Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?

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5 years 3 months ago - 5 years 3 months ago #1154 by WT admin
Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm? was created by WT admin
Canon or Nikon? Which is the best? Thats long been a question that has caused a lot of emotion. One area that is particulary important to wildlife photographers is the 500 mm prime lens selection. Its a massive investment of around 10,000 USD in Thailand.

Well DxO have just done a comparison, and the winner in both the 500 and 600 mm prime categories was....

DxO compare 500 mm primes

....Canon..... Indeed the difference between the lens is more that the test states because the Nikon is tested with a superior body, the D800.

Although they did not include the Sigma ;+)

But how do we know if we can "see" the difference with our eyes between the two?? Anyone seen any links that show a comparison of images for the eyes POV in field conditions?
From my reading, the issues seem to be:

a) working with Tele-convertors (for increased reach) but I dont do small "subjects" so 500 x 1.4 is all I have needed so far
b) sharpness. but you only need eye popping sharpness for small and cropped subjects (i.e birds) which I don't do
c) Image stabilisation, I don't hand hold so am not sure what would be "big" advantage

I still have not found a review that clearly reviews anyone of the 4 major offerings Sigma, Sony, Canon, Nikon as being markedly better than any other. Many reviews say that a) and c) increase their keeper rate, but those reviews are by birders who operate at extremes that I do not.

I own the Sigma, the Sony is mad expensive (but small and light!) and was thinking about upgrading to a Nikon (a pre-retirement gift to myself), but Canon have me intrigued.

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5 years 3 months ago #1155 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?
I wish living in Thailand we had access to the rental lens companies like they have in the USA.

You can rent just about any sized lens for roughly $25/day. It would take a lot of rental days to make it worth purchasing the 10k some of those lenses cost!

I have eyed a 500 lens for awhile now, I think for me it will come most likely as a second hand purchase if I ever get around to it

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5 years 3 months ago #1157 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?
I have zero experience with long lenses. My longest lens is a fixed Nikon 300mm f/4. I do dream a bit about 300mm f2.8 with VR, because I'm not the best at hand-held shooting, and I guess even those who are good at it, it will be very challenging in the dark jungles over here. But it's so rediculously expensive. I don't even think about a 500 or 600 mm. Having one of those means you need to spend a lot of money on a good tripod and maybe even more important one of those tripod heads (not sure how to call them) for optimal use with long lenses.

Honestly, I don't believe that anyone can see the difference between a Canon or Nikon lens in real-life pictures; especially not in nature photography.

Even though it seems great to have access to many lenses, it will only cause more frustration because you always have the wrong lens mounted on the camera when something unusual appears.
Having only one lens with you, means you don't loose time switching lenses and it forces you to be creative with what you have, instead of doing what everybody does.
That's what I keep telling myself, ;)... as long as I can't afford a long telephoto lens, haha.

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5 years 3 months ago #1158 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?

onflipflops wrote: ......

Honestly, I don't believe that anyone can see the difference between a Canon or Nikon lens in real-life pictures; especially not in nature photography. ........


A very good and valid point.

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  • L. Bruce Kekule
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5 years 2 months ago #1238 by L. Bruce Kekule
Replied by L. Bruce Kekule on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?
Many people swear that one is better than the other..the argument is basically senseless because both brands are capable of great photographs. However, when you invest in one brand, stick with it.

I started with Nikon staying with the brand for many years. But after very poor service here in Bangkok run by a local tyrant, many people switched from Nikon to Canon because of him...! I switched to Minolta because I found a Minolta 600mm. It was truly a great lens and took magnificent photos...! After Konica-Minolta sold the design to Sony, I went back to Nikon.

I don't use the 500mm ƒ4 but a Nikon 400mm ƒ2.8. Even though slightly shorter, it has a reputation for sharper shots than the 500mm, even with a 1.4 tele-converter. I bought one of the new Nikon 500mm VR lens but turned it back in after it did not do as well as the 400mm.

The big question: Why are the big lenses by Canon 'white' and Nikon 'black'...? The answer: because the Canon's barrel is thinner and if they painted them black, they would get too hot and short out the electronics...I guess that's why Nikon long lenses are slightly heavier...!

At the end of the day, do your research and make your own choice based on cost and budget, and what you want. Both brands and even some of the others like Sigma are about the same when it comes to photographs. The bottom line: technique and a shutter release, a good tripod and a gimbal/ball head is the secret to great photographs.

Hope this helps those for a yearn to become a wildlife photographer.

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5 years 2 months ago #1239 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?
Great advice as always Bruce!

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5 years 1 month ago #1340 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Nikon or Canon - which 500 mm?
From Canonrumors ........


"We’re told Sigma is working on new 300 & 400 f/2.8 OS lenses as well as new 500 & 600 f/4 OS lenses. The lenses would incorporate Sigma’s new philosophy on quality, but at a much lesser price than the Canon or Nikon counterpart."

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