Canon RF 200-500mm f/4L IS USM update [CR2]

As a scientist I greatly appreciate you performing these measurements. I found them very informative. One benefit of a 500 mm f4.5/5 DO lens would be the lighter weight and knowledge that I can place a 1.4x TC on it and have a 700 mm f6.3/7.1 which is still very practical. It would also be smaller and easier to travel with as well than the 200-500 mm f4 zoom. As I mentioned before, two different lenses that IMO could be complementary.
I absolutely agree with this. A 500 DO to replace the 400 DO that is a stop faster than the 100-500 zoom would be a tempting lens and I think it actually has a chance of appearing at some point. (Basing that on the fact that Canon found room in its lineup for four 400mm EF lenses and DO adds an additional differentiator)
 
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And you're still going on about it. Claiming I am still right? Answer these two questions:
1) Does f/5.6 allow you to shoot at lower ISO than f/7.1?
2) Does f/5.6 give you a shallower DOF than f/7.1?

Just because the difference doesn't affect your photography in a meaningful way and your limited test scenarios aren't enough to convince you otherwise, doesn't mean I am wrong. But you want to make this into a "I'm right and you're wrong" scenario, when my first post was literally just a wishlist comment about a lens I'd rather have, and my hope that Canon makes more lenses between the extremes of amateur and professional. Unfocused pointed out they might not want to make my dream lens because they already made the RF 100-500 (valid point), but having that lens already, I wanted something a little faster. Would you not have argued with me if my dream lens was a RF 500 f4.5? Well that sounds great, but I think the weight/size at 4.5 would be more than I'd like it, unless Canon were able to do some Canon magic in their engineering department. Not sure why you are debating what I want and trying to convince me I don't need it.
This is a classic failure to see the forest for the trees, and it's something I try very hard to train out of young scientists.

To answer your questions:
1) Yes, f/5.6 allows you to shoot at lower ISO than f/7.1.
2) Yes, f/5.6 gives you a shallower DOF than f/7.1.

How about these questions?
3) Does a 26 MP sensor deliver more resolution than a 24 MP sensor?
4) Will a shutter speed of 1/10000 s freeze motion better than a shutter speed of 1/8000 s?

Obviously the answer to both of those questions is also yes. But the relevant question is do any of the above affect photographic output in a meaningful way? The answer to that question is possibly but only in relatively rare, very specific circumstances.

At any ISO of less than 12800 with a modern FF sensor, 2/3 of a stop of ISO is not going to make a significant difference in the result after good NR. ISO 640 will not be visibly different than ISO 400, both will be essentially noise free. Even ISO 40000 and ISO 25600 will not be meaningfully different, both will be either noisy or lose a similar amount of detail from NR. Now, perhaps ISO 51200 will give you a barely usable shot after NR that ISO 80000 will not. How often do you shoot at those ISO values where you must use the resulting images?

With a 500mm lens at 10 m, f/7.1 gives a DoF of 16 cm and f/5.6 gives a DoF of 13 cm. Say you're shooting a mockingbird, either way the entire head will be in focus and the tip of the tail will be out of the plane of sharp focus (within the assumptions of a DoF calculator). As the examples show, the background separation is not meaningfully different. You say you sell pictures for supplemental income, has any editor/buyer/etc. told you, "Sorry, it's a nice picture and it's almost good enough...I'd buy it if only it had a very tiny bit more background blur?" Somehow I doubt it. As you say, you're your harshest critic and you've convinced yourself that 2/3-stop will make your pictures better. And even so, as @AlanF demonstrated, post-processing can make a much bigger difference anyway.

To finish off the other points, there may occasionally be some small, high frequency feature within an image that can be resolved by a 26 MP sensor but not by a 24 MP sensor...assuming resolution of that feature is critically important, there are far easier ways of making sure that feature is resolved than counting on a 2 MP difference (with the correspondingly much smaller linear resolution difference). Similarly, for the vast majority of subjects 1/8000 s is more than sufficient to freeze motion if desired, and for those subjects where it's insufficient, 1/10000 s will be likewise.

All these super-expensive zooms are great for people who can justify the cost and don't mind traveling with bulky gear, but if Canon wants to bring more people into/keep more people in the R system, maybe it would be best to have lenses that attract a bigger segment of customers?
That was in reference to your desire for a $3-4K 500/5.6 lens. Canon will sell somewhere over a million EOS R system cameras this year. Lenses costing $3-4K are going to sell in thousands of units, i.e. a very small fraction of the number of EOS R cameras Canon sells. It's the same failure to see the forest for the trees, thinking that if Canon releases a lens that induces a few thousand people to switch to the EOS R system, that is a 'bigger market segment' relative to the million R bodies already sold per year. As I pointed out before, it's the unique offerings of lenses like the 600/11 and 800/11 that are likely to entice a meaningful number of buyers into the R system.

Now here's an interesting point... You've stated that you have the RF 100-500, and throughout this discussion, you keep mentioning that a 500/5.6 is your dream lens, that f/5.6 would provide (conditional tense) better background separation but not cost as much as the f/4 supertele lenses. Maybe I'm reading more into this than what's there, but your statements suggest that you don't actually have a lens capable of shooting at 500mm f/5.6. If that's the case, it certainly explains why you won't post any examples demonstrating how 500/5.6 is better than 500/7.1. But it also means you're making conclusions based on zero actual experience, and discounting both the experience of people with such lenses and empirical testing that shows results contrary to your unfounded expectations.

Finally, as you said previously you are the one who gets to choose both what you want and what you buy. Since your 'dream lens' is a 500/5.6 costing $3-4K, and Nikon makes just such a lens, why dream? By all accounts the Z8 is a very capable camera. Sell your RF 100-500 and whatever body it's attached to, and that should cover most of the cost of the Z8. Buy the Nikon 500/5.6 PF. If you need to make up the difference in the Z8 cost, there are Used Like New copies for $2100. Buy the Nikon Z8 and the lens with your ideal specification and live your dream!
 
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This is a classic failure to see the forest for the trees, and it's something I try very hard to train out of young scientists.

To answer your questions:
1) Yes, f/5.6 allows you to shoot at lower ISO than f/7.1.
2) Yes, f/5.6 gives you a shallower DOF than f/7.1.

How about these questions?
3) Does a 26 MP sensor deliver more resolution than a 24 MP sensor?
4) Will a shutter speed of 1/10000 s freeze motion better than a shutter speed of 1/8000 s?

Obviously the answer to both of those questions is also yes. But the relevant question is do any of the above affect photographic output in a meaningful way? The answer to that question is possibly but only in relatively rare, very specific circumstances.

At any ISO of less than 12800 with a modern FF sensor, 2/3 of a stop of ISO is not going to make a significant difference in the result after good NR. ISO 640 will not be visibly different than ISO 400, both will be essentially noise free. Even ISO 40000 and ISO 25600 will not be meaningfully different, both will be either noisy or lose a similar amount of detail from NR. Now, perhaps ISO 51200 will give you a barely usable shot after NR that ISO 80000 will not. How often do you shoot at those ISO values where you must use the resulting images?

With a 500mm lens at 10 m, f/7.1 gives a DoF of 16 cm and f/5.6 gives a DoF of 13 cm. Say you're shooting a mockingbird, either way the entire head will be in focus and the tip of the tail will be out of the plane of sharp focus (within the assumptions of a DoF calculator). As the examples show, the background separation is not meaningfully different. You say you sell pictures for supplemental income, has any editor/buyer/etc. told you, "Sorry, it's a nice picture and it's almost good enough...I'd buy it if only it had a very tiny bit more background blur?" Somehow I doubt it. As you say, you're your harshest critic and you've convinced yourself that 2/3-stop will make your pictures better. And even so, as @AlanF demonstrated, post-processing can make a much bigger difference anyway.

To finish off the other points, there may occasionally be some small, high frequency feature within an image that can be resolved by a 26 MP sensor but not by a 24 MP sensor...assuming resolution of that feature is critically important, there are far easier ways of making sure that feature is resolved than counting on a 2 MP difference (with the correspondingly much smaller linear resolution difference). Similarly, for the vast majority of subjects 1/8000 s is more than sufficient to freeze motion if desired, and for those subjects where it's insufficient, 1/10000 s will be likewise.


That was in reference to your desire for a $3-4K 500/5.6 lens. Canon will sell somewhere over a million EOS R system cameras this year. Lenses costing $3-4K are going to sell in thousands of units, i.e. a very small fraction of the number of EOS R cameras Canon sells. It's the same failure to see the forest for the trees, thinking that if Canon releases a lens that induces a few thousand people to switch to the EOS R system, that is a 'bigger market segment' relative to the million R bodies already sold per year. As I pointed out before, it's the unique offerings of lenses like the
600/11 and 800/11 that are likely to entice a meaningful number of buyers into the R system.

Now here's an interesting point... You've stated that you have the RF 100-500, and throughout this discussion, you keep mentioning that a 500/5.6 is your dream lens, that f/5.6 would provide (conditional tense) better background separation but not cost as much as the f/4 supertele lenses. Maybe I'm reading more into this than what's there, but your statements suggest that you don't actually have a lens capable of shooting at 500mm f/5.6. If that's the case, it certainly explains why you won't post any examples demonstrating how 500/5.6 is better than 500/7.1. But it also means you're making conclusions based on zero actual experience, and discounting both the experience of people with such lenses and empirical testing that shows results contrary to your unfounded expectations.

Finally, as you said previously you are the one who gets to choose both what you want and what you buy. Since your 'dream lens' is a 500/5.6 costing $3-4K, and Nikon makes just such a lens, why dream? By all accounts the Z8 is a very capable camera. Sell your RF 100-500 and whatever body it's attached to, and that should cover most of the cost of the Z8. Buy the Nikon 500/5.6 PF. If you need to make up the difference in the Z8 cost, there are Used Like New copies for $2100. Buy the Nikon Z8 and the lens with your ideal specification and live your dream!
f/5.6 is very important for DSLRs because it is the narrowest aperture lens to which you can add a 1.4xTC and keep to the cut-off barrier of f/8 for AF on a DSLR. You can shoot at 700mm f/8 with the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 but you couldn’t AF with a 1.4x on an f/7.1 at f/10. That barrier has been removed with mirrorless as you can fire away at even f/22 on a Canon.
 
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This is a classic failure to see the forest for the trees, and it's something I try very hard to train out of young scientists.

To answer your questions:
1) Yes, f/5.6 allows you to shoot at lower ISO than f/7.1.
2) Yes, f/5.6 gives you a shallower DOF than f/7.1.

How about these questions?
3) Does a 26 MP sensor deliver more resolution than a 24 MP sensor?
4) Will a shutter speed of 1/10000 s freeze motion better than a shutter speed of 1/8000 s?

Obviously the answer to both of those questions is also yes. But the relevant question is do any of the above affect photographic output in a meaningful way? The answer to that question is possibly but only in relatively rare, very specific circumstances.

At any ISO of less than 12800 with a modern FF sensor, 2/3 of a stop of ISO is not going to make a significant difference in the result after good NR. ISO 640 will not be visibly different than ISO 400, both will be essentially noise free. Even ISO 40000 and ISO 25600 will not be meaningfully different, both will be either noisy or lose a similar amount of detail from NR. Now, perhaps ISO 51200 will give you a barely usable shot after NR that ISO 80000 will not. How often do you shoot at those ISO values where you must use the resulting images?

With a 500mm lens at 10 m, f/7.1 gives a DoF of 16 cm and f/5.6 gives a DoF of 13 cm. Say you're shooting a mockingbird, either way the entire head will be in focus and the tip of the tail will be out of the plane of sharp focus (within the assumptions of a DoF calculator). As the examples show, the background separation is not meaningfully different. You say you sell pictures for supplemental income, has any editor/buyer/etc. told you, "Sorry, it's a nice picture and it's almost good enough...I'd buy it if only it had a very tiny bit more background blur?" Somehow I doubt it. As you say, you're your harshest critic and you've convinced yourself that 2/3-stop will make your pictures better. And even so, as @AlanF demonstrated, post-processing can make a much bigger difference anyway.

To finish off the other points, there may occasionally be some small, high frequency feature within an image that can be resolved by a 26 MP sensor but not by a 24 MP sensor...assuming resolution of that feature is critically important, there are far easier ways of making sure that feature is resolved than counting on a 2 MP difference (with the correspondingly much smaller linear resolution difference). Similarly, for the vast majority of subjects 1/8000 s is more than sufficient to freeze motion if desired, and for those subjects where it's insufficient, 1/10000 s will be likewise.


That was in reference to your desire for a $3-4K 500/5.6 lens. Canon will sell somewhere over a million EOS R system cameras this year. Lenses costing $3-4K are going to sell in thousands of units, i.e. a very small fraction of the number of EOS R cameras Canon sells. It's the same failure to see the forest for the trees, thinking that if Canon releases a lens that induces a few thousand people to switch to the EOS R system, that is a 'bigger market segment' relative to the million R bodies already sold per year. As I pointed out before, it's the unique offerings of lenses like the 600/11 and 800/11 that are likely to entice a meaningful number of buyers into the R system.

Now here's an interesting point... You've stated that you have the RF 100-500, and throughout this discussion, you keep mentioning that a 500/5.6 is your dream lens, that f/5.6 would provide (conditional tense) better background separation but not cost as much as the f/4 supertele lenses. Maybe I'm reading more into this than what's there, but your statements suggest that you don't actually have a lens capable of shooting at 500mm f/5.6. If that's the case, it certainly explains why you won't post any examples demonstrating how 500/5.6 is better than 500/7.1. But it also means you're making conclusions based on zero actual experience, and discounting both the experience of people with such lenses and empirical testing that shows results contrary to your unfounded expectations.

Finally, as you said previously you are the one who gets to choose both what you want and what you buy. Since your 'dream lens' is a 500/5.6 costing $3-4K, and Nikon makes just such a lens, why dream? By all accounts the Z8 is a very capable camera. Sell your RF 100-500 and whatever body it's attached to, and that should cover most of the cost of the Z8. Buy the Nikon 500/5.6 PF. If you need to make up the difference in the Z8 cost, there are Used Like New copies for $2100. Buy the Nikon Z8 and the lens with your ideal specification and live your dream!
I know I’ve been messing with you lately but this is a serious question:

How come the photos I see online and other places that I think are so dang good seem to more often than not shot using the 600mm f4 lens or some other close low aperture lens?

I get what your saying that 5.6 to 7.1 is not a huge difference and damn you provided some compelling evidence (not being facetious). But when I look around all of the photos that I find a great deal of envy are taken with the super prime lenses. None of them are taken with the lens I have, the rf 100-500.

I guess some of my motivation to get a bigger lens is because it seems to produce better images , more keepers, and gets keepers out of situations my 100-500 could not.
 
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No. There’s ample obstreperousness and basic avoidance of facts here, thanks.
Damn, I had almost my popcorn ready.

Do those discussions typically end the same way as the ones here…with the person who initially made the claim and had it refuted with actual examples disregarding those examples, refusing to provide counter examples, and claiming they are still right as they take their marbles and run home?
The audiophiles will continue to argue their ignorance to the point where you choose your own sanity over, well, everything else.

Sadly, my brother is among these people and the fiberoptic cable example comes from him.
 
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How come the photos I see online and other places that I think are so dang good seem to more often than not shot using the 600mm f4 lens or some other close low aperture lens?

I'm not neuro, but the whole discussion about lens sharpness, background separation etc assumes a bunch of things, including a fully static subject. As I like to photograph roadracing motorcycles, static subjects are few, far between, and usually very very boring.

I tested shooting the EF300 f/2.8 (w/wo 1.4x TC) vs the 200-400 vs the RF100-500 during a 6 hour endurance roadrace about 2 months ago (all on the R3 body). The 300 & 200-400 gave me more than 2x the keeper rate than the 100-500: 17.x% vs 8.x% (!). My (current) best guess at the reason is the autofocus system and AF motors in the lenses.
 
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f/5.6 is very important for DSLRs because it is the narrowest aperture lens to which you can add a 1.4xTC and keep to the cut-off barrier of f/8 for AF on a DSLR. You can shoot at 700mm f/8 with the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 but you couldn’t AF with a 1.4x on an f/7.1 at f/10. That barrier has been removed with mirrorless as you can fire away at even f/22 on a Canon.
Technology moves on and so do the AF systems. I've been a recent transitor to the Canon mirrorless system and It's complicated AI AF system is a lot better than the previous systems found in DSLR's. I think theses days the average photographer is way better educated in photography than they used to be.
I was watching a youtube video yesterday about the Canon focus stacking system, while I think the techniques shown could easily be improved upon, I'm very aware how this relatively new technique is a game changer in the world of bug photography. I can shoot 8 frames at F2.8 on say a 100mm macro and get a Jpeg that displays most of the virtues of a soft f2.8 background but the subject depth of field of f16. I also see that this technique (once rolled out to RAW files) would be great for landscapers too, who need the DOF of F22, but need the sharpness of f5.6 (and the reduced diffraction).

Where gear is concearned, there is a lot of pasion. Often on forums I find my self caught between an emotional truth and scientific fact. These elements of discussion are influenced by so many factors such as how and what we all shoot.

There is a genuine reason why lenses like the EF 600mm F4 LIS are so popular with wild life photographers. There is a reason why the EF 100-400mm f5.6 LIS II is really popular. Or the RF 100-500mm f7.1 LIS is so popular too. They are different tools for different situations.

The average focal lengths that typical photographers have access to is far wider and longer than it used to be. Pre digital, it was seem as weird to have anything wider than 28mm. Often 35mm was the widest many carried. 200mm was seen a very long. These days, EVERYONE and his mate seems to have UWA zooms and 16mm is very common. Lenses like the 100-400mm have made the 400mm accessible. Latterly, the 100-500mm seems to have brought the 500mm to the masses and now everyone seems to be an expert. F4, f5.6 or F7.1 lenses all work in the right context. However, a lens limited to F7.1 can't shoot at F4...but an F4 lens that's is too heavy / bulky to take out won't get the shot. The versatility and portability of the RF 100-500mm f7.1 can't be sniffed at.

Which brings me to my observations of being with "serious" wild lifers and Birders (who shoot a lot more than i do). Most of them bring 2 cameras and several lenses...plus a big tripod (with either a gimble of fluide head). On this they put their prize and joy...usually a big white prime (400/500/600) and a high frame rate camera. I used to see a lot of 1DX series here...these days I see a lot of R5 and R6 cams. Then there's the hand holdable / walkabouts lens. Usually this is the mighty EF 100-400 f5.6 LIS, often with a 1.4x TC (depending on the shooting distances). This usually has their 2nd camera attached and is placed nearby, easily reachable for urgent moments or just when they want to get mobile and less static.

So I find the argument betweent these two lenses types to be a bit weird. I find that it is easier to melt a background easier with a thinner DOF at the same focal length. However, if I have the ability to shoot longer then they is also achievable. If I have the luxury to move closer then I can create a simular effect.
I don't belive that Photoshop background blurs work as well or look as convincing as optical blur. But that could be my lack of photoshop skills. I'm a photographer dammit Jim...not a graphic artist.

For me, I've been getting by with my EF 70-200 f2.8 II LIS with a 2x TC for years. Stop down to F6.3 and it's pretty good. For longer (with TC's) or more isolated stuff, I use my EF 400mm f2.8 LIS. It rocks, but it's huge and heavy. Only recently I've had the funds to re-invest in my photography gear. I've been considering either the EF 100-400 II LIS or the RF 100-500 LIS as my walk about lens. At the moment, I'm more inclined to go with the EF 100-400 because they are far more common, takes a 1.4x TC really well and it's 1/2 the price as the eye wateringly expensive RF 100-500. for the price of the RF 100-500, I could sell my EF 400 f2.8 LIS and buy a mint mkII version. Maybe even stretch to a more worn / tired mk III.
 
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I don’t think you are being unreasonable and I can see where you are coming from. I bought a Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF along with a 500D and 850D and used them for about 18 months because of the spectacular reports of the lens and the AF. They were right, and I got the best bird and BIF images I had ever taken until then. But, then the R5 anf RF 100-500mm came along and I found the zoom had virtually the same IQ at 500mm and all the advantages of a zoom, and the R5 is spectacular. The Nikons were sold. So, I personally would not go for a Canon 500/5.6 DO. The two EF 400mm f/4 DO IIs I have were good, but the RF 100-500 at 500mm bested them and I had to use the 1.4x TC on them to catch up.
The current RF line-up has great lenses but a huge price gap between the consumer and pro lenses.
This is less true with zoom lenses but still can be seen.
Arguably the 100-500L is prosumer but the price difference between the RF 100-400, 100-500, ad 100-300 are all enormous.
Unless Canon makes 700 lenses there will always be gaps to complain about but it makes it easier to complain when Nikon or Sony have lenses that would fit in those gaps.
 
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I know I’ve been messing with you lately but this is a serious question:

How come the photos I see online and other places that I think are so dang good seem to more often than not shot using the 600mm f4 lens or some other close low aperture lens?

I get what your saying that 5.6 to 7.1 is not a huge difference and damn you provided some compelling evidence (not being facetious). But when I look around all of the photos that I find a great deal of envy are taken with the super prime lenses. None of them are taken with the lens I have, the rf 100-500.

I guess some of my motivation to get a bigger lens is because it seems to produce better images , more keepers, and gets keepers out of situations my 100-500 could not.
Go to the Audubon top 100 award winners. You will see lots of prize winners with great separation shot with Canon 100-400, Canon 100-500, and Sigma 150-600 6.3. Of course there are also many shot with long fast primes as well, but the common denominator is the skill of the photographers not the lenses.

Keep in mind that someone who owns a long, fast prime is probably really serious about their photography, so the venn diagram of great bird photographers and long prime owners will show lots of overlap.

There is also the fact that the long primes have been around a lot longer than the 100-500, so there are a lot of them in circulation making the likelihood that a serious photographer is using one, greater than the average of all photographers,

Also, the difference between F4 at 600mm and f7.1 at 500mm is going to be more noticeable. No one has disputed that. The debate here has been between f5.6 and f7.1 at 500mm, which is much less of a difference.

But ultimately, if you look at the Audubon top 100 you’ll see that the common denominators are not the lenses or the cameras but the fact that these people are really serious.

They know their birds (understanding bird behavior makes a huge difference and is something I am particularly weak on).

They often, but not always, travel to locations where the birds are common, thus increasing the odds (I’m writing this from Maine where we spent several hours in a blind shooting Puffins. A trip where I had to reserve a spot in January and am spending several thousand dollars to take).

And they spend hours and hours going out every day in search of the best picture.
 
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Okay I know I’ve said way too much on this subject but I want to add one more thought on the subject of distracting backgrounds.

There is an old saying among photographers that I just made up: “Amateurs look at the subject. Pros look at the background.”

Learning to look at the background has done more to improve my photography than almost anything else.
 
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Okay I know I’ve said way too much on this subject but I want to add one more thought on the subject of distracting backgrounds.

There is an old saying among photographers that I just made up: “Amateurs look at the subject. Pros look at the background.”

Learning to look at the background has done more to improve my photography than almost anything else.

Having a baby last year and really *looking* at the shots I took forced me to become more innately aware of the background for pretty much all my 'serious' pictures of her. It spilled over to bird photography as well.
 
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At any ISO of less than 12800 with a modern FF sensor, 2/3 of a stop of ISO is not going to make a significant difference in the result after good NR. ISO 640 will not be visibly different than ISO 400, both will be essentially noise free. Even ISO 40000 and ISO 25600 will not be meaningfully different, both will be either noisy or lose a similar amount of detail from NR. Now, perhaps ISO 51200 will give you a barely usable shot after NR that ISO 80000 will not. How often do you shoot at those ISO values where you must use the resulting images?
Yes, but you can make this same statement to question why anyone would need or want any lens. I see you have the RF100-300 2.8 and also the 70-200 2.8, and TCs. Well, slapping the 1.4x on the 70-200 would get you to near the same range at less weight and more compact size, with 1 stop of difference, but no one's grilling you why you went out and bought it (and I'm not either, I know there are plenty of good reasons -- I'm just giving you an example of basically what you're doing to me). Yes, NR is great these days, but there's zero wrong with wanting to shoot at the lowest ISO possible.

And even so, as @AlanF demonstrated, post-processing can make a much bigger difference anyway.
I would never do subject/background masking in wildlife pics. You can also apply a graduated filter in LR, but does that mean I should throw out my GND filters? No, because I don't want to do that in post.

Maybe I'm reading more into this than what's there, but your statements suggest that you don't actually have a lens capable of shooting at 500mm f/5.6.
Not currently (uh oh, caught!). Back during my short (second) stint with Nikon, I used the 500PF and not exactly the same, but I've rented the Canon 400mm f/4 DO and used it with the 1.4x. So even if I were to devote more time where I'm having to defend why I want a certain lens to internet strangers [and I've already written about 4 more comments than I was going to because I keep getting baited back with things like "he went away because he knows he's wrong"], I may not even be able to find any good equivalent examples because I wasn't A/B testing thinking I'd be quizzed in an internet forum later. And even if I did, it would likely devolve into someone saying 1) these scenes aren't comparable because X or 2) there's barely any difference in the background/foreground there! I'm more picky about certain distracting qualities about my photos than the normal photographer, but I've never been grilled about giving examples to show them. So that's why I summed it up with asking those two questions...because you can shoot at lower ISOs and at a shallower DOF and those are facts. Saying those don't have a meaningful impact in your photography is fine, but convincing me or asking me to prove why they are meaningful to me is a useless time-waster. Again, I'm not giving you **** over why you needed the 100-300 2.8 or trying to diminish the difference of 2.8 versus 4. Does 2/3rds of a stop difference not being significant suddenly become a big deal when you get to 1 stop difference? You have your reasons for wanting/buying the gear you want just as I do, too.

Finally, as you said previously you are the one who gets to choose both what you want and what you buy. Since your 'dream lens' is a 500/5.6 costing $3-4K, and Nikon makes just such a lens, why dream? By all accounts the Z8 is a very capable camera. Sell your RF 100-500 and whatever body it's attached to, and that should cover most of the cost of the Z8. Buy the Nikon 500/5.6 PF. If you need to make up the difference in the Z8 cost, there are Used Like New copies for $2100. Buy the Nikon Z8 and the lens with your ideal specification and live your dream!
Wildlife shooting isn't all I do. The RF 100-500 is perfect for other types of photography I do. But for wildlife, a 500 or 600mm that's lighter/more compact than the pro offerings, but not as slow as 7.1 would be ideal. And again, would I rather have something like a 500 4.5 for even more separation and lower ISO? Of course. But 5.6 seems to be a good compromise between portability/ability to hand-hold for long periods and performance. The RF 15-35, 24-70, and 70-200 are perfect for other types of photography I do. So I wouldn't ditch everything to run to Nikon or run dual brand systems, because I love pretty much all of my Canon gear.

That's the last I'm writing here. You're trying to convince me the ISO and DOF difference is negligible and I'm telling you, to ME, the situations I shoot and my personal tastes, it's not.
 
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How come the photos I see online and other places that I think are so dang good seem to more often than not shot using the 600mm f4 lens or some other close low aperture lens?
I'd have typed a long, detailed response but @unfocused nailed it here.

To emphasize two of his points, first a lot of what you see as 'great photos' comes more from the skill and knowledge of the photographer. Knowing which direction the heron will fly when it takes off and how to approach that side of the pond without setting the bird off prematurely, make much more difference than the lens.

Second, in addition to the Venn-type overlap between great bird photographers and long, white lenses you might consider which came first. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I suspect few people buy a 1-series (or R3) body and a 600/4 as their first kit. If they are or get into birding, they'll likely start with a 100-400 (or now a 100-500) or one of the 3rd party 150-600 lenses (the latter usually based on 'it goes to 600' even though lots of testing has shown that the Canon 100-4/500 zooms outresolve those 3rd party zooms at their long end). Only later will a small number of those move to a big white. But probably in most cases, the photographic skill development came first and happened mostly with the 100-xxx zoom. As a side note to that, later on many of those with great whites migrate back to a 100-xxx zoom as their primary birding lens when carrying the long prime becomes physically challenging, and I know people who've then moved to Fuji for an even lighter system.

I guess some of my motivation to get a bigger lens is because it seems to produce better images , more keepers, and gets keepers out of situations my 100-500 could not.
The point being made above is that it's not just the lens that will produce better images, it's your increasing experience and skill as a photographer. That also leads to more keepers, since the logical extension of looking at the background along with the subject (as @unfocused says) means you learn when not to push the shutter button because you'll delete the image anyway. Keeper rate goes up because the denominator goes down. Of course, that matters les now than it did for those of us who learned with film.

Advice that's often given to those considering dropping >$10K on a big white lens is to consider whether that money might be better spent traveling to birding destinations. The cost of a such a lens could take you to Bosque del Apache, Costa Rica, or other great locations. Of course, you'll see a lot of great white lenses in those locations...

I guess I typed a long, detailed response anyway. I suspect no one is surprised, least of all me.
 
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Yes, but you can make this same statement to question why anyone would need or want any lens. I see you have the RF100-300 2.8 and also the 70-200 2.8, and TCs. Well, slapping the 1.4x on the 70-200 would get you to near the same range at less weight and more compact size, with 1 stop of difference, but no one's grilling you why you went out and bought it (and I'm not either, I know there are plenty of good reasons -- I'm just giving you an example of basically what you're doing to me).
Lol. The best reason not to 'slap the 1.4x on the 70-200' is because one or both of them would break if I tried. The RF 70-200/2.8 is not compatible with teleconverters. It's fine to give an example, but it doesn't help make your point when your example is asinine.

Yes, NR is great these days, but there's zero wrong with wanting to shoot at the lowest ISO possible.
No, there's not. Are you longing for a camera that has a base ISO of 64? By your logic, that's got to be a much better choice than using an ISO as high as 100.

And even if I did, it would likely devolve into someone saying 1) these scenes aren't comparable because X or 2) there's barely any difference in the background/foreground there!
Funny, that sort of response perfectly describes your reply to the examples I posted. It's typical of someone who approaches data with a preformed bias (something else I try to train out of young scientists). If you had posted examples, I'd have considered them as presented and not gone into it looking to debunk them. Did you notice that I posted the examples without posting any interpretation? That was intentional. I note that you predict a response to you posting examples would be, "There's barely any difference in the background/foreground there," and label it as devolving. That tells me you would not accept 'there's no meaningful difference between f/5.6 and f/7.1' as a valid conclusion no matter what.

Wildlife shooting isn't all I do. The RF 100-500 is perfect for other types of photography I do. But for wildlife, a 500 or 600mm that's lighter/more compact than the pro offerings, but not as slow as 7.1 would be ideal. Yes, 100-500 is a versatile range, but most wildlife photographers aren't zooming out at all. The RF 15-35, 24-70, and 70-200 are perfect for other types of photography I do. So I wouldn't ditch everything to run to Nikon or run dual brand systems, because I love pretty much all of my Canon gear.
In that case, keep on wishing for a Canon 500/5.6. As me ol' Irish Da used to say, wish in one hand and sh!t in the other, and see which fills up first. Enjoy your wait. I don't recommend holding your breath, but it's your choice.

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How come the photos I see online and other places that I think are so dang good seem to more often than not shot using the 600mm f4 lens or some other close low aperture lens?

....

I guess some of my motivation to get a bigger lens is because it seems to produce better images , more keepers, and gets keepers out of situations my 100-500 could not.
To reinforce what @unfocused and @neuroanatomist have written, just look at the gear used for Bird Photographer of the Year 2022 https://www.imaging-resource.com/ne...otographer-of-the-year-2022-winners-announced
Some Canon EF 100-400mm IIs among them as well as other shorter, narrower telephotos. What these guys have in common as the others imply is skill and talent and they know how to use their gear. I've no idea how skilled and talented you are as you don't post here and you might even be better than those winners, or maybe not.
 
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To reinforce what @unfocused and @neuroanatomist have written, just look at the gear used for Bird Photographer of the Year 2022 https://www.imaging-resource.com/ne...otographer-of-the-year-2022-winners-announced
[sarcasm] I don't understand. There are pictures in there that were taken at f/8, f/13, even f/16. If I've learned anything from this thread and the informative posts from guys like @Marphoto and @1D4, it's that if you're not shooting at apertures wider than f/7.1 you can't possibly get good bird pictures. [/sarcasm]
 
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For me, I've been getting by with my EF 70-200 f2.8 II LIS with a 2x TC for years. Stop down to F6.3 and it's pretty good. For longer (with TC's) or more isolated stuff, I use my EF 400mm f2.8 LIS. It rocks, but it's huge and heavy. Only recently I've had the funds to re-invest in my photography gear. I've been considering either the EF 100-400 II LIS or the RF 100-500 LIS as my walk about lens. At the moment, I'm more inclined to go with the EF 100-400 because they are far more common, takes a 1.4x TC really well and it's 1/2 the price as the eye wateringly expensive RF 100-500. for the price of the RF 100-500, I could sell my EF 400 f2.8 LIS and buy a mint mkII version. Maybe even stretch to a more worn / tired mk III.
I am sure you will be happy with the EF 100-400mm II. It is a very fine lens and takes the 1.4xTCII well. The RF 100-500mm at 500mm resolves at least as well as the EF lens at 560mm with the TC, and with slightly better IQ. The 100-500mm also takes the 2xTC better, and is much better close up, especially with the TC on. You could also consider the RF 100-400mm, which performs pretty close to the EF zoom. You might consider the 100-500 is worth the extra. Here is a comparison I did over two years ago.
 
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