Extenders on RF 100-500mm, RF 800mm and EF 400mm DO II

AlanF

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The-Digital-Picture does nice IQ tests with charts but they are all at different distances so that the image fills the frame. I want to know how different telephotos perform and resolve details on a chart at a fixed distance away. Here is a collection of tests I have done for various lenses on the R5. The chart, courtesy of Bob Atkins, is only 13.6cm across, about the size of a small bird. The numbers on it are line pairs per mm. The distance was 20m, which means tests were performed outside in natural light that varied over time. I also used a standard laser printer for the chart and so the lines are not at high resolution - irregularities can be detected at pixel level peeping. Even so, you can get a good idea of how the lenses and extenders perform.

John has done an analysis with some high resolution charts.
And I have done some earlier comparisons.
 

AlanF

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First, the RF 100-500mm on the R5. The bare lens at 500mm cannot resolve the 2.8 lp/mm rings. Adding the RF 1.4x TCs increases the resolution to resolve those rings, and the RF 2x at 1000mm even better resolution, an increase of 40% over the bare lens.

309A4700-DxO__Chart_20m_500mm_centre_marked.jpg
309A5458-DxO__Chart_20m_700mm_centre_marked.jpg
309A5483-DxO__Chart_20m_1000mm_centre_marked.jpg
 

AlanF

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The RF 800mm has a nice jump in resolution on adding the RF 1.4x and an incremental increase with the 2x. At 800mm, it is better than the 100-500mm at 700mm, and close to to the 100-500mm at 1000mm.
309A5382-DxO__Chart_20m_800mm_centre_marked.jpg

309A5375-DxO__Chart_20m_1120mm_centre_marked.jpg
309A5399-DxO__Chart_20m_1600mm_centre_marked.jpg
 

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AlanF

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For comparison is the EF 400mm DO II. The bare lens is outresolved by the 100-500mm. Adding the EF 1.4xTCIII to give 560mm leads to it outresolving the bare 100-500mm but is behind the lens at 700mm with the RF 1.4xT. The EF 2xTCIII at 800mm and f/8 is very similar to the RF 800mm f/11 in resolution. Stopping the lens down to f/11 (not shown) increases resolution a bit and draws slightly ahead of the RF 800mm f/11.

309A7347-DxO__Chart_20m_DO_400mm_centre_marked.jpg
309A7442-DxO__Chart_20m_DO_560mm_centre_marked.jpg
309A7403-DxO__Chart_20m_DO_800mm_centre_marked.jpg
 

AlanF

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My bird photos in the field bear out these results, both at far and close distances. Even though I'll never use it much, I am keeping for the time being the RF 800mm for occasional us at 1120mm as it really extracts a lot of detail. I hope these charts are of so use.
 

AlanF

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A parent Peregrine Falcon keeping guard over her nest and chicks gave me the opportunity of comparisons in the field as she perched for so long. She was about 90m away, the light was overcast and I hand held the camera with a shutter speed of 1/1250s. In increasing focal length: 500mm, 800mm, 1000mm, 1120mm and 1600mm with the 100-500mm and 800mm f/11 with extenders, all 100% crops.

309A7842-DxO_500mm_Peregrine_falcon.jpg
309A7990-DxO_800mm_Peregrine_falcon+1+LS2.jpg
309A7873-DxO_1000mm_Peregrine_falcon+1.jpg
309A7899-DxO_1120mm_Peregrine_falcon+1_LS2.jpg
309A7922-DxO_1600mm_Peregrine_falcon+1.5_LS2.jpg
 

koenkooi

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In the dragonfly thread you have shots done with the 100-500mm and 2x at 3m, how would you rate the performance in that scenario? It’s my dragon and damsels lens and I’m considering adding a TC to get more pixels on the subjects when they are over water.

1000mm at F/14 is already in diffraction territory on the R5, can it still get the facial hair on a drafonfly nice and sharp?
 

AlanF

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In the dragonfly thread you have shots done with the 100-500mm and 2x at 3m, how would you rate the performance in that scenario? It’s my dragon and damsels lens and I’m considering adding a TC to get more pixels on the subjects when they are over water.

1000mm at F/14 is already in diffraction territory on the R5, can it still get the facial hair on a drafonfly nice and sharp?
The RF 800 with its 6m mfd has its limitations here. The RF 2x on the 100-500mm + RF 2x is very sharp close up, and the increase in focal length more than compensates for the diffraction. Here's a Common Blue Damselfy at 1000mm and 3.3m distance.
309A7828-DxO_1000mm_common_blue_damselfly.jpg
 

Jack Douglas

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Alan, I assume I have little justification for dumping the 400 DO II for the 100-500 other than zoom and possibly close up shots (I was not happy with that item, switching from the 300 2.8). Funny, a benefit for me with the 400 - I leave it standing on end with the camera attached, ready to shoot, on the kitchen table. :) What about the zoom range limitations?

Jack
 

AlanF

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Alan, I assume I have little justification for dumping the 400 DO II for the 100-500 other than zoom and possibly close up shots (I was not happy with that item, switching from the 300 2.8). Funny, a benefit for me with the 400 - I leave it standing on end with the camera attached, ready to shoot, on the kitchen table. :) What about the zoom range limitations?

Jack
Use what's best for you - we all have different priorities. Weight is an important consideration for me because I carry a camera and telephoto on walks every day and I find the 2.5 kg of the 400mm DO II too heavy as also would be the Sony 200-600mm and the Nikon 200-500 or Sigma 60-600. And, importantly, I can hold the 100-500mm and the 100-400mm II rock steady level or pointing upwards at a bird wheres those heavier lens both strain me and drift down. Also close focussing is important as well. I can live with a 3m mfd. If Canon comes out with an ultra light RF 400 DO f4 or maybe even a 500, then I might go for one. What I would have liked is a 500/5.6 as light and sharp as the Nikon 500PF. However, the 100-500mm is almost as sharp and is of similar weight and is only 2/3rd of a stop slower.
 

FrenchFry

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If Canon comes out with an ultra light RF 400 DO f4 or maybe even a 500, then I might go for one. What I would have liked is a 500/5.6 as light and sharp as the Nikon 500PF.

I am hoping for announcements of these lenses soon! That would be such great hiking wildlife photography lenses.
Thank you very much for putting together this information!
 

Jack Douglas

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I am hoping for announcements of these lenses soon! That would be such great hiking wildlife photography lenses.
Thank you very much for putting together this information!
I often find myself reflecting on the criticisms that accompany virtually any Canon product. In this case it's the 100-500 and its F7.1. Then in due course the rubber hits the road and guess what, Canon wasn't so clueless.

Jack
 

bhf3737

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Yes, you and @bhf3737 were most helpful. Thanks again!
Thanks Alan for this thread. My personal take is that regardless of what RF lens I use (100-500, 800, 600, combined with extenders) the final picture quality will be between good and very good. Perhaps close level of quality can be obtained by zooms and relatively cheap primes from other brands. The rest depends on personal preference, environment and budget. For me 100-500, 800 and an extender are more than enough. If one wants absolutely excellent picture quality, well RF version of great whites will be there to explore.
20210620 1204-01.jpg
 
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