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by SantaFeJoe on Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:01 pm
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An amazing lens in so many ways. If this doesn’t make you jealous, you probably already own one.

Sony 600mm and a7R iv

All handheld!

Joe
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by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:18 am
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I will be taking one with me to the Himalayas next month for a real hardcore in the field test including with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters on an a7R4.
 

by ricardo00 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:49 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
I will be taking one with me to the Himalayas next month for a real hardcore in the field test including with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters on an a7R4.


  Wow sounds like you will be well prepared for the distant wildlife!  Any word on what they are seeing so far this year?
 

by E.J. Peiker on Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:42 am
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ricardo00 wrote:
E.J. Peiker wrote:
I will be taking one with me to the Himalayas next month for a real hardcore in the field test including with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters on an a7R4.


  Wow sounds like you will be well prepared for the distant wildlife!  Any word on what they are seeing so far this year?


Nope, I am hopeful though.
 

by Primus on Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:14 pm
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I bought one a few months ago but have not been able to use in the field yet for various reasons. I did test it briefly with the a7r4 in the backyard.

It is lighter than the Canon MkII I used to own, feels much easier to handhold, but is heftier than the Sony 400 2.8 which I also bought and then sold. That lens felt so much lighter than any other big lens I've used. 

The Sony 600 is of course very sharp and takes teleconverters very well. In good light the images with the 1.4X are almost indistinguishable from the bare lens. I am taking it to Kenya next month and will be able to really check it out.

I had promised myself would not get into the big lens game again, but looks like I am back to square one  :(

I guess the overall package of the a7r4 plus the 600 is much lighter and easier to shoot with than the Canon 1DX2 plus the 600 MkII I used to struggle with. The only problem that resurfaces now is the transit through airports and overhead storage during those long flights. 

Pradeep
 

by Gary Gulash on Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:02 pm
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Primus, may I ask why you decided to sell the Sony 400 2.8. I was looking into the Sony super tele offerings and was thinking that the 400 with the ability to crop using the 61 megapixel A7R4 might negate the need to go to 600 mm. I'm skeptical that a 400 would suffice for dedicated bird photographers but...times are changing. You had promised not to do the big lens game, but you changed your mind, so I'm curious.

E.J., I thought I read somewhere that you were done travelling with the super teles after using the Nikon 500 5.6 PF? Or is the Sony 600 for use when you are shooting locally, or perhaps simply an exercise to evaluate the Sony equipment.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:38 pm
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Gary Gulash wrote:
E.J., I thought I read somewhere that you were done travelling with the super teles after using the Nikon 500 5.6 PF? Or is the Sony 600 for use when you are shooting locally, or perhaps simply an exercise to evaluate the Sony equipment.

Yes you are right but this is a one time opportunity for Snow Leopards in the Himalayas where I will need 1200mm plus the 1.5x crop mode of the a7R4 for 26 megapixel photos to have any chance of getting an animal that is larger than a tiny percentage of the frame.  That means using a 2x TC which I would not want to do on the 200-600 as it would result in an f/13 maximum aperture.  The Sony 600 f/4 is only 6.7 lb though so it's more of a size issue than weight.
 

by Gary Gulash on Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:15 pm
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Ok, I understand your explanation E.J., thank you for responding to my question. I look forward to your review when you have the opportunity to use the equipment in the field. Hope you find the target species!
 

by Primus on Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:53 pm
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Gary Gulash wrote:
Primus, may I ask why you decided to sell the Sony 400 2.8. I was looking into the Sony super tele offerings and was thinking that the 400 with the ability to crop using the 61 megapixel A7R4 might negate the need to go to 600 mm. I'm skeptical that a 400 would suffice for dedicated bird photographers but...times are changing. You had promised not to do the big lens game, but you changed your mind, so I'm curious.

E.J., I thought I read somewhere that you were done travelling with the super teles after using the Nikon 500 5.6 PF? Or is the Sony 600 for use when you are shooting locally, or perhaps simply an exercise to evaluate the Sony equipment.


Hi Gary.

I sold my Canon 600 MkII several years ago when I realized it was a bit too heavy with the 1DX.  Carrying several lenses and bodies to Africa I nearly broke my back on those long walks down airport terminals.  Finally when I switched to Sony it was refreshing to have a lightweight system that I could easily hand hold, the overall carry-on weight was also more manageable. I did miss the beautiful bokeh of the big lenses of course but for the kind of subjects I was shooting initially - mammals and big birds - I was quite happy with the Sony 100-400.

Things changed when I went to Botswana for a Chobe river trip. I found that I had the 1.4x on my 100-400 all the time and the birds  were smaller and further away - Kingfishers and bee-eaters for example. The backgrounds were too busy and while it was easy to shoot, I was not too happy with the end results. I really missed the background separation with the big old lenses. 

The other issue with the a9 and 100-400 combo was that I was always cropping at least 50% into the image, reducing its size considerably. I make large prints (24x36 or bigger) of the images I like and rotate them around the house, so this was not a happy solution. 

When  Sony launched the 400 2.8 there was nothing else on the horizon, so I bought it. 

 I found it was a great lens, surprisingly light and easy to hand hold. Then Sony announced the 600 f4. This was a dilemma since I wasn't sure I would run into the same issues with the 400 - having to put on a TC all the time. The a7r4 had not yet come out. Thinking the 600 would not be much bigger, I sold the 400 and got its bigger brother. It is certainly heavier and also bulkier but it is still hand holdable - though not for as long. However, most vehicles in Africa have bean bags and people rarely have to hold the big lenses in their hands all the time.

So I am back full circle  :)

I know the superteles are less and less popular now what with increasing restrictions on weight and carry-on sizes in airplane travel. But you cannot beat the quality and the bokeh. For me, the best images are either with the entire animal in its  habitat - for which a 70-200 lens may be enough, or a portrait without background distraction. I am also very interested in birds and there is no getting away from using a big lens there. 

Now as it happens I just bought the 200-600 and will be taking both this and the 600 f4 on my trip to Kenya next month. I now have the a7r4 and while a lot of people are complaining about poor AF with it and the 200-600 I will also have my a9 also with me to compare and use if I have to. 

It is quite possible I will have a difficult time with the big supertele and may have to sell it in the future, but I want to give it a shot again. It is of course likely that Sony will eventually come out with their version of the 500 PF but that will not happen for a few years more. But you never know.

Pradeep
 

by Gary Gulash on Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:41 pm
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Hi Pradeep,

I am humbled by the effort you put into answering my question on your lens choice, so a huge thank you for this. It's tough when you have wonderful options to pick from in the 400 and 600 Sony lenses (and some great zooms) with the powerhouse duo Sony bodies A9 and A7R4. I suffer from brand loyalty I admit so I feel a bit torn contemplating a change but at this point I am just window shopping. I am in no rush to do anything rash but gear acquisition syndrome has a way of gathering momentum once you are infected. Please share some of your photos captured with the new gear. Thanks again Pradeep!

Gary
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:11 am
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Primus wrote:
Gary Gulash wrote:
Primus, may I ask why you decided to sell the Sony 400 2.8. I was looking into the Sony super tele offerings and was thinking that the 400 with the ability to crop using the 61 megapixel A7R4 might negate the need to go to 600 mm. I'm skeptical that a 400 would suffice for dedicated bird photographers but...times are changing. You had promised not to do the big lens game, but you changed your mind, so I'm curious.

E.J., I thought I read somewhere that you were done travelling with the super teles after using the Nikon 500 5.6 PF? Or is the Sony 600 for use when you are shooting locally, or perhaps simply an exercise to evaluate the Sony equipment.


Hi Gary.

I sold my Canon 600 MkII several years ago when I realized it was a bit too heavy with the 1DX.  Carrying several lenses and bodies to Africa I nearly broke my back on those long walks down airport terminals.  Finally when I switched to Sony it was refreshing to have a lightweight system that I could easily hand hold, the overall carry-on weight was also more manageable. I did miss the beautiful bokeh of the big lenses of course but for the kind of subjects I was shooting initially - mammals and big birds - I was quite happy with the Sony 100-400.

Things changed when I went to Botswana for a Chobe river trip. I found that I had the 1.4x on my 100-400 all the time and the birds  were smaller and further away - Kingfishers and bee-eaters for example. The backgrounds were too busy and while it was easy to shoot, I was not too happy with the end results. I really missed the background separation with the big old lenses. 

The other issue with the a9 and 100-400 combo was that I was always cropping at least 50% into the image, reducing its size considerably. I make large prints (24x36 or bigger) of the images I like and rotate them around the house, so this was not a happy solution. 

When  Sony launched the 400 2.8 there was nothing else on the horizon, so I bought it. 

 I found it was a great lens, surprisingly light and easy to hand hold. Then Sony announced the 600 f4. This was a dilemma since I wasn't sure I would run into the same issues with the 400 - having to put on a TC all the time. The a7r4 had not yet come out. Thinking the 600 would not be much bigger, I sold the 400 and got its bigger brother. It is certainly heavier and also bulkier but it is still hand holdable - though not for as long. However, most vehicles in Africa have bean bags and people rarely have to hold the big lenses in their hands all the time.

So I am back full circle  :)

I know the superteles are less and less popular now what with increasing restrictions on weight and carry-on sizes in airplane travel. But you cannot beat the quality and the bokeh. For me, the best images are either with the entire animal in its  habitat - for which a 70-200 lens may be enough, or a portrait without background distraction. I am also very interested in birds and there is no getting away from using a big lens there. 

Now as it happens I just bought the 200-600 and will be taking both this and the 600 f4 on my trip to Kenya next month. I now have the a7r4 and while a lot of people are complaining about poor AF with it and the 200-600 I will also have my a9 also with me to compare and use if I have to. 

It is quite possible I will have a difficult time with the big supertele and may have to sell it in the future, but I want to give it a shot again. It is of course likely that Sony will eventually come out with their version of the 500 PF but that will not happen for a few years more. But you never know.

Pradeep


Hi, What was your opinion of the 400 with teleconverters? 
Thank you
Scott
 

by Primus on Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:53 am
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Hi Scott.

I did not get a chance to take the 400 on any long trips. However, routine testing locally, it was excellent both with and without TCs. Both these superteles take the extenders very well. Additional benefit of the 400 is that even with the TC it is only f4 so light gathering is superb. Makes it almost as good as the 600 f4 although we know that a 400 with 1.4 really does not get to 560mm.

I have taken test shots with the 600 (did not do this with the 400 IIRC) using the extenders and in some shots it is very difficult to tell the difference even at full magnification, at least with the 1.4x. I am sure EJ will find this combination extremely useful on his hunt for the snow leopard.

What was really nice about the lens was that it was surprisingly light and easy to hold. I could 'dangle' the lens from my pinky hooked under the lens foot - and I am by no means a strong person. In a 'money no object' world, I would have loved to keep both lenses.

Pradeep
 

by Primus on Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:54 am
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I have a quick question of the mods. Are we allowed to post inline images in forum posts?

Pradeep
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:29 am
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Primus wrote:
I have a quick question of the mods. Are we allowed to post inline images in forum posts?

Pradeep



I’m not a mod, but here is the info you need under 3. B ll:

https://www.naturescapes.net/information-center/terms-of-use/

Joe
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by Primus on Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:56 am
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Thanks Joe.

Wow, that was a comprehensive piece of information. Never seen it anywhere else in this format. My query was really about general policy esp wrt keeping bandwidth low. Many sites encourage people to post images in discussion forums - 'a picture is worth a thousand words' idea, but I see a paucity of images here. Most people seem to post their work in the galleries.

Pradeep
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:36 am
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Pradeep, in general it is OK to post an image in the discussion forums as long as it is to further a point or serve as an example for the discussion in the particular thread.  For general image posting we have the galleries.
 

by Primus on Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:51 am
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Thanks EJ, that is what I thought was the unwritten policy here. Helps to reduce clutter and prevent thread drift.

Pradeep
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:59 am
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I’ve owned several different 600mmf4’s in my life. I think they give the best overall “look” to an image, especially for wildlife, but I think I’m done dragging big lenses around no matter how good they are. I have the Nikon 500 PF and it’s a dream to pack and carry around. I also have the Sony 200-600, and it’s certainly a bigger handful than the Nikon, it is still a lot easier than a big gun.
But never say never, if Sony comes out with a 500 f4, I might be tempted.lol
 

by Primus on Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:08 am
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Scott Fairbairn wrote:
I’ve owned several different 600mmf4’s in my life. I think they give the best overall “look” to an image, especially for wildlife, but I think I’m done dragging big lenses around no matter how good they are. I have the Nikon 500 PF and it’s a dream to pack and carry around. I also have the Sony 200-600, and it’s certainly a bigger handful than the Nikon, it is still a lot easier than a big gun.
But never say never, if Sony comes out with a 500 f4, I might be tempted.lol



And that about sums it up, Scott  :D
 

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