The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens is one of the biggest lenses in production. Canon has only made a few larger. Fortunately, its massive size and weight match the optical quality it delivers. Canon claims that this lens is the “world’s best” for nature and wildlife photography. Professional nature photographers who require distance from their subjects agree. This lens delivers an impressive focal length and image quality combination that is rarely matched by other telephoto lenses.
The optics of this lens are without comparison. Users have noticed that this lens delivers an impressive amount of contrast and sharpness throughout the range of apertures. Chromatic aberration is basically non-existent. An eight blade shutter (combined with the huge focal length) helps create great background blur outs. In the minds of many, the overall image quality of the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto is just a little less than the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS telephoto.
Considering the increase of over 200mm of focal length, this is an impressive feat. In addition to great optical quality the 500mm f/4L has image stabilization which works to keep images blur free. The image stabilization works well to about two stops lower than normal shooting without it. Moreover, this lens has a very useful autofocus mechanism that allows users to switch between several focus modes for more accurate focusing. A three position switch triggers the selection of focusing from 4.5m-10m, 10m-infinity, 4.5-infinity.
This feature helps keep the autofocus from searching and focusing inaccurately. Overall, this lens is a must for the professional wildlife and nature photographer. It does have some good sports applications, but it is made mostly for the professional who needs to keep a distance from a subject while maintaining very high image quality.
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS Features
- Telephoto Fixed Focal Length Lens
- Focal length: 500mm
- Maximum aperture: f/4
- Filter Size: 52mm Drop-in
- Optics: 17 Elements in 13 Groups
- Canon Micro UltraSonic Motor (USM) provides fast and accurate focusing.
- Weight: 3870g
- Canon EF Mount
What Users Like About This Lens
Autofocus on the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens is fast and accurate, especially considering the focal length of the lens. As expected, photographers have noticed that image quality is top-notch corner to corner with this lens. Additionally, the lens has great color rendition and a complete lack of naked eye visible chromatic aberration. This lens is a near perfect optical performer.
What Users Don’t Like About This Lens
This lens is heavy and huge. It is also very expensive. The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto is out of the price range of many amateur photographers. The applications you can use it for are limited by the very long maximum aperture. For those who need the focal length distance, however, it is a very solid, “super” performer.