September 25, 2022

Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

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Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

The brand-new Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM modifications that, bringing a huge reach to the eye-AF-equipped bodies like the EOS R3. With 4.5 stops of stabilization, its possible to really make photographs with this huge lens handheld.

Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

While theres a lot to enjoy about the Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM, its a dream lens for most. The charming blend of background separation and sharp topics is dreamy, yes, but the $13k cost point will haunt lots of photographers. For the few who can set aside the cash, is the 800mm reach worth it, or is the large size a deal-breaker?

Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

The Big Picture

Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

The Canon RF 800 f5.6 L IS USM is as long as my arm with a front aspect almost as large as a salad plate. A monopod will make using this lens more enjoyable, particularly when training it on a bird and then waiting for something amazing to take place.

Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review


Hypnotic Photos, Gigantic Lens: Canon RF 800mm F5.6 L Review

While an f5.6 might not be a lot at 50mm or even 100mm, at 800mm, theres plenty of background separation. With closer subjects, the background turns into a strong color. Even shooting more far-off birds, the different branches of the very same tree still have a fantastic depth to them.

Additional Image Samples.

I utilized the Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L with the Canon EOS R3. The lens was a rental courtesy of LensRentals; the camera body is on loan from Canon.

The Canon RF series has actually just been around for a few years, yet theyve handled to develop a remarkable very telephoto reach with the RF 800mm f5.6 L. While its not the only 800mm (Nikon has one in Z mount), its an unusual focal length to find. But, whats more excellent is that this 800mm, this nearly seven pound lens, can be shot handheld.

Points of light are quickly rendered into round bokeh balls. Bokeh has soft edges– I could not find any onion ringing or soap bubbling. What I truly like about longer focal lengths is the capability to make those bokeh balls appear larger and closer to the subject and the 800mm didnt dissatisfy there either.

Build Quality.

Compatibility: Full Frame.
Filter Size: 52.0 mm.
Filter Type: Drop-In.
Focal Length: 800.0-800.0.
Hood Included: Yes.
Image Stabilization: Yes.
Item Type: Lens.
Lens Type: Super-telephoto.
Max Aperture: 5.6.
Optimum Magnification: 0.34 x.
Mfr. Model Number: 5055C002AA.
Minimum Aperture: 22.0.
Minimum Focusing Distance: 8.5 feet.
Mount: Canon RF.
Optical Design.
Groups/Elements: 18/16.
Ultra-Low Dispersion Elements: 1.
Super UD Elements: 1.
Fluorite Elements: 2.

Im offering the Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM 5 out of 5 stars. Want one? Inspect them out on Amazon, Adorama, and LensRentals.

Super sharp
Lovely melted backgrounds
Exceptional grab wildlife photography
Actually possible to utilize portable
Great deals of controls

Next up is the tripod collar, which rotates to permit both horizontal and vertical shots. Its a good size and I found the collar useful as a grip for handholding this lens.

Equipment Used.

I began with the mutual guideline at 1/800. I believed for sure that the lens weight would require a higher-than-normal shutter speed, however I was shocked when I came down to 1/100, then 1/60, then 1/30. The sharpest shots are at 1/125 and above, but this photo listed below was shot at 1/30, with just a very slight softness to it:.

While the RF 800mm isnt without its difficulties, Canon has fixed one of the greatest challenges for long telephotos: getting a sharp shot. The stabilization on this lens is exceptional. Canon keeps in mind that, because of the longer focal length, in-body stabilization isnt supported with this lens. The 4.5 stops of stabilization was outstanding.



Alleviate of Use.


The second bank of controls is the largest one, holding the stabilizer mode and stabilizer on-off switch. The final three controls are for focus: a focus pre-programmed set button, an on off switch for quickly moving between two predetermined focus positions, and a switch to change manual focus speeds.

Edited RAW.


Its an amazing lens for birding and wildlife photography, while sports photographers who require that longer reach will find success with it. I shot some of my best bird photography with this lens installed on the R6.

I didnt identify any major color fringing with this lens.

Was I nervous sprinkling water on nearly $20k worth of cam and lens? Absolutely. However such costly equipment should not break quickly so evaluating the weather-sealing was a must. I gave the lens and video camera a good splash with a cup of water. Whatever continued functioning generally and I didnt find any dust areas on my images after the tests.

I found a topic that would remain still for me (a turtle) and challenged myself to see simply how low I might press the shutter speed. To be clear, I was bracing my elbows against my body, holding my breath, and doing whatever possible to keep the cam stead. (Well, whatever except for avoiding my morning coffee.).

Lens Character.

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Absolutely nothing from this evaluation is sponsored. Even more, lots of folks will publish evaluations and show lots of modifying in the pictures. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. Theyre not revealing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to reveal edited and unedited images. From this, you can make a choice for yourself.

Telephoto lenses are, by nature, harder to focus. If the lens is already focused on something close by, focusing is rather fast.


The character on this lens comes largely from that long 800mm focal length. Its a technically superior lens, but it still has some character due to the background suppression and shallow depth of field. On a scale from vintage character to sterile scientific perfection, this lens sits someplace in the middle.


Color Rendition.

Such a big lens leaves a great deal of space for physical controls, so the list of buttons and switches is a long one. Starting at the mount and moving towards the front, the very first function is a set of silver buttons that takes out a drop-in filter for 52mm screw-in filters.

Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L Tech Specs.

Its heavy
Its $13k.
The AF limiter switch is required for the most speed and accuracy.

With the AF limiter on, the lens seldom missed out on while the pet dog was within range. Sports photographers are absolutely going to desire to use the focus limiter switch.

Shot in 1.6 x crop mode.

With this lens and the R3, I shot the finest wildlife images that Ive taken so far. While the reach is remarkable, whats more excellent is that this lens is possible to utilize portable for brief periods of time.

While theres no denying this lens is sensational, at $13k, its simply a dream or perhaps a short-term leasing for numerous. The big size also makes the lens more perfect for setting up a wildlife blind and remaining put, rather than hiking around with it.


The PF is for Power Focus, which turns one of the lens rings into a power focus control: a function more valuable for videography. The lens ships with a big lens hood, a soft cap, and a huge lens bag. Telephoto lenses are, by nature, harder to focus. If the lens is currently focused on something close by, focusing is rather quick. Wielding an almost 7 pound lens with an 800mm reach is no easy task.

The Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L grabs a great deal of detail and texture. Its well sharp, without being extremely so. Topics towards the edges of the frame at f5.6 were a little softer than the center, however still acceptably sharp. Photographers will not require to step down this lens in order to get sharp images.

Color me pleased. Of course, this is the best case scenario. Shooting from a vibrating truck window, shooting a bird too fast to brace my elbows, or merely shooting with arms tired of holding up a huge lens results in electronic camera shake even at much higher shutter speeds. However, when lighting ends up being restricted, or when you wish to deliberately blur the movement of an animal or athlete, its definitely possible to shoot well listed below the reciprocal guideline with this lens.

If you are expecting fantastic images from a $13k lens, you wont be dissatisfied here. The 800mm focal length melts backgrounds like chocolate on an Arizona walkway in August. Subjects are sharp, even towards the edges of the frame. With the R3 and the RF 800mm f5.6 L, I shot the very best wildlife images Ive ever caught. Though, obviously, I have to keep in mind that this is likewise among the most pricey mixes Ive used so far.

Measurements (ø x L): 6.4 × 17 ″.
Weight: 6.9 pounds.

Wielding a nearly 7 pound lens with an 800mm reach is no easy job. One of the most challenging elements of utilizing this lens was merely aiming in the right spot. When using a zoom lens, you can zoom out, center the bird, and zoom in.

Once I got the hang of using such a long lens, I got a quite respectable hit rate. Photographers need to anticipate to practice a bit and be able to discover the AF limiter switch by feel to get the most out of this lens.

If theres a downside to this lens, its the size and cost. The massive length and 6.9 pound weight likewise implies its a lens thats finest for sitting in a wildlife blind or hanging off a safari Jeep rather than treking ten miles.

The other difficulty of utilizing this lens is all those controls. The focus choices, like the focus limiter switch in particular, is necessary. There are a lot of controls to get acquainted with and it will take time before you can reach for the best one without pulling your face from the viewfinder.

The colors coming from the RF 800mm on the R3 general felt extremely real to the scene. I didnt feel the need to color edit an overwhelming amount of pictures from the 800mm on the R3. The images that I felt required some color work were since of the environment and not necessarily the lens.

Image Quality.

Tripod Collar Fixed and Rotating.

The very first bank of controls starts with an AF to MF switch, with a PF in the middle. Canon photographers are most likely acquainted with the AF (autofocus) and MF (manual focus). The PF is for Power Focus, which turns among the lens rings into a power focus control: a feature more valuable for videography. Underneath that is a focus limiter switch.

Similarly, the R3s animal eye AF was a big help in quickly focusing on the eye. The bird has to be close enough to being in focus for the video camera to even acknowledge that theres a bird there. While I might inform that the more rounded blurred blob was the bird I wished to photograph and not another branch, the R3 didnt pick up on the eye until I used the joystick to bring the bird enough in focus that the cam could tell it was a bird.

Desire one? Examine them out on Amazon, Adorama, and LensRentals.

LensRentals lists the following tech specs for the Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM:.

Canons L glass normally has a quite high-end feel to it. The RF 800mm is no exception. Obviously, I was a bit too hectic stabilizing seven pounds of glass to appreciate the feel. This lens certainly doesnt feel like cheap plastic.

Who Should Buy It?.

The lens ships with a large lens hood, a soft cap, and a big lens bag. Because the lens will not fit in a great deal of bags, the included bag is a great function. Its not the inexpensive velvet cloth bags that ship with a fundamental lens; its a nice quality sling bag with a decently comfortable strap.


The rest of the lens is rings: a big, grippy handbook focus ring and a narrow power focus ring. The lens also has 4 equally spaced AF stop buttons.