Two of the strangest and surprising products Canon announced this year were the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM super-telephoto lenses. There really isn’t any other lenses like these on the market, and reviewers have been pleasantly surprised by how useable these lenses are.
DC Watch had the chance to interview the Canon engineers responsible for these lens designs, and it’s kind of cool where the idea for them came from.
According to the Canon engineers, the ideas for these lenses were inspired by the super-telephoto lenses from the 1960s.
The Canon RF mount also makes these lenses possible, since the cameras can autofocus at f/22, which wasn’t possible on DSLRs.
I wanted to create specs that can only be achieved with the EOS R system and enjoyment through new user experiences. Among them, I wondered if I could break through the three barriers of ‘heavy, big, and expensive’ for super-telephoto lenses. Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS AF is strong against AF even in the dark, so a super-telephoto lens with a large F-number may be possible.
Since the EOS R system can measure distances up to the maximum aperture of f/22, I thought that the f-value of the lens alone would be f/11, considering the installation of a 2x extender. With f/8, the lens becomes thicker, and with f/16, it exceeds f/22 when the 2x extender is attached.
Even in the era of single-lens reflex cameras, I wondered if I could manage to get closer to the world of super-telephoto lenses that exceed 400 mm. I considered increasing the F-number as I did this time, but it didn’t work. If you increase the F value, you can only AF at the center of the screen. With a single-lens reflex camera, the viewfinder became dark and there were concerns about usability, so I gave up.
These new f/11 super telephotos are going to be quite popular as more and more people try them out. I haven’t yet gotten my hands on one, but I hope to soon.
You can read the full interview over at DC Watch.