My take on the RF 800mm f/11 DO IS STM for birds

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP BirdShooter7 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,018
Re: My take on the RF 800mm f/11 DO IS STM for birds

CameraCarl wrote:

Great review and wonderful photos. I borrowed a friend's rented 800mm lens when birding in Alaska. Here are my thoughts after using the lens for several hundred images:

When I was able to get the lens centered on a bird I got some excellent shots. But I found it very difficult to locate/frame birds, especially birds in flight, with the 800mm lens handheld. I didn't find high magnification BIF photography as difficult back when I used a supertelephoto lens on a gimbal mount and a tripod. I found it even tougher to track BIF with the 800mm... almost impossible with fast moving birds such as ducks and puffins. I presume I would eventually get better at this, but I certainly have lots of respect to the OP for the great BIF shots!

I didn't like the overall feel of the lens. It seemed plasticky and lightweight (probably because it is both!!) The material used to cover the lens seemed to get dirty easily and was hard to clean once soiled. But, boy, is it light and easy to handle. (Yes, I, too, see the contradiction here.)

I was also bothered by the minimum focusing distance of the lens, often needing to back up to get a bird in focus.

I was never that bothered by the f/11 aperture; I usually stop down when photographing wildlife anyway. And the high ISO capability of the R5/R6 coupled with modern noise reduction plug-ins make my worries about ISOs above 6400 insignificant.

The lens definitely needs a lens hood. OP: where did you buy yours?

This is a lens which is somewhat of a paradox to me. The value for the money seems amazing to me. But I am torn: should I make my next lens expenditure this 800mm and keep using my EF 100-400 IS II and 1.4x on my R5? Or sell the 100-400 and the 1.4x; buy a RF 100-500; and just crop when I need to? I do find it so much easier to acquire birds in flight with the zoom lens, and the ability to crop is the main reason I bought the R5 instead of the R6.... decisions....decisions.

Thanks for your question, comments and experience with the lens.  I bought the lens, hood and tubes at Amazon.  I know it might not be the popular thing to do but it was super convenient.

Being mostly a fixed focal length lens user the 800mm lens wasn’t that big of an adjustment for me.  If you’re mainly a zoom user then selling the 100-400 and replacing it with the 800 might be a more difficult adjustment.

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Some of my bird photos can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregsbirds/

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