Well, the moment finally arrived, and I pulled the trigger: In two weeks time, I’ll be the proud owner of a brand new Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II lens! I’m really excited…pretty much can’t wait for the box to arrive. I’ve been waiting for the price to drop, and in support of that endeavor, I put in some price alerts at www.canonpricewatch.com. Several of the lenses I’ve had my eye on dropped in price over the last few days, including the EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II, EF 500mm f/4 L IS II, EF 600mm f/4 L IS II, and EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS. The 600mm dropped to $12300 at one place, then dropped to $12180 at another. While checking these places out, I noticed an ad online for Canadian stores selling the lens for FAR cheaper than anyone…$11500 and $11350 CAD. In US dollars (with Fridays exchange rate of 0.9566 USD/CAD), that worked out to ~$10,990 and $10,856…prices I just couldn’t pass up!! Even with import duties and shipping, these two options, at these prices, make the lens around $2000 cheaper than list price, and at least $1200 cheaper than anywhere else.
So, my order is in. Estimated delivery date was 6/29/2013, however I figure with the border import process, it will take a little longer. I expect the lens to arrive sometime the first week of July. The summer has been rather hot this year. Maybe not as consistently above 95° like it was last year, but hot enough that there are very few birds around. On top of the heat, I think the smoke from the endless fires in Colorado and our neighboring states has been putting a damper on bird activity. There are a few Great Blue Herons around, a couple Snowy Egrets, some Grebes and a Solitary Sandpiper every so often…but overall, this summer has seen real low bird numbers (at least, during the hours of the day when photographing them is possible.) That said, for the birds that still are around, I should be far more capable of photographing them than I was before. The 600mm lens is also certainly capable of doing wildlife photography as well, and the deer are beautiful and healthy this year, so if there are no birds, there are other things to photograph.
With my 400mm lens, to achieve the kind of composition and DOF I like, I had to get real close. Close enough that most birds became wary or moved off. With the 600mm lens, I’ll have 2.25x the reach as well as a thinner DOF and blurrier background, so I can sit farther back and not intrude as much to get the kind of artistic style I aim for. On top of that, I can also slap on the EF 1.4x TC III, which will give me an 840mm f/5.6 lens. That means the birds will be 4.41x larger in the frame, which should do wonders for my photography. I may finally be able to get some of the photos of GBH, Snowy Egret, etc. where they aren’t aware and alert of me, ready to bug out at any moment.
With the $2000 I am saving on this lens, I’ll be able to get the Canon 5D Mark III soon too. For the body only, it costs around $3300 right now, with periodic sales. Saving an extra $1000 shouldn’t take long. I probably won’t purchase it right away…the rumormill has Canon releasing the 7D Mark II in a couple months, and I plan to wait and see how that body turns out before buying anything new. If the rumors are right, the 7D II should be a pretty amazing camera, with 24mp, the same 61pt AF system as the 5D III & 1DX, and a 10fps frame rate (which is important…the 8fps rate of the original 7D is one of the big reasons I purchased it.) If Canon doesn’t release the 7D II this year (which is entirely possible), then I’ll have $2000 saved towards the Celestron CGEM DX EdgeHD telescope system and camera attachments I’ve been drooling over for the last…I dunno…five years? Astronomy has been a hobby since I was a kid, and combining astronomy with my other favorite pastime has been a goal of mine since I first picked up a DSLR.
Well, I guess that’s enough rambling for now. Excited about my new lens…can’t wait to get my hands on it and give it a whirl!