Review: Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM by TDP

apmadoc

I'm New Here
CR Pro
From a quality perspective... So far, I'm not impressed.

I ordered my 100-500 directly from Canon's store. When I got it (On August 28th), I hooked it up to my R5, got an Error 60. Called support, they had me try a few things, couldn't resolve it. They emailed me a shipping label to send it to the Canon repair depot. I shipped it out that on August 31st, Canon received it on the 1st. I'm told they don't have repair parts for the 100-500 in yet, and the parts aren't due until September 15th

How is it that Canon ships a new lens without making sure they have their repair depots stocked with parts?

I've been shooting Canon cameras and lenses since 2005 with the original 5D. I will say that this is the VERY first time I've had anything be dead out of the box. It might be the best lens ever, but having it sit in a repair depot for over two weeks isn't what I call quality.
 
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Billybob

800mm f/11 because a cellphone isn't long enough!
May 22, 2016
246
502
But also discards the 'buffer' around the edges when panning with a subject.

As for the lens, looks impressive but why start at 100mm? A 200-500 could have been even sharper and fitted nicely above the 70-200. I usually have a 1.4 on my 100-400 and seldom need to take it off. Just change to a wider lens when needed.
Then you have to carry around the 70-200 with the 200-500. Instead, this lens is compact enough--not much bigger than the EF 70-200--that in most circumstances (low-light settings excluded) it replaces the 70-200 while providing added versatility.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,854
12,101
But also discards the 'buffer' around the edges when panning with a subject.

As for the lens, looks impressive but why start at 100mm? A 200-500 could have been even sharper and fitted nicely above the 70-200. I usually have a 1.4 on my 100-400 and seldom need to take it off. Just change to a wider lens when needed.
Could it have been even sharper If it were 200-500mm? The Sigma 60-600, for example, is sharper in general than the 150-600, which in turn is much sharper than the 150-50mm. The 100-500mm has probably been designed for optimal sharpness at the longer range, where we most need it, and some extra wide angle added. Its diffraction-included MTFs at 500mm are as good as those for the 100-400 at 400mm when allowing for the diffraction difference between f/5.6 and 7.1.
 
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David - Sydney

EOS R
CR Pro
Dec 7, 2014
988
829
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A weird situation but a reseller in Australia has 15% off canon lens this month including pre-order of the 100-500mm. I had cancelled my original preorder from February when my R5 arrived due to cost but with AUD700 off, it seemed a better proposition - but my bank balance this year is cactus! I could just justify it as the RF100-400mm is basically unavailable second hand or at close to retail pricing as people are hanging onto them. Add the extender and the overall price difference isn't especially large. I wonder when local deliveries will start though.
Bryan's review is glowing. Buy quality up front and never need to replace it although apmadoc's experience is a concern
My Ikelite R5 underwater housing arrived yesterday (first in the country!) and I will take it out this weekend.
 
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CanonFanBoy

Purple
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,681
4,113
Irving, Texas
EF 200-400 f4 l is w/1.4 @ 560 is the prototype. You won’t find many sharper zooms.
Ahhhhh.... but that was not the question, nor have you provided an answer. The two lenses in question are a mythical RF 200-500 and the RF 100-500. The EF 200-400 f/4 is a constant Aperture zoom and not the prototype variable aperture RF 200-500 you make it out to be.

Speculation and wishful thinking are not = to facts.
 

Danglin52

Wildlife Shooter
Aug 8, 2018
316
335
Ahhhhh.... but that was not the question, nor have you provided an answer. The two lenses in question are a mythical RF 200-500 and the RF 100-500. The EF 200-400 f/4 is a constant Aperture zoom and not the prototype variable aperture RF 200-500 you make it out to be.

Speculation and wishful thinking are not = to facts.
First, I was using the 200-400 as an example of the quality of optics Canon is capable of building into a zoom. I had both the 100-400 II and the 200-400, 200-400 was definitely sharper. Second, I didn’t see a requirement that the lens had to be a variable aperture. Canon has a demonstrated ability to build extremely high quality zooms and long primes when it fits there product direction. If not IQ, they have the ability to build with wider aperture. The real question is does Canon want that lens in their portfolio or does it conflict with their strategy for RF big whites? I would ask you the question why you think it couldn’t be sharper considering new materials and Canon’s demonstrated capabilities.
 

1D4

EOS M6 Mark II
Jun 5, 2020
79
149
But also discards the 'buffer' around the edges when panning with a subject.

As for the lens, looks impressive but why start at 100mm? A 200-500 could have been even sharper and fitted nicely above the 70-200. I usually have a 1.4 on my 100-400 and seldom need to take it off. Just change to a wider lens when needed.
100-500 is much more versatile than 200-500. I went over to the dark side for a short time, and kept missing out on opportunities with the Nikkor 200-500, that my Canon 100-400 IS II would've captured at the wide end. I tried the Nikkor 80-400, and while it had the range I needed, I wasn't very impressed. When the Canon 100-500 was announced, I knew I was coming back to the good guys. Not everyone shooting the 200-500 range is using it for distant wildlife...the gap from 100-200 is big in a lot of cases.
 

CanonFanBoy

Purple
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,681
4,113
Irving, Texas
First, I was using the 200-400 as an example of the quality of optics Canon is capable of building into a zoom. I had both the 100-400 II and the 200-400, 200-400 was definitely sharper. Second, I didn’t see a requirement that the lens had to be a variable aperture. Canon has a demonstrated ability to build extremely high quality zooms and long primes when it fits there product direction. If not IQ, they have the ability to build with wider aperture. The real question is does Canon want that lens in their portfolio or does it conflict with their strategy for RF big whites? I would ask you the question why you think it couldn’t be sharper considering new materials and Canon’s demonstrated capabilities.
I don’t know whether it would be sharper or not. We will never know. That’s the point. The guy I replied to wondered why Canon went 100-500 instead of 200-500. Who knows? Then he speculates that a 200-500 would have been sharper. He does not KNOW this. The RF 100-500 is a $2,700 lens. Isn’t the EF 200-400 f/4 you dropped into the conversation about $12k? So what’s your point? Why are we running down this rabbit trail?
 

Eclipsed

EOS R5, "Hefty Fifty" and more.
Apr 30, 2020
143
147
I received this lens early last week and it is an exceptionally versatile lens for wildlife photography. On an R5 with the available 17 MP APS-C crop I have a 800 mm field of view at the long end. Overall the combination makes for a lightweight flexible zoom that with the full frame and APS-C crop I can have a 100-800 mm field of view at my disposal without having to change a lens in the field. I now only hope that Canon releases a 500 mm f4 DO lens in the RF mount within the next 1-2 years.

Are you get sharp IS shots with mechanical or FC shutter? Mine on an R5 can't take a sharp shot at any speed except with electronic shutter. Canon CPS support says they are hearing of problems (Ken Rockwell has reported) and hope for a firmware solution. I'll also be attentive to developments prior to my 30-day purchase window.
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
218
183
Las Vegas, NV
www.flickr.com
To my way of thinking a longer lens will always beat cropping. With my R5 if I take a picture of something with my 100-500mm that has never arrived (fist shaking @ B&H), I'll get a 8192 x 5464 pixel image or 44,761,088 total pixels on a 36 x 24 mm sensor (same as 35 mm film). This is 45 Megapixels of information crammed into a 1-1/8 inch x 1-inch rectangle.

Now if I take my 24-70 f2.8 L lens and take the same shot, I'll get the same number of pixels all stuffed into the 36x24 frame. Now here's the tricky part.

Assuming I have to use 25% of the image for the shot that my future 100-500 could take full-frame, then I only start with 1/4th of the 44+ Megapixels (25% of the original full frame shot). When I blow the 1/4th image up to full scale then I'll have 11 Megapixels to spread out over the 36x24 size. Obviously packing 45 Mp onto a rectangle is going to have all the little dots closer together than putting 11 Mp onto the same rectangle.

With fewer dots, then there is more whitespace between each pixel which makes the image fuzzy therefore as intuitively obvious to the casual observer as my college professor used to say, I think a longer lens taking a full-frame image will always be sharper than taking a small section of an image and blowing it up to the same size as the telephoto. Does this make sense or am I missing something here?

I used to shoot both 35mm and 2-1/4 images and that to me is the same reference. A larger negative will always win out, assuming the lenses are the same quality. This tells me that I need to trade in my R5 for a 4x5 Speed Graphic and a pocket full of flashbulbs!
 
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Bert63

What’s in da box?
CR Pro
Dec 3, 2017
1,063
2,333
Just got off the phone with Canon and they said this lens doesn't release until September, yet people already have them in hand.

Can someone throw me a clue please?

Going to go ahead and order this because it looks like it might be Christmas before I see my R5.
 
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xps

EOS R
Oct 19, 2011
1,007
114
Middle Europe
Still waiting for 200-600mm. Why not such an zoom lens like Sony made? Or an faster 500mm?
Guess, Canon will release some kind of this with an golden price
 

Dantana

EOS RP
Jan 29, 2013
322
169
Los Angeles, CA
www.flickr.com
First, I was using the 200-400 as an example of the quality of optics Canon is capable of building into a zoom. I had both the 100-400 II and the 200-400, 200-400 was definitely sharper. Second, I didn’t see a requirement that the lens had to be a variable aperture. Canon has a demonstrated ability to build extremely high quality zooms and long primes when it fits there product direction. If not IQ, they have the ability to build with wider aperture. The real question is does Canon want that lens in their portfolio or does it conflict with their strategy for RF big whites? I would ask you the question why you think it couldn’t be sharper considering new materials and Canon’s demonstrated capabilities.
An enormous, extremely pricey, constant aperture zoom is in a completely different category than a relatively lightweight, variable aperture, pricey but not crazy pricey zoom. It's a different market, and maybe they will make something like that in RF for the future. Just not this time.
 

Danglin52

Wildlife Shooter
Aug 8, 2018
316
335
An enormous, extremely pricey, constant aperture zoom is in a completely different category than a relatively lightweight, variable aperture, pricey but not crazy pricey zoom. It's a different market, and maybe they will make something like that in RF for the future. Just not this time.
I think you are missing the point. All of that R&D createsd developing those “enormous & expensive” lenses can be leveraged across the entire product line. With that knowledge and experience, they can continue to expand the capabilities of lower priced options. We see this in camera bodies, cars , computers, etc. Where do you think the lens tech for the RF 600/800 originated - two generations of $7k EF 400 DO lenses. The original discussion was could a 200-500 be sharper and the answer is probably yes based on Canon’s capabilities. I think it is more a question if that type lens fits in their product strategy.

None of us know if it can/can’t be done. Let’s all just enjoy a little optimism. I think this type zoom is coming, but it will probably be the expensive version. The 300, 500, and 200-400 did not get the EF III weight loss / update and my bet is they will be the first RF big whites. I know a RF300 patent has been mentioned on CR.

Btw - I paid $7,500 for a 200-400 Canon factory refurb about 8 months after launc, not $12k. Sold in the move to R/RF.
 
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Bert63

What’s in da box?
CR Pro
Dec 3, 2017
1,063
2,333
This lens won’t be as popular as the 100-400 mk1 and 2... because of this huge price step again....
I can buy the mk2 for ~1300€ in 2nd market and for around 2k€ new. Sometimes with cashback of 200+€.

yeah it’s sharp, light but not that bright as I espected. Maybe for 1500€ but not for >3.000€!

The 100-400L first generation isn’t worth mentioning in the same conversation with the II or the 100-500.

It’s not a huge price step at all. $2200 for a 100-400L II in 2014 = $2450 today. I paid $2549 for my RF 100-500L today - basically the same money as I paid for the 100-400L II six years ago. $100 more six years later for a longer lens that’s better in every regard. Bargain.

As more people migrate to mirrorless this lens will be huge.
 
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Bert63

What’s in da box?
CR Pro
Dec 3, 2017
1,063
2,333
Yep in New Zealand it's nearly twice the price of the EF100-400 mark ii but really it’s pretty much the same lens so who would buy it apart from rich posers ?

Wow.

That’s your situation.

In America it’s virtually the same price. Better lens, longer reach, and RF mount...

Who wouldn’t buy it apart from peasant losers?

Love,

A Rich Poser
 
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