JamiePoc's reviews

  • Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality Image stabilizers ids fantastic. Focus very fast Colours are very good.
    People stare and smile a lot at you when walking around with it.

    I have owned this lens for 2 months now, I upgraded from a 500mm 4.5L which I had owned for many years and really loved. Last Christmas I managed to destroy the 500mm 4.5L by having it fall from a bench onto a concrete floor putting a 2cm circler chip on the inside of the lens with many bits of glass floating around inside, I suddenly had a very expensive rattle, yep.. happy Christmas to me.
    Thinking OK I can live with this, I dug out my 70-200mm 2.8L IS and a EF1.4x and when out for a walk, got home, looked through the images on my PC and at that moment decided to sell everything I dont use including the 70-200mm to raise funds to get another 500mm.
    It took me 4 weeks to raise the funds, many trips to the post office posting things and a lot of Ebay fees but I finally got the money together and bought a used EF 500mm F4 L IS in absolute mint condition, not a mark anywhere on it, looking this up it turned out to be one of the very last EF 500mm F4 L IS produced.

    To the lens.
    I have two EOS bodies, an old Canon EOS Kiss x4 / 550D and a 5DS.
    First Thoughts
    The first day out with the lens on my 5DS I visited a local field where I often walk my two dogs and from the very first capture I was stunned just how much sharper and how improved the colours were over the 4.5L,
    I quickly discovered that handheld I could set the shutter speed to 100 @ F4 with IS enabled and get great sharp images, this was technically possible at 4.5 with my old lens but it would have been supported on my knee or a fence post plus I would really have to concentrate on holding the rig steady, not with F4 I just panned across the field following the dogs and got a number of incredibly sharp images, I mean retina detail sharp and on moving subjects, I must say I was very happy.

    I dont find the weight a problem at all, I know some do. I dont own a tripod; I don't care for them and find them cumbersome, they make for a lot of missed shots. I handhold this everywhere, A few weeks back I spent 7 hours out with the lens which included a 4 hour hike without any problem and I am 44 and 5ft 7

    I had a new lens so I thought I would purchase the latest EF MKIII 1.4X to go with it. I am picky about detail in my images when it comes to bird photography, I hate noise, to me a good wildlife image foundation must start by being pin sharp. I dont know if its my extender but with it attached I would estimate a 20% loss in image quality, my MKI extender is even worse by a few %. First I thought it might be me or micro adjustment was needed but after a few hours of tweaking settings, micro adjustments and many test images I concluded I get cleaner images and more detail with the 500mm standalone and cropped than I do with the 1.4 attached and not cropped. I must admit I was disappointed with the extenders performance on this lens; could I have two bad 1.4Xs?.

    If you want the ultimate image quality, more portability and dont need the reach of the 500mm I would recommend you get the Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, I have used it and its just incredible image quality however the 500mm F/4 comes in a close second. If like me you photograph wildlife then the 300mm would defiantly be too short, even with extenders you find the image quality drops below that of the 500mm so I would recommend the 500mm to anyone shooting wildlife and wants a lens you can walk about with.

    reviewed March 30th, 2020 (purchased for $2,400)