. I currently have an R6 that I use with the Sigma 150-600mm and I just bought the new Canon RF 800mm f11. The difference in focus accuracy, speed and tracking of the 800mm versus the Sigma is just amazing, also the stabilization of the 800mm
...Show more


Everyone will have their own experience/opinion re handholding a lens like the 600 V2. My suggestion is to see if you can rent one and try handholding it for an outing.

A friend of mine, who is only 5'8 and quite slender, has a 200-400 f/4 and is able to handhold it all day long.

Keep in mind that when you're "handholding" one of these big primes, you likely won't be able to hold the lens static (ie: in one position) for very long; no one, no matter their size, can hold one of these lenses still for any length time. What you should really be aiming for in "handholding" is your ability to pan the lens comfortably while tracking your subject. For example, panning while briefly following a bird in flight or a plane is easy because these subjects only offer you a brief moment or two to capture the action; once the moment is over, you bring the lens down and your muscles are at rest again.

I've successfully "handheld" my 600 V2 for an entire day at an Airshow by panning along with the planes and then resting once the action had past. Additionally, all my wildlife photos are handheld with this lens too; I rarely, if ever, use a tripod or monopod. For the record, Im 61 and about 220 lbs.



Aug 05, 2022 at 11:44 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Whether it is handholdable or not is completely up to the OP to decide. Anyone who says it is or isnt has no clue if that will apply to him.

As others have said, it is very unwise to buy such a lens without trying it first.



Aug 06, 2022 at 01:39 AM
tetsu
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Great answers from everyone, thank you very much!


Aug 06, 2022 at 06:18 AM
John Daniel
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I am 57 and did a lot of birding with several long lenses from 300mm f/2.8 to 600mm f/4. If you are built very strong muscles I would say go for hand holding. But with your weight I doubt it is your case. You can hand hold briefly. For my case, I was using always the tripod to get sharp images.

JD



Aug 06, 2022 at 07:15 AM
crteach
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


Never had the opportunity to use anything longer/heavier than the 300 f2.8 vI or the 100-400 vII. However, with hand-holding you also have to think about your body position. Are you standing or sitting? Braced against something (tree, post, etc.) or not?

When I'm sitting on my walkstool, it's easy to handhold my camera/lens combo for short periods. With some sports I can set the camera down to rest and pick it up again when the action is at the right distance for that lens. I'll sometimes use a monopod while sitting, and that obviously helps with being on target for longer. If I'm on the ground, I can support my arms by resting my elbows on my legs. Standing, I can hold the camera/lens up for longer periods if I'm it's braced against something. So, I think it's more than just your body strength - you also have to think about body position.



Aug 06, 2022 at 07:34 AM
tetsu
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


I mostly walk in the woods, but Im also planing to get a hide and do more tripod and monopod shots.


Aug 06, 2022 at 08:20 AM
macentropist
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


In contrast to Imagemasters comment, the 600 VII is not really handholdable, unless less than 10% accuracy is up your alley. I have 60% usable with a GOOD monopod (Robus), and 85+ % with a GOOD tripod (Robus again).

I was loaned the 600 VipIII via CPS, and i gave up on handholding on day 2. I am 205 Pounds at 65, and can hike the alps all day long.

As everyone has indicated, try before buy! Congrats on the new R7! 960mm without extender is too much for handholding IMHO

Claro hermano!



Aug 06, 2022 at 08:37 AM
IndyFab
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Skinny photographer wants your opinion on 600mm f4 IS II


A couple options:

1)



2) If your inclined to workout I highly recommend The Kneesovertoesguy program on Utube it will take your strength level to the next level. Consider rock climbers who are all on the thin side, yet there strength goes way beyond there physical appearance.

3)




Aug 06, 2022 at 09:34 AM
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