Comparing the Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM to the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM

Canon has been blazing full speed ahead with its RF lenses, with two of the new models being the RF 800mm f/11 IS STM and the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM. Both feature some of the company's latest designs and features, but offer vastly different capabilities and price points. Which one is right for you? This excellent video comparison takes a look at the image quality and experience of using both. 

Coming to you from Photo Genius, this great video review compares the Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM to the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens. At $2,699, the 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L is definitely a professional lens, but it also offers impressive image quality and the kind of performance and focal length versatility that can tackle a wide variety of genres and scenarios with ease. On the other hand, for those who are just looking to get their feet with super telephoto lenses or who simply want one for occasional use, the 800mm f/11 comes in at just a third the price of the zoom, albeit with the loss of focal length versatility and a much narrower maximum aperture. Both appear to be good performers relative to their prices, however. Check out the video above for the full rundown on both lenses. 

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Tony Northrup's picture

Re: the 800 f/11 having a smaller maximum aperture, for those situations where you have to crop to 800mm, the effective aperture is basically identical. With the 100-500, you'd be shooting at 500mm and cropping 1.6X to reach 800mm. f/7.1 * 1.6 = f/11. So, the results you'd get between the two lenses for both background separation and total visible noise in the resulting image would be identical. However, photos taken with the 800mm lens would have a higher megapixel count because no cropping was necessary.

Obviously the 500mm is the more versatile lens.

Jim Wilson's picture

While the 800/11 certainly is a viable lens, it in no way compares with the speed, agility and sharpness the RF 100-500 offers. Nor does the performance come anywhere near the "big white" 800mm. I own the 100-500, and the 800/5.6 and have been testing the 800/11 for a week or so.Please don't misunderstand, if I didn't own those aforementioned lenses I would most likely add the 800/11 to my gear list, because it is certainly a worthy lens. I'm finding that I miss a lot of shots with it because I'm expecting it to perform like the other lenses and it does not. When one does nail a shot with it, the background is pleasing and the image is "reasonably" sharp, acceptably sharp even, just not eye poppingly crisp. Again, if a $900 lens performed like a $13,000 optic, well life just does not work that way.