Canon launched two interesting telephoto lenses in July 2020, they are the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses, announced together with the launch of the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6. Back in 2020, I had a short hands on experience with the RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses, those two prime lenses definitely caught my attention and I was planning to review them down the road. However, since I was blown and carried away by the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless cameras, my attention at that time was on those two cameras first. Fast forward to 2022, I finally made plans and arrangements to do the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM review.

Both RF600mm f/11 and RF800mm f/11 were reviewed together with the Canon EOS R3 full-frame mirrorless camera. Inside my Canon EOS R3 review article, I shared on bringing the RF600mm f/11 and RF800mm f/11 lenses out for photography walks and wildlife shoot, part of my own short visual stories collection titled, “A TGH Photography x Canon EOS R3 Explorer Series Production”.    

 

Interesting lenses, why does Canon design and manufacture such type of prime lenses? That got me thinking, I finally got to test and review both lenses, let me share with you my experiences, thoughts and views.

During my photography walkabouts, I alternate between those two lenses to bring out with my other Canon lenses. The RF600mm f/11 is more versatile as it can cover more areas beside wildlife photography, it can be used for cityscape and landscape photography. However, for wildlife photography, a longer focal length is always preferred and most welcomed, thus the RF800mm f/11 is stronger in the wildlife photography segment.

Pros 

  • Lightweight, compact and portable 
  • Not expensive compared to the L lens 600mm and 800mm counterparts 
  • Output is sharp for the f/11 lenses when shot in good light conditions
  • Paired with a fast and accurate AF camera such as the Canon EOS R3, it makes RF600mm f/11 and RF800mm f/11 easy to use in good light conditions

Cons

  • It’s f/11 only
  • Not a fast prime lens 
  • Struggle in low light situations – photos output quality is not good and autofocus (AF) is slow 

600mm f/11 vs 800mm f/11, how to choose?

Choose 600mm f/11 for both cityscape / travel / wildlife, it’s a more versatile lens that can do a good mix of photography genres when traveling overseas.

Choose 800mm f/11 for dedicated wildlife photography, the field of view is a lot more cropped and tight. 

Thoughts and Views

  • Both Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses are good starter prime lenses for photographers starting to enter into wildlife photography.
  • When used in good light conditions, it’s easy to use and can produce decent sharp photos
  • The price point for both lenses, it’s value for money without breaking your personal bank owning telephoto lenses. Owning a large aperture / fast prime telephoto lens such as RF400mm f/2.8L IS USM, 600mm f/4L IS USM lenses or RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM lenses, you need the extra funds as they are very expensive.
  • Both are ideal travel photography / wildlife photography lenses, it’s really lightweight, compact and portable, easy to use.

In my personal humble opinion, for those are who are looking into owning the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM or RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses, a key point to take note is to know and understand the limitations of f/11, how you can make the best of those two prime f/11 lenses, and making the best use of light and timing to ensure its strengths are being tapped upon.

If you would like to view more photos shot with the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses, you can visit my Flickr collections and check them out! Do also check out my Canon EOS R3 photography album too! 

I would like to thank Canon Singapore for the opportunity to review the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM and RF800mm f/11 IS STM lenses. 

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