Canon has announced the RF 600mm and 800mm F11 IS STM lenses. These two ultra-telephoto fixed focal length and fixed aperture lenses have been designed to be affordable, compact, and lightweight.
Fixed focal length ultra-telephoto lenses tend to be large, heavy, and very expensive. For shooters who only occasionally need to capture images at long distances, owning one of these lenses doesn’t usually make a lot of sense. These two new 600mm and 800m lenses from Canon look to be a good solution when you are willing to compromise aperture speed, for portability and length.
What is interesting about the design of these lenses is that they feature an extending/retracting lens barrel. This means when they are not in use you can minimize their length, which makes it a lot easier to pack in a bag and carry around. The 600mm is just 19.95cm long when retracted and it goes out to 26.95cm when extended. The 800mm is 28.18cm when retracted and 35.18cm when extended.
As far as weight is concerned, the 600mm tips the scales at just 930g. As a comparison, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM weighs in at 3kg.
The 800mm F11 IS STM weighs 1.26kg (2.78lb). the Canon 800mm EF F5.6L IS USM weighs 4.5kg.
Canon states that both lenses use gapless double-layer Diffractive Optics (DO) that are claimed to reduce chromatic aberration and provide high-quality images.
Both lenses also feature IS and canon claims that this provides up to 5.5 stops of shake correction.
As far as autofocus performance goes, Canon claims that both lenses will give you an autofocus area that is around 40% of the camera’s horizontal area and 60% of the vertical area. This is not going to be nearly as good as using most other RF lenses on say an R5 or R6.
The great thing about the new 600mm and 800mm lenses is that they will both work with canon’s new RF 1.4x and 2x extenders.
Using the 1.4x extender with the 600mm will give you 840mm at F14. With the 2x extender you will get 1200mm at F22.
Using the 1.4x extender with the 800mm you will get 1120mm at F14 and with the 2x extender you will get a whopping 1600mm at F22.
Price & Availability
Both of these lenses will be available at the end of July. The 600mm F11 IS STM will retail for $699 USD and the 800mm F11 IS STM will retail for $899 USD.
Considering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM costs $12,999 USD, it does sound very affordable, however, you could still get something like the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for $900 USD.
Would you consider a fixed aperture, fixed focal length ultra-telephoto for video use? Let us know in the comments section below.