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Essential Gear - Super telephoto


There are few good lenses available between medium and long telephotos. The 200-400mm f/4 VR Nikpon lens is great and so is the Canon 200-400 f/4 telephoto zoom with the built-in 1.4x teleconverter.  Canon recently introduced the 100-400mm f/4.5 to f/5.6, and as a Canon shooter it has become my favorite telephoto lens of all time.  It weighs only 3 ounces more than the 70-200mm f/2.8, and it's tack sharp and easy to hand hold. 

I own the Canon 500mm f/4 IS which was a compromise between cost, weight, and volume. The old 600mm f/4 Canon is a monster, although the new one is only 3 ounces heavier than the 500mm f/4. I felt the 400mm f/2.8 was much too big and heavy, and the 800mm lens is too expensive, too heavy, and too unwieldy. All these lenses are too expensive, but if you love shooting birds and wildlife, they are essential. More than 95% of all my good shots from African safaris were taken with the 500mm lens, such as the portrait of the lion, right.

Canon came out with a 500mm f/4 IS II that is the latest, greatest technology, and it is phenomenally sharp. It is also very expensive, but if you have to have the best, this is it.