Will the EF 500mm f/4L IS USM II replacement for the RF mount be a zoom?

Jul 21, 2010
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I am remain to be convinced that Canon could not have done better by designing an 800mm from scratch instead of putting a 2xTC on a 400mm.
I'm certain they could have designed a better 800/5.6 than they made by putting a 2x TC within the 400/2.8. The EF MkII supertele lenses were noticeably better optically than the MkI versions (whereas the MkII to MkIII upgrade for the 400/600 seemed to be about weight reduction rather than optical improvement). The EF 800/5.6 never got the MkII treatment, so even analogous changes to what the 300/400/500/600 received would have yielded an RF 800/5.6 better than we have.
 
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justaCanonuser

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I recall on the failure for the 500mm III to appear, the reasoning cited was that the weight improvements weren't enough of a difference for the smaller lens. The primary benefit of the 600mm III over the II was the weight loss (coincidentally, I took delivery of a 600mm III this afternoon to replace the Mark II I'm about to list. I'm, of course, making the upgrade for the weight.)
Exactly this is what I always thought without reading any statement from Canon. A new RF 500mm f/4 definitely needs features which set it so much apart from the RF 600mm f/4 that it will be an attractive alternative. When the Mk I versions hit the market, the decision between the 500 and 600mm was basically about mobility, which is severe enough. Such new features of an RF lens could be either:
- massive weight reduction to, say, about 2 kg or even less
- use of refractive lenses to make it that light and compact
- turn it into that rumored 200-500mm f/4 zoom, with built-in TC.
The last option would make an RF version of the 200-400mm zoom obsolete of course (if I missed a post here saying that I am sorry). As a birder (when I shoot with a supertele) I personally would prefer a light, compact f/4 prime version over a zoom, which surely would be heavier and more complex. Btw congrats tiggy for getting your 600mm III - surely a fantastic lens.
 
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AlanF

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Exactly this is what I always thought without reading any statement from Canon. A new RF 500mm f/4 definitely needs features which set it so much apart from the RF 600mm f/4 that it will be an attractive alternative. When the Mk I versions hit the market, the decision between the 500 and 600mm was basically about mobility, which is severe enough. Such new features of an RF lens could be either:
- massive weight reduction to, say, about 2 kg or even less
- use of refractive lenses to make it that light and compact
- turn it into that rumored 200-500mm f/4 zoom, with built-in TC.
The last option would make an RF version of the 200-400mm zoom obsolete of course (if I missed a post here saying that I am sorry). As a birder (when I shoot with a supertele) I personally would prefer a light, compact f/4 prime version over a zoom, which surely would be heavier and more complex. Btw congrats tiggy for getting your 600mm III - surely a fantastic lens.
I think you meant diffractive not refractive lenses?
 
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First, the rf 400 and rf 600 are just the EF lenses with the rf adaptor built in. Check their physical lengths.
That was a quick solution, but didn't take advantage of rf's reduced distance to the sensor.
Then COVID slowed down development, but now the 100-300 zoom is finally a real next generation rf super telephoto.
It's almost the same weight as the fixed EF 300, has same f/stop and same or better image quality. You get the zoom for 'free'.

A generation back zooms had inferior image quality, so you could use a fixed lens with better image quality,
and crop the image to to get the same framing and quality as the zoom. Lighter, better f/stop and less expensive.
It looks like this lens technology can give us a zoom with fixed length quality.

The same technology applied to a 200-500mm with built-in 1.4x is an ideal wildlife lens. Effectively a 200-700 f/5.6 worst case.
Out in the African bush you don't want to be fumbling with different lenses or an adaptor. One lens = no dirt on the sensor etc.
I'm hoping that's what's coming.
 
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First, the rf 400 and rf 600 are just the EF lenses with the rf adaptor built in. Check their physical lengths.
That was a quick solution, but didn't take advantage of rf's reduced distance to the sensor.
Then COVID slowed down development, but now the 100-300 zoom is finally a real next generation rf super telephoto.
It's almost the same weight as the fixed EF 300, has same f/stop and same or better image quality. You get the zoom for 'free'.

A generation back zooms had inferior image quality, so you could use a fixed lens with better image quality,
and crop the image to to get the same framing and quality as the zoom. Lighter, better f/stop and less expensive.
It looks like this lens technology can give us a zoom with fixed length quality.

The same technology applied to a 200-500mm with built-in 1.4x is an ideal wildlife lens. Effectively a 200-700 f/5.6 worst case.
Out in the African bush you don't want to be fumbling with different lenses or an adaptor. One lens = no dirt on the sensor etc.
I'm hoping that's what's coming.
That (RF600/F4) is the best news to existing EF600/F4 III owners. You will agree me if you are.

Actually, Sony FE600/F4 has the same length as Canon counterpart without having an "old" lens to add adaptor.

Reduced flange has advantages, it has disadvantages too. Meanwhile the lens has to bend the light more aggressively by some elements somewhere if the overall length of the lens is shortened.
 
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That was a quick solution, but didn't take advantage of rf's reduced distance to the sensor.
There is no advantage when it comes to those focal lengths.
The back focus is long enough to accommodate the flange distance of SLR lenses.
Canon smartly used that distance to make a zoom lens out of the 300 f/2.8.
It sounds like they are doing the same thing to the 500 f/4.
 
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john1970

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I was reading through the developer notes on the RF 100-300 mm f2.8 and read the following statement:

"As a brand new flagship for the large aperture telephoto L zoom lenses, we gave the RF100- 300mm F2.8 L IS USM styling appropriate for a lens that will lead the series from now on."

The above statement implies that the RF100-300 mm f2.8 will lead a series of large aperture telephone L zoom lenses. I suspect more will follow.
 
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Jul 21, 2010
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I was reading through the developer notes on the RF 100-300 mm f2.8 and read the following statement:

"As a brand new flagship for the large aperture telephoto L zoom lenses, we gave the RF100- 300mm F2.8 L IS USM styling appropriate for a lens that will lead the series from now on."

The above statement implies that the RF100-300 mm f2.8 will lead a series of large aperture telephone L zoom lenses. I suspect more will follow.
Good catch. When they released the RF 400/600, they made a point of stating that they were developed at the request of photographers to meet an urgent need, suggesting that those lenses (EF versions with adapters bolted on) did not represent the future of RF supertele lenses.

I wonder if this means future lenses in the series will also lack the drop in filter slot, allowing optics to be placed closer to the mount resulting in a shorter overall length, such as the focusing group in the 100-300/2.8. Or perhaps that lens is an outlier in that regard because it does take front filters.
 
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koenkooi

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When the Mk I versions hit the market, the decision between the 500 and 600mm was basically about mobility, which is severe enough.
What about price? When I was choosing between the 500 and 600 (mark IIs in that case), although the longer lens was my preference, I couldn't justify the 25-30% extra cost for another 100mm.
 
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I think it very much depends on the size of the front element.
I’m not so sure, it may be a design choice based on desire for shorter/lighter lenses outweighing the desire for filters. Canon knows how many supertele lenses they’ve sold, and how many drop-in filters they’ve sold for them. I also think the decision to not include a CPL window on the hood of the 100-300/2.8 has meaning in this context.

Although B+W threaded filters top out at 112mm, NiSi makes 127mm filters that would work for a 500/4 front thread. My Fotodiox 145mm threaded filters (CPL and 10-stop ND for the TS-E 17) are slightly too small for my 600/4 II, but they would fit the slightly smaller hypothetical front threads on a 400/2.8. NiSi also makes 150mm circular filters that would fit a 600/4 (those are grooved for their holder, but in theory could have a threaded mount instead, point is they have the glass).

So there are or could easily be front filters for future Canon supertele zooms longer than the 100-300, if they go that route and stop including a drop-in slot.
 
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Jul 21, 2010
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Likely to avoid jamming the aperture blades, they have to open up completely between each exposure for AF.
I doubt the aperture blades would jam. Rather, I suspect it’s because the motors driving those blades simply aren’t robust enough to move them sufficiently fast – when the lenses weee designed, there was no need.

Same conclusion, though – older lenses don’t suppprt modern frame rates because of the iris diaphragm.
 
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Also, as you pointed out, Neuro is a pain and acts like he owns the forum.
But he's very consistent, so it's easy to ignore him.
And he says lots of good stuff too.
Ask a cogent, honest question and I’ll happily share what knowledge I have, and learn from others’ responses.

Make an honest, provocative statement and I’ll debate with civility.

Make a ridiculous claim and I’ll respond with the ridicule it deserves.

When I make a mistake or post incorrect information, I’ll happily apologize. I won’t apologize for my low tolerance for fools.
 
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john1970

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Yes, Canon see that they can pull $10000 from each person who would otherwise have purchased a $6000 300/2.8.
The Canon RF 100-300 mm f2.8 lens cost the same as the Nikon 120-300 mm f2.8 lens. Price is the same as the competition and the weight a significantly less.
 
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