Did I make a mistake buying the RF 100-500

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
1,052
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Colorado, USA
I really appreciate the thoughtful responses

I really appreciate the thoughtful responses you provided. It'm also thinking I should persevere and accept there is a learning curve shooting with the longer focal length. I think I also need to embrace cropping as required and consider upscaling my images if I want to print. Do you think the 100-500 is a reasonable replacement for the EF 70-200 2.8 L? I realize I'll lose the 70-100 focal range but a one loss stop of light seems like a reasonable trade-off. The plan was to sell this older EF lens to partially fund the purchase of the RF 100-500. I'll obviously wait before selling and test but I wonder how you might react to the idea? Popular opinion seems to be that the RF 100-500 is the sharpest and best native option for my R body short of shelling out substantially more cash. II'm sure there's a lot of folks out there that would love to have it and I'm lucky. First world problems...
I think you've gotten some great responses from others. My answer is always "it depends". Particularly on what you shoot. I live in Colorado with plenty of sunlight and shoot with a 1DX2 and R6. Some of it is wildlife that you cannot approach so large focal length is required.

In the past I used my EF 70-200 f/4 and later f2.8L II quite a bit, partly because they were my longest lenses and I had the EF extenders. As I acquired lenses with greater focal lengths like the EF 100-400 II, they got less use. I still have them and use them when appropriate.

As I build my RF kit, I've settled on the 50, 24-240, 100-400 and 800 for now. I've considered the 24-105 but I'd like to go wider. I'm noping the RF 17-70 would be a good companion for the RF 100-400. Someday I'll pick up another R body. Just waiting to see what gets introduced.

I still use the 1DX2 and fast L glass for serious photography. I also use much of my EF L glass on the R6 (11-24, 24-70, 35, 85, 100 Macro, 135). I'm in no rush to replace these. I haven't used the 70-200 on the R6 - just haven't had the need yet.

So your 70-200 decision really depends on what you shoot and how you intend to shoot it.
 

PCM-madison

EOS 90D
CR Pro
Dec 9, 2013
155
177
Until you try DxO Photolab, and you can for free, you will not get the most from your R bodies at high ISO's. I felt exactly the same way, and I thought I could tweak Lightroom and PS CC to give as good or better--but I was wrong. I was taking too much time and simply giving up too much image quality.

AlanF is right about it! And if you are still adjusting to the idea of f/7.1 and tighter along with high ISO, just download the free trial. You will be pleased.

Also, if you can find some great wildlife images online that share camera settings, you might be surprised by how many were taken with a fast lens at f/8-f/11. That's what finally convinced me. Great photographers with Great Whites often need the DoF, so they are using them (in appropriate light, of course) very often above the minimum aperture of the 100-500 L.
To the point about depth of field and needing a narrower aperture, here is a duck photo at 600mm, f11, 1/1000, iso 2500 and the tail is still slightly out of focus. mallard 122021 01_Ls.jpg
 
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rpg51

I'm New Here
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Oct 7, 2021
24
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I think that good bird shots demand development of the skills needed to get close. If the bird is too far away you can't get the kind of shot that you have in your minds eye. Gotta get close. Its hard work and its lots of time.
 
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privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
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Sure, but they’re not the same, because on reaches 500 and the other doesn’t. So to
compensate you’ll have to crop etc losing resolution. That is real life. So when you want/need 500mm, then you have to compare 500mm lenses. And then consider if it’s bright enough with f7.1, which very often it’s not. You can then consider options to work around that fact, like using a 100-400 and crop sacrificing resolution , getting a 500 f4 and sacrifice your savings account etc.
If you crop you are increasing the impact of the noise on the total image from that smaller section of sensor.

Cropping necessitates you not only multiply the focal length but also the aperture to arrive at the same image level noise. So a cropped 400mm f5.6 image contains the same noise as a 500mm f7.0 image when the former is cropped to the same framing as the later.

As for requiring iso 200, fooey! Anybody that can't get noise free images from any R series camera at 800 iso just doesn't know what they are doing.
 
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YuengLinger

Long live the Oligarchy!
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Dec 20, 2012
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I'm hoping for an Rf 300mm f/2.8L IS. My thinking is that I'd have a portrait lens that has close to the same bokeh potential of a 200mm f/2, but would also work as a good 600mm lens at f/5.6 with a 2x extender. And it would be lighter (and shorter?) than a 600 f/4.

Am I thinking this through correctly? (Sorry, off topic except for brainstorming possible 100-500 alternatives.)
 

Bdbtoys

R5
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2020
454
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My $0.02...

I really like the 100-500, especially paired with the 1.4x and/or 2x extenders. The combo of the 3 makes being able to reach anything I need to w/o a lot of bulk. This is a must have lens combo for me.

However, it does not replace my 70-200/2.8. My use cases for grabbing one over the other are completely different. Besides size/weight/aperture considerations, I find the first question I ask myself... "Do I need more than 200mm?", if yes then the 100-500 wins, if no then the 70-200 wins. Granted there is more to it than that... but it's mostly always where I start.
 
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neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
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Jul 21, 2010
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I'm hoping for an Rf 300mm f/2.8L IS. My thinking is that I'd have a portrait lens that has close to the same bokeh potential of a 200mm f/2, but would also work as a good 600mm lens at f/5.6 with a 2x extender. And it would be lighter (and shorter?) than a 600 f/4.

Am I thinking this through correctly? (Sorry, off topic except for brainstorming possible 100-500 alternatives.)
Quite right. An RF 300/2.8 would tempt me.
 
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Jethro

EOS R
CR Pro
Jul 14, 2018
659
590
Thanks to everyone for a fascinating discussion on S/N, for eg AlanF: " the S/N at low light levels is proportional to the diameter, d, of the lens (entrance pupil) not the f-number by itself". With higher ISOs expressing more of the noise that was captured through that lens. I hadn't thought about it in that way before! It puts the whole argument around maximum F stops into a better perspective (no pun intended).
 
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CODonnell

I'm New Here
Nov 23, 2021
11
9
Until you try DxO Photolab, and you can for free, you will not get the most from your R bodies at high ISO's. I felt exactly the same way, and I thought I could tweak Lightroom and PS CC to give as good or better--but I was wrong. I was taking too much time and simply giving up too much image quality.

AlanF is right about it! And if you are still adjusting to the idea of f/7.1 and tighter along with high ISO, just download the free trial. You will be pleased.

Also, if you can find some great wildlife images online that share camera settings, you might be surprised by how many were taken with a fast lens at f/8-f/11. That's what finally convinced me. Great photographers with Great Whites often need the DoF, so they are using them (in appropriate light, of course) very often above the minimum aperture of the 100-500 L.
Downloaded and trying now. How does it fit into your workflows? I noticed it has a PS plugin - but I still would like to use lightroom for cataloging?
 

HenryL

EOS R3, R5
CR Pro
Apr 1, 2020
351
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Not the person you asked, but it sounds like your workflow is similar to mine so maybe I can help. Is it the most efficient? probably not, but it's simple, fast and flexible enough so that I end up using whichever is best for each particular image.

I use Lightroom to cull and organize my photos. From there, I use either Capture One or PL5 (definitely PL5 first if noise reduction is required). If I go through PL5, I export as DNG and make final touchups in C1 most of the time. For the few photos I print, I do that from C1 or Lightroom.

Keeping Lightroom updated with the exported versions edited in the other apps isn't a big deal, I just synchronize the folder. C1 and PL5 both access the folder structure directly on the SSD. C1 does have a catalog option, but I've been using C1 for 1 1/2 years and still haven't tried it. If I ditched Lightroom I might need it, but so far I've not found anything that comes close to LR for cataloging. Plus sessions work better for short trips - I can just copy the entire folder to my primary drive when I get home and all edits are included within the folder itself (same with PL5).
 

OskarB

EOS M6 Mark II
Jul 17, 2021
89
327
500px.com
Downloaded and trying now. How does it fit into your workflows? I noticed it has a PS plugin - but I still would like to use lightroom for cataloging?
You can also try DxO Pure Raw.
this just applies lens corrections and noise reduction and exports a dng to LR automatically, where you proceed with your workflow. Noise reduction is fabulous! Much, much better than LR. The downside: the file size increases a lot. So I would recommend to just use it when noise reduction is necessary.
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
2,020
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You can also try DxO Pure Raw.
this just applies lens corrections and noise reduction and exports a dng to LR automatically, where you proceed with your workflow. Noise reduction is fabulous! Much, much better than LR. The downside: the file size increases a lot. So I would recommend to just use it when noise reduction is necessary.
Depending on how you feel about lossy formats, you can have LR convert it to a lossy DNG, that saves a lot of space. I always keep the original CR3 in LR as well, grouped with the DNG in a stack. For my use cases (small prints, export to JPEG for iCloud), I don't see a difference in the output. In case I do spot a difference, I can re-process the CR3.
 
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OskarB

EOS M6 Mark II
Jul 17, 2021
89
327
500px.com
Depending on how you feel about lossy formats, you can have LR convert it to a lossy DNG, that saves a lot of space. I always keep the original CR3 in LR as well, grouped with the DNG in a stack. For my use cases (small prints, export to JPEG for iCloud), I don't see a difference in the output. In case I do spot a difference, I can re-process the CR3.
That sounds good to me! I will try this.
 

YuengLinger

Long live the Oligarchy!
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
3,621
2,090
USA
Downloaded and trying now. How does it fit into your workflows? I noticed it has a PS plugin - but I still would like to use lightroom for cataloging?
I mainly use LRC. I'm a portrait photographer, so most of my shots are taken in a studio or when the light is right outdoors. For these cases I never use DxO.

But I got the 100-500mm for a recreational lens, something to have as a fun and productive companion when I take walks or hikes, sometimes with my kids, sometimes to get away from the same kids.

And occasionally with other lenses also I do some low-light, high-ISO shots. So in these cases, I open LRC, select the image, and select FILE > PLUG-IN EXTRAS > TRANSFER TO DXO. Sometimes I do a pretty thorough global edit here, and then send the image back to LRC.

When it gets back to LRC it is a .DNG file, but that doesn't seem to have any impact on further LRC edits or fixing and polishing in PS CC.

Others here may have a more efficient workflow, but this is one way to get started. I'm always interested in learning how others mix and match editing software!
 
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Jethro

EOS R
CR Pro
Jul 14, 2018
659
590
Downloaded and trying now. How does it fit into your workflows? I noticed it has a PS plugin - but I still would like to use lightroom for cataloging?
I use LR Classic for most things (with PS only for corrections I can't do properly with the recently much improved but still dumbed-down adjustment tools in LR). I use PL5 pretty much only where significant noise reduction is needed. There are plug-ins both ways for LRC and PL5, so it's pretty quick and seamless, allowing for the resulting dng format others have mentioned.
 

john1970

EOS R5
CR Pro
Dec 27, 2015
483
621
Northeastern US
I have owned this lens for the last year and it is one of my go to lenses for wildlife photography. When I need travel light to Alaska I plan on bringing the following lenses: RF 24-70 mm f2.8, RF 100-500 mm, RF 400 mm f2.8 with 1.4 and 2x teleconverters. For me the RF 100-500 mm is very versatile.
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
CR Pro
Sep 8, 2012
1,154
576
If you are going to trial PL5 / Dxo, you also might want to trial Topaz AI Sharp or AI Denoise. Both can open as a filter from PS or as an "edit in" from LR.
 
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CODonnell

I'm New Here
Nov 23, 2021
11
9
You can also try DxO Pure Raw.
this just applies lens corrections and noise reduction and exports a dng to LR automatically, where you proceed with your workflow. Noise reduction is fabulous! Much, much better than LR. The downside: the file size increases a lot. So I would recommend to just use it when noise reduction is necessary.
Thanks for that. I tried photolab and the deep prime is awesome but think I still prefer to do the remainder of my work in LR. You're right that I only need to be tactical when to use the denoise and Pure Raw might be the better option.
 
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CODonnell

I'm New Here
Nov 23, 2021
11
9
Thanks all for the useful info. I've decided to keep the lens and accept there will be a learning curve. I spent countless hours looking through old shots and doing the exposure math and came to the conclusion that much more is possible with the lens provided I'm quicker with my math. I've tested out DxO and was pleased with the results. I find some of he denoise a little heavy handed but I know I can adjust to suit my taste. I've also embraced cropping my images for birding and am now experimenting with upscaling for print (if needed).

https://flic.kr/p/2mS7sUt https://flic.kr/p/2mREkcq https://flic.kr/p/2mRtpBV
 
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