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  Reviews by: SaSiSidi  

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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: May 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, endurance, image quality, ability to take TCs, fast auto focus
weight, size, balance on a tripod

I bought this lens used, instead of a 300/2,8L IS new. I was planning to use the 300 with a 2xTC to make a 600mm reach. But the lens I found in it's condition and price was impossible to pass.

For birds in flight, small birds and close shots of animals, this is the lens to use.

I use it with a 350D, which can be considered a sacrilidge, but the lens performs fantastic, focuses very fast and very accurately and seems to be able to take 2 2xTCs without any significant (for my eyes) loss of image quality.

I can use it hand-held, for limited time. Especially if sitting, I can support it with the left hand and support my left elbow in by chest. This seems to work. But for prolonged sessions in sports, a tripod is a big help. Makes the effort go away and the fun get in.

Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Review Date: Nov 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image Stabilizer, Picture Quality, Build quality
Slow autofocus, shutter stutter

I have had this lens for a few months now. Did several sessions with it, including sports and wildlife.

This is not a sports lens. It suffers terribly in low light conditions. The OS is useless in sports (action photography). You need much faster speeds for the subject than what needed for stable picture. 2 extra stops would be nice (400/2.8). But this is not such a lens...

In wildlife photography, during a sunny morning-noon, this lens excells.

Despite other people comments, I found the lens to have excellent clarity at all focal lengths. Even wide open at 5.6.

Using a 2x Sigma Teleconverter reduces clarity and contrast, however stopped down 3 stops goes back to workable.

The Image Stabiliser (OS) works wonders. Hand held down to 1/60 or 1/125 produces crisp pictures (with some training). The AF speed is terrible. Don't believe what people say about it being slow. It is much worse than that. At least on the Canon 350D.
However, with such a focal length and such a small DOF, I found that my camera would focus arbitrarily on "interesting" artifacts but not my subject. I am already using this lens in MF, which I find rewarding. AF speed is now much faster and focusing is much more accurate.

(Note though that I am a AF novice. I was still taking pictures with an ageing Canon A1 and manual focus lenses until 5 months ago).

The weight of the lens is bearable if you are strong. Combined with a monopod, provides a pleasantly stable lens.

In summary, this is a good lens provided it is used for what it is meant for.
Wildlife, nature and in abundance of light.