Canon’s new 600mm and 800mm lenses

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,734
Re: Canon’s new 600mm and 800mm lenses

Chris R-UK wrote:

IMHO these two lenses are the most extraordinary to have been introduced for many years. They are extraordinary in specifications (fixed f/11 apertures!), size/weight and price.

Does anybody know anything about the “gapless dual layer diffractive optics” used in these lenses? What advantages and disadvantages does this technology have compared with, say, Canon’s 400mm f/4 DO and Nikon’s 500mm f/5.6 PF lenses, both of which are very much more expensive than the new lenses?

Clearly having an f/11 aperture reduces the size of the front element of the lens, but does making this a fixed aperture have significant design advantages and cost savings?

A fixed aperture limits the performance of the lens, but f/11is pretty tight already.  I think that including an iris would be bad for marketing purposes, because diffraction softening would go from marginal to worse, and so the MTF curves often shown by lens reviews would be atrocious. Anyway, with very long lenses, large f/stop values aren't practical, as these are usually used for distant action shots, where high shutter speeds and natural light are required.

But even having an f/11 f/stop is a very good improvement over some superzoom cameras with similar long equivalent focal lengths. The Nikon P1000 has a full frame equivalent of f/31 at 800 mm and maybe f/29 at 600 mm. While I would fully expect having to use elevated ISO values while shooting these lenses, the noise and optical performance should likely be much better over using a long superzoom.

Diffractive optics can make a lens significantly smaller and lighter, but from what I read, they don't improve optical quality over traditional ground glass lenses.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +2 more
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