Here is the Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM

LogicExtremist

Lux pictor
Sep 26, 2021
501
350
Last edited:
Upvote 0

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
1,067
745
Colorado, USA
Really impressed with the RF 800mm f/11 and how well it compared in the test against the RF 100-500mm and DO 400. Thanks! :)

Now the big question, if I could only buy one, which would be a better choice for a long tele, the RF 100-400mm or the RF 800 f/11??? :oops:

I think I answered this for someone before. It's really more a matter of which one do you get first based on what you shoot most, or wish to shoot. Eventually you are likely to get both like I did. For the cost of the RF 100-500, you can get the RF 100-400, the RF 800, the RF 1.4x and still have enough to buy another lens/extender. Another perspective is to get the R6, the RF100-400, and RF800 for the cost of an R5.

Part of this depends on where your are coming from. I had the EF f/4 zoom trio along with the extenders for the EF 70-200L. Eventually I wanted more focal length but decided to ease my way in the the Tamron 150-600 (first version). It was good to 400, but soft at 600 and didn't take the extenders. And I had to improve my technique.

Over time I moved from a 6D to 1DXII and the f/2.8 zoom trio. So I splurged for the EF 100-400 II which did take extenders, although I struggled with the 2x on it for quite a while. This was largely technique - shooting at 800mm is a lot different than 400mm, and I'm not just talking about 2 stops. I was comfortable at 400mm and 560mm, but never happy at 800.

When the RF 800 was introduced, I picked it up along with an R6 and RF 1.4x. It took very little time to get comfortable at 800mm with this combo and a little bit longer for 1120mm with the extender. I'm quite happy with this setup for shooting long focal lengths with a low cost kit. I've posted several images with this combo on the forum, but I'm not in the same league as some of the others here.

I picked up the RF 100-400 at introduction so I would not have to haul around the EF version. I notice very little difference so far. It was a splurge, but I'm quite happy that I did since I can carry both lenses in a pack when I'm in the nearby national park. When things are smaller or far away, I've got 800 & 1120 which I can handhold or throw on a monopod. At a nearby natural area, I know I'll need 1120mm from the blinds. Sometimes I'm just too close and can't backpedal far enough. When things are larger or nearer, I've got the 100-400.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
1,067
745
Colorado, USA
... Other reports I have seen suggest that the RF800 is best at distance, but I have not seen any info as to what distance is required to get the best performance. ...

It seems to do pretty well at MFD. Here's a shot of a rabbit with the RF 800 / RF 1.4x near MFD - https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/threads/miscellaneous-wildlife.35160/page-12#post-918396. Eye AF nailed it. The biggest issues is the DOF is about 1 inch, so unless you are shooting flat test charts, much of it tends to be out of focus / soft, but not in an annoying way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

LogicExtremist

Lux pictor
Sep 26, 2021
501
350
It seems to do pretty well at MFD. Here's a shot of a rabbit with the RF 800 / RF 1.4x near MFD - https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/threads/miscellaneous-wildlife.35160/page-12#post-918396. Eye AF nailed it. The biggest issues is the DOF is about 1 inch, so unless you are shooting flat test charts, much of it tends to be out of focus / soft, but not in an annoying way.
Great rabbit photo, I'm impressed with the image quality, looks like the RF 800 f/11 is quite sharp near its MFD of 6m, even with a 1.4x extender!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
27,864
7,922
Very surely!
Wow, a kid's telescope with a lens mount, who would have thought! Please tell me they don't make children's telescope too!! :)
We're talking about budget entry level long tele lenses for newbie wildlife photographers, not masochists!!! :ROFLMAO:
Sarcasm aside, my point was that it’s clearly not new ground technologically, which is what you stated – it’s just new ground for Canon. Fertile ground, I think.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

Czardoom

EOS RP
Jan 27, 2020
578
1,314
Well, whatever happened to the spirit of inquiry? :oops:

We did discover that distance affects test results!

Comparing Alan's test results vs lab tests published by photography sites performed at different distances, we get completely different outcomes! Bet you didn't know that the optimum sharpness of the RF 100-400mm varies, and that certain apertures may work more favourably at longer or shorter distances. Or that you're better off not stopping down this lens on the R5 because the diffraction limiting distortion is visible.

Here's a suggestion. I have the time, but not the money to buy lenses for testing. How about you send me a RF 100-400mm? Then I can take lots of real world photos and test charts, and share my results here like Alan does. Perhaps, also send me an RF 800mm f/11 too for a more thorough comparison... ;)
Lovely suggestions...but no, I will not send you any lenses! Buy them from Amazon and you get a 30 day return window.

I know it sounds like I am picking on you, and I don't really mean to. And I understand that these forums are dominated by gear-heads. But it easy for someone who is not a gear-head - not a pixel peeper - to be very annoyed by the constant posting of comments and threads that seem to do nothing but create worry and doubt for people who who may be interested in a certain camera or lens.

If ultimate sharpness is your goal, good luck to you. If you are thinking about what distance or aperture you are using just before you take a shot for maximum sharpness, good luck to you. You will probably never get a good shot off. Nor, unless you are pixel peeping, notice the difference between the shot you took at f/8 and f/11 or even f/13. If you hesitate stopping down because you are so worried about the diffraction you probably won't notice, then you will probably screw up that photo of some flowers where you might need a DOF of f/16.

I see numerous comments about the difference between the RF 800 f/11 and other telephotos. Which is sharper might be the question that gives you the best answer as to what lens you might want - but not likely. Far more important, in my opinion, is the smaller focusing area, the fact that it may be very difficult to actually locate your target due to the narrow field of view compared to a zoom lens where you can locate in a wider view and then zoom in. Those things - it seems to me - are far more important in actually getting a real world shot.

I guess my ultimate point is, are you more interested in test charts, sharpness and pixel peeping or more interested in composition, DOF, lighting, and getting the shot in focus?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
Upvote 0

AlanF

Desperately seeking birds
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
10,294
16,703
Lovely suggestions...but no, I will not send you any lenses! Buy them from Amazon and you get a 30 day return window.

I know it sounds like I am picking on you, and I don't really mean to. And I understand that these forums are dominated by gear-heads. But it easy for someone who is not a gear-head - not a pixel peeper - to be very annoyed by the constant posting of comments and threads that seem to do nothing but create worry and doubt for people who who may be interested in a certain camera or lens.

If ultimate sharpness is your goal, good luck to you. If you are thinking about what distance or aperture you are using just before you take a shot for maximum sharpness, good luck to you. You will probably never get a good shot off. Nor, unless you are pixel peeping, notice the difference between the shot you took at f/8 and f/11 or even f/13. If you hesitate stopping down because you are so worried about the diffraction you probably won't notice, then you will probably screw up that photo of some flowers where you might need a DOF of f/16.

I see numerous comments about the difference between the RF 800 f/11 and other telephotos. Which is sharper might be the question that gives you the best answer as to what lens you might want - but not likely. Far more important, in my opinion, is the smaller focusing area, the fact that it may be very difficult to actually locate your target due to the narrow field of view compared to a zoom lens where you can locate in a wider view and then zoom in. Those things - it seems to me - are far more important in actually getting a real world shot.

I guess my ultimate point is, are you more interested in test charts, sharpness and pixel peeping or more interested in composition, DOF, lighting, and getting the shot in focus?
You are absolutely right about the choice is overall utility rather than absolute sharpness. An 800mm lens of minimum focussing distance 6m is a highly specialised lens, be it a monumentally expensive f/5.6 or a relatively el cheapo f/11. The 800mm f/11 is useless for less than 6m away and you won't be able to fit larger wild life into the frame if close. The field of view is really narrow, and the area you can AF in even less because it's restricted to a box in about half the centre of the evf. So, it's really limited for birds in flight. And, it should be pretty obvious that if you have one, you will also need something like a 100-400 zoom as well. My weapon of choice for a days birding or a long safari is a 100-400mm or 100-500mm with extenders when required. I also prefer a shorter focal length anyway for BIF as narrow fields of view make tracking so difficult. For our last major birding trips, my wife and I took just our zooms and left the primes at home. (Although a 600mm f/4 is the lens of choice for really keen birders who have the strength, facilities and opportunities to exploit one fully, as well as a zoom with them for the other occasions.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
27,864
7,922
I guess my ultimate point is, are you more interested in test charts, sharpness and pixel peeping or more interested in composition, DOF, lighting, and getting the shot in focus?
Formal lens tests have their place – those sorts of results can help inform lens purchase decisions in some cases, as long as one understands their limitations and ideally evaluates most of the available results. Of course, such tests are just one factor. The EF 50/1.2L was soft wide open, but I never wanted a 50mm prime so the fact that the RF 50/1.2L is wicked sharp isn’t going to induce me to buy one.

Lens tests can also inform on exposure choices. If stopping down gives a big improvement, and a slower shutter speed is usable, why not get the additional sharpness…but if a lens is just as sharp at f/4, why bother?

My main use for lens tests is personal. I have a standard battery I put new lenses through to decide if they’re acceptable (only one has failed, a Rokinon 14/2.8 that I exchanged and the second copy was fine). Those will also be useful if I ever drop a lens, to re-test and see if it needs to go to Canon. I haven’t dropped one yet, but I did once drop my 5DII, ~1 m onto pavement – it was fine optically (lens tests unaffected) and cosmetically, but all my AFMA values shifted by 10 units.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Upvote 0

AlanF

Desperately seeking birds
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
10,294
16,703
Formal lens tests have their place – those sorts of results can help inform lens purchase decisions in some cases, as long as one understands their limitations and ideally evaluates most of the available results. Of course, such tests are just one factor. The EF 50/1.2L was soft wide open, but I never wanted a 50mm prime so the fact that the RF 50/1.2L is wicked sharp isn’t going to induce me to buy one.

Lens tests can also inform on exposure choices. If stopping down gives a big improvement, and a slower shutter speed is usable, why not get the additional sharpness…but if a lens is just as sharp at f/4, why bother?

My main use for lens tests is personal. I have a standard battery I put new lenses through to decide if they’re acceptable (only one has failed, a Rokinon 14/2.8 that I exchanged and the second copy was fine). Those will also be useful if I ever drop a lens, to re-test and see if it needs to go to Canon. I haven’t dropped one yet, but I did once drop my 5DII, ~1 m onto pavement – it was fine optically (lens tests unaffected) and cosmetically, but all my AFMA values shifted by 10 units.
Very true. I know the detailed capabilities of all my lenses so I can get the best out of them. It was the same in the lab, squeezing the best out of all the equipment. And, as you say, if you know your subject, it directs your purchasing in a seriously positive way. And at the end, get the pleasure of the results.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

Dragon

EF 800L
May 29, 2019
664
679
You are absolutely right about the choice is overall utility rather than absolute sharpness. An 800mm lens of minimum focussing distance 6m is a highly specialised lens, be it a monumentally expensive f/5.6 or a relatively el cheapo f/11. The 800mm f/11 is useless for less than 6m away and you won't be able to fit larger wild life into the frame if close. The field of view is really narrow, and the area you can AF in even less because it's restricted to a box in about half the centre of the evf. So, it's really limited for birds in flight. And, it should be pretty obvious that if you have one, you will also need something like a 100-400 zoom as well. My weapon of choice for a days birding or a long safari is a 100-400mm or 100-500mm with extenders when required. I also prefer a shorter focal length anyway for BIF as narrow fields of view make tracking so difficult. For our last major birding trips, my wife and I took just our zooms and left the primes at home. (Although a 600mm f/4 is the lens of choice for really keen birders who have the strength, facilities and opportunities to exploit one fully, as well as a zoom with them for the other occasions.)
I find that a red dot sight is a very helpful aid when trying to find subjects with a long lens. The Olympus is the least expensive and works well https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116753-REG/olympus_ee_1_dot_sight_for.html , but I believe Nikon also makes one now. The brand is not a compatibility issue in that they just snap into the hot shoe. I find that with the EF 100-400 at full reach on an R5 I can set the AF to look for birds and just use the red dot to locate and shoot without even using the EFV. Statistically I get more hits that way than by hunting in the EVF and having the bird go away before I find it. It is important to adjust the red dot accurately and also be aware of parallax error when shooting too close, but I have been successful shooting hummingbirds at close range. They often only pause in the air for an instant and you have to be quick.


2W4A0309.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Upvote 0

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
27,864
7,922
I find that a red dot sight is a very helpful aid when trying to find subjects with a long lens. The Olympus is the least expensive and works well https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116753-REG/olympus_ee_1_dot_sight_for.html , but I believe Nikon also makes one now.
Nice! Didn’t exist when I bought my 600/4 II, at the time I bought a Tru Glo rifle red/greed dot spotter with a Weaver mount and a $15 hotshoe adapter for it. I used it for a few weeks but after that I found that using the lens hood thumb knob positioned at the top was sufficient for me to easily find subjects using the viewfinder of my 1D X.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,673
6,114
Nice! Didn’t exist when I bought my 600/4 II, at the time I bought a Tru Glo rifle red/greed dot spotter with a Weaver mount and a $15 hotshoe adapter for it. I used it for a few weeks but after that I found that using the lens hood thumb knob positioned at the top was sufficient for me to easily find subjects using the viewfinder of my 1D X.
I thought I was the only one out there doing that ‘trick’ with the hood knob. Never ceases to amaze me when I see reviewers in videos missing that simple thing.
 
Upvote 0

LogicExtremist

Lux pictor
Sep 26, 2021
501
350
Sarcasm aside, my point was that it’s clearly not new ground technologically, which is what you stated – it’s just new ground for Canon. Fertile ground, I think.
Yes, it’s new fertile ground for Canon because they now have camera bodies that can support such lens technology, and they've built those lens designs to a level of quality that allows them to produce reasonable images! :)
 
Upvote 0

LogicExtremist

Lux pictor
Sep 26, 2021
501
350
Lovely suggestions...but no, I will not send you any lenses! Buy them from Amazon and you get a 30 day return window.

I know it sounds like I am picking on you, and I don't really mean to. And I understand that these forums are dominated by gear-heads. But it easy for someone who is not a gear-head - not a pixel peeper - to be very annoyed by the constant posting of comments and threads that seem to do nothing but create worry and doubt for people who who may be interested in a certain camera or lens.

If ultimate sharpness is your goal, good luck to you. If you are thinking about what distance or aperture you are using just before you take a shot for maximum sharpness, good luck to you. You will probably never get a good shot off. Nor, unless you are pixel peeping, notice the difference between the shot you took at f/8 and f/11 or even f/13. If you hesitate stopping down because you are so worried about the diffraction you probably won't notice, then you will probably screw up that photo of some flowers where you might need a DOF of f/16.

I see numerous comments about the difference between the RF 800 f/11 and other telephotos. Which is sharper might be the question that gives you the best answer as to what lens you might want - but not likely. Far more important, in my opinion, is the smaller focusing area, the fact that it may be very difficult to actually locate your target due to the narrow field of view compared to a zoom lens where you can locate in a wider view and then zoom in. Those things - it seems to me - are far more important in actually getting a real world shot.

I guess my ultimate point is, are you more interested in test charts, sharpness and pixel peeping or more interested in composition, DOF, lighting, and getting the shot in focus?
No lenses in the mail? :(

Seriously, you couldn't have got me more wrong, but that would be hard to judge where I'm coming from, with my questions focusing on the technical. I'm definitely not a pixel peeper, and have never shot a test chart in my life! :oops:

I just like digging deeper past the marketing hype to get all the facts, so I know what I'm buying. Photographing birds is something I've rarely tried, but keen to do more of. I've used my 70-200 f/2.8 L III on an 80D, image quality is great for a 320mm equivalent, but it lacks reach and get really heavy handheld. I've also got a EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM which provides an equivalent of 88-400mm f/6.4-9 to use on APSC, it's very light and quite sharp. If I bought the RF 100-400mm for my RF camera body, would I gain much over the 55-250mm? How much better is the image quality, if at all? Is this Canon's attempt to rebuild the same lens equivalent in full-frame RF mount? If the RF 100-400mm needs to be stopped down a bit for best image quality, it puts it into the same equivalent aperture as a slightly stopped down 55-250. The RF 800f/11 does offer a lot more reach over the 400mm or its APSC equivalent at the expense of losing closer focusing distance, which might be better for birds in the long term.

These are my thoughts! Would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the RF 100-400mm vs the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. If there's a discernible difference, it's a simple choice as the RF 100-40mm is a versatile focal range.
 
Upvote 0

Dragon

EF 800L
May 29, 2019
664
679
No lenses in the mail? :(

Seriously, you couldn't have got me more wrong, but that would be hard to judge where I'm coming from, with my questions focusing on the technical. I'm definitely not a pixel peeper, and have never shot a test chart in my life! :oops:

I just like digging deeper past the marketing hype to get all the facts, so I know what I'm buying. Photographing birds is something I've rarely tried, but keen to do more of. I've used my 70-200 f/2.8 L III on an 80D, image quality is great for a 320mm equivalent, but it lacks reach and get really heavy handheld. I've also got a EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM which provides an equivalent of 88-400mm f/6.4-9 to use on APSC, it's very light and quite sharp. If I bought the RF 100-400mm for my RF camera body, would I gain much over the 55-250mm? How much better is the image quality, if at all? Is this Canon's attempt to rebuild the same lens equivalent in full-frame RF mount? If the RF 100-400mm needs to be stopped down a bit for best image quality, it puts it into the same equivalent aperture as a slightly stopped down 55-250. The RF 800f/11 does offer a lot more reach over the 400mm or its APSC equivalent at the expense of losing closer focusing distance, which might be better for birds in the long term.

These are my thoughts! Would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the RF 100-400mm vs the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. If there's a discernible difference, it's a simple choice as the RF 100-40mm is a versatile focal range.
If you go by this comparison https://www.the-digital-picture.com...eraComp=1508&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=1 , it looks like pretty much of a push. An R6 would give you exactly the same size image at 400 as the 7D2 at 250 and the character of the two lenses looks pretty similar. The one stop difference puts the light gathering in the same ballpark. OTOH, some here are saying the 100-400 is better than the sample used by TDP, and don't forget that if you have enough light, there is an extra stop (and change) of dynamic range in the FF camera. The 55-250 stm is a good enough lens that it will show some increased detail with a 90D or an M6 II.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
1,067
745
Colorado, USA
No lenses in the mail? :(

Seriously, you couldn't have got me more wrong, but that would be hard to judge where I'm coming from, with my questions focusing on the technical. I'm definitely not a pixel peeper, and have never shot a test chart in my life! :oops:

I just like digging deeper past the marketing hype to get all the facts, so I know what I'm buying. Photographing birds is something I've rarely tried, but keen to do more of. I've used my 70-200 f/2.8 L III on an 80D, image quality is great for a 320mm equivalent, but it lacks reach and get really heavy handheld. I've also got a EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM which provides an equivalent of 88-400mm f/6.4-9 to use on APSC, it's very light and quite sharp. If I bought the RF 100-400mm for my RF camera body, would I gain much over the 55-250mm? How much better is the image quality, if at all? Is this Canon's attempt to rebuild the same lens equivalent in full-frame RF mount? If the RF 100-400mm needs to be stopped down a bit for best image quality, it puts it into the same equivalent aperture as a slightly stopped down 55-250. The RF 800f/11 does offer a lot more reach over the 400mm or its APSC equivalent at the expense of losing closer focusing distance, which might be better for birds in the long term.

These are my thoughts! Would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the RF 100-400mm vs the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. If there's a discernible difference, it's a simple choice as the RF 100-40mm is a versatile focal range.
A better comparison might be the EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM. They even mention it in the description on the RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

PCM-madison

EOS 90D
CR Pro
Dec 9, 2013
157
191
No lenses in the mail? :(

Seriously, you couldn't have got me more wrong, but that would be hard to judge where I'm coming from, with my questions focusing on the technical. I'm definitely not a pixel peeper, and have never shot a test chart in my life! :oops:

I just like digging deeper past the marketing hype to get all the facts, so I know what I'm buying. Photographing birds is something I've rarely tried, but keen to do more of. I've used my 70-200 f/2.8 L III on an 80D, image quality is great for a 320mm equivalent, but it lacks reach and get really heavy handheld. I've also got a EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM which provides an equivalent of 88-400mm f/6.4-9 to use on APSC, it's very light and quite sharp. If I bought the RF 100-400mm for my RF camera body, would I gain much over the 55-250mm? How much better is the image quality, if at all? Is this Canon's attempt to rebuild the same lens equivalent in full-frame RF mount? If the RF 100-400mm needs to be stopped down a bit for best image quality, it puts it into the same equivalent aperture as a slightly stopped down 55-250. The RF 800f/11 does offer a lot more reach over the 400mm or its APSC equivalent at the expense of losing closer focusing distance, which might be better for birds in the long term.

These are my thoughts! Would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the RF 100-400mm vs the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. If there's a discernible difference, it's a simple choice as the RF 100-40mm is a versatile focal range.
A couple of points: First, if you use the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM on an R-series camera, you are forced to use crop mode which greatly limits the available resolution. Second, I have compared the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM used on an SL1 to the RF 100-400mm used on an RP and the image quality is definitely better for the RF 100-400mm used on an RP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Upvote 0

StoicalEtcher

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
417
358
Yorkshire
I find that a red dot sight is a very helpful aid when trying to find subjects with a long lens. The Olympus is the least expensive and works well https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116753-REG/olympus_ee_1_dot_sight_for.html , but I believe Nikon also makes one now. The brand is not a compatibility issue in that they just snap into the hot shoe. I find that with the EF 100-400 at full reach on an R5 I can set the AF to look for birds and just use the red dot to locate and shoot without even using the EFV. Statistically I get more hits that way than by hunting in the EVF and having the bird go away before I find it. It is important to adjust the red dot accurately and also be aware of parallax error when shooting too close, but I have been successful shooting hummingbirds at close range. They often only pause in the air for an instant and you have to be quick.


View attachment 201425
Nice shot. Out of interest though, does the red dot not disturb wildlife? I ask out of genuine interest, as a long-time user of the hood-knob technique too (like PBD), but am always interested in learning what works for others.

Cheers
 
Upvote 0