Photographing Birds with Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM

One of my participants, Mark Doing, on the November photo tour to Costa Rica asked if I’d like to use his Canon RF 800mm f/11 lens. This is a relatively new lens in the Canon RF line-up so I jumped at the chance.

Baltimore oriole photographed with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Uncropped

Above shows an image taken with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.

Above is a comparison of an image photographed at the same time with the higher priced Canon RF 100-500mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.

Canon advertises this lens as its “first compact and lightweight 800mm super telephoto lens in the RF lineup.” The lens has image stabilization that provides up “to 4 stops of shake correction” for nice hand-held images. The lens also takes the RF 1.4x teleconverter. That would be 1120mm!

The lens does not focus close like the RF 100-500mm. It only focuses to 19.69ft, which is pretty far away.

The lens is 13.85-inches long with the lens hood. Yet, it only weighs 2.77-pounds. Cost $899.

As a comparison, the RF 100-500mm lens focuses to 3.94-feet, extends to 11.71-inches, and weighs 3-pounds. Cost $2799.

I’d love to work with this lens for a longer time. My short experience with it, though, tells me that this is a quality lens. The price is nice, too.

Bokeh between the Canon RF 800mm and the Canon RF 100-500mm? Look below. Pretty sweet with both lenses.

Have you used the Canon RF 800mm? Opinion and comments below would be nice. Thanks for reading.

Author: kathyadamsclark

Professional photographer leading workshops and tours.

2 thoughts on “Photographing Birds with Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM”

  1. Great info! The 800 lens might get me closer to transitioning to mirrorless.

    I am a bit concerned about the needed boost in ISO due to the f/11 aperture. But, I don’t see any noise in your photos. What ISO settings were you using on the Baltimore Oriole photos for the 100 – 500 and for the 800?

    Thank you for making this comparison and sharing your results.

    Like

    1. ISO 800 on both of them, Patti. No change in settings between the birds except what you’d get using AV. The price point on this lens makes it an easy choice. Only downside I can see is the inability to zoom out on big birds.

      Like

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