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speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:14 am

Hi all,

I am looking for some feedback from users of the big whites - the 500 II & 600 II...

Aviation isn't my only subject choice, and I am edging towards the 600 II given it's significant weight reduction over the first edition.

Is the 600 too long for airshows... It will be used in tandem with the 100-400...

In general, I have heard the optical quality of the 500II and 600II is outstanding - is this across the board or copy dependent? I'd have to hazard a guess and say at the price each copy should be perfect...

I cannot unfortunately rent a II edition as none in my region offer any... 

Obviously some pointers to shots with them would be great...
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:15 am

I had a 500mm for many years - wonderful lens. Optically I don't think there's much difference between the two, so choice perhaps comes down to ergonomics.

If you plan to use it handheld, over the course of a day's shooting every ounce counts which is mainly why I opted for the 500 over the 600. Though the 600 mk2 is lighter than the mk1 it is still 20% heavier than the current 500 (about .7 kg). That takes it's toll over the course of a day.

On the other hand I would certainly not consider 600 too long ... I often used my 500 with a 1.4 TC. Flight lines seem to get further and further away. Also if you already have a 100-400, an extra 100 isn't really that much different.

If you are planning to use a tripod, if you don't already have one, invest in a decent one. A lens of this size is very susceptible to wind and you need the best support you can get. You will also need some sort of gimbal head - do not even think of trying to use this on a standard tripod mount or ball head.

Optical quality is of course outstanding - the downside being it may make you unhappy with your 100-400! Of course your copy may need a little micro-adjustment to get a perfect match with your body, but I've never heard of a "bad" copy.

It will also work well with the 1.4 TC (better quality than the 100-400 at 400) - most people say it makes no visible difference.

Of course as with any super-tele, these lenses are very susceptible to atmospherics (eg. heat haze), the longer the reach, the more the effect is noticeable. The effect can be obvious (wavy cheat lines) or subtle - lack of detail. Best results need good conditions.

Cheers,

Colin
 
angad84
Posts: 2136
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:43 am

First, I'd like to echo everything Colin said.

Now to specifics:

Quoting Speedbird128 (Thread starter):
Is the 600 too long for airshows...

No! 100-400mm is a fantastic and versatile range for air shows, but for some really great tight shots while small aircraft such as aerobatic props and fighters are displaying, it simply wont cut it. A 500 is good, 600 is better.

Quoting Speedbird128 (Thread starter):
It will be used in tandem with the 100-400...

Perfect. You have the best all-round zoom range for an air show, with a monster for the really fancy (and distant) stuff.

Keep the heat haze thing in mind, it's more important than many people think. Try and shoot stuff that's high off the ground — which shouldn't be a problem, because as I said, 500/600mm is perfect for the displays.

If you haven't used a great white before, I would start hitting the gym. I'm not being facetious, those things weight a metric f***k-tonne and if you want to have any fun with them at an airshow or while shooting birds in flight, you'll probably need to be hand holding them. The tripod/monopod is more if a rest in between shots in those situations. So start benching!

Cheers
Angad
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:31 pm

Quoting angad84 (Reply 2):
If you haven't used a great white before, I would start hitting the gym.

Too true - I rented a 500mm before buying and used it for a week at the Farnborough Airshow. The first couple of days I thought my arms were going to drop off. Sure, it's only 3 or 4kg, but try picking that up (plus body weight) a few hundred times over the course of a day.

To get a feel for it image a large Library bookshelf with a few hundred bound volumes. Now take them all off the shelf and put them back up again  

Of course once you get used to it, no problem.

Cheers,

Colin
 
INNflight
Posts: 3527
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 5:11 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:40 pm

Get a monopod. Easy as that.
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:07 pm

Quoting INNflight (Reply 4):
Get a monopod

I have a good Gitzo monopod already   Perfect.

Quoting ckw (Reply 3):
but try picking that up (plus body weight) a few hundred times over the course of a day.
Quoting ckw (Reply 1):
On the other hand I would certainly not consider 600 too long ... I often used my 500 with a 1.4 TC. Flight lines seem to get further and further away. Also if you already have a 100-400, an extra 100 isn't really that much different.

Thanks Colin, I have heard all round that it requires muscle for a day at the airshow. I do know a gimbal is a must have, and Calumet here have their own house branded gimbal. I am not sure how it will cope with the 600. The reason I am edging for the 600 is like you said, the difference between the 500 and the 100-400 is not so big...

Quoting ckw (Reply 1):
the downside being it may make you unhappy with your 100-400!

I am already unhappy with my old 100-400. I sold it - it is so soft at 400. I am waiting currently for the Mk II Version to arrive...

If I may ask, Colin, why do you not have the 500 any more?

Many thanks all... looking Forward to this experience...
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:10 pm

Quoting angad84 (Reply 2):
A 500 is good, 600 is better.

Thanks for the input

Quoting angad84 (Reply 2):
Keep the heat haze thing in mind

Good Point, more zoom means more rubbish is zoomed too :-/

Quoting angad84 (Reply 2):
So start benching!

  

Thanks for the input Angad
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:38 pm

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 5):
If I may ask, Colin, why do you not have the 500 any more?

Well things change - I don't do nearly as much aviation photography as I used to, most of my time is now spent on boats - mostly yachts, and in that environment the big white can be a bit of a liability ... and not popular with the crew!

In fact I've completely moved over to Olympus OMD - not that I have a problem with Canon (esp the L glass), but the much smaller and better weather proofed Oly gear is more suited to what I'm shooting.

Cheers,

Colin
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:54 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 7):

Makes sound sense - thanks for your iInput..!
 
User avatar
eksath
Crew
Posts: 1341
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:19 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:42 pm

Quoting Speedbird128 (Thread starter):
Is the 600 too long for airshows... It will be used in tandem with the 100-400...

No. Actually, sometimes it may be not long enough.  


Yes, the 600mm is heavier but i use it handheld at airshows as that permits better tracking of aircraft all the way through the flight routine. It might just be a personal preference but i am not a fan of tripods or monopods as that interferes with the range of motion.

Heat haze is going to be a problem to any lens if it exists. I hope the examples below show that it is not a limiting
factor either.
F/4 600mm MK I handheld

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


Just thought i would throw this in as proof that the quality extends across the range. The following are F/5.6 800mm


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu

 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:55 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 9):
No. Actually, sometimes it may be not long enough.  

Many thanks for the feedback!

I was just logging into ask another question - is the 500 or 600 better at mating with the 1.4 III and 2.0 III TC ?

From discussions I have had with friends, they have indicated their 500 lives with the 1.4 TC permanently attached... Granted they are primarily birders so need the extra reach, but the consensus was the 500 was sharper than the 600 with the TC's... Are these fairytales, as I have looked at the DXO labs results and they say the sharpness of the 600 without the TC's is higher...
 
angad84
Posts: 2136
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:09 am

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 10):
I was just logging into ask another question - is the 500 or 600 better at mating with the 1.4 III and 2.0 III TC ?

Results should be broadly similar.

Cheers
A
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:31 am

The 1.4 TC won't give you any trouble. In my opinion the 2x is just short of "good" - just not critically sharp. It may be acceptable with some post-processing and downsizing. Mind you, what do you expect from 1200mm!? air would need to be really clear for good results.

Of course if you actually need 1200mm, what other options do you have?

Actually I suppose a new option is to consider one of the new 50mp bodies - you could think of the extra resolution as a psuedo-convertor.

Cheers,

Colin
 
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seahawk
Posts: 10417
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:29 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:26 am

For airshows there is too long lens. I personally went for a 300mm 2.8 + 1.7TC instead of the 500mm. Because in bad weather having a 300mm 2.8 often proved to be an advantage. But then you could throw the TC on the 600 and that would be awesome. In the end it depends on the weather you are usually facing.

A 600mm is often a little long if it is grey weather.
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:09 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 13):
A 600mm is often a little long if it is grey weather.

But for that there's the 100-400... Hopefully the new edition is better than the old copy i just got rid of.

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
to consider one of the new 50mp bodies

I did/am, but want to see image results first...

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
air would need to be really clear for good results.

That's true even for a 300mm... Zoom makes everything look bigger - even rubbish floating in the air...

Quoting seahawk (Reply 13):
For airshows there is too long lens.

And there's the dilemma - coming from Africa I am (mostly) a nature guy - not *just* aviation - but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot either. So I would like the 600 due to the extra reach. I have a trip to Masai Mara National Park planned next year... I'm drooling at the thought of the opportunities (which I hope materialise!)

[quote=angad84,reply=11]broadly[/quote
I think a lot of it is down to luck as to the compatibility/sharpness of their kit.

Again - many thanks for the input    
 
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seahawk
Posts: 10417
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:29 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:23 am

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 14):
But for that there's the 100-400... Hopefully the new edition is better than the old copy i just got rid of.

But that is a F5.6 lens. One or 2 extra stops can make a difference for airshows. The problem I have when using my 300mm+1.7TC is heat distortion. It is a bitch for anything not flying.
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:31 am

Just remembered another factor in my choice of the 500 over the 600. At the time, the 500 mk1 would just fit into my camera bag which was at carry on limits (for UK anyway). The 600 would not.

I'm not sure if the mark 2 is physically smaller, but might be something to check out. No way would I want my big white travelling in the hold (and subject to any baggage handling issues).

I do know some photogs who prefer to FedEx their oversize gear to their destination rather than risk "the hold"!

Cheers,

Colin
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:31 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 16):
The 600 would not.

I see - thanks Colin. The 600mm II is 448mm long...

Conventional hand luggage is 56x45x23 (or 25).

And then at 3920g should be able to squeeze in under the 8km some airlines impose. At the front end it's 168mm deep so *should* fit safely...

[Edited 2015-04-28 09:35:07]
 
speedbird128
Topic Author
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Big White Primes...

Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:01 pm

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 17):
Conventional hand luggage is 56x45x23 (or 25).

However both BA and SAA in south africa allow only 56x36x23.... that width is much narrower than any regular carry on...

I see the issue...
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12683
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:48 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 13):
Because in bad weather having a 300mm 2.8 often proved to be an advantage.

Sorry, not sure I follow.

Unless you mean the aircraft are flying lower in bad weather....
 
angad84
Posts: 2136
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:37 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 19):
Unless you mean the aircraft are flying lower in bad weather....

I think he means darker days and the 300 2.8L letting in more light.

Cheers
A
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12683
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:36 pm

Quoting angad84 (Reply 20):
I think he means darker days and the 300 2.8L letting in more light.

I would agree, except for this part:

Quoting seahawk (Reply 13):
A 600mm is often a little long if it is grey weather.

 
 
angad84
Posts: 2136
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:14 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 21):
I would agree, except for this part:

Ummmmmm....

Yeah, now I'm lost too. THANKS OBAMA

Cheers
A
 
chrisair
Posts: 2233
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

RE: Big White Primes...

Tue May 05, 2015 10:18 pm

A little late to this party, but take a look at the 200-400 (ditch the 100-400). The new 500 f/4 is fantastic. It is LIGHT. I used one a few months ago with a 1.4x and it looked fantastic. The new 600 is also fantastic and very light.

The 200-400 is a beautiful lens and has a 1.4x converter built in. I didn't notice any decrease in sharpness when using the built in 1.4x.

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