Diving into the Canon RF 1200mm F8L and the Canon RF 800mm F5.6L

tiggy@mac.com

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CanonNews created an article going through the RF 800mm and the RF 1200mm lenses. Like many of you, the sticker shock of 17K and 20K was a surprise to me as well.
This article looks into the MTFs and tries to find a good reason to actually spend the extra money.  It really comes down to whether or not you have the desire with 400 or 600mm lenses to stack Canon extenders.  With the “inherent” 2x extender built into the 800mm and 1200mm lenses, you have the ability to take that to 1600 and 2400mm – focal lengths you cannot achieve using Canon extenders and the 400mm and 600mm lens, unless you use the soon to be discontinued Canon EF super telephotos (conspiracy there?).  From the article;
 If you have an R3, then these lenses are for you if you are needing to stack extenders using the more conventional RF 400 or RF 600mm lenses. If you have the EF versions of these lenses, then no, avoid...

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Chaitanya

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This may change dramatically if Kenko comes out with RF extenders.
3rd party support for extenders and lenses for RF mount is seeming like a mirage at this point. When it's easier to license L and E mount protocols why would any of the 3rd party manufacturers will spend resources on RF(& Z) mount.

Edit: Just looked up there are no 3rd party TCs for either L or E mounts.
 
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koenkooi

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The MTF plot for the EF800 in the Canonnews article is using the old style MTF, the other plots are the new style plots. @arbitrage posted the proper EF800L MTF in one of the threads yesterday. It shows that the EF800L is still better, but not as dramatically as the old plot implies.
 
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Del Paso

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The MTF plot for the EF800 in the Canonnews article is using the old style MTF, the other plots are the new style plots. @arbitrage posted the proper EF800L MTF in one of the threads yesterday. It shows that the EF800L is still better, but not as dramatically as the old plot implies.
But it should be Euro 9300 better, that's the price difference in France and Germany.
RF: 23449, EF: 14149...
 
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AlanF

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But it should be Euro 9300 better, that's the price difference in France and Germany.
RF: 23449, EF: 14149...
Let's face it, an MTF30 of ~0.8 is disappointing for an f/5.6 supertelephoto - it's what you get after image degradation from a 2xTC. The old EF 800/5.6 had 18 elements in 14 groups, the new RF 26 in 18 groups - more means worse here. It looks like what we call here a bodge. Here are the diffraction corrected latest MTF charts for the new RF800, old EF800 , RF600, and EF600. For comparison, at the end is the RF 100-500mm at 100 and 500mm, a zoom at narrower aperture. Maybe it's very difficult to make an 800mm short enough physically.

RF800MTF.png EF800mtf.png
MTFR600_2.png mtfef600.png 100-500mmRTF.png
 
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Del Paso

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Let's face it, an MTF30 of ~0.8 is disappointing for an f/5.6 supertelephoto - it's what you get after image degradation from a 2xTC. The old EF 800/5.6 had 18 elements in 14 groups, the new RF 26 in 18 groups - more means worse here. It looks like what we call here a bodge. Here are the diffraction corrected latest MTF charts for the new RF800, old EF800 , RF600, and EF600. For comparison, at the end is the RF 100-500mm at 100 and 500mm, a zoom at narrower aperture. Maybe it's very difficult to make an 800mm short enough physically.

View attachment 202614 View attachment 202615
View attachment 202618 View attachment 202619 View attachment 202620
If I didn't have the EF 100-400, one of my two favourite lenses, and if I wasn't broke, I would certainly order the RF 100-500.
A fully convincing lens, and even more thanks to your spending many hours testing it!
 
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YuengLinger

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As for the sticker shock, maybe the intention was (partly) to make the RF 400 and 600 look like bargains.
 
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AlanF

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If I didn't have the EF 100-400, one of my two favourite lenses, and if I wasn't broke, I would certainly order the RF 100-500.
A fully convincing lens, and even more thanks to your spending many hours testing it!
The EF 100-400mm II has very impressive MTF values. It's a classy lens. The values at 400mm f/5.6 are slightly than the 100-500mm at 500 f/7.1 because of the slightly less loss by diffraction. The 100-500mm at 100mm are pretty close to a prime lens, which was confirmed in the tests by opticallimits.com.

EF100-400mtf.png
 
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tiggy@mac.com

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An interesting observation in the article: the low res nature of the R3 may make the internally extended lenses less of an IQ liability.

An implication of this is that it may corroborate the prediction that the R1 is going to be low-res.

Frowny face here.
 

YuengLinger

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An interesting observation in the article: the low res nature of the R3 may make the internally extended lenses less of an IQ liability.

An implication of this is that it may corroborate the prediction that the R1 is going to be low-res.

Frowny face here.
What is your range for "low"?
 
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AlanF

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An interesting observation in the article: the low res nature of the R3 may make the internally extended lenses less of an IQ liability.

An implication of this is that it may corroborate the prediction that the R1 is going to be low-res.

Frowny face here.
I find it very hard to believe that Canon deliberately designed incredibly expensive lenses of lower MTFs because the low resolution R3 and R6 would tolerate them.
 
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jeffa4444

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The market for RF 800mm & RF 1200mm is incredibly small among photographers. The longer lens will definitely have a surveillance use but the effort put into these compared to the returns on something like the L RF 24mm f1.4, RF 35mm f1.4, RF 50mm f1.4 etc. Is a strange way to build out the RF lens line up to match what they had in the EF line up.
 
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koenkooi

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The market for RF 800mm & RF 1200mm is incredibly small among photographers. The longer lens will definitely have a surveillance use but the effort put into these compared to the returns on something like the L RF 24mm f1.4, RF 35mm f1.4, RF 50mm f1.4 etc. Is a strange way to build out the RF lens line up to match what they had in the EF line up.
My uneducated guess is that the 800 and 1200 could reuse existing things in all parts of the process: less time needed during design, less time needed when changing the manufacturing line from 400/600 to 800/1200 and so on. It gets headlines for the focal lengths, Canon can say they released 2 new RF lenses, which buys them some more time to work on other, actually new lenses.
 
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FramerMCB

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I agree with your analyses. I would add that it also gives Canon marketing "bragging" rights as their mirror-less line-up of lenses now has the longest-reach available. I would be surprised if Nikon doesn't either come out with a 800mm or 1000mm of their own. I don't necessarily think they would do a 1200mm as it would be too much mimickry. I also guess, if they come out with an 800mm it will be a bit less than this new Canon. Time will tell.

It might also be that Canon was wanting to beat Sony to market with a "super," super telephoto. Although I know we like to say that Canon follows it's own plans...