Comparing the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM to the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

The Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM is the latest in Canon's line of respected telephoto and supertelephoto zoom lenses. How does it compare to its predecessor, the already impressive EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM? This great video review takes a look.

Coming to you from Jan Wegener, this excellent video review compares the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM to the highly respected EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM. The EF 100-400mm is well known for being a versatile performer with excellent image quality, making it useful for a huge range of applications, from sports to bird photography, especially considering it gives professional results at a fraction of the price of ultra-expensive supertelephoto primes lenses. The RF 100-500mm is the natural mirrorless analog to the EF version, bringing impressive image quality and autofocus performance along with the versatility of an extra 100mm of reach at the long end of the lens. For those who already own the EF 100-400mm and are slowly transitioning to mirrorless, this raises the question of whether it is worth upgrading to the RF 100-500mm or simply using an adapter with the EF version. Check out the video above for Wegener's full thoughts. 

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Nacona Nix's picture

Very useful comparison, and great subjects in the video. Hard to go wrong with either lens. I'm pining for the 100-500 having just gotten into the RF system.

Robert McCaslan's picture

Nice comparison. I sold my 100-400 in anticipation of the 100-500 release (and I sold my 5DMIII ages ago), so I had no real basis for comparison. Regardless, I've been pleased with the 100-500, and have no regrets (and no hesitation) replacing the older lens (I shot my avatar photo with the 100-500).

I agree with Wegener that the additional 100mm is a complete game changer. As amazing as the 100-400mm was--and still is--400mm is just too short for birding. 500mm really is the minimum FL, and the fact that Canon is able to add that additional 100mm in essentially the same form factor at the cost of less than a full stop of light is amazing. Okay, the true cost is the breathtaking price of this lens. However, due to its compact size, you can take this lens anywhere, which I can't say about any other zoom that includes 500mm. The only other way to get to 500mm without teleconverters in this size package is the Nikon 500mm pf, which is slightly larger, even more expensive, and loses the convenience of a zoom. Thus, I have no regrets on replacing my 100-400 with this instrument, but my wallet is still feeling it.

Lawrence Huber's picture

I will keep the 100-400mm mii at first but migrate to the 100-500mm mii when it comes out.

Kev Mil's picture

100-500ii ? That sounds like you’re waiting at least a decade lol

Lawrence Huber's picture

Per my budget priorities sounds about right.

Brian B's picture

Thanks for the very helpful review. Of course the 100-500 will be superior, but since I own the 100-400 the cost of upgrading is the biggest issue. If I am planning to do a lot of bird and wildlife photography at some point (currently doing very little) I would upgrade and sell my 100-400. Not sure when I will make the switch to mirrorless, but don't feel any rush at the moment. Prices seem outrageous, and I expect they will be coming down over the next few years. Thanks again!