Update on the Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM

Sep 20, 2020
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As a wildlife/landscape photographer, I'm wondering if the 200-800 fills a need. Along with my R5 and 5D4, my "reach" lenses include the:
  • RF 200-500
  • RF 800 f/11
  • EF 70-200 II
  • EF 100-400
  • 1.4x (both mounts)
Note: I really don't use the 100-400 and the 70-200 much. I borrowed the 800 a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it (except for MFD), especially with the 1.4x, something my 100-500 doesn't play well with.

Do I need the 200-800, or is there already too much overlap? Maybe skip the 200-800 and buy the less expensive 800mm f/11 -- OR -- sell everything except the 1.4x and buy the 200-800.
I would stick with the RF 800 f/11.
 
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AlanF

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Even with IS, how will this be for hand-holding, for keeping composition steady while shooting? I've never shot with anything over 500mm.
I use to shoot with the heavier 400mm f/4 DO II with 2xTC a lot. It's ok for short bursts for my ancient arms but it's the type of lens I need to rest on something, which is why the 200-800 won't replace my 100-500mm but will complement it if its good enough.
 
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I can't really tell from your list what you actually own or just want. The 200-500 is still vaporware. Since it will command a $17k price tag, isn't buying a 200-800 pocket change? With the RF 200-800 now being offered, I would not buy the 800mm f11. Its on your own it, want it list? But below you borrowed it?

I'd sell my 5D4 and any EF gear (you are not using regularly) ASAP. It took me a year to sell my 6D2 and a few L lenses. Granted I held out (private sale) mostly because I wasn't going to take pennies from KEH, and the gear was LN- or A+. This will give you plenty of capital to put towards the RF 200-800.

Then when the R5 mkII arrives, sell what's left (or what you don't use) and go all in on the 200-500. you may decide the 100-500 and 200-800 + TC does a good enough job. Depends on if you are OK being without 2 body's. I have one, went to Alaska this year and realize the value of a dedicated super zoom body now. Lens changes were murder. Not sure what its going to be yet. Might be a plain vanilla R5 which will be cheap once the mkII is released. Some stuff for you to consider. :)
My apologies. I own the 100-500, not the 200-500. BIG difference, clearly - i don't have that kind of money. Also, I am borrowing the 800 f/11 from a friend.

I will likely rent the 200-800 when it is available. If I like it, I will trade in my 100-500 for it and keep the 70-200 and 1.4x so I will have a range from 70 to infinity. I will need a second R5 body so I can have a second lens (wide or long) at the ready (happy with my R5 so no need for the Mark II). I have a big trip in April, so I am not in a huge rush, but will need to make a decision sooner than later.
 
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AlanF

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I have the 800 f/11 that I often use with the R7 and 1.4x for hummingbirds. I ordered the 200-800 because it focuses substantially closer and the zoom will be liberating. The MTF curves posted above also suggest it will be sharper at 800 and Canon says it is very good with extenders. On the R7 with 1.4x, you are looking at an FL range from 450mm to 1800mm equivalent. Think about that
The 800 with 1.4xTC on the R7 is 3x its diffraction limited aperture. I find it has no more resolution than the bare lens and if anything is worse. Do you find it better?
 
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Dragon

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The 800 with 1.4xTC on the R7 is 3x its diffraction limited aperture. I find it has no more resolution than the bare lens and if anything is worse. Do you find it better?
I don't think there is much more resolution, but the AF seems to find hummingbird eyes better with a larger image and, of course more pixels. The reduced min focus distance on the 200-800 will be welcome as 11-12 feet would be optimal for my situation and then the TC might not be needed.
EDIT. I would add that Topaz Sharpen sometimes also seems to do better with more pixels to work with. And, yes, I know AI hummingbirds aren't entirely real, but they are still enjoyable :ROFLMAO:.
 
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Jul 21, 2010
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Interesting to see in this video that the subject is larger using the 800mm f/11 vs this lens. I wonder if the 200-800 is truly 800mm or if the 800mm f/11 is actually more than 800mm.
Both are 800mm (or nearly so, depending on rounding) when focused at infinity. However, the 200-800 likely has more focus breathing than the 800/11. 'Breathing' means as you focus closer, the effective focal length decreases. As an example, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro when focused at the MFD for 1:1 magnification has an effective focal length of 68mm.
 
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koenkooi

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Both are 800mm (or nearly so, depending on rounding) when focused at infinity. However, the 200-800 likely has more focus breathing than the 800/11. 'Breathing' means as you focus closer, the effective focal length decreases. As an example, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro when focused at the MFD for 1:1 magnification has an effective focal length of 68mm.
And the 100-500L is a 270-ish mm lens when using at MFD, if I remember correctly. Still a large enough improvement over my 180L when it comes to dragonflies and frogs.
 
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Dragon

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Both are 800mm (or nearly so, depending on rounding) when focused at infinity. However, the 200-800 likely has more focus breathing than the 800/11. 'Breathing' means as you focus closer, the effective focal length decreases. As an example, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro when focused at the MFD for 1:1 magnification has an effective focal length of 68mm.
Given the relatively modest close focus ability (albeit better than either the 800/11 or the big whites), I suspect the focus breathing will also be modest. The fact that it supports "focus breathing correction" for video also suggests that the actual breathing is modest. This appears to be a new camera function that is scheduled to arrive around the time the lens is shipped. Likely for R3. R5, R6, and maybe R7 (at least initially). It would be nice if that feature also includes some feed-forward info to keep the lens effectively parfocal when zooming, but that may be yet another "feature" to come later. All this kind of stuff is feasible if you have enough processing power in the camera and the parfocal bit is actually the easiest as all that requires is a LUT in the lens to correct the focus setting as the zoom is extended.
 
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Both are 800mm (or nearly so, depending on rounding) when focused at infinity. However, the 200-800 likely has more focus breathing than the 800/11. 'Breathing' means as you focus closer, the effective focal length decreases. As an example, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro when focused at the MFD for 1:1 magnification has an effective focal length of 68mm.
For birding, focusing to infinity prob wouldn't be great because that means your subject is too far. But this makes sense and thanks for pointing this out.
 
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koenkooi

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Given the relatively modest close focus ability (albeit better than either the 800/11 or the big whites), I suspect the focus breathing will also be modest. The fact that it supports "focus breathing correction" for video also suggests that the actual breathing is modest. This appears to be a new camera function that is scheduled to arrive around the time the lens is shipped. [...]
The R6II and R8 already support it when the lens provides that information (the attached lens doesn't, hence the crossed out lens icon):
IMG_4467.jpeg
If your body doesn't support it already, chances aren't good that it will gain that support.
 
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Jul 21, 2010
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I google it and you can remove the handle or flip it up for easier carry.
Any more info on the removal? There's a knurled knob to loosen it, so it can certainly be rotated. It does not appear to be removable (at least, not without the use of tools, and it is probably more complex than just a single screw under that little access cover).
 
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Any more info on the removal? There's a knurled knob to loosen it, so it can certainly be rotated. It does not appear to be removable (at least, not without the use of tools, and it is probably more complex than just a single screw under that little access cover).

Here is where I find this information : https://fstoppers.com/reviews/ultim...eview-new-canon-rf-200-800mm-f63-9-usm-646982

Do a CTRL-F on handle if you dont want to read the whole article.

I am counting on it removeable, otherwise just a minor setback.
 
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Jul 21, 2010
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Here is where I find this information : https://fstoppers.com/reviews/ultim...eview-new-canon-rf-200-800mm-f63-9-usm-646982

Do a CTRL-F on handle if you dont want to read the whole article.

I am counting on it removeable, otherwise just a minor setback.
As I said, it's clear that it rotates (although unlike most non-removable collars, e.g. the ones on my EF 600/4 II and RF 100-300/2.8, it doesn't have detents to mark 90° increments). However, until someone shows convincing evidence to the contrary, it appears to be a non-removable collar (I would not consider the product listing on B&H to be reliable, they showed the RF-S 10-18mm including the hood with the lens initially).
 
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john1970

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Me too I am soooooo much hoping for a 600 5.6 DO…I’d prolly pay 6k for such a lens honestly . 400 f4 DO would be nice and I’d consider but the 600 5.6 DO would be just an awesome lens for us birders not quite able to cart the F4 IMHO
I agree. I would also like to see Canon release one "lightweight" fixed prime super-telephoto lens. Does not necessarily need to be DO. The recent Sony 300 mm f2.8 is exceptionally light and does not use DO optics to my knowledge. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

My preference would be for a 500 mm f4.5, but and 600 mm f5.6 is essentially the same diameter.
 
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Sep 20, 2020
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