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CanonEF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
 
5.0

(based on 25 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (24)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (21)
  • Strong construction (17)
  • Consistent output (14)
  • Lightweight (14)
  • Durable (13)

Cons

  • Pricey / poor value (4)
  • Heavy (3)

Best Uses

  • Wildlife photos (25)
  • Sports/action (14)
  • Wildlife (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Semi-pro photographer (13), Photo enthusiast (9), Pro photographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (22)

Reviewed by 25 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Wow is all I can say for the headline.

By James

from Pooler, Ga

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Uses

  • Sports/Action
  • Wildlife Photos

Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

I shoot a lot of wildlife as a hobby. I have a 400mm F5.6 Canon, but I have had this lens for one week now and it is amazing. I have been shooting free hand and not too long, but it is sharp. I had been putting getting one for some time now, but I had the chance and done it. Very Very pleased with the lens and how B&H handles every order I have done with them. Great place to buy your equipment. I have no issues.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

Lightweight + IS = Super SuperTelephoto

By Ramsey Botelho

from Massachusetts

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

    The combination of being a light lens with excellent IS (Image Stabilization) really impressed me. From the specs I knew it was just over 7 lbs, but until one uses it in practice one doesn't realize how light it actually is for a prime super-telephoto. For some field testing I slung my rig over my shoulder with the included lens strap, walked quite a bit along my favorite trails and photographed a robin about 45 feet away at 1/320 of a second, with IS on, while hand-holding it. The result had me feeling the purchase was so worth it for future work. For another crack at it on another day I attached my 1.4X III TC. Honestly, I didn't see any image degradation whatsoever. Each of us has our own definition of what equates to sharpness. For myself, it's not just the clear definition of a small bird's feathers, but more so its claws. From the shots I've taken so far the definition and color of the claws have been clean both in sharpness and color. Overall, a lens I sort of wished I could've bought a couple years ago.

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    5.0

    Simply Great

    By Hereugo

    from SE Pennsylvania

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Sports/Action
      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      This lens is very very good. Fast AF, great IQ. I use it with a 1.4x and it is still fast and the IQ does not suffer noticeably. I little big to lug around but it is very useable on a monopod or even handheld for a quick shot.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      You get what you pay for

      By Canadian Chris

      from Ottawa, Canada

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Poor in Low Light
      • Slow Focus

      Best Uses

      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      I spent a great deal of time researching this purchase. The dealbreaker between the 500mm and the 600mm was the size. You can get the 500mm into a Pelican carry-on case in standard overhead bins on airplanes, but the 600mm is too big. It would have to go into checked baggage. Yikes. The 500mm has been vastly reviewed, and its really good to read the comparisons out there. In the end the 600mm has 44% more pixels on target, which is reason enough to go with the 600mm. However, check the video on YouTube that compares the 500mm to the 600mm, and the size of the 600mm and the special pack needed to carry it is jaw dropping. All things that come to bear when carrying and travelling over distances. Anyways, I went with the 500mm, which has reasonably but not blazing fast acquisition on the target for autofocus. I use this primarily for birding and wildlife, and if you use good technique--support, tripod, shutter release--you get good results. I would not suggest despite whatever anyone tells you, that you can handhold this. I'm well over 6', I carried a the company heavy automatic rifle in the infantry, and I would not want to spend a day carrying and hand holding this and expect tack-sharp results. I carry it attached very securely to a Really Right Stuff gimbal, which has a lens strap as a safety. This gumbal on a RRS tripod is carried over my shoulder and in this manner I can go all day, whcih being relatively quick to shoot as opportunities arrive. So, the sharpness I get from this lens is acceptable. I've looked long and hard for a lens that would give me pin feather detail on fall warblers. You can waste money on low-cost surrogates, but really, if you spend the 10K this lens costs, you get amazing, and I mean amazing, optics, performance and ruggedness.I gave 4 instead of 5 stars because in low (and I mean really low) light I find the auto focus searches too much and that in lower light, detail can be soft. Overall, I'm glad I got it. I've had more published pictures as a result of having this lens. It really is a case of you get what you pay for, and this is worth paying for.

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Exceeds Expectations

      By Hookem

      from Baytown, Texas, USA

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Heavy
      • Ridiculously Expensive

      Best Uses

      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      Finally bit the bullet and bought this incredible lens. Outstanding IQ and very fast focus. I love everything about it but the price, which I thought was ridiculous. I wish Canon had furnished the lens with a tripod foot that would balance on a Wimberly mount when I use the 1.4x. I bought the RRS replacement to address this issue. Great lens!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Lens

      By Krazy Kajun

      from Ladys Island, SC

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Easily Interchangeable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Sports/Action
      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      Nature Photography
      Tack sharp focus
      Must use some type of support wioth the 2.0 extender

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Astonishing quality

      By KermittheHermit

      from Madison, WI

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

        This is truly a great lens. Together with the 5DMIII and 1.4x TE III, I am already getting good results for wild bird photography despite the fact that I still have a lot to learn about long lens technique and working with gimbal heads. Results are sharp wide open: stopping down doesn't appear to be necessary unless more depth of field is needed. Bokeh, AF speed, weight and construction quality leave nothing to be desired. While there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the stock foot, I will be swapping it out for an Arca-Swiss compatible model. A dream lens that will outlast me!

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        • No

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Still Great Quality with Improvements

        By newphoto

        from Tulsa, OK

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Sports/Action
          • Wildlife Photos

          Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

          I am a wildlife photographer and had used the old version 500 since it came out in 1999. I replaced the old one with the version II a couple of months ago, along with a 1.4X III. How does it compare to the old 500? It is equal to the excellent sharpness of the old version, but the IS is much improved - quieter, faster, and the new Mode 3 I use all the time. More importantly for me, the new version is a almost 1.5 LBs lighter. It works great with the 1.4 extender as well and the autofocus is plenty fast enough for flying birds. This lens is close to the epitomy for modern day lens crafters.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Finally Got it!

          By Liz

          from Ohio

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Sports/Action
            • Wildlife Photos

            Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

            I am a wildlife photographer and most of you who will look at this review know what I mean when I say that you can never get close enough to your subject. Even with this lens plus an extender you can often not be as close as you would like but it is so sharp, so lightweight that it is worth every penny. I am very pleased with it and expect it to be in my arsenal for a very long time. I highly recommend it. The only very small and not awful problem is that it is hard to balance on my tripod with a Wimberly head. Not enough to cause me to value it at anything less than 5 stars.

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            • No

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            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            May be worth the Money

            By Ty

            from Macon, Ga

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Lightweight
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Sports/Action
              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

              I shoot birds and was reluctant to sell my old 500mm IS which is the best toy I have ever owned. However, time has rendered my shoulders less sturdy than they once were. Many critics have said the 500II is not worth the difference, but the lens is noticeable lighter and should extend your ability to use it if your body is starting to talk back. The performance is what you would expect.

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              • No

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              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Canon 500mm

              By Spurwink

              from Maine

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Lightweight

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                Used for wildlife. This lens is lighter and seems more balanced than the previous 500mm. It is easily hand holdable for BIF. There are no cons but for the $$$.

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Sell everything to get this lens

                By dgardenman

                from Stamford, Ct

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Lightweight

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Wildlife Photos

                  Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                  My first big lens. A long awaited addition to my kit and worth every penny. Maybe quite a few pennies.
                  The sharpness is dangerous, the weight is handleable for this 63 year old. A tripod is still nice to have around. Autofocus is very good with my 7D.
                  Who ever knew f4 could be so wonderful.
                  The birds will have no privacy now.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Awesome lens!

                  By Mule

                  from AZ

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Durable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Lightweight
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Expensive
                  • Little Bit Back Heavy

                  Best Uses

                  • Sports/Action
                  • Video
                  • Wildlife Photos

                  Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                  Lightweight, great IS, easy to use and great image quality! Owned the prior version and this one is definitely more user friendly and easier to pack around.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great quality investment!

                  By Ricky

                  from Arkansas

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Improved Quality
                  • Lightweight
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Video
                    • Wildlife Photos

                    Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                    I have taken thousands of wildlife shots with the lens already and it exceeded my expectations. I immediately noticed better images than other lenses I have used. The weight reduction has made it possible for me to hand hold especially with the improved stabilization. I would recommend purchasing the BH DOC8 lens cap to replace the factory lens cap as it is easier to remove and replace and better protects the lens.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    It is a great lens!

                    By Photo mad man

                    from NJ

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                      Its major usage is for birds and other wild life. It renders super image quality.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      wonderful wildlife lens

                      By dianneordi

                      from Atlanta, GA

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Sports/Action
                        • Wildlife Photos

                        Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                        I've been using this lens for a couple weeks now, and have been able to get some super sharp photos of birds and animals. For best results, I've had to rely on shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/1000 second when shooting handheld. Slower speeds with tripod or braced also give good results.

                        With lens and camera, everthing weighs around 10 lbs, which does get heavy after a while, but is to be expected with this large a lens. I was able to walk around Zoo Atlanta for 5 hours taking handheld photos without any problem.

                        I've tried using the Canon 2X converter with decent (but not great) results.

                        The "lens cap" is a bit clumsy, but for the most part I use the sun hood in the field and leave the lens cap in the car.

                        Comes with a very rugged case.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Amazing Lens!

                        By TomJ

                        from north Texas

                        About Me Pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Rugged
                        • Strong Construction
                        • Superb Optic

                        Cons

                        • Expensive

                        Best Uses

                        • Bird photography
                        • Sports/Action
                        • Wildlife Photos

                        Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                        Everything you have probably already heard about this lens is true. It's lighter than the previous version, the latest image stabilization is fantastic, the image quality is stellar, and you pretty much have the best optic of this focal length on the planet when you purchase this lens. Yes, the cost is a killer, but if you are serious about certain kinds of photography (I photograph birds) then there really are not many choices when it comes to great birding lenses. This is one of them. It should last a long time and if current trends are any indication, you may end up being able to sell it for close to what you paid for it years down the road. So look at it as in investment.

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                        • No

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                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Great Lens for birding, worth the money

                        By gone again

                        from cincinnati, Ohio

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Sports/Action
                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                          fast focus, pictures are tack sharp, best if used with a 1x4 convertor.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Fit and Finish are exceptional

                          By AndyG

                          from Fort Collins, CO

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Pros

                          • Durable
                          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Rugged

                          Cons

                          • Heavy
                          • Is Drifts

                          Best Uses

                          • Bird photography
                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                          I have rented the 500mm f/4 version I and owned a 100-400mm for many years before finally breaking down and buying the 500mm f/4 II. Of course it's tack sharp and a pleasure to use. Here's some additional comments to add to the other reviews:
                          * Bokeh is very good. Much, much better than the 100-400, which often produces double-blades of grass for slightly-out-of-focus distances.
                          * The fit and finish are really good and much better than the 500mm version I.
                          * The lens hood weighs nothing and slides on and off easily.
                          * The lens cap is much smaller and much nicer than the strange thing they shipped with the original 500mm.
                          * The knob to loosen the lens collar so you can rotate between portrait and landscape is easy to use and rotating the lens feels like your dealing with a fine piece of precision machinery. Delightful.
                          * The Image Stabilization drifts more than I would have expected in Mode 1. Sitting on a tripod the lens wanders less than my 100-400, but I don't think you'll be taking any 1/30 or longer pictures with it. Otherwise the IS works well. 4 stops? I don't think so. Good IS? Yes.
                          * The case is AWESOME! It is rugged, has spaces for the 1.4X and 2X TCs, has 2 handles and feet on 3 sides so you can carry it 2 different ways and store it any way you want.
                          * There are several accessories I recommend: A Think-tank Airport Accelerator case for easier travel in the car with the lens attached to the camera, a Wimberly mount for your tripod, the Canon 1.4X TC III, the 52mm drop-in circular polarizer for shooting birds on water and a Really Right Stuff Arca-Swiss replacement foot. I also own the Canon 2X teleconverter but don't find it that useful. Air turbulence and tripod shake (I use a Gitzo series 3) are such that you'll rarely get more resolution than with the 1.4X TC.
                          * While lighter than its predecessor, this lens is still heavy. I've done a little hand-holding but practically this just isn't a desirable way to use this lens. Don't plan on hand-holding.

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                          • No

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                          (1 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Nice weight

                          By Elston

                          from Port Angeles, WA

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Rugged
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Wildlife Photos

                            Comments about Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                            Very happy with this lens as I already had a 500mm lens. This one is light enough to hand hold alhough I try to use the tripod. Fast focus.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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