Worthy successor to the lauded Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM, the new EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM super telephoto lens features completely redesigned Fluorite optics that deliver sharper images with less chromatic aberration and has a lighter weight thanks to magnesium and titanium construction elements.
Because image stabilization technology in super telephoto lenses may inadvertently over-compensate and interfere with composing and framing distant or moving subjects, the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM includes an advanced third Image Stabilization mode (Mode 3) that activates IS only when the shutter button is fully pressed. This allows users to pan fast-moving subjects and then activate IS only when it is precisely required.
Additionally, all three IS modes give the equivalent effect of a shutter speed four stops faster, ideally positioning the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM for professional action photography, from sports to nature. The addition of the Power Focus mode enables smooth focus change when shooting video. Buttons and switches are redesigned for intuitive, deliberate operation, and dust and water sealing keeps the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM functioning flawlessly in even the most challenging environments.
Reviewed by 3 customers
I had wanted the original 500 for a long time. Finally was able to buy the new model. Not cheap, but it has already has allowed me to take pictures that were not feasible before. Very pleased.
Not a real full test report. Only had it for a short time. It replaces my 500mm f4 L IS which I purchased in November of 2001. That lens has been my most used lens ever. The new 500 is noticeably sharper. The IS is quiet unlike its predecessor and it focuses closer. The only downside I can see is the balance of the lens mounting foot. I think Canon has screwed up here. The majority of the weight is to the rear especially with a heavy camera like the 1D X. When mounted on a Wimberly style gimbal mount or a video head like I use it is near impossible to get the camera/lens to balance. The remedy is to use the supplied monopod foot. I have mounted mine in the reverse direction. With it, it is almost perfectly balanced. Also it feels more ridged than the long tripod foot. All in all I'd still give this lens a five star rating.
The canon 500mm II is a masterpiece. Version I was as well, but somehow, some way canon managed to shave 1.5 lbs off of this lens. For travel and hiking this lens cannot be beat. The lens seems to AF slower with the series III tele converters vs the series ii. So keep that in mind. The 4 stops of IS also helps with hand holding this lens, but so does the aforementioned weight savings. I am happy I have purchased the 500mm ii and it will be a nice companion to my 800mm L.