Canon RF 600mm F4 Evaluate

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Tremendous telephoto lenses have been sluggish to reach in mirrorless mounts. But, Canon already has extra lengthy lenses than the older Sony E Mount. That’s partly as a result of lenses just like the Canon RF 600mm f4 L IS USM adapt the identical optical design as the same DSLR lens. Telling the brand new RF 600mm other than the EF model is troublesome to do at first look. However, with nearer inspection, the RF lens has a band of silver on the mount and is definitely a little bit longer and barely heavier. However, with backgrounds as comfortable as melted butter, Canon’s new 600mm mirrorless mount is simply as made for wildlife and sports activities because the EF lens.

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There’s a wierd feeling that accompanies strolling round with more cash slung round my neck than the automobile I arrived in. Priced a penny underneath $13K, the Canon RF 600mm f4 is definitely a luxurious merchandise. The lens used on this evaluation was supplied by LensRentals, an possibility for once-in-a-lifetime shoots for photographers who would in any other case discover this lens out of monetary attain. I knew precisely the place I wished to shoot when this lens arrived. I packed it the Canon EOS R3 up and headed out to my favourite native birding hotspot. Right here’s what I discovered.

Too Lengthy; Didn’t Learn

The Canon RF 600mm f4 is the type of lens that produces backgrounds so comfortable, it appears to be like as if it’s a stable coloration. The super-telephoto focal size blended with the brighter aperture makes distant topics pop. The main focus can also be stable contemplating how massive the lens is. Nonetheless, it’s heavy and enormous, and $13,000.

Execs and Cons

Execs

  • Superb comfortable backgrounds
  • Strong autofocus
  • Shiny aperture
  • Nice stabilization
  • Wealthy colours
  • Minimal aberration and distortion
  • Climate-sealed

Cons

  • Heavy and enormous (however not the heaviest or largest)
  • Not fairly as sharp as shorter L glass
  • $13K at Adorama

Gear Used

I examined the Canon RF 400mm f4 with:

The lens used on this evaluation was rented via LensRentals.

Improvements

Canon says the brand new RF 600mm f4 is optically an identical to the DSLR mount EF 600mm f4L IS III USM launched in 2018. However, whereas the optical design isn’t new, it shares some harder-to-find controls, together with a customizable energy zoom ring. Canon additionally has extra tremendous telephoto choices out there with out an adapter than Nikon’s Z mount — and even Sony E Mount. That’s a big feat, contemplating the E Mount has been round for much longer.

“There’s a wierd feeling to strolling round with more cash slung round my neck than the automobile that I arrived in.”

Tech Specs

LensRentals lists the next specs for the Canon RF 600mm:

  • Angle of View: 4° 10’
  • Aperture Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Autofocus: Autofocus
  • Model: Canon
  • Compatibility: Full Body
  • Diameter: 6.6”
  • Filter Measurement: 52.0mm drop-in
  • Focal Size: 600.0-600.0
  • Teams/Parts: 13/17
  • Hood Included: Sure
  • Picture Stabilization: Sure
  • Merchandise Kind: Lens
  • Size: 18.6”
  • Lens Kind: Tremendous telephoto
  • Max Aperture: 4.0
  • Most Magnification: 0.15x
  • Mfr. Mannequin Quantity: 5054C002
  • Minimal Aperture: 22.0
  • Minimal Focusing Distance: 13.8 ft
  • Mount: Canon RF
  • Tripod Collar: Detachable and Rotating
  • Weight: 6.8 lbs.

Ergonomics

The Canon RF 600mm isn’t only a piece of optical luxurious. No, this lens additionally doubles as exercise gear. Prepare this almost seven-pound lens on a distant fowl, then maintain that pose and anticipate the fowl to do one thing fascinating whereas your arm muscle tissues burn. Or, for a full-body exercise, crouch and brace your elbows in your knees for a steadier shot that spreads the burn all through the arms, core, and legs.

I jest, however solely a little bit bit. In keeping with my Apple Watch, I’ve by no means burned as many energy on a photograph hike on flat floor as I did hauling the Canon RF 600mm. The lens hood alone is as huge as my face. The lens itself is eighteen.6 inches lengthy. On my petite five-foot-two body, with this hanging from the digicam neck strap, the top of the lens hood reached all the way down to my shins. Whereas it’s massive, it’s attainable to shoot handheld. However attainable isn’t the identical factor as snug. You’ll need both a monopod, a tripod, or usually scheduled visits with a chiropractor.

It gained’t slot in many digicam luggage — fortunately, it ships with its personal lens case. Whereas most “free” lens instances are only a little bit of velvet, the case with this lens is definitely good and features a sling strap to put on the case in your again. It sells by itself for $440, however is included with this lens.

Whereas I’m complaining in regards to the measurement of this lens, it’s really not unhealthy for a super-telephoto with a vibrant aperture. Nikon’s F-mount 600mm f4 weighs 8.4 kilos. Sony’s weighs 6.7 kilos. It’s really barely heavier than the Canon EF 600mm f4L IS II USM, which weighs 6.71 kilos. It’s not the heaviest 600mm on the market, however should you’ve by no means shot a 600mm f4 prime earlier than, put together to huff a little bit should you hike with it.

Now that I’ve poked enjoyable on the measurement of this cannon — err, I imply Canon — let’s transfer on to the controls. Closest to the mount are two silver buttons on the high of the lens. This pulls out to drop in 52mm filters. Whereas the price of a filter on a $13K lens isn’t an enormous situation, I’m actually glad you don’t have to search out filters the dimensions of a salad plate to suit on the entrance it.

The primary financial institution of controls close to the left hand homes two switches for focusing: the main target limiter swap and, on high of that, the AF to MF swap. Not like most AF-MF switches, this additionally has a PF mode. The PF mode permits the small playback ring to vary the main target utilizing energy focus. This can be a function extra geared in the direction of video, with smoother, quicker focus modifications.

After these controls, the lens widens out a bit. The tripod ring sits right here. The ring is an efficient measurement and balances on a flat floor when the R3 is hooked up. There are two totally different screw-in mounts on the underside.

Subsequent is one other financial institution of controls, this one with 4 switches and two buttons. The highest swap has a stabilizer mode; the second turns stabilization on and off. Mode one is normal stabilization, mode two is for panning, and mode three solely prompts stabilization when the shutter is pressed (which implies the view from the viewfinder will not be stabilized).

Under these stabilization controls are extra focus controls. The set button and the main target preset swap (which has off, on, and on with sound), let you preset two focal lengths and shortly swap forwards and backwards between the 2. The ultimate swap means that you can customise the pace of the handbook focus ring, with three totally different settings.

Subsequent is the massive, grippy black focus ring. That’s adopted by the narrower playback ring, which alternates between the 2 focus presets or acts as an influence focus ring. The subsequent black ring isn’t really a bodily ring however fairly a skinny strip of grippy materials. 4 buttons evenly spaced listed below are AF cease buttons. Urgent and holding considered one of these buttons quickly pauses autofocusing.

The entrance of this lens is as massive as a salad plate. It’s all glass, with little plastic edging to talk of. Because the entrance is so massive, it ships with a comfortable material lens cap fairly than the standard plastic ones. That, together with the lens bag, is far nicer than you’d sometimes discover with lenses that don’t value 5 figures.

The Canon RF 600mm f4 is a big, heavy lens with loads of bodily controls. It’s not inconceivable to hike with: I took this about two miles round considered one of my favourite birding spots. It’s additionally not the heaviest 600mm f4. However, it’s ergonomically greatest for sitting in a blind and ready for wildlife or standing on the sidelines of a sports activities sport.

“The Canon RF 600mm isn’t only a piece of optical luxurious — no, this lens additionally doubles as exercise gear.”

Construct High quality

The lens feels nice within the fingers. I don’t wish to really feel how a lot heavier the lens can be if it had been metallic. However, it’s not the cheap-feeling plastic. The feel and appear stay as much as the L sequence normal.

As an L sequence lens, the RF 600mm F4 is mud and climate resistant with seals on the mount, switches, and rings. I didn’t have the chance to check it within the rain. I gave it a superb splash with a cup filled with water (whereas my hand was shaking a bit as a result of sure, I do know simply how a lot this lens prices). The lens saved taking pictures simply nice, with all of the rings and switches functioning usually. I additionally didn’t discover mud on the sensor; the R3 has the shutter closing between lens swaps which additionally helps.

Autofocus

The Canon RF 600mm f4 is able to focusing as shut as about 13 ft from the entrance of the lens. On a 600mm, that will get in good and shut and provides some spectacular background blur consequently.

As I anticipated, focusing a lens that’s almost as tall as my toddler is not any straightforward feat. That’s simply easy physics; transferring so many components alongside such an important distance is a problem. Fortunately, Canon is as much as the problem. Birding with this lens, the 600mm missed lower than 5 % of the time. A few of these misses had been consumer errors or branches in the way in which. Some had been fly-by birds the place I couldn’t lock focus shortly sufficient, although the lens additionally had loads of sharp fliers as properly.

The trick that I’ve discovered to focusing with this lens is to keep away from going from one excessive to the opposite. The lens had essentially the most bother when specializing in a distant fowl then switching deal with a a lot nearer fowl. The main focus limiter swap will assist right here. Or, I discovered specializing in the trunk of the close-up tree earlier than coaching the lens on the close by fowl additionally labored properly. Specializing in a small topic whereas additionally transferring from infinity to a a lot nearer focal distance was essentially the most difficult for this lens. However, particularly paired with the R3’s animal eye detection, this lens will sustain with motion 95 % of the time.

Ease of Use

A $13,000 lens isn’t a newbie’s lens. There are a number of bodily controls on this lens. Even after utilizing different Canon lenses previously, I nonetheless needed to dig into the consumer handbook to study what the playback ring was and find out how to set the focal distances to shortly swap between the 2.

However, when you spend the time studying these controls, these choices will assist photographers get essentially the most out of such a lens. The playback ring or the main target limiter switches will assist swap from one excessive focal size to the opposite effectively. 

The opposite problem to this lens, in fact, is the dimensions. It gained’t slot in many digicam luggage. The 600mm is cumbersome and heavy to hold round. The 6.8 kilos doesn’t sound like a lot till you attempt to maintain that weight regular for a number of minutes. It’s additionally a bit awkward to mount. I discovered it simpler to twist the digicam physique as an alternative of twisting the lens in place.

“Birding with this lens, the 600mm missed lower than 5 % of the time. A few of these misses had been consumer error or branches in the way in which.”

However, whereas heavy and super-telephoto, the stabilization system makes it attainable to shoot with no tripod. (You probably have the arm power for it, anyway.) When birding, the blur from the motion of the birds got here properly earlier than any blur from digicam shake (although shake did creep in on a couple of photos). After all, lenses made for birding and sports activities are going for use at these larger shutter speeds most frequently anyhow. I spent most of my time above 1/600. The stabilization system not less than permits such a heavy lens to nonetheless match inside the reciprocal rule. The monopod I used was largely for my very own consolation and never as a result of the stabilization system couldn’t deal with such an enormous, lengthy lens.

Picture High quality

The pictures from the Canon RF 600mm f4 are the prize for wielding that heavy glass. The super-telephoto focal size blended with the f4 aperture creates an impact that’s troublesome to do with different optics. The 600mm makes objects really feel nearer collectively. And the f4 aperture creates a shallow depth of area. Collectively, the mix provides photos a wholly totally different really feel; objects pop extra whereas backgrounds blur into almost a offered coloration. 

I knew precisely the place I wished to go along with a 600mm lens: an island the place blue herons make their nests yearly. I’ve shot in the identical location with a 100-500mm telephoto and the branches sometimes look flat, as if they might all be from the identical tree. The 600mm f4 separated the clump of bushes, giving them extra dimension. Whereas distant topics like that really feel extra 3D, the lens created lovely, almost solid-colored backgrounds on nearer wildlife.

Bokeh

That is the type of lens that makes wildlife seem virtually as if it had been shot towards a studio background. The lengthy focal size and vibrant aperture, with nearer topics, blur the background into one stable coloration. On additional topics, objects seem to have extra depth. The out-of-focus parts appear to have virtually a painterly really feel to them.

Cropped

The out-of-focus highlights are sometimes comfortable and spherical, with no exhausting edge. Smaller, brighter highlights, corresponding to splashes of water sometimes have extra of an edge and a slight cleaning soap bubble look to them.

Sharpness

As a chief lens, the RF 600mm f4 has a pleasant stage of sharpness to it. It’s not overly sharp; I’ve seen sharper shorter primes. Pixel peeping, the middle isn’t fairly as sharp as among the shorter RF primes that I’ve examined. And I do must marvel if a few of that’s utilizing the identical optical design because the EF lens. However the heart is sharp and the corners have little fall off, even taking pictures at large open. I shot this lens at f4 more often than not. And whereas my take a look at chart wasn’t fairly as sharp, for real-world pictures, I didn’t discover any vital loss intimately.

Lens Character

The RF 600mm f4 has little nook bending, I didn’t spot apparent pincushion or barrel distortion. Equally, chromatic aberration was troublesome to search out and excessive distinction areas corresponding to the sides of tree branches appeared fairly clear within the RAW information. You could find some aberration in backlit areas, nevertheless it’s minor and also you’ll solely discover it when pixel peeping.

Pointing this lens on the solar creates comfortable white flare blooms fairly than colourful dot flare. It’s a pleasant comfortable impact and there’s nonetheless a little bit of distinction left.

Shade Rendering

The colours from this lens really feel wealthy, but reasonable. The colours didn’t really feel over or under-saturated, however I most well-liked photos that had been barely under-exposed. Colours with only a little bit of underexposure look very wealthy. With out apparent aberration to intervene, the colours look very clear. Effectively-exposed photos with the sky because the background had a pleasant gentle really feel to them.

Further Picture Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been enormous on transparency with our viewers. Nothing from this evaluation is sponsored. Additional, a number of people will put up critiques and present a number of enhancing within the pictures. The issue then turns into that anybody and everybody can do the identical factor. They’re not exhibiting what the lens can do. So we’ve got a piece in our Further Picture Samples space to indicate edited and unedited pictures. From this, you may make a call for your self.

Edited

Unedited

Conclusions

Likes

  • Pictures have nice depth, wealthy colours, and tremendous comfortable backgrounds.
  • Even with such a big lens, the autofocus remains to be wonderful.
  • The stabilization makes it attainable to handhold this lens, despite the fact that it’s heavy.
  • There’s minimal aberration or distortion to complain about.
  • This lens is weather-resistant and has loads of bodily controls.

Dislikes

  • Its measurement and weight make this lens troublesome to hike round with.
  • I’ve seen a bit extra sharpness from shorter L mount lenses.
  • That worth is hard to swallow: $13K at Adorama.

The Canon RF 600mm f4 is a heavy, costly lens. But, the pictures are value hauling such a big optic round, with wealthy coloration, comfortable backgrounds, and shut element. The autofocus retains up 95 % of the time and the picture stabilization makes it attainable to shoot handheld (although nonetheless uncomfortable). The massive lens was a dialog starter amongst different fowl photographers, so maybe it isn’t supreme for introverts.

Would I purchase this lens? Effectively, I must make a style change from a marriage photographer to knowledgeable wildlife photographer. As a hobbyist, the worth is just too a lot to justify. The lens can also be tougher to hike with than a 100-500mm, despite the fact that the 600mm carries a a lot totally different look to it. However it’s a powerful lens, significantly when paired with the R3.

One very last thing to notice; it’s optically much like Canon’s EF mount 600mm. House owners of that earlier lens probably gained’t discover a noticeable distinction in picture high quality. I can’t say for sure, nonetheless, how properly adapting the older EF lens will work with autofocusing.

I’m giving the Canon RF 600mm f4 5 out of 5 stars. Need one? Test them out for $13K at Adorama or hire it at LensRentals.





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