Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

The 100-400 range or similar is a focal range that I use a lot. 15-20 years ago(at that time as a Nikon shooter) Nikon's first 80-400 was the lens that got the most time on my D1-...-D3 bodies later replaced with the new version (80-400 AF-S VR) and finally with the excellent 200-500. "Excellent because unlike the 80-400 AF-S VR, the 200-500 provides significantly more sharpness at its widest aperture.
Even though very sharp, the 200-500 is big and heavy to lug around on a long hike and if you love to capture a dragonfly as much as a heron that takes off 50 meters further it isn't the best choice because of its closest focusing distance which isn't that close.... For that reason, -at that time as a Nikon user-, I always envied Canon's second version of the 100-400 that can be used at a very close distance while focusing significantly faster ànd lighter to carry around.
In my second year with Nikon Z6 & Z7 the great Fringer EF-to-Z adapter pulled me in the Canon direction for the first time with a EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM that was working very well on my Nikon Z bodies....


After my EOS R5 encounter and complete brand switch, the EF 100-400 remained a lens that I use a lot.
Under while very sure that my Nikon Z to Canon RF is a one-way ticket I was very tempted by the size and weight of the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8, and I pre-ordered my copy @ Audiophil in Aachen, Germany. A "real" shop with professional advice where you can see, feel, and try before you buy...

On the day of receipt and early testing, I was unlucky with the weather circumstances which confirmed that a 400mm lens with F8 as its widest aperture needs good light for decent BIF or insect in flight captures which require fast >< very fast shutter speeds. A full stop difference with the EF 100-400... I hate to go above iso 3200...

but...

In good light this lens is simply a marvel... And in bad weather? ... I don't go for a hike 8-) ...
Some samples...(crops with the original scene and Exif pasted into the image).
:!: :arrow: Underneath images have not been post-processed or sharpened.

Very fast focusing and super sharp at close focusing distance(comparable with my RF 100 F2.8 MACRO). THE perfect lens for handheld dragonfly photography.

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An image at medium distance & high iso (3200),heavily cropped provides still good detail although in-camera noise reduction is visible:
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Because of the very fast focusing and sharpness, excellent for (big) birds in-flight photography:(I was following this heron for approx 50 shots, all perfectly sharp...)
Underneath image is also heavily cropped as you can see in the pasted screenshot-exif.

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About the focusing ability, -accuracy and -speed, of course partly because combined with the incredible EOS R5, a special experience: In the middle of a pond where I was waiting for a kingfisher passing by, I saw a couple of dragonflies mating above the water. I took 77 consecutive pictures of their erratic mating dance and they were ALL sharp, despite the big distance for an insect that you normally need close to the camera to get a decent shot...

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:!: :o What is incredible here is that the EOS R5 combined with this lens can keep tracking perfectly a couple of dragonflies at a distance of 20,2 meters !!! :o
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...until a hungry moorhen made an end to the love story... :( :cry:

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RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS compared to the Nikon Z 100-400

Post by Stany Buyle »

NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S vs Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
  • Weight: 1355 gr vs 635 gr :o
  • Closest focus distance/ max reproduction ratio: 0,95m@ 400mm & 0,38x vs 0,88m@ 400mm & 0,41x
  • Maximum aperture number F4-F5.6 vs F5.6 - F8
  • Price: € 2999 vs € 749 :shock:
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The RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is excellent for portraiture...

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The RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is excellent for portraiture... :D (Winnie & Baloe's life story here)
NO additional post-processing or sharpening was applied.

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Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is excellent for birding...

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Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is good for birding, but a little short focal for small species. For birds as the first one here underneath I prefer a longer tele.

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Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS for airplane spotting

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After I picked up this lens @ audiophil in Aachen, on the way back home I passed by the Brussels airport plane spotting area, but unfortunately, there wasn't any close aircraft traffic during the 30 minutes I was there...
I'm convinced it's a perfect tool for this as well...

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The Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is the ULTIMATE dragonfly lens.

Post by Stany Buyle »

After a couple of thousand dragonfly pictures with this lens, and +30 years of practice in dragonfly photography I find the Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS is the ULTIMATE dragonfly lens.
Why? Very fast focusing. Light and compact for long-time handheld shooting, 100-400 focal range, exceptional sharpness at a short distance and 0.41x magnification and great image stabilisation.
NO additional post-processing or sharpening was applied.

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Thanks for your attention and kindest regards,
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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Detail as this lens provides without any sharpening or post-processing while shooting handheld.

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One more:

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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From a walk in our local parc. Image taken handheld.

NO additional post-processing or sharpening was applied.

The scene with exif:
Image

And a 100% crop:
Image
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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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From yesterday, taken @ our local parc.
Resized to 1000px longest side.

Image

Image

and a 100% crop from the original:

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Underneath image is a crop from the area as you can see in the pasted exif and resized to 1250px wide.
Taken handheld with EOS R5.


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And a 100% crop of the eye...

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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From 3122 x3122 px resized to 1250 x 1250 px

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Image
A 100% crop
Image
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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Image taken in relative bad light and iso 2500.
Crop resized to 1250px longest side from 2553 x 1702px

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kindest regards,

Stany
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Re: Canon RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS review

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Yesterday I met a swarm of dragonflies. They were chasing and flying extremely fast which obliged me to go for 1/4000 shutter speed.

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kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Dragonfly in flight with EOS R5 and RF 100-400/5.6-8.0 IS

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