Nikon 600mm f/5.6 MF

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by terry_evans|3, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Hello,

    I was thinking about this lens as an economical entry into wildlife
    photography. Does anyone here have any experiences with it? Is there any
    other Nikon MF lenses you could recommend?

    Thank you,

  2. 500mm P > 600mm f5.6. What type of wildlife are we talking about?
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you are planning to use that on digital, take a look at this recent thread:
  4. Shun, thanks for the link. Sounds risky. I was going to use it on my 5D. I want to experiment with wildlife, mostly ducks, squirels, etc. I want something longer than 400, but don't want to invest thousands of dollars. Canon MF lenses won't work on my body. I have always loved Nikon lenses and hoped to get something to work great. Thanks, Terry
  5. Also consider the Leica 560mm f/6.8 which was dicussed in this thread. You would look for the version with the Visoflex mount tube, which can be readily adapted to Nikon.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Terry, the earlier Canon EF 500mm/f4.5, without IS, shouldn't be that expensive in the used market. The problem is that the new, high-end DSLRs are very demanding.
  7. Thanks guys. I was trying to keep my budget at $1,500. Shun, do you think that the Nikon 600 is a bad idea? Terry
  8. Terry, the earlier Canon EF 500mm/f4.5, without IS, shouldn't be that expensive in the used market.
    That is a well-respected lens, but there was a thread or two a while back commenting that repair parts, especially the AF motor, are problematic.
    Don't forget a solid tripod and head if you haven't got these already. Without them, you won't see the full capability of a big telephoto unless you always shoot at REALLY high shutter speeds.
  9. Mark,

    I do have a nice Manfrotto tripod that I used to use with medium format cameras.

    Yes, Canon is no longer doing repairs for the 500 4.5. If I could find one in good condition, I would still get it. There isn't any on ebay right now.

    I am still uncertain as to if the Nikon MF lenses will work on my 5D, I just assumed they would.


  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Terry, as far as I know, with the right adapter, Nikon manaul-focus AI-S lenses should "work" on your 5D in the sense that you can take pictures with that combination. You'll have to use stop-down metering, but most likely you'll be using that lens wide open at f5.6 anyway. Whether this is the right combo for you and produces results that are satisfactory to you will be up to you to decide.

    Personally, neither the Canon 5D nor an MF 600mm/f5.6 would be my choice for wildlife work, but I am pickly.
  11. Shun,

    Out of curiousity, what would you choose for wildlife. I chose the 5D for portraits and people photography. I use the 24-70 2.8, 85 1.2, 135 2, and 200 2.8 lenses. It does a wonderful job for what I use it for. When I bought it, it was spitting hairs between the 5D and D200.


  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If I used Canon DSLRs, the 1D Mark II (n) would have been my choice for wildlife work. Currently I use a D2X. The 5D may be great for studio work or landscape, though.
  13. I agree with Shun. The 5D is a little slow (frame rate) and it doesn't offer the advantages of tighter framing that the APS/DX DSLRs do. The 1D II is heavy and expensive but it has excellent autofocus and very high frame rates. Pixel density is the same as the 5D. If you can live with slightly inferior AF and frame rate, the 30D works extremely well. In your case, if you want to use Nikon manual lenses, AF is irrelevant, but having a good viewfinder is very important. Here, the 5D and 1D are clearly better than the 30D. If your eyes are good enough for accurate focus (mine aren't.. not reliably anyway), a MF telephoto of high optical quality will give fine results.
    FWIW, I do a lot of wildlife photography (mainly birds) and my website shows the focal length and camera used for each image. For birds, I'm mostly shooting at 700 or 1000 mm (500 mm f4 + extenders).
  14. Thank you Dr. Mark. I enjoyed your web site.
  15. There are two Nikon 600mm f5.6 lenses. The older one without internal focusing can be had for under $800 USD, the later version is more like $1200 USD. The later version, which I believe is ED IF, is probably a good start.

    The lens I also suggest looking into is the 400/3.5. I know Bjorn and others do not rate this lens well on digital, but remember that they are very particular about lens performance.

    I use a Nikon 400/2.8 AIS, and a Nikon 200/2 AI, as well as others on my Canon 10D and Elan IIe with no problems. The 400 is extremely sharp and the 200 is razor sharp! I bought my 400/2.8 for less than $1300 USD from Adorama on eBay, so this is another possibility for you as long as you do not stray far from your vehicle for shots. I have walked about 1/8 of a mile with it through a forest and that's my limit! I bought the adapters from jinfinance on eBay and Canon cameras will meter with manual lenses in Manual mode and Av mode.

    Likely your best bet at a reduced budget would be a Nikon 300/2.8 as well as a TC-14B (1.4x), and TC-301 (2x). You could get all three for about $850 USD if you are patient with eBay. Also check Adorama and for good deals on all three. I have hiked with a similar set up for up to 10 miles.

    Other inexpensive possibities but definitely more limited are the Nikon 300mm f4.5 ED IF AIS, and the hard to find, Nikon 400mm f5.6 ED IF. Good luck.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Not that everything Bjorn Rorslett says is gospel, but one should look closer to his comments on the 400mm/f3.5 AI-S. I mentioned this earlier thread before:

    See Bjorn's post on January 10 at 11:37am. The 400mm/f3.5 is fine on early DSLRs such as the D1 (2.7MP) and D1X (5MP), but when you move to 10MP and higher such as the D200 and D2X, the problem starts to show up. The 5D actually has similar pixel density as the 6MP 10D, but it is full frame so that the edge of the frame may suffer somewhat.

    I still feel that a used 500mm/f4.5 EF would be your best choice: you gain AF and don't need to deal with the adapter ring nonsense. Hopefully you can find one in your price range.
  17. "Therein lies the rub." A used Canon EF 500/4.5 L starts at $2500 USD and rarely come to eBay,, Adorama, or B&H. In the Canon EF lineup you'd be stuck with a 400/5.6 L. I have seen the odd used Tamron EF 300/2.8 and Canon EF 300/2.8 go in the $1500 USD realm.
  18. You would have to do some research into its use but I see has a couple of Sigma 500/4.5 lenses for under $1000 USD. They say film only which likely means no autofocus, but you are thinking manual focus anyway. It may also be that the aperture does not work either, which may be okay as long as the aperture is in the wide open position, and as long as you won't want to stop down at all. My 400/2.8 rarely is stopped down. At least the mount is right, and I have heard that it is a decent lens, optically. Good luck.
  19. Hi Terry,

    I owned and extensively used the 600/5.6 for several yrs and really liked it a lot. For film use with a full frame viewfinder it was veru easy to focus. Then I had the lens chipped when I bought a Fuji S2 (based on the N80 body). The lens is extremely sharp... the photo of the moon below will testify to that.

    The early stuff in my photonet folders was mainly done with the 600mm, then I switched to a 500mm AF-I for focusing with the reduced S2 viewfinder.

    The 600/5.6 is especially well suited for travel. Mine had the cylindrical case and a collapsing hood, so it was a breeze to board a plane and put it into the overhead. A number of these Florida bird photos were taken wit hthe 600mm.

    After I decided that I would just be using the 500mm I sold the 600mm for $1400, about 2 yrs ago.

    Cheers, -Greg-
  20. I don't use my 400 F3.5 AIS as much as I should with my D200, not because of any optical ills with the combination....but because it is just plain heavy. I don't know how I managed with this lens and an F4s. It is a very well made and capable of extremely good results with film or D200 from my experiences with it. I have not run into the problems others have mentioned. It becomes a very fast 600mm on the D200. [​IMG]
  21. Thank you all, so much. Greg, beautiful pictures, I am inspired and anxious to receive my 600 5.6. What lens adapter do you suggest using? I thought about the Novoflex from Adoroma, since I can get it fast. They also have a generic model. I just want a good one since I will probably get another Nikon lens if this works out. Terry
  22. My two cents' worth: with the 400mm. f3.5, the apparent slight tendency toward CA means that the "quality" of the lens' performance will depend in part on the lighting situation. I have taken any number of very sharp, clear photos with this lens on my D200, but when I tried (for example) to photograph a swimming brant (a kind of goose) recently in bright, contrasty light it was apparent that highlights and water droplets were plagued by a weird reddish form of CA. Once this was corrected in Photoshop the photos were still good, but I do think that the overall sharpness and color clarity were diminished. For the price this lens is available for these days (and I guess also the 600mm. f5.6), it still seems a good buy for amateur photographers.
  23. A camera store is advertising a Nikon 600 5.6 Ov lens.
    Is this the same as the one that is discussed in this thread? if not, does anyone have any comments on this lens- i'm trying to find a longer lens for bird photography.
    thank you!

Share This Page