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Differences between the 500 VR and 600 VR

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by chuck1260, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Is there enough of a difference between the 500 and 600mm lenses to justify having both (Severe case of lens lust aside)? The 500 has come and I am loving it. You can still do the monopod, the 1.7 tele extender and walk quite a ways with it even with the battery pack on it. The 600 is much heavier and I am seeing that as primarily a car lens to get small birdies. Is there enough of a difference between the two to justify having both.

    I sold all my old long glass to buy the 500 and will probably clean house further to get the 600 so it is not totally a new investment.
  2. I personally know of no one who has both but if you can afford it .....
  3. The 600 has been on order since before the 500, both basically since they were announced last fall. The 500 is light enough to walk around with on a monopod. I also have the 200-400. The 500 is sharper and more responsive than the 200-400 and the increased reach is significant. However the 200-400 is more flexible and more likely to go on long trips. I have no problem keeping both.

    But, I am wondering, since they will ask when they call to confirm, whether I still want it, am I going to use the 600 enough and is it sufficiently more powerful than the 500 to justify the cost.
  4. I would think the main advantage to the 600mm is if you used teleconverters, the multiplier effect comes into play and you get way more reach.

    Seriously though, if buying new I might just buy the Canon versions, and use the difference to pick up a 40D! Sacreligious I know, but those Nikon prices are insane!
  5. I looked very hard at that option. When you add all the stuff you need to duplicate my Nikon kit for the lens, you are very close in price, but you have no back up body and you are carrying double duplicates of some stuff. Plus, the Canon design is very long of tooth and about to be updated.
  6. To me, unless you feel like you really need more reach, I'd save the 8 or so grand for something else. Both are f/4 so there shouldn't be any big difference in AF performance or with a TC. The 600 is so much heavier I would choose the 500 almost every time. I'd be more tempted by the 400 f/2.8. Its also big and heavy but gives you the option of f/2.8 should the need arrise.
  7. To be honest if you got the dough, I'd stick to a two body solution. 1st body with the 200-400 VR and the 2nd with the 600mm. To me that would be the ultimate telephoto setup. I find myself gravitating towards my 200-400 more than my 500. If I had a 600mm it might be different.
  8. Two body solution

    Yeah, I have done that a lot with the 200-400 on the D300 and the 75-180 on the D200 and sometimes a wide angle on the D70. If I am in the car it works great, walking over hill and dale is not as easy. When the D700 comes, I am not sure but I think it will get a 14-24 to keep it company and the D70 will be sent off to a family member. I like the idea of not changing lenses in the field, keeps down the dust and is a lot easier.

    I guess I will just wait until they call me and make up my mind based on how I feel at that moment. I can make the case either way. I had a 600mm manual focus and found it hard to use other than with a bean-bag in the car. I usually see birds just driving around, pull the car over, roll down the window and fire away. Getting out seems to scare them off. For that, I think the 600mm would be superior.
  9. I believe if you are shooting small birds, the 600VR is definitely worth every penny. I am also pretty sure the 600VR can work well on a monopod.

    It took me a while to get used to the 500VR and I think I am getting a better feel for it now. Enough lighting is key in getting higher shutter speed without losing resolution to higher ISO. Here is one done handheld.

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  10. Your pictures are wonderful, Arthur. I hope I can do as well.

    Yes, the 500 is taking a while to get used to, but it was the same way with the 200-400. I usually just go out with the one lens and shoot everything with it, learning as I go.
  11. david7703


    Mar 27, 2008
    melrose ma
    Hey Chuck,

    If your credit card can handle the burden, you could get the 600 and try it out, then sell the one you don't want. They are so hard to come by right now, you probably wouldn't loose much $$$...if any..

    BTW, how long did it take for your 500VR to arrive from the day you ordered it? I've had one on order since May 3...I'm trying to figure out how long i'm going to have to wait..I think by the time it gets here all the birds will have migrated south :rolleyes: 

    How do you like your 200-400mm? I might pick up one of those instead, as i'm seeing them in stock more often..even though it's not quite the reach I want for birds, I suppose I could use it for bigger birds, air shows, and shooting ski races and snowmobile races this winter...do you use it with a tc? if so how is the IQ w/ tc?

    Best regards,

  12. I ordered the 600 first and then the 500 after reading about how heavy the 600 was. I ordered them at the end of September and the first part of October. I do not think the waits are nearly that long now. I keep reading posts from people who have gotten theirs. Sheung from Photo.net finally got his just a while ago.

    I really love the 200-400 and I am planning on taking it to Antarctica with me because of the size and flexibility. I do not think I will have room to take two big lenses. I use the tele extenders quite a bit of the time and it does not cause too much degradation.
  13. I think you need to question your dealer on where the 600 is.... I ordered mine in January and received it middle of June
  14. I am in no particular hurry as it would require a decision that I am not ready to make. They will get around to me sooner or later and September or so would be fine with me.
  15. looks like the 500Vr's are starting to come through

    I ordered mine 7 days ago (Wednesday 9th July) and it arrived in stock in less than a week. I did however quote my NPs account number which may have helped.

    This is in the UK aswell so it looks like the supply problem is easing.

    I bought this lens for birding mainly so looking forward to getting it.

    here are some of the last shots with my 200-400 which i am selling to part fund the 500Vr.

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  16. TimK


    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    Chuck, I don't have the 600VR but I got the 500VR and 400/2.8 AFS-II. (In fact I alsmost bought the 600VR together with the 500VR - they were both in the store that day. The shop manager refused to sell me the 600 because another customer has paid a deposit for it - So I ended up only with the 500)

    The 400/2.8 with a TC 1.4 or 1.7 is almost equivalent to a 600/4 in terms of reach and weight. I think the difference between 500 and 600mm is significant for small birds at a distance. The other reason why you might want a 600/4 is that it will work OK with a TC17 to become a 1080mm, as compared to "only" 850mm for a 500 + TC17.

    The 600/4, because of its heavy front element, will be more difficult to handheld. I found the same with my 400/2.8. So if you have both you can use the 500 as the walk around wildlife lens and the 600 for car/tripod, just as I am doing now with the 400/2.8!

    p.s. From what I read the old 600/4 is not as sharp as the 400 and 500. Maybe you need to do more research on the sharpness of the new 600VR. I think a lot of them are being used together with D3s in the forthcoming Olympic games so a lot more image samples will be available soon!
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