Prime Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM

Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM Lens
Prime lenses

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Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM

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The 600mm f/11 is a viable option not just something to be 'settled for' by people who wanted more
  • low weight
  • low price
  • easy to use for a 600mm
  • decent sharpness
  • no diaphragm to stop down more
  • no rotating tripod ring
  • horizontal only tripod mount
The tendency for reviewers and 'experts' is to point out that the 600mm f/11 is not as long as the 800 and not as fast as the big and expensive EF options. For those of us for whom price is a consideration, The $ five digit glass simply was not an option. The true cost of a lens like that should have to include the tripod (suitable for an 8x10 view camera) and salary for an assistant to carry the thing for you. The f/11 lenses allow you to have the thing ready to go with an absolute minimum of hassle.

The 600mm is not just a little brother for the 800mm version but a decent and practical option. Yes, I have encountered shots where the 800.. would have been nice but I have also taken shots that would have required me to back up with a lens that long. With prime lenses we zoom with our feet. Bigger is not always better. This situation may soon improve with the promised arrival of the Canon R7 APS-C body bringing the 'benefits' of the crop factor to our full line of RF lenses. The pixel density of the R7 will be greater than any other RF mount option. The 32.5MP crop sensor would require a full frame camera to have over 73MP to place as many pixels on that distant bird so a lens like the 600 will gain true useful gain for those shots where we just can't get close enough without requiring use of a converter that cost precious stops of light intensity. F/11, I can deal with; f/22 is pushing it a mite. While it might seem contradictory, I would not might having the option of smaller apertures for increased depth of field BUT I am glad Canon did not add weight and expense doing this. The secret of getting good results with this lens is a slight modification of the old rule: "f/8 f/11 and be there!" Make pictures while the sun shines. The high ISO performance of my RP up to 12800 makes me willing to put up with the speed limitation.

The feature of the lens I like the least is that collapsible tube that allows compact storage but I feel would have been better employed giving us a proper rotating tripod ring that would allow leveling and shooting verticals with ease. I am surprised some third party maker has not come out with a adapter that wraps around this useless tube and was grooved to accept a proper ring. I made one as a test that accepts the C(W)II from the old EF 70-300 f/4-5.6. I can't say I advise you to run out and void your warranty doing this but I do wish Canon would have allowed us a vertical option. I'm old fashioned and shoot stills, not video.

People criticize the f/11 lenses for not having a great minimum focusing distance. To them I say that at the MFD the frame is filled by a medium size woodpecker. If that is not good enough, you can add third party FR extension tubes (Canon chose not to make them but there are several options). Adding the most common beginner set of 31mm takes you down to about 12 feet. There are also longer tubes available that would get you into the 'too close' range which might be good for shooting those hornet headshots you have been afraid to try. Where there is a will, there is a way.

The 600mm f/11 is not the best lens if you can have only one and will not make the best photos under each and every circumstance. Is is a WHOLE lot better than sitting home wishing you had the money and strength to carry a cannon of standard specifications.

I attach a few shots made with the 600 and my RP. You can do better with your higher end RF bodies and greater photo skills. If not, don't blame the lens.
Would recommend this product?


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4 members found this helpful.
Your analysis is great! I've owned three versions of the EF 600/4 and an EF 800mm/5.6, fantastic lenses! I have the RF 600/4 coming soon, sold my 800mm after anguishing for a year. The 800mm is a great lens but after owning it for a decade I decided that the conditions that one has to shoot it in are so narrow that the investment made less and less sense. Heat, wind, concrete, all mix together to degrade images taken with long telephotos, and the 800mm takes that to the limit. I got some stellar images with my 800 but RF lens camera and lens advances filled the gap to the point where I just couldn't justify it, and the weight, I still have the knot in my lower right back muscle from raising it vertically 1,000 times at air shows. I was sad to see it go, have never thought about it since.
Great input on the 600. I just received mine along with the 100-400 and am enjoying learning all about these and my new R7. I was having buyers remorse after ordering the 60p and see all the reviews that you referred too and am much more satisfied now. (Your comments confirmed my decision) Also, getting the 600 refurbished from Canon for $399 was an added bonus.
Great lens for the money, works for me, not disappointed so far.
  • Price
  • Compact size
  • Clever design
  • Weight
  • Even produces a subtle bokeh
  • Fixed Aperture
  • Not as weatherproof as more expensive lenses
  • Takes a 82mm filter, ouch!
I bought this lens as I wanted a 'long' lens for occasional use, and couldn't afford the price of an EF Prime lens, (over ten times more expensive). And this is only a my views on using it half a dozen times so far.
I was hoping this lens would be good, but not exceptional given it's price point. Having read several good reviews online it sounded worth the investment, and I'm not disappointed.
I use it on a EOS R5, (which I've not had that long), and am v impressed. I went to a local country park last week to try it out on some wildlife, which I've never shot before, and am delighted with it's performance, as hopefully the accompanying images show.
Just bear in mind a 600mm lens is not your average 'every day' lens, and like all long lenses will be susceptible to heat haze and general crap in the atmosphere.
What more can I say, if I remember I'll add some more comments in a month or two. 9.5 out of 10 from me.
Would recommend this product?


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One member found this helpful.
Kathryn Milner
Kathryn Milner
I enjoyed your review and the pictures you shared.
Was in camera store in big smoke. Not my usual one killing tim.
RF 600 here $1399 aust second hand one for $900 shop guys said less than 50 shots guy had it for over a year never used it.
Said it’s a specialty lens will sit for a while in second hand section.
Will keep my eye on it

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Tim Mayo
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