REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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CanonEF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
 
4.9

(based on 24 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (22)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (18)
  • Consistent output (17)
  • Nice bokeh (16)
  • Strong construction (15)
  • Durable (14)

Cons

  • Heavy (4)

Best Uses

  • Wildlife photos (21)
  • Sports/action (8)
  • Landscape/scenery (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Semi-pro photographer (11), Photo enthusiast (9)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (23)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Worth the wait!

Use the lens primarily to shoot birds, and had been entirely satisfied with my 500mm f/4. This lens costs MUCH more, but if you are a serious wildlife photographer, especially of...Read complete review

Use the lens primarily to shoot birds, and had been entirely satisfied with my 500mm f/4. This lens costs MUCH more, but if you are a serious wildlife photographer, especially of birds, this lens is IT! Autofocus is super quick, silent, and its weight is so close to that of my 500, tha I truly can't tell any difference. An enthusiastic 5 Stars!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

A great lens, but so was its predecessor

I am writing this review for other owners of the 600 IS who are considering upgrading to the IS2. First thing you notice about the IS2 is its reduced weight - it's dimensions are...Read complete review

I am writing this review for other owners of the 600 IS who are considering upgrading to the IS2. First thing you notice about the IS2 is its reduced weight - it's dimensions are practically identical to the IS, but it's weight is lower. Once set up on a tripod, it is no easier to use than the IS, but when working from the confines of a car, the new lens in much more manouverable. The 4-stop IS is also much better than the 2-stop of the old lens - the difference is quite apparent in real life.
Some would argue that the IS2 lens is sharper than the IS. It is, but only very slightly. I can say that the modern lenses from Canon seem to require little or no lens micro-adjustment like the older lenses, which makes the new lens seem sharper, unless you set them both up properly. With the Canon 2x teleconverter iii, the sharpness difference is very noticeable - the IS2 produces much sharper pictures than the IS did with the 2x teleconverter of its era. I am not sure how much of that is the lens, or the converter.
The major improvements to this lens - its reduced weight and the modern IS system do not justify the huge increase in price, so that is why I have docked one star from my rating. I docked the other star because of the tripod foot of this lens. As owners of the IS lens will know, the rotating collar on the tripod foot was a disaster. The bearings were very flimsy and if you use the rotating collar a lot, they start to grind and then foul. Replacement is incredibly expensive - about 10% of the cost of the lens. My collar needed changing twice in six years.
Canon have allegedly completely redesigned the collar on the IS2 and indeed, it does feel smoother and better made. Frustratingly, it has been poorly thought out. The tripod collar is in the same position on the IS2 lens as it was on the IS. But, because of the weight decrease, this means it is now in the wrong position relative to the centre of gravity. So, when carrying this lens by the foot, the weight tends to pull the lens out of your hand, not into it like before. This makes it far harder to carry and far more prone to accidents. Furthermore, the friction on the rotating collar is too low. When you mount an external flash on your camera (I use 580 and 600EX flashes on 1DX, 1D4, 5D3 and 7D bodies) the assembly becomes top heavy. Inadvertently tap the flash and the collar friction is so low that it spins around until your flash smashes into the tripod. As an avian photographer, I use my flash extensively and this is a big problem to me. The 800 lens is much better in this respect, as is the old 600 IS, despite its bearing problems.

Reviewed by 24 customers

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5.0

Worth The Price of Admission

By The Owl Man

from Nanaimo B.C. Canada

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

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

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Wildlife Photos

Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

I use this lens mainly for wildlife photography. My last Super-telephoto lens was the 500mm F/4 L series. In my opinion, the 600mm is even sharper and provides much better stabilization at slower shutter speeds. It is rugged and built to top quality. It is very much a perfect fit for birding and can render excellent results for in flight images as well.
Even though it is much lighter than its predecessor, at age 58 I am still finding it heavy to tote over long distances attached to the tripod. I really cannot fault the lens for this as it could be just old age creeping in. I certainly don't regret the day that I purchased this fine product and I hope to have it for many years to come.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

Excellent Lens

By Jun

from Olathe, Kansas

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Sports/Action
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

    I have been waiting to get this lens for a long time and finally got it.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Best Lens ever!

    By Big-O

    from Lockport, IL

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

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

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Photography
      • Sports/Action
      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      Fantastic focus, Sharp, Lighter than predecessor.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      "STUNNING"

      By Scott "The Duck Whisperer"

      from Uncasville, Ct.

      About Me Casual Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

      • NONE

      Best Uses

      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

      Lens used primarily for waterfowl, weight reduction from previous is amazing, fast focus, great handling lens...superb!!!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Nice lens but why so much $$$$$

      By Christopher Schlaf

      from Michigan

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

        I owned a few copies of the previous version and was quite happy with them but because of my addiction to wildlife photography I had to have this version. Ive been using it for over a year now and yes it is a great piece of equipment but why is it so expensive? Sure its lighter and does work better with extenders than the previous versions but for about 5K more. I would like to know if there is really a reason for this or is it they know that there is people like me that will pay for this.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Fabulous Lens

        By Rick

        from Atascadero, CA

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

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

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

        I have been using this lens for about 5 months, mostly with the 1.4 extender. I hesitated to buy it for obvious reasons--cost and weight. But i have no regrets The lens is sharp, fast to focus, and gives incredible detail and color rendition. I was pretty happy with my pictures before, but using this lens is a joy. I use it for birds and wildlife and could not be more pleased with the results I get. If you are on the fence and can afford it, jump!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Excellent update to a great lens

        By twilly

        from Sugar Land Tx

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Sports/Action
          • Wildlife Photos

          Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

          As an owner of the orignal 600 F4L IS which I sold to buy the 800 F5.6L IS I decided to buy the new version as I missed a few things I didnt get with the 800, (I will keep both as they are significantly different). Out of the box the first thing I noticed is the very significant weight difference, (and I can hand hold for short periods). I wouldnt call this lens light but relative to the original it truly is. The difference in sharpness and focusiing speed are not massive but noticable with the native lenses but when a converter is added the difference is eye popping especially with the 2 x converter. I now dont worry about picture quality or focusing speed and the 2 x lives on this 600 - I shoot small birds so range is everything. Is this the converter or the lens I dont know but the combination is compelling. In hindsight is this a better or worse purchase than the 800 I honestly dont know I have both and will keep both (much to my wifes disgust given the cost!) - the 800 for static shoots (couple with 400 DO for close shots) and 600MM is my walk around with atripod lens and maybe carry the 400

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          i waited too long to get this lens

          By J

          from south florida

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

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

          Cons

          • Heavy

          Best Uses

          • Sports/Action
          • Wildlife Photos

          Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

          my wildlife photos are sharp, contrasty, with great bokeh. I should have made the move a long time ago. I had been using the 300/2.8 with a doubler.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Awesome lens

          By golferfitz

          from Bettendorf, IA

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                I use this lens for wildlife - birds and BIF mainly. It's sharpness is spectacular and the auto focus is fast and accurate, even in low light. There is no shortage of detail in the images from the 600 f/4.0.
                The bokeh is soft and smooth, enhancing the subject even more. Construction is just what you'd expect - top notch!
                The only drawback is the weight. It is just a bit heavy to hand hold for any duration, but I bought it fully intending to use a tripod.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                The Ultimate WildlifeLens

                By Revup67

                from Surfside, CA

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Durable
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged

                Cons

                • Birdsbare Sky-struggled
                • Birds In Flight-struggled
                • Cumbersome At 28 Inches

                Best Uses

                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                Birding, Wildlife, Distant Sunsets, Plants, Leaves, Boats

                Impressive lens almost all the way around. My only gripe was with a 5D M3 on Ai Servo, Case 2 tracking the lens struggled to find birds in flight against the skyline. Missed many shots. Never had this issue at all with a 400mm 5.6 L on same camera (5DM3), same settings. perhaps it was this specific lens still to this day unsure. Not to bad to haul around for hours on end, handheld. I use a 3/8" cone shaped handled and threaded to lens foot. This made it quite easy to hoist and shoot along with lens and camera straps. No other supports used. Handlheld between 1-4 hours per day and on off road hikes

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Two Words Say It All

                By Desert Rat

                from The Sonoran Desert

                Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                Amazing lens.

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                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                This lens is worth the investment.

                By Donna

                from Chattanooga

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Wildlife Photos

                  Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                  For those who enjoy pushing the limits of their photography skills, this lens is worth the investment. The quality of images is breathtaking. And once you practice a bit, it is even possible to handhold while stalking birds in flight.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Expensive but great performance

                  By Ken C

                  from Boston MA

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Sports/Action
                    • Wildlife Photos

                    Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                    This is a great wildlife lens, focuses quickly and accurately, much lighter than previous version, crazy sharp even with teleconverter. The latest generation IS is much better than previous version (which wasn't bad!).

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Simply Amazing

                    By Vinbba

                    from Seaford, NY

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Pros

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

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Sports/Action
                      • Video
                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                      What can I say. This lens is simply amazing. Yes it's very very expensive but you will not find a better piece of glass. The sharpness and bokeh are incredible and the results are out of this world. I was originally looking to purchase the 500mm but after looking at the two and feeling them in my hands (thank you B&H) I decided for the extra focal length of the 600mm.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      The ultimate wildlife lens

                      By Eldar

                      from Asker, Norway

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Wildlife Photos

                        Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                        When my old 500mm f4 was due for retirement, I had 3 options. I could just go for the new version II, I could jump up to the 600 f4 IS II or I could go for the 400 f2.8 IS II. At the time I had a 5DIII and I had ordered the 1DX. But the firmware upgrade, which allows them to AF on f8 was not there yet. I therefore ended up with the 400mm. And by all means, that is a phenomenal lens. With the 1.4xIII and 2xIII extenders I had a very flexible solution and f2.8 is very usable at dusk and dawn. But when the firmware for AF on f8 came out, I could not stop thinking about the 1200mm f8 option I could get with the 600mm. So now I have both and I am trying to figure out if it is possible to sell one or keep both. So far I am on keep both.

                        The only downside with any of the lenses are size and price. Weight is now so reduced from their version I brothers that I don´t find that to be an issue anymore. I am 53 and I handhold more than 50% of my shots. With the previous 11 lb monster I don´t think I would have managed. Same situation with the 400 by the way. But a curious difference. The 600 is slightly heavier than the 400. But it is slimmer and longer. And because of that it feels lighter. I even handhold with the 1.4xIII extender, but not with the 2xIII. That is both because of the 1200mm focal length and the single AF point available. I use a good Gitzo tripod with a Wimberley Gimbal II head for that.

                        AF is incredibly fast and accurate (no micro adjustment required on any of the bodies). Sharpness is incredible, even wide open. I am not able to see any CA problems. Build quality is second to none and Canon´s big whites are the prettiest lenses money can buy.

                        The 400 has become more the sports and dusk/dawn lens, because of the f2.8 (be aware that you need the f2.8 to take full advantage of the AF capabilities of the 1DX and 5DIII bodies) and the 600, with the extenders are used for all the really long reach work.

                        If you can afford it and have a decent back, there is nothing better

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                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Awesome Lens!

                        By Pete

                        from Switzerland

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Pros

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

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                          This is by far my favorite wildlife photography lens. I have the older 500mm F/4 L IS and was not sure if it was worth the upgrade but have not regretted it for one moment. I appreciate the additional reach and the weight is very comparable so hand-held is still (barely) possible. Tack sharp shots at much slower speeds than with the 500mm and the bokeh is amazing. Autofocus is fast and the build quality is great as expected with an L lens.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (27 of 34 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          3.0

                          A great lens, but so was its predecessor

                          By birdbrain

                          from Johannesburg, South Africa

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Pros

                          • Nice Bokeh

                          Cons

                          • Poor Rotating Collarfoot

                          Best Uses

                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                          I am writing this review for other owners of the 600 IS who are considering upgrading to the IS2. First thing you notice about the IS2 is its reduced weight - it's dimensions are practically identical to the IS, but it's weight is lower. Once set up on a tripod, it is no easier to use than the IS, but when working from the confines of a car, the new lens in much more manouverable. The 4-stop IS is also much better than the 2-stop of the old lens - the difference is quite apparent in real life.
                          Some would argue that the IS2 lens is sharper than the IS. It is, but only very slightly. I can say that the modern lenses from Canon seem to require little or no lens micro-adjustment like the older lenses, which makes the new lens seem sharper, unless you set them both up properly. With the Canon 2x teleconverter iii, the sharpness difference is very noticeable - the IS2 produces much sharper pictures than the IS did with the 2x teleconverter of its era. I am not sure how much of that is the lens, or the converter.
                          The major improvements to this lens - its reduced weight and the modern IS system do not justify the huge increase in price, so that is why I have docked one star from my rating. I docked the other star because of the tripod foot of this lens. As owners of the IS lens will know, the rotating collar on the tripod foot was a disaster. The bearings were very flimsy and if you use the rotating collar a lot, they start to grind and then foul. Replacement is incredibly expensive - about 10% of the cost of the lens. My collar needed changing twice in six years.
                          Canon have allegedly completely redesigned the collar on the IS2 and indeed, it does feel smoother and better made. Frustratingly, it has been poorly thought out. The tripod collar is in the same position on the IS2 lens as it was on the IS. But, because of the weight decrease, this means it is now in the wrong position relative to the centre of gravity. So, when carrying this lens by the foot, the weight tends to pull the lens out of your hand, not into it like before. This makes it far harder to carry and far more prone to accidents. Furthermore, the friction on the rotating collar is too low. When you mount an external flash on your camera (I use 580 and 600EX flashes on 1DX, 1D4, 5D3 and 7D bodies) the assembly becomes top heavy. Inadvertently tap the flash and the collar friction is so low that it spins around until your flash smashes into the tripod. As an avian photographer, I use my flash extensively and this is a big problem to me. The 800 lens is much better in this respect, as is the old 600 IS, despite its bearing problems.

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                          • No

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                          (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          What a great lens

                          By Jim from Boston

                          from Boston, MA

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

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

                          Cons

                          • None so far

                          Best Uses

                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                          This lens is the gold standard. Fast focus, great contrast and just about every image is a keeper.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Amazing lens

                          By Roboshark

                          from Naperville, IL

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Wildlife Photos

                              Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                              Fantastic images and light weight for a lens in this class.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              (9 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Wonderful Canon 600 f4 II lens

                              By Steve

                              from Castaic, CA

                              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

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

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Wildlife Photos

                                Comments about Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens:

                                I am truly amazed at the quality and innovation of this lens. The sharpness of images taken with it, EVEN with very low shutter speeds and HAND HELD, is amazing – images are TACK SHARP. The balance is legendary and with the front element so light as compared with even the original Canon 500 f4 (let alone the original heavy 600 f4), the lens actually feels light! I love this wonderful lens.

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                                • No

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