In an interview, Canon engineers tell how it came Canon made the RF 800mm f/11 and RF 600mm f/11 lenses. And what inspired them.
In an interview with DC Watch, Canon engineers tell the reasons and challenges in designing the RF 800mm f/11 and RF 600mm f/11 lenses. It seems, a boyhood experience of one of the engineers was one of the reasons (machine translated):
Iezuka: I’m sorry about my boyhood story. At that time, I wanted to take a picture of a wild bird, Little Egret, but I couldn’t buy a super-telephoto lens because it was too expensive. I tried to make a telephoto lens with a close-up lens with a focal length of 400 mm, but it didn’t look good, and I wondered why it didn’t look so good.
I knew that there were many people who gave up what they wanted to shoot and the expressions they wanted to shoot because they couldn’t buy a super-telephoto lens and couldn’t carry it because it was big and heavy.
Looking back, Canon’s first SLR camera system, the R mount (1959-), also had a “slender” super-telephoto lens like the 600mm / 800mm F11. The optical system is as simple as a telescope, the focusing is bellows, and the weight is as light as 2 kg.
Iezuka: Since the EOS R system can measure distances up to the maximum aperture of F22, I thought that the F value of the lens alone would be F11, considering the installation of a 2x extender. With F8, the lens becomes thicker, and with F16, it exceeds F22 when the 2x extender is attached. Around this time, the idea of ”Why don’t you eliminate the aperture unit for F11?”
I understood that there is a need to reduce the shutter speed further from F11 when considering panning at super telephoto, but control of the depth of field is less important at super telephoto, and it is low. The aperture unit was not installed because it leads to cost reduction and weight reduction.
Here are Canon firmware updates for two big white telephoto lenses.
Canon released firmware 1.1.2 for the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III lens (download) and firmware 1.1.2 for the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III lens (download). Both Canon firmware updates deal with the following issues:
Firmware Version 1.1.2 incorporates the following enhancements:
Increases the manual focus speed when the manual focus speed switch is set to 1 or 2.
*The speed when the switch is set to 3 (slowest speed) will be unchanged.
Improves the image stabilization effect during handheld shooting with a slow shutter speed when used with EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 6D, or EOS R.
*Enables a full-time manual focus function during Servo AF when used with the EOS-1D X Mark II. The lens must be sent to the Factory Service Center in order for this funcion to be enabled.
If the lens’ firmware is already Version 1.1.2, it is not necessary to update the firmware.
The lens’ firmware version can be checked from the camera’s menu.
These are big and heavy professional lenses with a equally big and heavy price: