Customer Reviews: Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
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on January 25, 2008
Increditable images. Forget the 600mm's, the images from this lens are very impressive, better than my other two Canon L lens - the f/2.8, 28-70mm zoom and the f/4, 300mm.
Before getting this lens in my hands, I thought I would be able to handhold shots using image stabilization. While this is possible, to get the full use from this lens a high quality tripod with Wimberley Mount is really a requirement. I have found this lens is really just too big to reasonably handheld. So unless you know a machinist, expect to spend another $1400. This adds not only to the price, but also to the equipment that you will need to carry to your shooting location, which brings up my next point.
In my research before getting this lens, numerous writers were complaining about carrying this lens to location. In my personal experience (I'm a 62-year-old retiree) I have not found this to be a problem. Yes it is heavy, but easily carried by the handle or inside a Lowes backpack if going a greater distance.
It should be noted that once you have all this equipment carried to a location, you are pretty much restricted to just taking pictures with your 600mm lens. Carrying this lens is a full time job requiring all your attention.
And taking about attention, you will attract a lot of it. Everyone, yes everyone will take notice of you, which as far as I am concerned is never a good thing, especially if you find yourself isolated along with some bad guys who realize the value of the equipment you are carrying.
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on December 19, 2008
The good news is that this lens is capable of producing some very sharp, quality images. The bad news is that it depends on your copy (thus 4 stars instead of 5). Don't necessarily believe those who tell you that you have "bad technique".

I went through 3 lenses before finally getting one that performed as one would expect for a $7,000+ lens. The first copy had obvious defects, produced soft images lacking detail, and was returned to the seller. The 2nd copy had something resembling bad chromatic aberration (also with soft images lacking detail once again), and went in to the California Factory Service Center twice. Both times, the FSC returned it to me in worst shape than when it went in. After contacting a Canon executive, my lens went to Canon's engineers and I was issued a loaner within 24 hours (something the head of the California FSC never offered). Canon's executives obviously care; I'm not so sure about their FSC.

Canon eventually told me they were going to use the lens to find ways to improve their manufacturing process. They offered to let me keep the loaner they had sent me, but I declined due to visible metal casting flakes on the outermost element. Canon ended up sending me a copy that was first inspected by their engineers. I've had that copy for 5 months now and it has performed superbly - sharp, good contrast, etc.

So if/when you buy this lens, buy from a seller you trust, and a seller that you know will work with you. I bought from Canoga Camera in southern California. With the first lens, they were supportive. With the second lens, they told me I could not return it, and then had their Canon sales rep call me. The sales rep insulted me (literally), told me I did not know what I was talking about, stated, "Are we done here?", and then essentially hung up on me. I was on my own when I contacted Canon executives in NY. Fortunately, they were extremely professional and responsive, but it was a long ordeal that was quite stressful considering how much money was at stake.

Using live view at 10x, the visible shake of 840mm (600mm + 1.4x TC) is evident, even when the lens appears to be steady. Yet with IS, the results can be impressively sharp.

In addition to a very sturdy tripod and good tripod head, I have gotten excellent results using the molar bean bag filled with 20+ pounds of pinto beans. This lens produces much better images than my Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS lens. Even with a 2x TC, the results from this lens are superior to my 100-400mm.

For reference, I own Canon's 24-70mm f/2.8 L, 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS, and 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS. The 600mm is my only prime, so it should come as no surprise that it performs the best of all the lenses in my collection. The 70-200 is a close second in terms of performance.
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on May 29, 2009
I've owned this lens for most of a year now, and I am completely satisfied with it.

Downsides - it's heavy at almost 12 pounds, and it costs half as much as a small car.

It's like adopting a 12 pound child - if you're on a photo shoot, you have to take it everywhere. You can't let it out of your sight. It's a lot to carry, you certainly don't want to bang it around, and it's always in the back of your mind that somebody might like to snatch it when you're not looking.

But all that said, this is one incredible lens!

After a year of shooting a competitor's 500mm f6.4 zoom - and agonizing over whether it would be worth the cost, I upgraded to the Canon 600mm.

The improvement in image quality is stark. Bokeh is superb. The f4 combined with the IS allows me to get images that were out of reach with the other lens. And the extra 100mm in focal length - especially when combined with Canon's matched 1.4X extender really fills the frame with whatever it is you're shooting.

I've shot it in temperature extremes from -3F to +90F and in over 20K images, it has never given me the slightest problem.

The autofocus is FAST and the dual-mode IS works extremely well.

Invest in a decent tripod and gimbal head (Manfrotto's works very nicely at a fraction of the cost of the Wimberly) and you'll be happy. Try to hand-hold this beast and you won't.

But if you're thinking about moving up to this lens, take it from an avid bird & wildlife photographer - you will NOT regret it!
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on July 5, 2007
Canon's 600mm F4 IS super telephoto lens is the ultimate tool for sports and wildlife photography. A quiet micro ultrasonic motor powers the world's fastest autofocus that gives the user the option of manual override, recalling a preset focus position or limiting focus distance to prevent hunting out of range. Ultra low dispersion glass and fluorite elements create high definition images with excellent contrast. Fast f/4 maximum aperture allows high shutter speeds in less than ideal lighting and facilitates the use of teleconverters. Optical image stabilization designed specifically for this lens operates in two user selected modes. Dust and moisture resistant construction make it ideal for the outdoors.

This lens has approximately 12 times magnification when used with Canon's full frame 5D DSLR, approximately 16 times magnification when used with EOS 1D Mark II or Mark III, and approximately 20 times magnification when used with Canon's 20D or 30D bodies. At Amazon's current price, this lens plus a Canon DSLR body costs less than other brand's 600 F4 lens that sadly is not equipped with VR.
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on November 15, 2011
Well constructed, but a little on the heavy side. Sharp images, fairly fast for a super tele. Like the full time manual focus capability along with the autofocus. Has improved my wildlife photo chances.
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on September 11, 2010
Have had this lens for almost 6 months now! FANTASTIC is an understatement. Its a big heavy lens , cant expect it any other way without compromising build quality! I have used it mainly for Wildlife and the results have made me go on safari's more over the last 6 months than I have for 3 years! Its just begs to be used and each picture come out wow! I know what i have been missing!

Its costs almost the price of a small car ( a used one at least!) But I can tell you its worth it.

The focusing is fast and accurate on my 5dII and have also tried it on a 7D body with almost similar result. Actually I like the combination 7D + 600 which is ideal for wildlife given the crop factor , faster shutter speed and 18MP.

Only down side is carrying it around , but once you get used to it that's not a big issue. Need a good tripod for sure with a strong head to mount on, but the IS works fine and I have used it many times hand held or supported by a bean bag while on safari! I have built my accessories and carrying gear around this lens now so its no big issue and I usually get who ever I travel with to help! Still not figured how to avoid the attention I get from other though (Maybe a cloth over it will help!! Will try next time im out!!!)
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on October 15, 2015
Just sold my car to get these great lens! They are bulky and hopefully weatherproof because i moght now have to live under a bridge.
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on May 10, 2015
Best I ever used!!!
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on February 2, 2009
This is a great lens for bringing things up close and personal. Has image stabilizer that works great. Bit on the heavy side. Recommend it as worth the expense and weight.
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on January 11, 2012
Why do they have a $20,000+ list price in the ad? Totally false advertisement as buying it from Canon USA directly it goes for $9100 (list price). Disappointed in Amazon on this deal trying to make $9800 seem like a good deal.
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