Photography News 86 Newsletter

First test


SPECS RF 600mm f/11 IS STM ›  Price £749. ET-88B lens hood extra £59 ›  In the box Lens, front and back caps ›  Format Full-frame ›  Compatibility Canon EOS R, compatible with Canon RF 1.4x and 2x extenders ›  Filter size 82mm ›  Construction 10 elements in 7 groups ›  Special lens elements DO ›  Aperture range F/11 only ›  Magnification 0.14x ›  Autofocus STM ›  Manual focusing ring Yes ›  Image stabiliser Yes, 5EV benefit Extended 93x269.5mm, Retracted 93x199.5mm ›  Weight 930g RF 800mm f/11 IS STM ›  Price £979. ET-101 lens hood extra £59 ›  In the box ›  Minimum focus 4.5m ›  Weather sealed No ›  Dimensions (dxl) Canon EOS R, compatible with Canon RF 1.4x and 2x extenders ›  Filter size 95mm ›  Minimum focus 6m ›  Construction 11 elements in 8 groups ›  Special lens elements DO lens (gapless double-layer diffractive optics) ›  Aperture range F/11 only ›  Magnification 0.14x ›  Autofocus By STM ›  Manual focusing ring Yes ›  Image stabiliser Yes, 4EV benefit Front and back caps ›  Format Full-frame ›  Compatibility


position. Turn on the camera with the lens in its parked state and you will get a warning – the same applies if you’ve extended the lens, but not locked it into its working position. You soon get into the swing of extending and locking the barrel. The lenses are not weather sealed, so when you retract them, wipe any dust and water off the barrel to minimise risk to the mechanism. There’s only one 1/4in tripod screw fitting, on the base, and it is not on a rotating collar. Whether on a ball or pan/tilt head, this is not convenient for upright shooting on a monopod or tripod. It’s possible, of course, but a firmly locking head is needed. It doesn’t suit a typical gimbal head either, unless you’re using a Wimberley Sidekick/ ball head combo, in which case upright shooting is not a problem, but shooting in horizontal format is. Keeping bulk and expense down by not having a rotating collar is fine, but Canon could have easily provided two tripod fittings; one on the base and one on the side. I used the lenses on an EOS R6 body. Mounted on a tripod, the balance on the 600mm is very much in favour of the camera, which was an issue when I tried the combo on a gimbal – I used

the Leofoto PG-1 – because the head had to be tightened a little to hold it in position. It just meant you didn’t get the smooth, free flow of using a gimbal. The 800mm balanced perfectly, ready for action, so no problem there. I used both lenses supported, but did a lot of shots handheld – and very successfully, too. This was especially true of the 600mm. For example, when I was snapping a grey squirrel, the critter was around for quite a while and I had the camera up to my eye for 15 minutes without too much of strain. That was not the case with the 800mm, which I found more of a struggle. Incidentally, the squirrel was so close that, on the 800mm, I had to take a step away so it was possible to focus. Both lenses are also fitted with an image stabiliser; the 600mm offers a 5EV benefit and the 800mm a 4EV benefit. I did some IS test shots, taking sets of shots down to 1/8sec with both lenses. The 600mm was good at 1/15sec and even slower, while with the 800mm I needed 1/30sec or more for consistently sharp results, but I did manage a few sharp shots at 1/15sec (see the panel overleaf ). My IS test was on a calm day and I’d expect less success if the wind was anything

›  Minimum focus 6m ›  Weather sealed No ›  Dimensions (dxl) Extended 101.6x351.8mm, Retracted 101.6x281.8mm ›  Weight 1260g Contact

TOP This urban fox enjoying the sun was captured on the 800mm lens – shown uncropped. There were no problems with AF here, with the subject in the centre of the frame, big eyes and good light. Shutter-priority AE, 1/1000sec at ISO 1600, handheld ABOVE LEFT Tracking moving subjects was a bit jumpy, with the IS reframing shots slightly. With frame-filling shots like this (shown uncropped here), I got bits of plane cut off. Aperture-priority AE, 1/800sec at ISO 400 LEFT Switching to manual focus or turning off the IS is easy to do, and the unlock/lock barrel has a positive action. There’s also a control ring (not shown) that you can dedicate to a wide variety of functions via the camera body

Issue 86 | Photography News 61

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