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CameraLabs reviews the Canon RF 100-500mm

Gordon is one of my favorite reviewers, and this time he takes out and reviews the Canon RF 100-500mm.

Some of the key features of the Canon RF 100-500 include;

  • Versatile telephoto zoom lens is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless cameras.
  • Six UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) elements and one Super UD element help to minimize chromatic aberrations and color fringing in order to provide greater clarity and color accuracy.
  • An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by five stops to better enable working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds. Three distinct IS modes are available: standard single-shot mode, a panning-optimized mode, and a mode that only activates the Image Stabilizer during the exposure.
  • Dual Nano USM system utilizes both a ring type USM and an STM mechanism to realize quick and accurate focusing that is also smooth and nearly silent to suit both photography and video applications. This focusing system also affords full-time manual focus control when working in the one-shot AF mode.
  • Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.
  • Protective fluorine coating has been applied to the front and rear element to resist fingerprints and smudges and to make cleaning these elements significantly easier.
  • As a member of the esteemed L-series, this lens has a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture to enable its use in inclement conditions.
  • Rotation-type zoom ring features torque adjustment capabilities to fine-tune the handling of the lens or to prevent the lens from accidentally extending.
  • Included lens hood features a side window to allow for easier adjustment of specialized rotating filters, such as polarizers, while the lens hood is attached.
  • Compatible with optional Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x teleconverters, when used within the 300-500mm range of the lens, to further extend the effective focal length range.

From his verdict;

In my tests the RF 100-500mm delivered sharp results across the frame, throughout the focal range and with the aperture wide-open. Sure, it wasn’t sharper than the EF 100-400 Mark II in my tests, but that’s a stellar lens and the new model maintains this standard while reaching 25% longer. I love that you’re getting this boost in reach with a lens that’s barely longer and actually lighter, while the rubber-tipped lens hood, fully removable tripod collar, and of course the custom control ring are also nice additions.

What’s not to like? Teleconverters will only work when the zoom is set between 300 and 500mm which is inconvenient for transportation. The f4.5-7.1 focal ratio isn’t going to deliver the shallowest depth-of-field effects, but the rendering is fine and again similar to the 100-400. The closest focusing is beaten by the 100-400 at the long-end, but compensated by the longer focal length. And issues reported by some early owners regarding an IS wobble under certain conditions appear to have been resolved with a firmware update. The biggest issue beyond the teleconverters is the price.

Watch the video above, and you can also read his full review here.


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