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Marina Cano


Africa with 'the beast': life with the EF600mm f/4L IS II USM

By Marina Cano, Monday March 09, 2015
A 'super moon' in Erindi Private Reserve, Namibia, South Africa.

A 'super moon' in Erindi Private Reserve, Namibia, South Africa. © Marina Cano

The EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens is a wildlife photographer's dream come true. I started out with an 80-210mm in the '90s and I was proud of it back then, but it’s now become retro (and yet I still have it!). But that was only the beginning. Some years later came the 300mm, 400mm and 500mm...

Canon's EF600mm f/4L IS II USM is certainly a super lens. It is made out of magnesium and titanium and weighs less than 4kg. It is very fast for focusing, but I prefer not to speak about such technical stuff because there is so much amazing information written about it from a technical perspective.

Instead I'm writing about my awesome photo safari in Namibia, which took place in the summer of 2014. First things first, though: transporting such a large piece of equipment! I began my trip from Santander, Spain, to London and then on to South Africa. I'm lucky to have an excellent camera bag which was perfect to hold the 600mm and it fitted inside no problem.

Over several weeks in the wild, I got used to the weight and size of this monster lens. For me it became very normal to use it and it was only when I met other photographers and saw the expressions on their faces, that I realised the 600mm is not something to go unnoticed. It was rather interesting at just how comfortable I became using it.

After using the 600mm, the Canon 300mm f/2.8 looked like a toy to me! With the 600mm you definitely need a tripod or monopod. I used a tripod in the field and a photo bean bag inside the vehicle. It’s possible to hold for short periods of time – but not for long.

In Etosha National Park, Namibia, where you are not allowed out of the vehicle, any movement has to very limited although you can orientate yourself within limited space by being strategic. So inside the vehicle, you have to take this into consideration. In many private game reserves, such as Erindi (one of the largest private game reserves in Namibia) you are sometimes allowed off the vehicle depending on the situation, but in an open truck its much easier. Erindi and Etosha are possibly two of the best destinations to photograph wildlife in Namibia.

The EF600mm is a super lens, and together with the EOS-1D X DSLR make a great combination for excellent results. Africa has the ideal elements for awesome photographic opportunities and having the best equipment helps a lot. And when your trip to Africa coincides with a super moon, then the best equipment will make your images incredible!

We are offering another Photo Safari from the 3-12 April 2015 and there is still space. For more information visit

A rhino at Etosha National Park, Namibia, South Africa.

A rhino at Etosha National Park, Namibia, South Africa. © Marina Cano

Jacomina the cheetah and her cubs in Erinde Private Reserve, Namibia, South Africa.

Jacomina the cheetah and her cubs in Erinde Private Reserve, Namibia, South Africa. © Marina Cano