February 16th, 2011




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Roseate Spoonbill, breeding plumage adult preening, Alafia Banks, Tampa Bay, FL
Image copyright 2011: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/800 sec. at f/10.
When photographing birds from behind, it is pretty much mandatory to go for some extra depth-of-field as I did here by working at f/11. (Note: wide open is f/8.)


On February 7, 2011, Canon finally and officially announced the lightweight updated versions of both its 500mm and 600mm f/4L IS USM Series II professional super-telephoto lenses. Both are similar to the EF 300mm and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses that were released last August. The two new big guns feature completely new optical designs and water-repellant Fluorine coatings along with lighter weight construction. A new IS mode has been added that activates stabilization only during exposure. The lenses also offer optional long or short foot tripod mounts suitable for monopods or tripods and a smoother tripod collar rotation mechanism that should make it easier to rotate the lenses to vertical. (In the past, individual 500s and 600s often became quite sticky with age and some folks had problems right out of the box).

Here is some great news:

Hunt’s Photo & Video is now accepting pre-orders for the two new Series II lenses. A $1,000 deposit will get you on the list now. Each of these lenses will be in high demand probably for at least a year. The first 500s are expected sometime in May, 2011. The 600s are likely to follow in June. No guarantees of course.

To pre-order yours now call Gary Farber during business hours (east coast time) at 781-462-2332 or John Duggan at 781-462-2314.

Please let them know that we sent you. The sooner that you get your name on the list the sooner you will get your hands on the lens. Read on for my comments on the great new lightweight glass.

I ordered one of each today 🙂

Here is the skinny on the weights:

The new 500 f/4L IS II weighs 7 pounds. This represents a weight reduction of 1.5 pounds from the 8.5 pound 500mm f/4 L IS.

The new 600 weighs only 8.8 pounds, down 3 full pounds from the weight of the 11.8 pound 600mm f/4 L IS lens.

The 800mm f/5.6L IS lens weighs 9.9 pounds.

And here are my thoughts:

The relatively new 800mm f/5.6 lens was the first to offer the amazingly revolutionary 4-stop Image Stabilization system. All four of the Series II super-telephoto lenses offer 4-stop IS.

The new 600 IS II offers far greater versatility than the 800mm and offers a longer effective focal length with functioning central sensor-only autofocus (1200mm with the 2X for the 600 IS II as compared to 1120mm with the 1.4X for the 800). In addition, the new 600 weighs 1.1 pounds less than the 800.

It should be mentioned at this time that the Series III teleconverters will offer improved AI Servo tracking accuracy only with the Series II Super-telephoto lenses. The micro-chips in the Series III TCs cannot communicate with the older super-telephoto lenses. Do note however that early reports indicate that the EF 2X Extender III is noticeably sharper than the EF 2X Extender II.

You can find the complete press release here.

Or learn more here.


If you like the spoonbill image at the top of this Bulletin, be sure to check out “A Morning in Spoonbill Heaven” for the story of a wondrous outing and several more killer spoonbill images. And learn how you you can get out to Alafia Banks on the Hooptie Deux with Captain James Shadle.


I am offering my used Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens in very good to excellent condition: hand holders special; includes front and rear covers only. No tripod collar. Thus, I am giving this one away for $700. Buyer pays insured shipping. If I do not know you, I will not be able to ship the lens until your check clears. First e-mail wins.

3 comments to BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #362

  • Hi

    I bought Digital Basics PDF back in 2009. I’m not sure, but I think I have read that I am eligible for free updates? If not, I appologize for bothering you.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Digital Basics Updates are free to all purchasers. After the next update is sent, let us know if you do not receive yours.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes Chris, Everyone gets free updates for life 🙂 We will be releasing the FEB 2011 Update quite soon.