Canon RF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM and Canon RF 1200mm f/8L IS USM coming soon?

The RF 600 and 800 f/11s appear to be selling well despite being fixed aperture. The dof isn't usually a problem with the distances used for these long telephotos.
They sell well because its cheap and its physicality is friendly to those who have difficulty carrying heavy things.
 
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entoman

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800 is also not something I'm that interested in. I prefer to shoot 600/4 or even 400/2.8 and reach to 800(840) with TCs if needed. I wouldn't spend 600/4+ money on one of these lenses.

I think these are very unlikely to be traditional optics as I really don't think there is a big market for them. They have to be DO or something else like the Cat being discussed.
I use the RF 800mm F11 and also the EF 100-400mm with 1.4x, on my R5.

For bird photography, despite the fixed F11 aperture, it's almost always the 800mm that provides the most suitable focal length, whether I'm photographing small woodland birds, waders, kingfishers or hummingbirds. The zoom comes into its own when photographing ostriches, secretary birds, vultures and eagles.

For BIF, I find the RF 800mm is OK for hovering birds like kestrels, but the narrow angle of view makes it difficult to initially locate the subject in the sky, and the F11 aperture is a bit limiting on shutter speeds, so again I use the zoom and extender in preference.

My ideal lens, which is perfectly doable, would be a twin-focal length optic, that could be used at 400mm for initial framing, and then switched instantly to 800mm by use of a lens-mounted function button. But, looking more realistically at what Canon may produce, a modestly-priced 800mm F5.6 or F6.7 would strongly appeal - I think most likely it will be a DO lens.
 
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AlanF

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I use the RF 800mm F11 and also the EF 100-400mm with 1.4x, on my R5.

For bird photography, despite the fixed F11 aperture, it's almost always the 800mm that provides the most suitable focal length, whether I'm photographing small woodland birds, waders, kingfishers or hummingbirds. The zoom comes into its own when photographing ostriches, secretary birds, vultures and eagles.

For BIF, I find the RF 800mm is OK for hovering birds like kestrels, but the narrow angle of view makes it difficult to initially locate the subject in the sky, and the F11 aperture is a bit limiting on shutter speeds, so again I use the zoom and extender in preference.

My ideal lens, which is perfectly doable, would be a twin-focal length optic, that could be used at 400mm for initial framing, and then switched instantly to 800mm by use of a lens-mounted function button. But, looking more realistically at what Canon may produce, a modestly-priced 800mm F5.6 or F6.7 would strongly appeal - I think most likely it will be a DO lens.
@arbitrage is one of the very best bird photographers. He is brand agnostic and has tested in depth over several months the Sony A1, the R5 and most recently the Z9, as well as DSLRs before then - see https://www.flickr.com/photos/100907765@N08/ He knows his lenses.
 
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entoman

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@arbitrage is one of the very best bird photographers. He is brand agnostic and has tested in depth over several months the Sony A1, the R5 and most recently the Z9, as well as DSLRs before then - see https://www.flickr.com/photos/100907765@N08/ He knows his lenses.
I'm absolutely aware of that Alan. I wasn't by any means suggesting that I know better, I was just relating my own experience and preferences for focal length (which may relate more strongly to the average shooter?). I shoot mainly from fixed hides or from vehicles, and I'm far less experienced or skilled than Arbitrage, so my requirements, preferences and finances will naturally be different.
 
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AlanF

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I'm absolutely aware of that Alan. I wasn't by any means suggesting that I know better, I was just relating my own experience and preferences for focal length (which may relate more strongly to the average shooter?). I shoot mainly from fixed hides or from vehicles, and I'm far less experienced or skilled than Arbitrage, so my requirements, preferences and finances will naturally be different.
My preferences are different from yours, and I am an average shooter. The RF 800mm f/11 is a very nice lens and super value for money. But, you need a shorter zoom with close focussing to go with it for general nature photography. The RF 100-400mm does nicely fill that gap. But, if you have the cash, the RF 100-500mm with TCs is much more versatile and gives me better results, and covers the range of the shorter zoom and long prime. I dispute your statement that the 800mm provides the most suitable focal length. I find that my 100-500mm with 2xTC at 1000mm outresolves my RF 800mm and it produces at least as good images. With the 1.4xTC, it has much snappier AF at 700mm and a much wider focus zone because that of the 800 is restricted to about 40%, and it has better IS. At 700mm, it's really quite good for fast birds in flight. For difficult BIF and DIF, the bare 100-500mm is superb, and its very high sharpness at 500mm often resolves as much detail as the 800mm. I am not running down the RF 800mm, it's a fine lens, but it's a specialised lens and 800mm is not necessarily the most suitable focal length.
 
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becceric

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I have a copy of the $300 1200mm f10 russian cat lens. Weighs alot, has the diameter of a volley ball. f8 hmmm. It wasnt a total wast of $300 but close.

Makes a good soft portrait lens at 50 yards :)
Socially Distant Portraits. A Covid Business Plan. The photographer must wear a “I’m not a peeping Tom.” Tee shirt.
 
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entoman

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My preferences are different from yours, and I am an average shooter. The RF 800mm f/11 is a very nice lens and super value for money. But, you need a shorter zoom with close focussing to go with it for general nature photography. The RF 100-400mm does nicely fill that gap. But, if you have the cash, the RF 100-500mm with TCs is much more versatile and gives me better results, and covers the range of the shorter zoom and long prime. I dispute your statement that the 800mm provides the most suitable focal length. I find that my 100-500mm with 2xTC at 1000mm outresolves my RF 800mm and it produces at least as good images. With the 1.4xTC, it has much snappier AF at 700mm and a much wider focus zone because that of the 800 is restricted to about 40%, and it has better IS. At 700mm, it's really quite good for fast birds in flight. For difficult BIF and DIF, the bare 100-500mm is superb, and its very high sharpness at 500mm often resolves as much detail as the 800mm. I am not running down the RF 800mm, it's a fine lens, but it's a specialised lens and 800mm is not necessarily the most suitable focal length.
The situation isn't quite that straightforward, but we are nevertheless probably in rough agreement:

For context, I have 5DMkiv and R5 bodies, and I currently use the RF 800mm and the EF 100-400mm with 1.4x for birds and general wildlife. Additionally I do a great deal of insect photography, using EF 100mm and 180mm macros. I consider myself a pretty capable photographer, and I've sold a couple of thousand images and filled a couple of books in the 8 years since I retired, but I'm certainly not in the same league as some of the guys who win international competitions.

For perching birds I find the 800mm is better than the zoom and extender. The stabilisation is much better, the working distance is better, and the lens is much lighter to handhold. I wish it focused closer, and I wish the bokeh was nicer, but it's amazing value and has enabled me to get a good number of excellent images. It's also well built, and has survived a drop onto concrete from 3 feet unscathed. So I'd strongly recommend it to anyone, particularly if they are on a fairly tight budget, as are most folk.

The EF 100-400mm focuses faster and has full area AF coverage, plus a wider aperture and the ability to zoom out to locate the subject more easily, so is much better for BIF. It's also far more suitable for general wildlife photography. Reviews indicate that the RF 100-500mm is a bit sharper, focuses slightly faster, and it obviously has the advantage of 500mm at the tele end. I do agree that the 100-500mm is a better option. However, at the moment, I can't justify the expense of switching to the RF 100-500mm and RF extender, and I can't offset the cost by selling the EF 100-400mm, as I need it for the 5DMkiv.
 
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koenkooi

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The EF 100-400mm focuses faster and has full area AF coverage, plus a wider aperture and the ability to zoom out to locate the subject more easily, so is much better for BIF. It's also far more suitable for general wildlife photography. Reviews indicate that the RF 100-500mm is a bit sharper, focuses slightly faster, and it obviously has the advantage of 500mm at the tele end. I do agree that the 100-500mm is a better option. However, at the moment, I can't justify the expense of switching to the RF 100-500mm and RF extender, and I can't offset the cost by selling the EF 100-400mm, as I need it for the 5DMkiv.
The increased efficiency of the IS in the RF100-500 compared to the EF100-400II is very noticeable, especially when coupled with IBIS. But as you say, if you have the EF100-400II already, the RF100-500 is not as tempting as when you lack coverage in that range.
 
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The situation isn't quite that straightforward, but we are nevertheless probably in rough agreement:

I think you are in rough agreement :) The only difference is the RF 100-500mm

The RF 800mm f/11 is a very nice lens and super value for money. But, you need a shorter zoom with close focussing to go with it for general nature photography. The RF 100-400mm does nicely fill that gap.

Like @entoman I have that combination. However, I usually start the day (early) with the EF 100-400mm, for the wider aperture, but then swap to the 800mm f/11 as everything is usually just too far away. Once the 800mm is on the R5, it usually never comes off, until evening and the light gets lower*. This will probably change in the Spring/Summer when there are more flowers/insects to photograph, as the minimum focal distance would make this pretty hard!

However...
But, if you have the cash, the RF 100-500mm with TCs is much more versatile and gives me better results, and covers the range of the shorter zoom and long prime.

I think I would agree with this and will upgrade when the bank balance has recovered from the R5, but the RF 100-500mm + TCs works out quite expensive. (I could sell the EF 100-400mm to offset the cost, but my daughters are also into photography and are already arguing about who will get it when I upgrade)

Coming back to the topic, I would probably choose the 600mm F/4 as my first big white prime, if I had the money, for the occasions I could use it without carrying it too far, rather than anything longer and use TC to get extra reach. The idea of something intermediate, like 500/600mm F/5.6, for modest cost would be much more appealing.

* When I said the 800mm f/11 usually comes off in the evening, on one occasion it didn't. Hesitant to share this image as it is far from a prize winner, but I was astounded what could be achieved with a modern camera, lens and software. First the back-story. We were out on an overcast day, late afternoon and had been watching a roosting short-eared owl, hoping it might wake up and fly closer. It didn't, but we stayed hoping to see a barn owl (as they were also in the area). They didn't show either, but we noticed some movement from the SEO. It was now quite dark and with optics could not make out what was going on, but it looked like there were now two owls. I pointed the camera at them and cranked up the ISO and increased the shutter speed until I could see them through the viewfinder. For fun I fired off a few shots. Most were not good, but this one was taken 30 minutes after sunset at 1/4 sec (no missing 0s) handheld, 800mm f/11 with ISO 51200.
Spot the Owls.jpg
Turns out there were 4 owls! A few minutes later we needed a torch to find the way back to our car :cool:
 
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AlanF

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None of the differences is at the level of being a deal breaker. I'm happy to various degrees using any of the combinations of EF 100-400mm II and EF 400mm DO II ± TCs and RF 100-400mm, 100-500mm and 800mm f/11 on my R5. I've tested these combinations ad nauseam before deciding what to keep. Here is a brief summary.

At longer distances and 800mm, the RF 800mm is as good as the 400mm DO II + 2xTCIII (two copies tested) at f/8. Stopping down to f/11 gives a slight improvement. So, the 800mm f/11 is a clear winner at IQ/$ and IQ/kg beween the two. The EF 100-400mm II + 2x TC is not as good but gives acceptable images. The 100-500mm with 2xTC is the winner because it outresolves all 3 with great IQ.
Close up, the 800mm f/11 packs up at 6m, and is not as good at slightly further distances. The 100-400mm II at 800mm is soft. The 100-500mm at 1000mm is really good. I'm not using the RF 100-400mm with TCs on the R5 but it is OK on the R6 with its larger pixels.

At 400mm, the 400mm DO II is marginally better than the 100-400mm II, but with an extra stop. The RF 100-400mm is remarkably good and not far behind the the 100-400mm II in the centre. But, the 100-500mm at f/7.1 and 500mm outresolves them all. It also maintains the close-up edge. The 400mm DO II + 1.4xTC at 560mm is the best, and the 100-400mm II + 1.4xTC similar to the 100-500mm at 500mm and has good AF. The 100-500mm + 1.4xTC at 700mm is really nice.

So, if new RF lenses come out, I'll have a dilemma to see where they best the 100-500mm, especially as I need light lenses and also close focussing while out hiking (more like strolling at my age). A spectacularly sharp RF 400mm f/4 DO with built in TC and can take external TCs well could be of interest, but it is only one stop better than a 500mm f/7.1 in terms of photons per duck). A 500mm f/4 at less than 2 kg with a true 1.66 stop advantage over the zoom would be of real interest for low light and at 1000mm f/8 with a 2xTC a significant advantage for diffraction. If it focusses down to 3m like the 500mm f/5.6 PF, it would be a clincher, despite the price. An 800mm f/6.3 would be of no interest to me, personally, though I can see how it could be good with TCs and be very useful to some.
 
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john1970

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I use the RF 800mm F11 and also the EF 100-400mm with 1.4x, on my R5.

For bird photography, despite the fixed F11 aperture, it's almost always the 800mm that provides the most suitable focal length, whether I'm photographing small woodland birds, waders, kingfishers or hummingbirds. The zoom comes into its own when photographing ostriches, secretary birds, vultures and eagles.

For BIF, I find the RF 800mm is OK for hovering birds like kestrels, but the narrow angle of view makes it difficult to initially locate the subject in the sky, and the F11 aperture is a bit limiting on shutter speeds, so again I use the zoom and extender in preference.

My ideal lens, which is perfectly doable, would be a twin-focal length optic, that could be used at 400mm for initial framing, and then switched instantly to 800mm by use of a lens-mounted function button. But, looking more realistically at what Canon may produce, a modestly-priced 800mm F5.6 or F6.7 would strongly appeal - I think most likely it will be a DO lens.
Unfortunately, I doubt that any 800 mm f5.6 lens will ever be modestly priced. Any lens with that focal length and aperture will likely be a L-series lens and priced similarly to 400 mm f2.8. I also hope that it would be a DO lens to lessen the mass of the lens.
 
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entoman

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Unfortunately, I doubt that any 800 mm f5.6 lens will ever be modestly priced. Any lens with that focal length and aperture will likely be a L-series lens and priced similarly to 400 mm f2.8. I also hope that it would be a DO lens to lessen the mass of the lens.
"modestly priced" is a relative term. An L-series 800mm F5.6 would probably cost in excess of $6000 but that's still massively more affordable than an 800mm F4. The build quality of Canon's budget 600mm F11, 800mm F11 and RF 100-400mm lenses is surprisingly high. I can't speak for others, but I'd certainly consider a "budget range" 800mm F5.6, if it was sold at a similar or lower price than the RF 100-500mm. There could well be some pressure on Canon to produce such a lens, if Nikon sell their 800mm F6.7 at an "affordable" price.
 
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AlanF

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I have 800mm f11, 800mm f5.6 and 100-500mm. Please note that; 800mm f11 lens behaves differently (faster focussing) on R3. Most used one is the 800mm f11. Here is the samples…:
The relative merits of lenses depends on the resolution of sensors. Low resolution sensors tolerate narrow lenses better than high resolution: see https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/t...of-f-5-6-f-7-1-and-f-11-lenses-and-tcs.39118/ The R6 and now R3 will work relatively better with a longer focal length f/11 than the R5 relative to a shorter wider lens.
 
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The relative merits of lenses depends on the resolution of sensors. Low resolution sensors tolerate narrow lenses better than high resolution: see https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/t...of-f-5-6-f-7-1-and-f-11-lenses-and-tcs.39118/ The R6 and now R3 will work relatively better with a longer focal length f/11 than the R5 relative to a shorter wider lens.
Yes I remember this, from old mirror lens days. In adition to that, I feel/observed focusing is faster on r3, than r5 cameras. May be battery power difference?
 
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