Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Sample Pictures

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Sample Pictures
Strutting Turkey Close-Up Picture Strutting Turkey Close-Up Picture
Turkeys are challenging subjects - they don't stop moving. This movement combined with a background that is not great in all of the directions the movement goes makes getting nice pictures challenging. For this shot, I moved in to completely remove the background from the frame.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/320s  ISO 400
Small White-tailed Buck Feeding Small White-tailed Buck Feeding
Looks like a simple photo to capture right? Guess again. I'll explain.
 
Often, the best height to shoot wildlife from is level with the subject. Typically, the head is the most important part of that subject. And when that head is on the ground feeding, level means shooting from right down on the ground. shooting from the low position has the benefit of a more distant background that becomes nicely blurred.
 
Usually, the best wildlife lighting is a low sun at your back with your shadow pointing directly toward the subject. Since wildlife does not care about your lighting needs, patience is often required to get good lighting on a particular subject. And sometimes a LOT of patience is required.
 
The young white-tailed buck shown here was constantly moving. Its path was unpredictable and the head was constantly moving back and forth. I spent a lot of time trying to predict where it would feed to, aligning my position with a clean background for the predicted subject location and focusing immediately when taking the shot just as the head moved into a frame of the deer's front legs.
 
The narrow angle of view a 600mm lens provides makes this challenge even harder. I happened to cut off the tip of the buck's antlers in the fast-framed shot, but was able to piece the rest of the image together using another image.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/500s  ISO 100
Bald Eagle Flying with a Fish Bald Eagle Flying with a Fish
"How well does the Canon EOS 7D Mark II perform when shooting birds in flight?" has quickly become a frequently asked question. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II, especially because of its high performance AF system, high density imaging sensor, fast frame rate and modest-for-what-you-get price, is quickly finding favor with bird photographers. And, one of the biggest challenges faced by bird photographers is maintaining focus on birds in flight. Thus, the question is getting asked.
 
I had the privilege of spending the larger part of a day shooting bald eagles below the Conowingo Dam in northern Maryland with the 7D II this week. My goal was to discern how well this AF system could track the often-erratic movement of these beautiful birds in flight (and to hopefully come away with some nice images).
 
The day's moderate-to-heavy cloud cover eliminated any harsh shadow issues, but made the sky a white canvas (white sky is OK, but is not my favorite) and provided low light to further challenge the AF system. The bottom line is that I'm really impressed with my success rate from this day.
 
I was using the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens with and without a Canon EF 1.4x III Extender behind it. Tracking these fast and erratic-moving birds with such a narrow angle of view was quite challenging, but when I kept the selected center AF point or one of the 4 neighboring AF points (based on the AF area I was using) on or even close to the bird I was tracking, most of the images were properly focused. Especially impressive was the ability of this camera to maintain focus on the birds even with backgrounds that the birds visually blended into and even more impressive was this camera's ability to maintain focus on the birds even with high contrasting backgrounds including electrical line towers and bare tree branches against a bright sky. I was using the AF Case 2 to instruct the camera to be slow to leave a tracked subject due to obstacles.
 
This camera is a great choice for bird photography. The consensus that I'm hearing from the other photographers frequenting Conowingo Dam is that their 7D Mark II experiences mirror my own.
 
After catching its dinner, this eagle in the above picture flew directly toward the camera. I began tracking and shooting at 10 fps. I have numerous good images of this eagle, but this was the most-frame-filling that did not cut off any significant amount of the bird. This image is essentially right out of the camera. I extended the canvas slightly to the bottom, added the extreme tip of the two bottom-most feathers and removed imperfections from a couple of other feathers. I changed the Picture Style to Standard (in DPP), changed saturation to "1", white balance to "Cloudy" and added a touch of noise reduction.
 
I have added a 10 fps burst example of flying eagles (a juvenile chasing an adult with a fish) to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review. The wing positioning shown in this series of images will assure you that 10 fps is definitely not too fast and at times, I needed a frame between the neighboring frames – such as at the moment the eagles grabbed a fish in the water.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/1250s  ISO 1000
Old Fence Post and Rusty Barbed Wire Old Fence Post and Rusty Barbed Wire
The Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens has the great capability of making the background into a smooth blur of color. The smooth blur of color in this example is a pasture being lit by a nearly-set sun.
 
The rusty barbed wire and old post are placed into the frame using the rule of thirds. I can't say that I was thinking about the rule of thirds when I took this picture, but that is apparently what worked for my eye in the viewfinder.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/125s  ISO 100
7 Cute Ducklings on a Log 7 Cute Ducklings on a Log
Seven Black Duck ducklings sit on a log in a variety of poses including drinking, yawning, stretching legs and simply resting. Too cute.
 
600mm  f/10.0  1/160s  ISO 125
Sending the Ball Sending the Ball
A young soccer player delivers the ball to her forward teammate.
 
I find it easier to properly frame larger field sports images when using longer focal length prime lenses than when using shorter focal length primes due to the longer focus distance sweet spot the longer lenses have.
 
Still, when shooting sports from a distance with a prime lens, cropping is frequently necessary. I try to stay with the native aspect ratio (3:2 or 2:3) when cropping, but sometimes free cropping gives the best result (as shown here) - as long as the intended output method supports the size ratio.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 160
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
This Eastern Cottontail Rabbit is seen where they typically are seen - in the grass.
 
Animal photos are often best when taken at the animal's level - far down when the animals are small and on the ground like this one. I was sitting on the ground shooting handheld.
 
This rabbit is angled slightly away - better would have been a slight angle toward me or simply aligned perpendicularly to my line of sight. I was slowly moving toward the better shooting position and taking the insurance shots I could get while on my way there. The rabbit bolted before I made it to the perfect shooting location.
 
The eyes of course (usually) must be sharp for an animal portrait keeper.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/200s  ISO 800
Patient Button Buck Patient Button Buck
This little button buck gave me plenty of opportunity to try various shooting angles. But, because of his position, this is the only angle that worked (there is a tree *just* outside of the frame on the right). With the near motionless subject and ISO 800 selected, I was able to use a narrower aperture than I usually use, giving me more depth of field at this close focus distance. The added depth of field specifically allowed a more in-focus nose and ears.
 
600mm  f/8.0  1/125s  ISO 800
A Late Day Gallop A Late Day Gallop
I frequently use galloping horses for lens autofocus testing as they are challenging for the camera, lens - and me. The Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens is very impressive in its AF capabilities - and is able to track the speeding horse until only half of the rider fits in the frame.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 250
Cold Weather Soccer Cold Weather Soccer
A young, warmly-dressed soccer player appears to have the ball on the wrong side of her in this picture.
 
My Canon EOS 1D X's Custom Mode 1 is set to f/2.8 (automatically goes to f/4 with this lens), 1/1600, Auto ISO and AI Servo with high speed frame rate. When I'm shooting action with a long lens, I simply select Custom Mode 1 and I'm ready to shoot. If the lighting is constant (typically a clear sky), I will sometimes select a specific ISO value to use.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 160
Baby Turkey Picture Baby Turkey Picture
A turkey poult calls to its siblings. I was sitting low in the grass to capture this eye-level image. Being at the bird's level often provides the best overall look, including a strongly out of focus corn field background in this case.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/320s  ISO 320
Airplane Over Harvest Moon at 1680mm Airplane Over Harvest Moon at 1680mm
I decided that, with a clear sky, I was going to stack a pair of extenders to the back of my Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens and capture the "Harvest Moon" (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox).
 
Stacking a Canon EF 1.4x Extender with a Canon EF 2x Extender requires a 12mm extension tube to be mounted between the two – to make the fit possible. The result is 600mm x 2 x 1.4 = 1680mm = Wow!
 
While you should not expect amazing image quality from this setup, the tight angle of view delivered by 1680mm is quite amazing. So tight that tracking the moon through the frame is a constant task. And, avoiding vibrations is a challenge. I opted to use mirror lockup with the 10 second self-timer to make sure that the camera fully settled down before the shutter release.
 
I was trying different exposure settings and verifying the results on the LCD. During one such check, I saw a black spot on the moon. My first thought was that I had a piece of dust on my sensor. Zooming in revealed otherwise.
 
I live well over an hour from the nearest large airport. The sky was black and I had no idea that there were any airplanes in the area. Using the 10 second timer, with the narrow angle of view, meant that I was predicting where the moon would be in the frame at shutter release. Not only did the airplane happen to cross the moon at the exact time of the shutter release,, it happened to be in a perfect location over the moon. The timing was divine.
 
This image is an un-touched and uncropped (but reduced in size of course) conversion of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III RAW file. Photography is so fun.
 
1680mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 800
Vintage Military Plane Vintage Military Plane
The new-at-this-time, lighter Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS II USM Lens is going to be a good choice for air show photography. I have not yet had the opportunity to shoot an air show with this lens, but ... I was sitting on my Walkstool shooting a soccer match when this large vintage military plane flew overhead. I quickly reduced the shutter speed enough to allow some prop blur (showing that the plane in indeed flying), lifted the camera and lens (and monopod), tracked the plane and grabbed a few shots.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/500s  ISO 100
Strutting Gobbler Strutting Gobbler
A large gobbler struts to impress the ladies. A picture does not do justice to the show these birds put on - complete with thumping sounds.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/320s  ISO 400
Is that a Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS II USM Lens you are using? Is that a Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS II USM Lens you are using?
Your backyard or nearby park likely has more potential photography subjects than you think. The Eastern Gray Squirrel is a very common animal subject that will, in some locales, tolerate humans. Get low to the ground to help throw the distracting background out of focus.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/800s  ISO 200
Facial Expressions of Soccer Facial Expressions of Soccer
Shoot enough soccer action pictures and you will notice a trend - this sport causes funny facial expressions.
 
A big benefit of using long focal length wide aperture lenses is that the distracting background can be blurred away.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 1000
Making Waves Making Waves
A Black Duck duckling dabbles in the water, causing small waves to radiate from it. While I would have preferred a closer to water level shooting position, such was not available at this time. But, the higher shooting position better-captured the circular ripples and their reflections.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/640s  ISO 200
Fast Soccer Action Fast Soccer Action
The Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens is a great choice for large field sports when using a full frame DSLR. This lens allows action ocurring deep in the playing field to be framed tightly. Of course, you might want to have another camera body with a 70-200mm lens mounted if the action you are following gets close.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 1250
Bedded Button Buck Bedded Button Buck
I have a lot of pictures of this little Shenandoah National Park white-tailed button buck, but most have the deer appearing less alert. To momentarily get the deer to direct his ears toward me, I threw a small handfull of leaves into the air and shot quickly. Try this trick with other animals - including horses.
 
600mm  f/5.6  1/200s  ISO 400
Watching the Game through the Player's Eyes Watching the Game through the Player's Eyes
When I'm shooting field sports, my favorite images are very frequently tightly cropped shots that include the subject's face and the game ball. Because these fields are generally very large and invariably, my subject is deep in them, the Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens is what I'm usually using.
 
Tracking action with a narrow angle of view is somewhat challenging, especially when implementing the tight framing I'm referring to. When the framing is ideally-tightly cropped (in camera), it is extremely challenging to release the shutter the moment the ball enters the frame. That is where another strategy combined with the Canon EOS 1D X's 12 fps frame rate comes into play. I follow the subject in the viewfinder and watch the game through the player's eyes.
 
In this photo example, I knew that the opposing keeper was going to kick the ball and that my player was in position to potentially receive of that kick. I half-pressed the shutter release to begin focus-tracking in AI-Servo mode. As I watched her eyes and facial expression (sports bring out the best of these), I could tell that she was about to intercept the ball. I fully-pressed the shutter release and, along with a few before and after shots, captured 3 with-ball frames of the player's approximately .3 second interaction with the ball. One frame had the ball entering (shared here), one included the ball just after impacting her foot and the third included the ball leaving the frame in the same position it entered from. Using a wait-until-I-see-the-ball strategy to begin shooting and estimating a .2 second reaction time as being best-possible, I would have been very fortunate to get even one frame with the ball included.
 
This image is actually a composite of two of those frames. The image with the ideal-for-compositional-balance ball position was framed so that the ref's face was cropped at the eyes. This was no problem since I had a handful of other images captured at the same time and some had more of the ref's head included. I simply aligned one of those other images under the main image to add to add the missing details to the top of my preferred image.
 
Another comment I should make about this image is that it was captured under full sunlight at a terrible time of the day for lighting (1:18 PM). This lighting typically creates harsh shadows under eyebrows, creating the raccoon-eye look (see the ref's eyes for an example). Unfortunately, photographers do not usually get to schedule sporting events around their ideal photographical lighting times. You must deal with what is available. Because my player was looking upward in this photo, her face is fully lit.
 
600mm  f/4.0  1/1600s  ISO 200
My Recommended Retailers
Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my own purchases. Get your Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens now from:
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
Rent the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens
Do you need/want the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens for only a short period of time? Or, would you feel more comfortable buying after having a hands-on trial period? Consider renting. Renting is fast and easy. The rental companies I recommend below are excellent to work with. Schedule your rental now:
LensRentals.com
LensProToGo
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