Gordon Laing reviews the two “new” Big White Lenses for the RF mount

Canon Rumors Guy

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Back and April Canon officially announced the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM and the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM telephoto lenses. Both of these lenses are basically a rework of their EF counterparts.
Gordon Laing was lucky enough to spend some quality time with these new lenses and gives us his impressions in the video above.
An interesting note about these new lenses Gordon mentions is that the native RF mount allows more power to get to the autofocus motors making them faster. By the sounds of it, this will be camera-dependent and will likely be available starting with the EOS R3.

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If they really used the same optical formula as for the EF versions, they really need some other convincing advantages to make somebody buy the RF versions, as EF versions work on both mounts. I am not sure if you really need a fast autofocus motor to follow an subject in sports or a bird for example. A fast autofocus motor is only needed if your focus is far off and you need switch from very far to very near for example.
 

Hector1970

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Yes interesting that about the motors. It's a moot point as to whether it would help focusing when its only making small adjustments. Does it help tracking or just initial focus. It's hard to justify the premium over the EF lens when the EF lens works on both EF and R. I think Canon had to bring out something so that it was ready for the R3 but took the shortest development path possible. It will be interesting how many years before they make a new design 600 / 400mm for R
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Yes interesting that about the motors. It's a moot point as to whether it would help focusing when its only making small adjustments. Does it help tracking or just initial focus. It's hard to justify the premium over the EF lens when the EF lens works on both EF and R. I think Canon had to bring out something so that it was ready for the R3 but took the shortest development path possible. It will be interesting how many years before they make a new design 600 / 400mm for R

For new buyers, they're the same price.

You won't lose much by selling your EF version to "upgrade". There is also the adapter issue, I've seen a few of them explode in the field. The other issue is how truly cumbersome teleconverters would become to use alongside an adapter. I think usability is a big advantage if you're all in on RF.
 

SteveC

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If they really used the same optical formula as for the EF versions, they really need some other convincing advantages to make somebody buy the RF versions, as EF versions work on both mounts. I am not sure if you really need a fast autofocus motor to follow an subject in sports or a bird for example. A fast autofocus motor is only needed if your focus is far off and you need switch from very far to very near for example.

I wonder how many people who are in the market for such expensive glass are willing to make the switch (presumably taking a loss selling their EF example), versus how many will decide to just put an adapter on their old glass. If adapters were readily available and I were in their shoes, I'd be tempted to just buy a dedicated adapter for a hundred bucks., for each lens, and leave it on the lens.
 
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SteveC

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For new buyers, they're the same price.

You won't lose much by selling your EF version to "upgrade". There is also the adapter issue, I've seen a few of them explode in the field. The other issue is how truly cumbersome teleconverters would become to use alongside an adapter. I think usability is a big advantage if you're all in on RF.

"explode?" I had not heard about this. Could you elaborate?
 

MoonMadness

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If they really used the same optical formula as for the EF versions, they really need some other convincing advantages to make somebody buy the RF versions, as EF versions work on both mounts. I am not sure if you really need a fast autofocus motor to follow an subject in sports or a bird for example. A fast autofocus motor is only needed if your focus is far off and you need switch from very far to very near for example.
Canon has already done research and listened to their customers who use the EF version and who are looking to use this on their current/future R bodies. Not having to use a adapter is good enough a reason for them. Canon doesn't care about people's opinion who have no intentions in buying expensive lenses like these. Even if Canon did make every single change for those people (besides dropping the price super low where they are practically giving it away), those dreamers would still not buy it.
 

SteveC

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Aren't they? At least here in Germany, they are easy to find.
A lot of people have complained here that the adapters are never in stock. However, they may have been talking about the control ring ones.

I actually bought a couple of refurbs before I had either the camera or the lens, since I knew there was an RF in my future; so this didn't affect me (the shortage began after the R5 and R6 were released).
 

SteveC

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You knock the barrel of the big lens off of something and the adapter can't deal with the torque and breaks. It happens with teleconverters too. You don't need to hit it as hard as you may think.

Wow! Though I wouldn't call that "exploding" that's certainly catastrophic. And yeah on stuff that long torque increases more than one would think. Of course, one has to have a tight grip for that to happen, or you'd simply end up wrenching the camera out of your hand before the adapter can break. (And THAT could be bad, too, if it hits the ground. I'm sure it ONLY happens when you're standing on rocks.)
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Wow! Though I wouldn't call that "exploding" that's certainly catastrophic. And yeah on stuff that long torque increases more than one would think. Of course, one has to have a tight grip for that to happen, or you'd simply end up wrenching the camera out of your hand before the adapter can break. (And THAT could be bad, too, if it hits the ground. I'm sure it ONLY happens when you're standing on rocks.)
I've seen it happen off a tripod, off a safari vehicle seat as well as a safari vehicle canopy support. "Explode" isn't an exaggeration either... they're usually in multiple pieces. YMMV.
 

neuroanatomist

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They seem to be very hit and miss in North America.
Very hit and miss. Have not seen the vanilla adapter anywhere for a while (but I have one from when I first bought the R). The controls ring adapter was in stock at canon.com a few days ago, and still is. I wanted a drop in CPL and ND, the filters themselves are available but the adapters were not, however I found that Red has the ND drop-in in stock, bought that from them and the CPL and Clear filters from Amazon.
 

privatebydesign

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You knock the barrel of the big lens off of something and the adapter can't deal with the torque and breaks. It happens with teleconverters too. You don't need to hit it as hard as you may think.
All EF (and I presume RF) mounts on lenses, adapters and TC's have a built in plastic breakaway ring that is designed into the system to prevent more serious damage to the glass or the bodies. I have broken several and it is an easy fix.
 
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Canon has already done research and listened to their customers who use the EF version and who are looking to use this on their current/future R bodies. Not having to use a adapter is good enough a reason for them. Canon doesn't care about people's opinion who have no intentions in buying expensive lenses like these. Even if Canon did make every single change for those people (besides dropping the price super low where they are practically giving it away), those dreamers would still not buy it.
I know what you mean, but that still should not stop us from criticizing marketing decisions. For example I would probably never by a Porsche, even if I had the money, but I will always say that I hate that fake motor sounds. They (and other automakers) have built secret loudspeakers into their cars that produce the motor sound some customers want. I will also criticize that some luxury apartments cost millions of dollars, but you can't open any windows there.

You say that not having to use an adapter is already good enough for some, but then I have to ask why people, who use their cameras for sports or bird photography and will never use a lens that profits from the shorter flange distance of the RF mount, are also forced to switch to the RF mount, as Canon pretty much abandons the EF mount. Those people probably already earn a 600mm EF lens and now they might learn that they have to switch to the RF version, because the EF version might explode, if you use it with an adapter. What advantage does a sports photographer really have from the RF mount? Wouldn't he prefer a mirrorless camera with an EF mount, which would allow him to keep all his long telephoto lenses? For me it feels like a kind of blackmail by Canon. They only give you all the advantages of a mirrorless camera like IBIS and the much better autofocus, if you switch to the RF mount. Of course that is their way to generate the most money, but it may not be in the interest of their loyal customers.
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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All EF (and I presume RF) mounts on lenses, adapters and TC's have a built in plastic breakaway ring that is designed into the system to prevent more serious damage to the glass or the bodies. I have broken several and it is an easy fix.
That may be true, but the fact of the matter is that they fail... a lot. I know what I have seen, you're free to have seen something else.
 
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