Lensrentals.com: Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Teardown

melgross

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I shoot regularly near and far with telephoto lenses ranging from very sharp expensive primes to lower priced zooms and can always get sharp shots. For about $2000, you can get some spectacular zoom lenses. The Canon 100-400mm II is really sharp. The Sony 200-600mm is used by some of the best bird photographers. If you think the f/11s are going to be sharper, just look at the Digital Picture comparison of the 600mm/f11 with the Canon 100-400mm zoom at 400mm or 560mm f/8 with a 1.4xTC and the Sony zoom at 600mm/f6.3




Also my copy of the Sigma 150-600mm C at 600mm is sharper than my 100-400mm II at 560mm. So, I am puzzled why you find the zooms pretty bad.
I’ve found a number of inexpensive zooms to be bad. I’ve found them to be really bad with converters. I’ve found expensive Canon zooms with Canon converters to be pretty good, but not as good as the zoom itself.

but the mistake you guys continue to make here is that these are very light as well as being inexpensive. But neither of the combos will get you to 800mm. I’m not interested in looking at charts and crap. I’ve looked at the full sized RAW images from a number of people on YouTube, and they look great. It’s interesting that everyone I’ve read who have actually used these lenses give them a thumbs up, but those who haven’t can’t seem to stop criticizing them.
 
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AlanF

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I’ve found a number of inexpensive zooms to be bad. I’ve found them to be really bad with converters. I’ve found expensive Canon zooms with Canon converters to be pretty good, but not as good as the zoom itself.

but the mistake you guys continue to make here is that these are very light as well as being inexpensive. But neither of the combos will get you to 800mm. I’m not interested in looking at charts and crap. I’ve looked at the full sized RAW images from a number of people on YouTube, and they look great. It’s interesting that everyone I’ve read who have actually used these lenses give them a thumbs up, but those who haven’t can’t seem to stop criticizing them.
I have started two threads about the f/11 lenses and have written several other posts to analyse their pros and cons. I have consistently written that there will be many happy users of these lenses - they do have their places. As for your statement that neither of the Canon zoom combinations will get you to 800: 2x400mm = 800mm, 2x500mm = 1000mm. Both the Canon zooms will get you there! Or does your disdain for charts apply to arithmetic as well?

If you want the real stuff and not charts, here is a cracking shot posted on Fredmiranda of a dragonfly in flight captured on an R5 with the el cheapo Sigma 100-400 https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1656877/30#15327941 - and that's a real close up. These cheap zooms are optically excellent.
 
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SecureGSM

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I have started two threads about the f/11 lenses and have written several other posts to analyse their pros and cons. I have consistently written that there will be many happy users of these lenses - they do have their places. As for your statement that neither of the Canon zoom combinations will get you to 800: 2x400mm = 800mm, 2x500mm = 1000mm. Both the Canon zooms will get you there! Or does your disdain for charts apply to arithmetic as well?

If you want the real stuff and not charts, here is a cracking shot posted on Fredmiranda of a dragonfly in flight captured on an R5 with the el cheapo Sigma 100-400 https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1656877/30#15327941 - and that's a real close up. These cheap zooms are optically excellent.
Thanks Alan,

I found Sigma 100-400 to be quite slow focusing for me... Canon 100-400 II L beats the little Sigma hands down in AF speed, bokeh and colour reproduction department.
here is what the person that took that “cracking shot” has to say:

”... This shot I was lucky that this particular dragonfly decided to stay in the air long enough for my pretty slow focusing Sigma 100-400 C to find focus. 1/1600 and wide open at F6.3. I did replace the sky since the original sky was quite boring...”

So probably not a great use case in support of Sigma 100-400 optical excellence. its a budget lens.
 
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AlanF

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Thanks Alan,

I found Sigma 100-400 to be quite slow focusing for me... Canon 100-400 II L beats the little Sigma hands down in AF speed, bokeh and colour reproduction department.
here is what the person that took that “cracking shot” has to say:

”... This shot I was lucky that this particular dragonfly decided to stay in the air long enough for my pretty slow focusing Sigma 100-400 C to find focus. 1/1600 and wide open at F6.3. I did replace the sky since the original sky was quite boring...”

So probably not a great use case in support of Sigma 100-400 optical excellence. its a budget lens.
The image in fredmiranda is fine for optical quality, it is only the speed of AF the guy complains about. I tried out 2 copies of the Sigma 100-400mm from my local dealer and posted the results in CR. Optically it was good but the IS was worse than I had hoped for and the tracking was not so good. Reliable review sites, like lenstip and opticallimits rate it well for IQ and TDP has it pretty close to the 100-400mm II. I do have two copies of the Canon 100-400mm II, so you can guess my preference. However, Sigma has just upgraded the 100-400mm for the Sony FE mount and I would not be surprised if they bring out a competitive RF version.
https://www.lenstip.com/index.html?test=obiektywu&test_ob=502

Afterthought
For amusement, I just looked at the TDP comparison of the Sigma 1.4xTC at 560mm and f/9 with the 600mm f/11.

There is a FM thread on the new Sigma 100-400 with the FE mount, and the images look pretty good - not that I am ever going in the Sony direction.
 
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SecureGSM

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The image in fredmiranda is fine for optical quality, it is only the speed of AF the guy complains about. I tried out 2 copies of the Sigma 100-400mm from my local dealer and posted the results in CR. Optically it was good but the IS was worse than I had hoped for and the tracking was not so good. Reliable review sites, like lenstip and opticallimits rate it well for IQ and TDP has it pretty close to the 100-400mm II. I do have two copies of the Canon 100-400mm II, so you can guess my preference. However, Sigma has just upgraded the 100-400mm for the Sony FE mount and I would not be surprised if they bring out a competitive RF version.
https://www.lenstip.com/index.html?test=obiektywu&test_ob=502

Afterthought
For amusement, I just looked at the TDP comparison of the Sigma 1.4xTC at 560mm and f/9 with the 600mm f/11.

There is a FM thread on the new Sigma 100-400 with the FE mount, and the images look pretty good - not that I am ever going in the Sony direction.
Thanks again, Alan.
I agree that the lens is reasonably Sharp. To my taste though it does produce somewhat warmish imagery and bokeh is rather unpleasant to my eye. AF speed and consistency on my 5D4’s was unacceptable for shooting fast moving subjects. I sold the Sigma and bought Canon 100-400 II and never looked back since.
I am in love with the Canon lens image rendition qualities and colour reproduction.

some examples of what I am referring to can be found on the page 10 of the FM discussion you provided a link to:

U951.1594740734.1.jpg

U951.1594740734.4.jpg
 
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AlanF

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All lenses are compromises. For me, as an opportunistic and mobile nature photographer, I need a lens that is light enough to carry around and capture far flying birds, large and small creatures at mid distances, and focus close enough for insects. My favourites are the Canon 100-400mm II because of its versatility, sharpness and AF, and the Nikon 500mm PF, which is less versatile but does focus down to 3m and makes up for its lower versatility for being so sharp both at 3m and infinity. I do have some remorse at no longer having the 400mm DO II which is of similar quality to the Nikon but its weight is at the limits I can hike with now I am older. Arbitrage, who is my bird gear guru, has just posted an incredible shot of a Black Oystercatcher in flight captured by a 100-400mm II + 2xTCIII on an R5 so I think the 100-400 will see me for a while https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1656877/32
The 800mm f/11 should do as well as the zoom at f/11, and will be fine for those type of shots.
 
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melgross

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I have started two threads about the f/11 lenses and have written several other posts to analyse their pros and cons. I have consistently written that there will be many happy users of these lenses - they do have their places. As for your statement that neither of the Canon zoom combinations will get you to 800: 2x400mm = 800mm, 2x500mm = 1000mm. Both the Canon zooms will get you there! Or does your disdain for charts apply to arithmetic as well?

If you want the real stuff and not charts, here is a cracking shot posted on Fredmiranda of a dragonfly in flight captured on an R5 with the el cheapo Sigma 100-400 https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1656877/30#15327941 - and that's a real close up. These cheap zooms are optically excellent.
I believe you just mentioned the 1.4. I was commenting on the combos you talked about there. If I misread that, I was in error.
 
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Michael Clark

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For about $2000, you can get some spectacular zoom lenses.

$2000 is considerably more than the cost of either of the f/11 telephotos at $700 and $900, respectively.

In fact, $2,000 is 25% more than the cost of both the RF 600mm f/11 and the RF 800mm f/11 combined!
 

AlanF

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$2000 is considerably more than the cost of either of the f/11 telephotos at $700 and $900, respectively.

In fact, $2,000 is 25% more than the cost of both the RF 600mm f/11 and the RF 800mm f/11 combined!
I'd prefer to have a spectacular zoom lens for $2000 than both of the f/11 lenses, despite 25% extra. ;)
 
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Michael Clark

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I'd prefer to have a spectacular zoom lens for $2000 than both of the f/11 lenses, despite 25% extra. ;)

Sure, if one has the resources.

But it's a bit disingenuous to reply to a comment about how lenses costing less than half as much are pretty bad by pointing out $2,000+ lenses that are pretty good.

The Tamron ("G1") and Sigma "C" 150-600mm f/5-6.3 zooms go for around $900. That's within reach for a lot of folks for whom $2,000 is a bit more than they can justify spending.
 

AlanF

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Sure, if one has the resources.

But it's a bit disingenuous to reply to a comment about how lenses costing less than half as much are pretty bad by pointing out $2,000+ lenses that are pretty good.

The Tamron ("G1") and Sigma "C" 150-600mm f/5-6.3 zooms go for around $900. That's within reach for a lot of folks for whom $2,000 is a bit more than they can justify spending.

I have never anywhere written or intimated that the 800mm or 600mm lens are "pretty bad". All I have pointed out is that the 800mm lens is a very specialised lens, with a long mfd and a single long focal length. There's absolutely nothing disingenuous with that, and I have mentioned in several posts those are the reasons why I prefer a zoom.

I've even started a whole thread pointing out the f/11 is an attractive lower priced alternative.
Another of my geek articles, which does have some implications for actual use. What I do here is to calculate the contributions of diffraction and sensor Mpx size (R5 vs R6) to the resolving power of the 400mm f/5.6 and 500mm f/7.1 zooms and the 600mm and 800mm f/11 primes and how resolution is affected by 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.

The summary based on just the effects of diffraction and sensor Mpx, and ignoring optical aberrations is:
  • On an unrealistically high-resolution sensor, the f5.6, f/7.1 zooms and the 800mm f/11 would all have the same resolution and outresolve the 600mm f/11, and the TCs would not increase resolution.
  • As the number of pixels on the sensor decreases, increasing focal length becomes increasingly advantageous.
  • The 100-400mm at 400mm f/5.6 is slightly outresolved by the 600mm f/11 on the R5 and more so on the R6.
  • The100-400mm f/5.6 + 1.4xTC at 560mm f/8 outresolves the 600mm f/11 on the R5 and the two lenses are similar on the R6
  • The 100-500mm f/7.1 outresolves the 100-400mm f/5.6 and 600mm f/11 on the R5 and R6
  • The 800mm f/11 outresolves the 100-500mm f/7.1 on the R5 and R6, but adding the 1.4xTC to the zoom brings it closer to the 800mm prime.
  • Using the 1.4x and 2xTCs on the f/11 lens hardly increases the resolution on the R5 and only a little more on the R6. Further, any additional aberration added by the TCs could well render them even worse.
  • The f/11 lenses are more suited to the lower resolution R6, and this makes it an attractive lower priced alternative.
Those who are interested can read further – I spent hours doing the calculations and graphs to confirm what I knew intuitively for my own satisfaction. But, my calculations are steering me to what lenses to use with the R5 and where the R6 is appropriate.

And, I am also a great fan of the Sigma 150-600mm C and have reported in other threads that it works fine on the R5, including with the 1.4xTC: e.g
Confirmed this morning. The Sigma 150-600mm C on the old firmware version was fine with my 5D series but slow AF with the R5 and hardly worked with the 1.4xTC. Upgrading to the 2 series firmware has fixed the problem. The AF with the 2xTC is quite as acceptable now, but not as fast as the 100-400mm II with the 2xTC. So, Sigma owners, get out your Sigma Dock for the R5. (The upgrade from 1.03 was recommended previously for use with the Sigma MC-11 adapter for Sony, which is why I hadn't bothered). I'd say the IQ in the centre at 840mm with the Sigma is about the same as the Canon at 800mm, but the Canon has edge-to-edge sharpness whereas the Sigma is a little softer at the edges.
 
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Dragon

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I'd prefer to have a spectacular zoom lens for $2000 than both of the f/11 lenses, despite 25% extra. ;)
So buy they 100-500! A bit more than $2000, and if you really want "spectacular", then be prepared to shell out 6 grand.
 

AlanF

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The 100-400mm II is very good at 400, but my 800 L 5.6 is a LOT better at 800. Angular resolution is a function of objective size.
A 100-400mm II is infinitely better than an 800mm L 5.6 between 1 to 6m, their respective mfds, and I bet I can do birds in flight hand held far better with the 400mm than most normal human beings can with the 800mm L 5.6. For my purposes, hiking with a lens for nature photography or being able to move it quickly for action shots, the 800 f/5.6 is quite useless for me, personally, whereas the 800 f/11 I could use, and might even get. I fully concede that for your purposes, the 800 f/5.6 may well be far more appropriate and get you better images and capture objects much further away.
 

Dragon

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A 100-400mm II is infinitely better than an 800mm L 5.6 between 1 to 6m, their respective mfds, and I bet I can do birds in flight hand held far better with the 400mm than most normal human beings can with the 800mm L 5.6. For my purposes, hiking with a lens for nature photography or being able to move it quickly for action shots, the 800 f/5.6 is quite useless for me, personally, whereas the 800 f/11 I could use, and might even get. I fully concede that for your purposes, the 800 f/5.6 may well be far more appropriate and get you better images and capture objects much further away.
No argument on either the size and weight or MFD issues. I have both the 800 f/5.6 and the 100-400 II. They serve very different purposes. Another lens that I like a lot is the 70-300 L. It is a very good match for the 90D and is both light and very sharp. I just wont accept a Canon TC, but the Tamron 1.4 seems to work fine with it. Here is a a sample of that combo at 170mm and a crop of a small area after the image was blown up to 96 MP.
 

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Michael Clark

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No argument on either the size and weight or MFD issues. I have both the 800 f/5.6 and the 100-400 II. They serve very different purposes. Another lens that I like a lot is the 70-300 L. It is a very good match for the 90D and is both light and very sharp. I just wont accept a Canon TC, but the Tamron 1.4 seems to work fine with it. Here is a a sample of that combo at 170mm and a crop of a small area after the image was blown up to 96 MP.

Bryan at The-Digital-Picture says in his review of the 70-300 L that although it is not officially supported, due to physical clearance issues at shorter focal length, at about 250mm and longer focal lengths the 1.4X and 2X Canon extenders will, in fact, mount and the resulting image quality is very good.
 

Dragon

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Bryan at The-Digital-Picture says in his review of the 70-300 L that although it is not officially supported, due to physical clearance issues at shorter focal length, at about 250mm and longer focal lengths the 1.4X and 2X Canon extenders will, in fact, mount and the resulting image quality is very good.
I am not blown away with the 2x performance, so I just carry the Tamron 1.4x which seems to be pretty comparable in IQ to the Canon and it works over the full zoom range of the lens. This lens is in my 90D bag, so anything more than 1.4x is better served by cropping.
 
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