Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Last updated (04 January’12):
– Review by The-digital-picture

The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM features 500mm at focal length with maximum aperture of f/4. The lens construction has 17 elements in 13 groups and has diagonal angle of view at 5 degrees. Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM, Closest focusing distance at 4.5m/14.8 feet and has a filter size of 52mm. The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens weighs 8.6 pounds and it measures 5.8 inches in diameter and 15.2 inches long.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
Overall Rating: ★★★★★ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Canon EF 500mm f/4L Reviews

The-digital-picture reviews the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and writes;
“Image quality from the Canon EF 500mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens is just as super as you would expect. This lens is impressively sharp wide open and maintains excellent sharpness right into full frame corners. CA (Chromatic Aberration) is negligible, color and contrast are very good. A slight amount of pincushion distortion is present. Full frame body users will notice a slight amount of vignetting in the corners. “
rating: N/A

User Opinions

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM User Reviews

Bird Photography | Rating: ★★★★★
“Based upon my experience with the lens, I would rate this as second in sharpness and contrast only to the 300 mm f2.8 Canon L series lens. The lens is handholdable for short periods to shoot birds in flight, but it is best suited for use on a solid tripod with a Wimberley tripod head to allow tracking of birds in flight. “ – by Gerald Reed

500/4 IS and Adorama | Rating: ★★★★★
“As for this lens, it is incredible. Wide open it creates a wickedly sharp subject against a wonderfully soft background (good bokeh). AF is very fast. This lens is extremely good and will still AF when used with the 1.4x converter. (AF works up to f5.6.) “ – by R. Jones

The best 500mm wildlife lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“I needed more reach than 400mm gave on my EOS 1D, so I purchased Canon’s 500mm f/4L IS three years ago. It’s incredibly sharp out to the corners at f/4. With bird and mammal portraits, you see every feather, every hair. This lens’ image stabilization works very well. I’ve used it on a tripod with one-second shutter speeds and good telephoto technique, and gotten sharp, publishable images.” – by Mark W. Bohrer

Canon 500mm lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“I bought this lens fronm B&H Photo Video. The service is excellent and the lens is awesome. The best lens for nature and sports photography. Un paralleled in image quality. “ – by Sandeep V. Ambudipudi

If you’re on the fence – take the plunge! | Rating: ★★★★★
“With a little practice, this lens will give you amazing sharpness. If you’re a serious bird photographer, this will be your favorite super telephoto. It’s lighter and cheaper than the 600 f/4 and you’re only giving up 100mm. I’ve only been using this lens for a week, and I absolutely love it! “ – by Bruce Gove

Amazing Telephoto Lens! | Rating: ★★★★★
“this lens is about as good as it gets for wildlife photography. Amazing image quality, even with a 1.4 converter. I have recently made the jump from Canon back to Nikon primarily because of Canon’s inconsistent flash metering… but I will keep one Canon body just to shoot with the 500mm f/4.0… it’s that good -even though it’s a bit of hassle working with two different camera systems. “ – by Joe West

Just fantastic, no other words can describe it | Rating: ★★★★★
“If you’ve never shot with a super-tele the heft and reach take some getting used to at first but once you are comfortable with it be prepared for stunning images. Hand holding isn’t exactly a lot of fun. It’s possible if you’re not a 97lb. weakling, but not the best way to get quality shots. For sports shooters a monopod is almost manditory, and if you’re a bird or nature photographer a good tripod at bare minumum and even a gimbal head are wise investments.” – by Digital Wizard

This is a big lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“Image quality is what I expected after having read a lot of reviews here and elsewhere. For those considering this lens, however, it appears worth mentioning you be aware of the consequences: You will most probably need another tripod since this lens is heavy. Only high quality heavy duty tripods will do it….” – by DocKayT

Great lens for the price/weight! | Rating: ★★★★★
“After being able to use it for 1 month now, it simply confirms that the 500mm f/4L IS was the right choice over the 600mm f/4L IS. Though often I wish I didn’t have to use extenders on my 1Ds III, I quite like the fact that I can hand-hold this lens all day for nature photography…” – by Bryan Matthew

So good it feels like I’m cheating | Rating: ★★★★★
“This setup is extremely stable and you can turn off the lens’ IS. I leave it in mode 2 for panning. That said, this lens yields very sharp images when handheld. The IS is truly effective. To see it, just focus on something stationary without pushing the shutter button to activate the IS….” – by David C. Stephens

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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos @


Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM User Manual

– Download Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM User Manual (PDF – 1.1Mb)

Features & Specifications

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Specifications

Always a favorite of motor sports, wildlife and nature shooters, the relatively lightweight 500mm lens now adds Image Stabilization for an unbeatable package of handling and sharpness. Fluorite and UD-glass–a combination available from no other lens manufacturer–provide great performance, even with the EF 1.4x II or 2x II tele extender attached. It focuses down to less than 15 feet (4.5m), and offers the same weather-resistant design and incredible AF speed as its 300mm, 400mm and 600mm siblings.

See a Different Dimension
A super telephoto lens can make an ordinary scene into an extraordinary one. Its ability to see surpasses that of the human eye. It can compress images and make them look as if they come from another dimension. It opens up new realms of photographic expression. All EF super telephoto lenses are L-series lenses to provide the highest quality. The USM provides quiet and high-speed autofocusing. These lenses promise outstanding delineation and put your imagination to the test.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens Features

* High-performance L-series super-telephoto lens series with built-in dual-mode Image Stabilizer (IS) function.
* Ultra-high image quality through new optical designs with Fluorite and UD Glass.
* World’s highest AF speed with improved Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) and new algorithms for focus prediction with moving subjects.
* Magnesium alloy lens barrels for reduced weight & rugged reliability.

Next-generation super telephoto L-series lens with an Image Stabilizer, it’s one of the world’s best lenses for wildlife and nature photography. The optical system is newly designed with a maximum aperture of f/4. One fluorite element and two UD-glass elements effectively correct aberrations resulting in sharp and excellent delineation.

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