RF 600MM: £749 | RF 800MM: £979 Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM &RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Venture into the stratosphere of super telephoto lenses
and you expect sky-high prices, fast apertures and substantial optics. But Canon has changed all that, with two fixed aperture lenses for its mirrorless system
I’M A CYNIC at the best of times, so I did wonder what Canon was playing at when I heard it was launching these fixed aperture Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses. The last fixed aperture lens I used was an old Russian 1000mm f/11 mirror lens of dubious optical quality. But that didn’t matter because all I shot was sunsets, as it wasn’t much use
for anything else. The fixed f/11 was a challenge, but this was back when I used film, which doesn’t have the modern flexibility of ISO. Getting my hands on this pair of Canon super telephotos was always going to be an interesting experience – and, as it turned out, a great one. The two lenses are similar in design and share the same key features.
Canon has used its Diffractive Optics design in these EOS R lenses (there are a couple of DO lenses in its EF range) to get them down to an impressively compact form. When not in use, the lenses retract and have to be extended before use – both extend by about 7cm – and there is a locking collar close to the camera body that releases and locks the lens in
ONTEST Both lenses have an image stabiliser – the 600mm gives a 5EV benefit and the 800mm a 4EV benefit – and there’s no extra gain when used on cameras with IBIS. Handholding was comfortable, especially with the 600mm, and the IS proved effective. As you’d expect, with the light weight, large surface area and long focal length, shooting when there was a breeze did have an impact on getting sharp, tightly framed handheld pictures. To test the IS, I took sets of handheld shots at a variety of shutter speeds on a calm day, resting my arms between shots. The enlarged sections are shown at 100%. I thought it was an impressive showing to get sharp handheld shots at 1/13sec (600mm) and 1/15sec (800mm).
1/13sec 600mm full-frame
1/15sec 800mm full-frame
ABOVE& LEFT Both lenses retract and the barrel has be extended and locked to use them. The image above shows the lenses ready to use. Wiping down the barrel before packing the lenses away minimises the risk of dust and moisture getting into the lens body
60 Photography News | Issue 86
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