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Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Review (good performance at bargain price)

RF 800mm F/11 IS STM Review
The Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM

A new Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM, from one of our favorite reviewers. A weird lens, someone might say, but read on to learn more.

At a glance:

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Fixed f/11 Aperture
  • Retractable, Locking Lens Barrel
  • Gapless Dual-Layer Diffractive Optics
  • STM Stepping AF Motor
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Compatible with RF Extenders

Dustin Abbott posted his exhaustive Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM review. This one comes after his Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM review, and is positive too.

From his conclusion:

It is rare that I refer to a Canon lens as “quirky”, but both the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM telephoto primes definitely qualify as quirky.  Canon’s engineers were willing to overlook a number of typical design conventions and niceties to produce functional telephoto primes with massive reach and good performance at bargain prices.  Used in the right conditions, either of these lenses is perfectly capable of producing stunning images.

But those quirks do help define the lens, however. The loosen, extend, and tighten nature of getting the lens ready to shoot will result in some missed shots. The small maximum aperture means that this is a lens designed for very specific (read: bright!) lighting conditions, and so the opportunities to take full advantage of the stellar optics are limited by that physical reality. But the autofocus performance was better than expected, and that meant I was able to get frozen moments like this that will definitely prove a lot of fun for photographers who love birds in flight.

Read the review at Dustin Abbott’s site…

As usual the review comes with a huge set of sample pictures, comparison charts, and all the information you might want to know. Dustin’s reviews are what I look for when I am about to purchase new gear. And for those who prefer to watch their reviews, Dustin Abbott provides a comprehensive video-review (below).

More gear reviews by Dustin Abbott are listed here. You can follow Dustin Abbott on Twitter, YouTube, or on his website.

Also interesting: an interview with the engineers who developed these lens. Also, Canon already said there will be more such lenses. For more Canon RF 800mm f/11 and RF 600mm f/11 review stuff have a look here.

Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM

America: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, Canon CA, Canon USA
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Wex Photo Video, Park Cameras, Canon DE, Canon UK

Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM

America: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, Canon CA, Canon USA
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Wex Photo Video, Park Cameras, Canon DE, Canon UK

Super long reach, super compact design, the Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM is a unique telephoto prime featuring a distinct mixture of focal length and form factor. Characterized by its retractable design and a fixed f/11 aperture, this lens’s sleek profile makes handheld super-tele shooting a very real possibility, and four stop-effective optical image stabilization further helps to achieve sharp imagery when working in difficult lighting conditions. Also contributing to the reduced size is a distinct optical layout, which uses gapless dual-layer diffractive optics instead of multiple heavier individual elements, which also effectively controls color fringing and chromatic aberrations for high clarity. Complementing this design is an STM stepping motor that delivers quick and quiet autofocus performance that is suitable for both stills and video needs. Additionally, a Control Ring is also integrated into the lens design for intuitive control over exposure settings from the lens itself. If you decide you need more than 800mm, this lens is compatible with the 1.4x and 2x RF Extenders for an equivalent focal length of 1120mm or 1600mm, respectively.

  • Super-telephoto prime is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless digital cameras.
  • Fixed f/11 aperture contributes to the sleek and portable form factor as well as a balanced mixture of depth of field and sharpness.
  • Gapless dual-layer diffractive optics contribute to a marked reduction in chromatic and spherical aberrations as well as benefit the design of a relatively compact and lightweight lens.
  • Retractable/extendable design, with a locking lens barrel, offers an impressively compact form factor considering the super-telephoto design.
  • An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four stops to better enable working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds.
  • STM stepping motor offers fast, quiet, smooth, and accurate autofocus performance that is ideal for video recording as well as still shooting.
  • Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.
  • Compatible with optional Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x teleconverters to further increase the effective focal length.
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