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Canon RF 200-800mm IS USM (1 Viewer)

Like many other amateurs, I have been closely following every available breadcrumb on this new offering. I am greatly interested, as I think I'm ready to finally let go of my three old super teles and replace with some new tech to mount on my R7. Also like many others I'm weighing this against the already popular 100-500 L.

Initial youtube vids are somewhat promising, but sadly I haven't seen enough yet to sway me 100%. I'll go on record saying that the f9 max aperture does not scare me, because the R7 seems to have an AF algorithm that is next level compared to older phase style EF bodies, clearly demonstrated by the 600mm and 800mm f11 lenses. Also, I'm certain with proper field technique and subject placement, nice b/g blur should be easy to produce with such a heavily compressed focal length.

I will say, most of the images I've seen at 800mm fall just a slight underwhelming. Something I've struggled to put my finger on. Just a tad lacking in contrast. I think the problem is that all the images are being resized for web, or in particular YouTube, making it hard to judge nominal sharpness. I just noticed The Digital Picture has uploaded some resolution crops for the lens here:

The-Digital-Picture: Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS USM Lens Image Quality

Judgement is left for the eye of the beholder. It's entirely possible these are taken with a pre-production example. Bryan doesn't mention this on his site, I just know this is always a possibility with early hard to get lenses. So keep that in mind.

I really need a safari style lens that gives me reach, but also backs down in fl so I can get compressed landscapes, or animals in their environment. My old Sigma 150-500 OS is the best all around lens I've ever used for travel around the world, due to it's excellent range. That lens just doesn't get used anymore because it's not sharp (at all, LOL), and struggles to AF with predictability on the R7. My other lenses are sharp, but they are primes. I'm more of a run and gun shooter most of the time, so I don't prefer to travel with the primes, plus I don't like using two bodies at the same time if I don't have to because of the bulk. Of course I love the 800mm capability of this lens, but I wonder if the price point is just too much of a compromise. But compromise is always the name of the game, and I think it's an important part of the expectation here. I'm eager to see more real world shots with this new super zoom, and hope to have access to SOOC files. But I'm starting to wonder if cropped images from the 100-500 will still be superior to uncropped images with the 200-800. It is an interesting offering for sure. Just thought I'd pass along the link for anyone interested in seeing contrast and sharpness.
You might find this new review of interest.
 
You might find this new review of interest.

I love Duades videos, great reviewer. He's enthusiast, but doesn't avoid taking about the drawback of any gear he reviews!!

Here's another very good review, with quite a bit of depth:


It is in (some kind of) German, but auto-translate does a decent job I think. Especially the segment where he compares sharpness in the middle and periphery of the lens starting at 6:30 is quite useful.
 
Has anyone other than insiders actually received this lens? If so, please share some thoughts. Although announced in early November, all I’ve seen so far are social media and youtube influencers with this lens. Would love to hear from rank-and-file folks and their experiences with the RF 200-800mm for use in birding and bird photography. Still waiting on mine and have no estimate of when it will ship. There also doesn’t seem to be much info from Canon about efforts to fill orders. Saw that someone reported B&H received only 8 units in their mid-December shipment from Canon despite hundreds of orders. Does anyone have updated information about Canon’s efforts to fill backorders?
 
Has anyone other than insiders actually received this lens? If so, please share some thoughts. Although announced in early November, all I’ve seen so far are social media and youtube influencers with this lens. Would love to hear from rank-and-file folks and their experiences with the RF 200-800mm for use in birding and bird photography. Still waiting on mine and have no estimate of when it will ship. There also doesn’t seem to be much info from Canon about efforts to fill orders. Saw that someone reported B&H received only 8 units in their mid-December shipment from Canon despite hundreds of orders. Does anyone have updated information about Canon’s efforts to fill backorders?
The official UK Canon store has removed the 1st April date and now just says out of stock. You do wonder if all the initial production has gone to You Tubers which is a fair marketing strategy but announcing a product you can't supply seems bizarre. If they really didn't expect the demand then they must have lousy market research people.
 
Now months after the announcement and still waiting. While I’ve been very pleased with overall Canon product performance, once received, this an absurdly long delay that will definitely impact my pre-ordering of newly announced Canon products In the future. Went through a similar experience when pre-ordering the R7. In the future I’ll likely just wait until they are in stock and ready for purchase. Overall it’s likely a better strategy as YouTubers and influencers will undoubtedly have already received theirs and posted reviews by then. That will provide a better sense of features and field performance prior to buying. Makes one wonder if the debut of the R1 and R5II will be repeats of this same “bait and wait” scenario.

Edited to Add: I just called Canon USA moments ago to inquire about when additional lenses would be received in the USA and/or any estimates for when backorders would be filled. Their response was that pre-orders far exceeded anticipated demand, and they have no (or were unwilling to share) information or estimates about upcoming production, factory shipments, anticipate USA distribution center receipt, etc.
 
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Now months after the announcement and still waiting. While I’ve been very pleased with overall Canon product performance, once received, this an absurdly long delay that will definitely impact my pre-ordering of newly announced Canon products In the future. Went through a similar experience when pre-ordering the R7. In the future I’ll likely just wait until they are in stock and ready for purchase. Overall it’s likely a better strategy as YouTubers and influencers will undoubtedly have already received theirs and posted reviews by then. That will provide a better sense of features and field performance prior to buying. Makes one wonder if the debut of the R1 and R5II will be repeats of this same “bait and wait” scenario.

Edited to Add: I just called Canon USA moments ago to inquire about when additional lenses would be received in the USA and/or any estimates for when backorders would be filled. Their response was that pre-orders far exceeded anticipated demand, and they have no (or were unwilling to share) information or estimates about upcoming production, factory shipments, anticipate USA distribution center receipt, etc.
This ‘pre-orders far exceeded anticipated demand‘ excuse is wearing a bit thin. If their marketing department was so far out on its estimates, they need a good talking to. So far the released numbers of lenses has been just a trickle, over a month from the first shipping date. I can only draw one of two conclusions:

Firstly, they thought they were developing a dud that hardly anyone would want, so they didn’t need to make many and were surprised by the demand by an order of magnitude. Hardly a realistic scenario, because nobody sets out to spend a fortune on developing something hardly anybody wants, but that seems to be the one they want us to believe.

Secondly, they could be having severe manufacturing and production line problems that have throttled the number of lenses they were hoping for, but for some reason, they don’t want to admit that.

I know which of those two options I’m inclined to believe, and it isn’t the official one.


Canon seems to have a problem in getting new stuff to customers recently. When it took everyone months (4 months in my case) to get their R5 when it came out in 2020, at least they had the excuse of Covid shutting down supply and a worldwide shortage of microchips. Two years later, Covid had gone away (so to speak) yet although I ordered my R7 on the first morning it was announced, it took over three months to get the camera.

Early 2024 and a major new lens can‘t find its way to the customers for months. Something is amiss, and it doesn’t instil confidence in Canon for the future.
 
Got hold of one via Cotswold Cameras and it arrived this week. First try out a couple of days ago in good light with the local Purple Sandpipers. Canon R7. Out today on Somerset Levels (Egrets) in very dull conditions. First impressions, very positive. Lens is fast to focus and as all the photos were taken hand held the image stabilisation is impressive. I use a Cotton Carrier hip harness and the weight is not a problem. No issues with the weight when shooting either. Post processing in Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise. Early days but so far very pleased.563-DeNoiseAI-standard.jpg
 

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I am in the same boat as many, having ordered this lens and waiting for heaven knows how long to receive it. Wondering if I should cancel the order and get the RF 100-500L (although I'd have to trade in some gear to make that happen). But reviews on this lens are all so positive and the reach is much more than I can afford to get with anything else. Sigh.
 
Got hold of one via Cotswold Cameras and it arrived this week. First try out a couple of days ago in good light with the local Purple Sandpipers. Canon R7. Out today on Somerset Levels (Egrets) in very dull conditions. First impressions, very positive. Lens is fast to focus and as all the photos were taken hand held the image stabilisation is impressive. I use a Cotton Carrier hip harness and the weight is not a problem. No issues with the weight when shooting either. Post processing in Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise. Early days but so far very pleased.View attachment 1555257
Splendid photographs, well done!
 
I am in the same boat as many, having ordered this lens and waiting for heaven knows how long to receive it. Wondering if I should cancel the order and get the RF 100-500L (although I'd have to trade in some gear to make that happen). But reviews on this lens are all so positive and the reach is much more than I can afford to get with anything else. Sigh.
I've wondered about the 100-500 too as I know I'd find it more manageable the older I get but I also know I'd likely have a 1.4 extender on it most of the time at which point because of the design it's almost the same size as the 200-800 and not much less in weight. As I currently have a 100-400 which with cashback etc cost me just £371 am I really going to spend £2900 or nearly 8 times for a little extra reach and admittedly better quality. Think I'll settle down for the long wait though if the quality of the 200-800 is almost as L series as You Tubers suggest I wonder how long the current price will hold.
 
Some more images from the weekend with the R7 & RF 200-800 combo. Waxwings at Rodborough.
 

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