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Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM Review

Dustin Abbott has completed his review of the Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM.

The Canon RF 60mm F11 is unlike any other autofocus lens that Canon has created. Harken back to manual focus FD days and fixed aperture telephotos.  Its key features are;

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Fixed f/11 Aperture
  • Retractable, Locking Lens Barrel
  • Gapless Dual-Layer Diffractive Optics
  • STM Stepping AF Motor
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Compatible with RF Extenders

Most importantly it's a very small, and very inexpensive 600mm.  Those words are rarely used with 600mm prime.

Dustin lists the pros and cons of this lens as;

Pros:

  • Cheapest way to get to 600mm
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Effective image stabilizer
  • Excellent sharpness across the frame
  • Good control of aberrations and distortion
  • Low vignette
  • Autofocus is effective
  • Nice bokeh

Cons:

  • Extremely slow maximum aperture results in limited autofocus area
  • Need to move lens into shooting position means some shots will be missed
  • Lens requires a LOT of light
  • Neither hood nor tripod foot included
  • Autofocus in low light will be poor
  • Minimum focus distance is long and magnification is low

He also concludes;

It is rare that I refer to a Canon lens as “quirky”, but both the Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM and Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM telephoto primes definitely qualify as quirky.  Canon’s engineers were willing to overlook a number of typical design conventions and niceties to produce functional telephoto primes with massive reach and good performance at bargain prices.  Used in the right conditions, either of these lenses is perfectly capable of producing stunning images.

But those quirks do help define the lens, however.  The loosen, extend, and tighten nature of getting the lens ready to shoot will result in some missed shots.  The small maximum aperture means that this is a lens designed for very specific (read:  bright!) lighting conditions, and so the opportunities to take full advantage of the stellar optics are limited by that physical reality.

Read Dustin's full review here


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